The social stigma attached to Metal...

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Sorry, but I forgot to address this point.

There is no irony with respect to what grunge was "supposed" to be, though it's true that it was in large part a rejection of the LA hair bands that were dominant at the time.

I've lived in Seattle my whole life and it rains a lot. Usually daily unrelenting drizzles from October through June. Yeah, a lot of people wore flannel, and still do, and look soggy and scraggly like they've been out in the rain because they have (little known fact is that practically no-one here uses an umbrella - you just never see them. Not sure why, tbh). It's important to understand that it wasn't some contrived "look" that people were deliberately going for as a fashion statement. It was the absence of the LA rock look, sure, but it was also just how people dressed - not just of our generation, but the ones before and since. Not unlike SoCal people wearing shorts, flip-flops and tans all the time.

And also remember that it wasn't fashionable until AFTER the whole unlikely, unexpected, and unprecedented explosion of one small cities' music scene went virally global, and nowhere was the whole fiasco a bigger surprise than in Seattle. I've been here playing in bands from long before grunge right up to the present and I can tell you that it was very surreal, which feels like a huge understatement. So I don't think you can really blame the genre for how its "fashion" ended up spreading - that would be like blaming Nirvana for selling out AFTER Nevermind suddenly and unexpectedly went through the roof as if they'd somehow engineered, targeted, or anticipated the insanity of their success.

The irony, if there was one, was the LA guys trying to dress like they were from the NW to mimic and cash in on a vibe that was never about cashing in. I won't even go into how many guys from LA ended up here looking to hit the big time. Come to think of it, my bandmate is from LA! (though he wasn't looking to cash in when he moved here in '96 - he just hated LA).

Anyway, I imagine what you feel about the followers and adherents of the grunge look probably isn't all that different from how I feel about it - that now the look of it IS about the look more than the pragmatism that it originally was, and I'm not any more interested in following the look of grunge as I am about metal, punk, country, goth, camaro rock, blues, or whatever. Deliberately going for the look of anything just goes back to that acting / comforming bit I was grousing about earlier.

Grunge had its 15 minutes and then faded pretty quickly as most of its adherents got turned off, not by the mainstream success of its originators, but by the mainstream success of its imitators (STP, Bush, et al). The very people that essentially created it turned their backs on it in a "this isn't fun anymore" kind of way, as if to carry on would be essentially joining the ranks of what they'd turned against to begin with: money-driven "art".

But metal is different, metal has been around for a long time, and while its details and forms have evolved over time, its brutal seriousness and aesthetic of darkness and anger has not. I'm not sure how its been able to persevere over generations without offing itself the way grunge did, but then again, metal has never been as afraid of the mainstream success of its imitators and pretenders and is always accepting of new followers with a welcoming growl and a raised clenched fist (with horns).
Hey Mike, I went to High School up in the desert in northern LA County before all the riff raff from LA moved up there. We high schoolers, wore t-shirts with band names, Levi's 501's, Vans and open flannels with the sleeves rolled up. That's how the stoners dressed. And we had a smoking section at the actual school. We would all hang out there and listen to Heavy Metal and smoke cigarettes right before classes started. So, yeah, there is a social stigma, and we liked it. But admittedly, nowadays I live in the OC and wear flip-flops every day of my life if I can help it.
 

rjoyce

Member
It should. It looks utterly ridiculous.....within the metal relm or outside of it.

Although strangely enough, many Europeans seem quite comfortable with it......disturbingly so. But much like those frightening handknitted matching jumpers (sweaters) that far too many American couples are all too willing to don for cheesy xmas photos.....those caught wearing socks and sandals deserve all the scorn and ridicule they get. :)
It looks utterly ridiculous unless your in Newfoundland, then it seems like mandatory attire.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
The irony, if there was one, was the LA guys trying to dress like they were from the NW to mimic and cash in on a vibe that was never about cashing in. I won't even go into how many guys from LA ended up here looking to hit the big time. Come to think of it, my bandmate is from LA! (though he wasn't looking to cash in when he moved here in '96 - he just hated LA).
That is essentially what I meant. I certainly don't blame Nirvana themselves for creating a look, and I get if you live in Seattle, flannel isn't fashion as it is about keeping warm. I've been to Seattle more than once, and I grew up in San Francisco, I get it. But the way grunge was marketed to, and embraced by, the mainstream as a rejection of hair metal is more what I meant.

During my brief time as a drum teacher, most of my students all had the Kurt Cobain hair. All the San Francisco bands started cutting their hair and adapting that look. Then I move down to Los Angeles, and literally sat on the phone with a guy looking for a drummer who told me he needed a guy that has hair and clothes that look like Dave Ghrol, and and his exact words were "Look, I know we all have a Judas Priest album at home, but you can't tell anyone that in an interview." It was no less fake and pretentious than the guys who got hair extensions and wore spandex in the 80's.

And suddenly drummers who were known for big huge drums kits, like Alex Van Halen and Randy Castillo, were suddenly sporting very Dave Ghrol inspired drum kits. It might not be Dave's fault, but it still happened (it also sucked working in a drum shop, and suddenly no one wants to buy a big kit anymore, and all you can sell are 4 pc kits)

And then, as you mentioned, the piling on of copy cats like Bush, which was no different than Poison piling on the success of Motely Crue, Warrant and piling on the success of Poison and so on and so forth until we had hair metal bands that were so fabricated that it might as well have been Milli Vanilli with guitars.

But metal is different, metal has been around for a long time, and while its details and forms have evolved over time, its brutal seriousness and aesthetic of darkness and anger has not. I'm not sure how its been able to persevere over generations without offing itself the way grunge did, but then again, metal has never been as afraid of the mainstream success of its imitators and pretenders and is always accepting of new followers with a welcoming growl and a raised clenched fist (with horns).
I can't say it never offed itself. Hair metal certainly look a well needed beating.
Some kids today wonder why Black Sabbath or Metallica are even considered metal because it's relatively tame to the extreme stuff. Metallica themselves distanced themselves from what made them.

And there are thousands of metal bands out there who very well know they have no chance at any financial success, and do it anyway. They turn their backs on what it tried and true, knowing reject mainstream rock/metal, mainstream success and any chance to have financial stability to play music that only appeals to a small fragment of people.

So,while not a a whole, I'd say segments have indeed off-ed themselves.


And just question your very last point: is there really no middle ground between looking "stigmatized" and having your mom dress you? :)
It depends on what brand of hot sauce you use. LOL.
 
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