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Like Fan Like Band: How Fanbase Can Affect Artist Reputation

How many times have you written off a band or an artist because of their fans? I’m sure many of us are either unwilling to admit it or simply have not realized this subconscious process of ruling out, but it happens all the time.

Regardless of the quality of the music, it is very easy for potential new listeners to be deterred because of the reputation created by a band’s fanbase. For example, what comes to mind when I mention the name Slipknot? For many of you—especially those who are not very familiar with them—my guess is that you thought of the types of people you might associate with that band; mean, dumb, meathead psychos (Sorry, Maggots. No offense!). However, while this may be true for some of their fans, this doesn’t mean you should curse the band all together. The problem is that too many people apply this stigma to the band, assuming the music is unsophisticated, dumb, mindless, or perhaps untalented. However, those who are familiar with and open to the idea of Slipknot, fan or not, know that they are a very hardworking group of extremely talented musicians. It might not be your cup of tea, but at least give them that.

Okay, so maybe the guys in Slipknot bring it upon themselves with their terrifying masks and generally offensive demeanor, but how about Tool? They have a similar demographic as Slipknot, but many listeners might find their sound to be a little “easier to swallow.” However, they often get lumped in with the same sort of crowd that makes outsiders assume the music is terrible, while in fact, tool has written some of the most interesting, progressive, and influential songs in nu metal.

Too often do people overlook a band just because of the fanbase they seem to attract. Of course, that’s not totally unreasonable. If you do not like or do not relate to a certain type of person, and that type of person likes a certain type of music, then by the transitive property, it seems safe to assume that you will probably dislike that type of music too. However, this isn’t always the case. We all have “guilty pleasures,” but why are they guilty? Because we’re embarrassed to admit when we like something outside of our own self-ascribed reputation? Are we that proud of our “taste?” (more…)

Slipknot Bassist's Doctor Charged With 8 Cases Of Manslaughter

Paul Gray, the late bassist for masked metal band Slipknot, passed away in May of 2010 due to an overprescription of painkillers by a Des Moines, Iowa doctor named Daniel Baldi. Now, according to Rolling Stone, 50-year-old Baldi is being charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter from overprescription, including Gray’s death.

While Baldi has pleaded not guilty to every count, if convicted he may face “up to 16 years in prison.” This is not the first time the doctor has been accused of medical malpractice; three other previous “wrongful death suits” are being “included in the criminal charges” as well.

Gray, a founding member of Slipknot, struggled for years with an addiction to drugs, which makes Baldi’s decision to prescribe him high doses of narcotics that much more negligent in the eyes of the court. Today, the band released a statement on their Facebook page, which reads as follows:

“As the loss of our brother Paul Gray is still very fresh for us in the Slipknot family, this new development has us all in a state of anger and sadness. The fact that this person took advantage of our brother’s illness while he was in a position to help others has outraged everyone in our family. We can only hope that justice will be served so this can NEVER happen to anyone else ever again! Our thoughts go out to the families of the other victims. We plan to cooperate as much as we possibly can to ensure this tragedy is never repeated, and to make sure this man pays for what he has done.”

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Slipknot Announce "Knotfest," Tease Lineup

Iowa metal act Slipknot have unveiled plans to launch their own two-day, two-state music festival later this year.

Speaking exclusively with Rolling Stone, the group revealed the concept for the first ever “Knotfest” earlier today. The festival takes place on August 17-18; the first day in the band’s native Iowa and the second in Somerset, on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“It’s all about having fun and bringing something to the world of rock & roll, bringing it to the standard it used to be,” said Slipknot’s Shawn “Clown” Crahan.

The full lineup for Knotfest has yet to be announced, but a press release for the festival confirmed that Deftones, Lamb of God, Deathlok, Serj Tankian, the Urge, and Cannibal Corpse will be taking part.

Full details on the festival, including mentions of a “Dark Carnival” theme, can be found in the RS article. There is currently no information available regarding tickets or on-sale dates, but more details are expected to surface soon.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Metal Monday: Metal Soundtracks

Inspired a bit by Rami’s Soundtrax column, this week’s Metal Monday focuses on the most metal movie soundtracks Hollywood has to offer. You might be wondering “Are there even enough metal movie soundtracks to make a list?” The answer is yes, absolutely. Admittedly, however, some of these albums are much better than others. While not totally metal, the idea of a metal soundtrack started with movies like This Is Spinal Tap and similar films. So, where should we start? How about with the most “Extreme” soundtrack on the list?

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ellen starts music label, signs Greyson Chance

Greyson Chance on Ellen

OK, remember last week when we made up that big lie about wunderkind Greyson Chance being signed to Interscope? Kidding! Yeah, looks like that was just one of those Internet rumors. Sahhrrry. Chance was actually signed by Ellen DeGeneres ” he’ll be the first artist on her brand new label, Eleven Eleven Records. We’re not sure if Eleven Eleven is actually an imprint of Interscope or an indie, and until we’re sure, we’re not saying a word.

Ludacris builds playground for Atlanta school kids

Ludacris

That Luda, bless his heart. When he’s not going door-to-door reminding people to fill out their Census forms, he’s providing for the children. This past weekend the rapper joined volunteers to help construct a playground for Venetian Hills Elementary School in Atlanta. The charity event was a collaboration between KaBoom ” a national nonprofit that provides play areas to underserved areas ”The Ludacris Foundation, United Healthcare’s Do Good. Live Well campaign and EIF’s iParticipate program. Look, we knew how low he could go, we just never knew he was such do-gooder to boot . Hats off to you, Mr. Bridges.

The Bad

Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato break up

Sniff. Sad. Moving on ¦

Lady Gaga tested for Lupus

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga revealed to the London Times this week that she underwent testing for Lupus after collapsing from exhaustion and cancelling shows in March. But when it comes to the results of those tests, she’s keeping her lips sealed. I don’t want anyone to be worried, she explains. The singer lost an aunt to the disease, which is genetic and causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. Lucky for all of us little monsters, Lady Gaga is superhuman and immortal. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

The Ugly

Liza Minnelli sings Single Ladies for SATC2

Liza Minnelli

Looks like Liza Minnelli will be croaking out Beyoncé’s hit in the new Sex and the City movie. According to SATC2 promos, the 64-year-old performer tackles the number during a wedding scene. And, since Minnelli has a brand new replacement knee, maybe she’ll even attempt to do the choreography, too. That would be infinitely better than watching the chicken dance.

Key of Awesome spoof Owl City in Electronic Wuss

Ugly for Owl City, but hilarious for the rest of us.  Musical parody group, Key of Awesome,  delivered a sonic smackdown to the maudlin vomit that is “Fireflies” with their spoof, Electronic Wuss. Enjoy.

Miscellany

METAL MONDAY: WHY PEOPLE LIKE TO HATE SLIPKNOT

Metal Monday OurStage Blog

Slipknot, the band so many metal fans love to hate while others hate to love, created a schism among nearly all metal listeners upon the band’s inception in 1997. Troves of angst-ridden, mall-invading teens adopted Slipknot as their patron-saint back in 1999 (when the band’s self-titled debut came out), instantly earning the band a mallcore seal of disapproval by their critics. But for every teen fan that continues to support the band, there is a metal fan who continues to see Slipknot as illegitimate, for even the most trivial reason (check out the shoutbox for Slipknot’s Last.fm page). The most curious thing about the people who hate Slipknot is the extent to which they put forth effort to voice their hatred for the band, not to mention their efforts trolling the Internet to try and rile up the die-hard fans.

Here are a few arguments (taken from the Last.fm shoutbox) often used by the haters :

Their new album Maybe Having All 9 People in Our Band Playing at the Same Damn Time Will Hide the Fact that Nobody Has Real Talent will come out in 2012. Can’t wait for it dang.
Slipknot ain’t metal [username], it’s Cancer. Learn your facts.
slipknot sucks. It is a stupid mainstream nu metal band, they call it metal but it hasn’t got anything to do with metal and many listeners are stupid emo teenagers trying to be “hard”(i know a few of them)
they look like retards in those stupid masks

Here’s what fans say (also on Last.fm shoutbox):

“there will never be anything more metal than this band”
“concerts are some crazy [beep] for this band”
“Vol. 3 is a lot more creative than most people would like to admit. Even some of the hard-to-please (like AMG) critics admit it’s a masterpiece.”
“No doubting that there a great band, talk about being unique.”

Slipknot, with the newer masks

Slipknot, with the newer masks

On the Internet it is difficult to find many detailed points about the reason why people dislike Slipknot’s music or why they feel is it is unworthy of listeners. Looking at the album ratings by people at MetalStorm.ee, a global online metal community, each of Slipknot’s albums receive an aggregate rating of at least 7/10. Reputable sources such as allmusic have nothing but good things to say about Slipknot, giving each effort at least a 3/5 rating. On Sputnikmusic, every Slipknot album has averaged at least a 3/5 rating as well. Being that Slipknot are the fan-appointed leaders of nu-metal/mallcore/etc., it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that the hatred towards the band is born out of stigma or a general hatred toward the entire style of music, the same view that coined the term mallcore. Bands such as Korn, Godsmack and others share similar attitudes toward their music by being branded with the nu metal tag, the black-sheep of heavy music.

Slipknot, with the old masks

Slipknot, with the old masks

The reality is that both the fans and haters are right most of the time. Few arguments between the two touch on the same areas of Slipknot’s music. Most of Slipknot’s music is technically simple, and rarely involves guitar solos ”things that many metalheads deem necessary to be part of the metal community. Many of the lyrics in Slipknot songs are simple as well, and fed off the angst and hatred that many adolescents feel (making it instantly connectable). As David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine says, “Iowa is not just the first great record of the nu-metal era”it’s better than that. In fact, Slipknot’s second album may be the only platter of its day and subgenre that, in five or ten years, we call ‘classic,’ with the same awed breath we reserve for Black Sabbath‘s early monsters, Metallica‘s Master of Puppets and Rage Against the Machine.” Slipknot were, are, and always will be the kings of Nu Metal. If you don’t like Nu Metal, chances are you won’t like Slipknot. People who dislike the entire Nu Metal genre and claim “Slipknot sucks” are, in truth, saying more about their ignorance then the actual legitimacy of the band.

Slipknot at the GRAMMYs

Slipknot at the GRAMMYs

Whether it is the masks, the jumpsuits, the fans or the subject matter, Slipknot have remained true to their unique sound and that is something that should be respected. Hate them or love them, there is a reason that Slipknot became famous and adored by many. In the same way that people who grow up in small country towns can’t always relate to hip hop songs about ghetto life, the music of Slipknot surely misses the mark for much of the older metal community. And similar to the way that famous metal acts were protest against by the PMRC in the great censorship war of the 80s, Slipknot is being targeted by those who feel that Slipknot is ruining something beloved to them” metal. Those who feel the need to diss Slipknot really need to understand that Slipknot won’t destroy all that is good and great about metal; Slipknot promotes the greater good of metal bolstering the numbers of those who enjoy heavy music. Now who can hate on that?

METAL MONDAY: SUMMER FESTIVAL OVERVIEW

osblog_metalmondays_01

Everyone knows that summertime is festival season, and whenever people think of music festivals, they think of events like SXSW and Bonnaroo. Unless they are metalheads. For hardcore rockers, popular summer festivals include Wacken and Hellfest. But, most of the time when music journalists or bloggers write about the summer touring and festival season, metal does not get its due. Sure, metal bands are in on some of these festivals, like Bonnaroo, but they certainly are not the focal point of the events. So, here is a nice summer festival overview for all you metal junkies out there:

Wacken Open Air – Wacken, Germany

Arguably the most famous and premier event in the history of metal festivals, this past Wacken Open Air celebrated its 20th birthday. Mí¶torhead reportedly put on one of the best shows in recent memory, and all the other old school metal rockers followed suit. Among these great performances were the band formerly known as Black Sabbath (Heaven & Hell) as well as Saxon. Beyond the seasoned veteran bands, word is that doom metal troop Cathedral really won the crowd over (unsurprising, since the band is led by ex-Napalm Death vocalist Lee Dorrian).

Hellfest Open Air – Clisson, France

The second-most famous metal festival on the globe, Hellfest shared only a couple acts with Wacken this year”notably Heaven & Hell who again wowed the crowd. The fest’s the buzz bands seemed to be Brutal Truth and the loudest band on Earth Manowar, with Manowar having a slight edge (despite reports that Brutal Truth could be heard over Manowar’s set at times). Strangely, little was said about hometown giants Gojira, though there were sparse mentions of a solid set.

Bloodstock Open Air – Catton, UK

Rounding out the big three for metal festivals, this year’s Bloodstock was fodder for great stories. None more awesome than the hilarious/horrible bottling of Cradle of Filth in which the band stopped their set and left the stage without finishing the set. Blind Guardian, Carcass, Amon Amarth and the thrash bands garnered the most props for absolutely bringing it on stage.

MetalCamp – Tolmin, Slovenia

As usual, the bands who headlined this festival are the same bands that headlined the other big festivals. That’s just the way these things work. After scouring the ˜net for any opinions or reports of the festival, I only came to the conclusion that there was no real standout performances, though people were largely unenthusiastic about the lineup as a whole (Mind-boggling, really, since Amon Amarth, Blind Guardian, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and more were on the bill). The disappointment might have been due to the lack of great underground bands (beyond the huge names), as well as the completely unknown acts from the second stage”except Warbringer, who played before a band with only 1,000 MySpace friends. For shame.

Download Festival – Donington Park, UK

Download Festival, the least metal of all the summer metal festivals, was filled with the nu metal acts of yesteryear and all the things the kids dig today. So there was a huge variety of musical styles on this bill. No band got as much credit as Faith No More, who put on a performance referred to as brilliant by most attendees. Mí¶tley Crüe, Slipknot and Steel Panther also received favorable reviews. On the opposite side of things, a lot of festival goers hated Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Attack! Attack!, Pendulum and Parkway Drive. Unsurprisingly there was little said about the more extreme bands there like Suicide Silence, Meshuggah and God Forbid”the bill did not exactly cater to those fans. What is surprising is that I have found nothing about Opeth and Dream Theater’s sets.

In case you did not make it out to any festivals this summer, or just want to know what is coming up for metal festivals in the near future, here are two of the bigger events on the list:

New England Deathfest – Providence, RI

While not the biggest metal festival, New England Deathfest is having some of the most legendary Death Metal bands headline this year: Neuraxis, Cephalic Carnage and Quo Vadis. Also on the bill is Revocation, touted by many as the next big thing in metal and recently signed to Relapse Records. If you’re in the New England area, $50 for this weekend filled with death is well worth it.

Ilha Do Ermal Festival – Viera do Hinho, Portugal

Because I don’t speak Portuguese, it is hard to say much about this festival other than the fact that Blind Guardian is headlining it, which is almost enough reason to go regardless of who else is playing. The fact that Sepultura, Obituary, Firewind, Textures and Hatesphere are also on the bill certainly does not hurt. At 60€ ($85.35), that is a great price for three days of pure metal goodness.