Much like journalism as a whole, metal journalism has changed drastically in the last decade. Today, people get their metal news from reading web sites like this one, picking up Decibel or Revolver on newsstands, and occasionally seeing the likes of Rolling Stone throw metal fans a bone. There used to be plenty more places to read about metal in print, and one of the best places to do that was Metal Maniacs. Co-founded in 1989 by Katherine Ludwig, instead of being a pinup magazine for female metal fans, like Metal Edge, Hit Parader and Circus were, it focused on the music, and skewed a lot more extreme than those magazines, covering black and death metal, doom, punk and crust. As the editor of the magazine, Ludwig was also able to champion personal issues, including animal rights and vegetarianism. Now Ludwig is fighting non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which has spread, and there’s a crowdfunding campaign taking place to help with her bills.
Metal Maniacs isn’t around any more, having been shuttered in 2009. Ludwig is still here, though, and needs help. She’s raising her teen son and fighting the disease. Launched very recently, the campaign has reached over $1,700 of it’s modest $10,000 goal, with journalists and some of the bands she’d covered among those that have made donations so far. Reading the comments, you can see that Metal Maniacs had a direct effect on those that read it, inspiring them to seek out underground music. If you’re one of those people, think about donating.
Here’s what the organizer, Alicia Morgan, says about the campaign:
Katherine Ludwig. Pioneering writer/editor of Metal Maniacs magazine with over 100,000 readers. Metal. Thrash. Hardcore. Progressive. Punk. Doom. Loud, proud, humble, divisive, outspokenly political. Always in the pit, always thinking. Writing stories that she cared about, about music that meant something to her. In the trenches, scribbling and taking photos about music that this magazine, on the newsstands where no outlander, no metal magazine, nothing before it, sold because of her passion: passion and fire and desire, and her message, her fanatical goals and quirks and politics, which she believed were essential to the person. She never backed down, and never bowed.
She’d cover bands before they were on the mainstream radar: Sepultura. Voivod. Prong. Kreator. White Zombie. Obituary. Cathedral. Cro-Mags. Neurosis. Eyehategod. Carcass. Corrosion of Conformity. She gave a voice to underground punk/doom and crust bands: Amebix, Doom, Deviated Instinct, Winter. She gave a platform to unsigned bands and zines. In her editorials, she wrote about issues that meant something to her. Racism. Sexism. Human rights. Animal rights. Vegetarianism. Homophobia. Even if she got flack about it, she’d soldier on, and call people out.
And now? Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which has spread in pockets throughout her body. Chemo and survival. Ports in her chest, infusions and meds, badass baldness and snazzy wigs. Getting up, taking care of her son, and fighting. And now I’m asking you to give Katherine, this leader, this beautiful and strong warrior, donations that will relieve some of the burden that go along with all of the guts and glory that go along with chemo, and cancer, and everything and everything that will help as as she helped all of you. Please share this page on all of your media …let’s do this.
All of you Metal Maniacs fans: I know you remember how you loved and or hated her—but never were indifferent. I remember how many letters we got, so many that when I was her assistant, much of my time was spent opening and sorting.
All of you vegetarians/vegans: this was the first time a major metal magazine covered animal rights and espoused a veg lifestyle on a platform which was often hostile to such beliefs.
All of you humans: let’s get together and help Katherine in her time of need.