Thank you so much to the Patron Saint of Aussie Metal “Higgo” – Former DJ on Triple M and new stirring up a storm in the mass media for Australian Heavy Acts including us lucky buggers Heaven The Axe. Here is a story Higgo wrote for mass news website news.com.au
View it on the site here or read below
- March 02, 2015
IT OFTEN surprises people when I tell them that my favourite band of all time is Queen.
That’s because I listen to a lot of rock and heavy metal and people sometimes don’t make the correlation between a band like Queen, and say, Metallica.
But it’s those bands with beginnings in the late 60s early 70s that paved the way and started to change the sound of rock n roll, introducing faster riffs, distortion, and yes, as my dad would say “screaming rubbish”.
Different music appeals to different people for different reasons, it’s often an intangible thing.
How often, if ever, have you really thought about why you like a certain type of music? It’s a primal thing.
Take pop music as an example: people like it because it’s generally safe, catchy, and mostly easy to listen to. It doesn’t really challenge you.
Most genres, in fact, are like that in my opinion. Safe.
This is where heavy metal (and every sub genre thereof) is different.
Straight off the bat it’s loud and confronting.
It’s not like you’d have heavy metal playing gently in the background in the throes of passion like you would with Barry White now is it?
Secondly, it’s the distorted guitars crunching and wailing away that can often put people off (maybe that’s due to them learning on a Valencia nylon string guitar in high school and hating it) but the reason we love distortion and crunch and wailing solos is the talent.
I’m in awe of how someone can create such incredible sounds with a guitar, just like I am with a piano, bass, drums, or didgeridoo. Talent.
Thirdly, the singing. Yes it’s singing. Have you ever tried to do what these guys and girls do in metal bands?
Your voice would be shot in a matter of minutes.
It takes practice, training, correct technique and skill.
So why else do we love heavy metal?
It’s aggressive at times, not all the time (I suggest you listen to Aussie bands Ne Obliviscaris, Twelve Foot Ninja, Heaven The Axe or Bellusira to understand what I mean), but that aggression speaks to so many.
These bands can generate so much power, so much joy with their music that it often (OK almost always) results in a mosh pit and stage diving.
Maybe that’s why it’s misunderstood? The smashing of bodies against each other and limbs flailing everywhere.
You know why that happens? Because we can’t dance.
We have no skill there, but the music makes you move, just like any other kind of music.
Sadly for country and western that resulted in line dancing, and I know what I’d rather be seen doing.
Getting back to my first point, it’s loud. And maybe that’s why people don’t get it, “it’s just noise”.
No, it’s not.
The screaming majority of these people have more years of training than you could poke a mic stand at.
The skillset that these musicians have enables them to play any kind of music.
They just choose to play it loud because that’s what moves them, that’s what drives them emotionally, maybe through tough times in their lives, maybe from times that have been so happy they just want to scream it from the top of the Espy rooftop to the bay.
Heavy metal is misunderstood, and not for everyone, but there is an enormous scene in Australia of rock, hard rock and heavy metal that is thriving, gigging, and surviving despite venues being shut down.
It will never die.
It is the music of the people.
It’s not plastic or manufactured, it’s always honest, raw, heartfelt and above all else passionate. And I will always support it.
These hard working bands don’t have delusions of grandeur, they want to make music because that’s what’s inside them and it needs to come out.
It’s art and it deserves our support and respect.
I recently had my 40th birthday at Cherry Bar in Melbourne and I lined up three great bands: Heaven The Axe, Desecrator, and Dreadnaught.
I had friends come along who weren’t necessarily into that kind of heavy music, but so many of them left praising the bands and still ask about them today.
They opened their minds and came out changed.
How could they not? It’s bloody awesome.
Dave ‘Higgo’ Higgins is a radio presenter, MC, public speaker, host, and writer based in Melbourne, Australia.
He worked on radio for Southern Cross Austereo for 13 years and established and hosted Distortion: a heavy metal radio show.