Article written by Jessie May, editor of Alternative Control
A week or two ago, Metal Cyndicate released a podcast (Episode 15: AlcoholiCAST) that caused a furor in the local metal community. On-air guest Matt “Rape Machine” Broderick ruffled feathers by listing his least favorite Connecticut bands. Seems like the fastest way to make yourself unpopular, but someone who calls himself Rape Machine clearly isn’t concerned about that. What really ruffled my feathers, though, was his assertion that people don’t like his nickname because metal fans have become “a bunch of fucking pussies.” He went on to say that the “exclusivity of metal […] weeded out some of the fucking cunts, but now every bleeding vagina likes some extreme metal band…”
That’s so ridiculous that it doesn’t even justify a response – I could going on for paragraphs about why it’s asinine for an adult man to call himself Rape Machine. (The “joke” argument? Completely invalid. I may laugh at “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” memes, but that doesn’t mean I should go around calling myself Jessie N***** Lyncher May…) So lest anyone think this guy and his misogynistic nickname are representative of most guys in our scene, I’d like to share some of my positive experiences as a female musician.
When I started going to local metal shows in the late 90s and early 2000s, there weren’t a lot of other girls there. Sometimes, I was the only one! (Or if I was with my girlfriends, we were the only ones.) As a naïve fourteen or fifteen year old, I was an easy target for anyone with bad intentions. But not ONCE did any of these frightening-looking bearded men in army boots and 100 Demons shirts harass me, try to pick me up, or otherwise bother me. I even went to the Hanover House a couple times and remember it being kind of scary… Like I said, though, the older male metal fans let me enjoy the concerts unmolested.
It was at the Hanover House that I saw an up-and-coming band called Unearth; my friend bought a Stings of Conscience CD at the show and taped it onto cassettes for the rest of us. Before hearing that album, I thought System of a Down’s self-titled was as heavy as it got; Unearth piqued my interest in a completely different style of music.
The first metal band I played in was called Murrain and it never left the drummer’s basement. I was 20 and my bandmates were 29, 30, and 36 respectively. They let me audition because our mutual friend Mark recommended me – mostly because he knew all of us lived in the same town. To this day, I still don’t understand why these guys let me in their band. Unearth was my main reference point for heavy music, I was bad at learning by ear, and I was probably annoying to boot. I didn’t know who Iron Maiden was, and I didn’t even have my own amp! But again, these much older men were completely chill. They accepted me and were patient with my inexperience, allowing me to learn how to “be” in a garage band.
That group morphed into Twilight Requiem, which then morphed into Crawling Chaos. We wrote some really great songs together; it was in this band that I learned how to headbang and how to party. And my female-ness was once again inconsequential to what we were doing, except I think the guys talked less about pooping and masturbating when I was around.
Are you getting the picture here?
Today I play bass in Pink Missile and The Shoutbacks, and guitar (poorly) in Burn the Bodies. Same thing – bunch of dudes and me, no problems. I’ve never heard any of my bandmates make a rape joke – I don’t think they find the subjugation of someone less powerful to be amusing. Plus, most of them have wives or girlfriends – so they can have, you know, consensual sex. These guys have helped me move. I’ve slept on their couches. They’ve rescued me from my car on freezing January nights when I was too drunk to drive and thought my front seat was a good place to sleep. And in all these years, none of my band members have EVER made a gross comment, much less an unwelcome advance.
My point isn’t to say, “Here’s my band resume, look at me!” What I want to get across is that there are a lot of awesome guys in the local metal scene, and I know this because I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with many of them. They respect other people, but that doesn’t make them “fucking cunts” or “a bunch of fucking pussies.” Metal does have dark lyrical themes – Eyes of the Dead songs, anyone? – but just because you write violent music or find catharsis in it doesn’t mean that’s how you should live your life or present yourself to other people.
Rape Machine, congratulations on the attention you’ve found with your podcasting adventures– this column being a case in point. In spite of myself, I do like Alcoholicaust (another offensive name, but I guess not much more so than Burn the Bodies) and I’ve actually downloaded your songs and posted an interview with you guys on Alternative Control… And I know this is a free country, so people can call themselves whatever they want. But I wouldn’t stand up front and headbang for someone who thinks that regarding women as human beings makes you a “fucking cunt.” Rape is a terrible thing that I hope I never experience, and which I imagine you yourself haven’t experienced either. I’m glad I haven’t met a single dude in the Connecticut metal community who holds the views implied by your nickname. Luckily for me and the rest of the ladies in the crowd, you appear to be a minority of one.
Jessie May can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.alternativecontrolct.com/