Are Metal’s Biggest Bands Getting Too Old to Rock?
If you feel like there aren't enough up-and-coming young bands in today's metal scene, you're not alone. In fact, Mayhem Festival co-founder Kevin Lyman worries it's a problem that could end up dooming the genre.
Lyman pulls no punches in a new interview with the Detroit Free Press, warning that shrinking audiences and spiraling costs have placed Mayhem "at risk of going away at any given moment." Part of the problem, in his view, is a massive age gap in metal. "What happened was metal chased girls away because what happened was metal aged," he argued. "Metal got gray, bald and fat. And metal was about danger. When you went to a metal show, it was dudes onstage. There was some danger in it."
Today, he says, his main danger is the risk of not being able to cover costs incurred by acts who value their own bottom lines more than they care about the future of metal.
"The bands at the top all demand a certain level of fee to be on tour," Lyman pointed out. "Unlike punk rock, metal never knows how to take a step back to move the whole scene forward. That's how punk rock was. That's how we nurtured punk rock. Bad Religion would take a little less than they could on their own to bring the whole scene forward, so we could make sure we had a good package around them. Metal doesn't seem to have that concern, never has, never has since I was working in the clubs in the '80s. It's always about a 'me, me, me' thing."
The article also quotes Slayer guitarist Kerry King, who admits his band nearly backed out of its headlining slot at this year's Mayhem "because I hated [the lineup] so much." Persuaded to stay after organizers added King Diamond, he expresses optimism that the newly downsized festival might have some extra life left in it.
"I know because they downsized, the tickets are super-reasonable this year," King mused. "They might just have a crazy turnout they’re not expecting because they changed the economics of it."
See the Top 50 Heavy Metal Albums
You Think You Know Black Sabbath?