Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s contributors take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
As of late, Dave Mustaine has found himself in hot water over numerous political comments, including things he said about Rick Santorum, gay marriage, and recently about African women with multiple children. He’s gained more mainstream attention for his remarks than Megadeth has in year, with even Anderson Cooper weighing in on the subject.
Of course, we could go on a long rant about how wrong Mustaine’s comments are, but everyone else has done a good job detailing that already. Instead, we decided to touch on another issue this brings up: politics in metal. While there have been numerous groups in rock and metal that have been very politically active, it’s a subject that’s often met with mixed reactions. So this week in Headbangers’ Brawl, Bram and Zach are having a good old fashion debate about whether politics should have a place in heavy metal or not.
Zach: I don’t think a metal bands having a strong political stance is a bad thing, nor should bands steer away from political themes in music. What bugs me, though, is when artists shove their political views in your face to the point that if overshadows the music. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even listen to a Ted Nugent song without hearing him bashing President Obama. To me, there’s a difference between trying to bring light to an important issue effecting our society and simply yelling about politics to anyone who will listen.
Bram: Right. There’s some bands that put politics first. Good luck listening to Rage Against the Machine without getting hit by a message. And there have been some pretty damn political songs from Megadeth and Lamb of God, even before their frontmen decided to get involved in current politics. Writing political songs is one thing. “Holy Wars/ The Punishment Due” still holds up today as a song with a message. But those awesome prescient lyrics are now being overshadowed by Dave spouting about gay marriage and African women. That’s bad form, Dave. As soon as you put yourself out there as someone with opinions, there are going to be those in the media with their knives out (us included) hoping that he’ll say something else that’ll come across as ignorant. On the one hand, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being politically active, or expressing your views when asked. But I do have a problem when it overshadows your music.