We may not know each other personally, but we share a similar set of values.
Heavy metal fans tend to be extremely loyal, dedicated, and passionate people. They’re not concerned about what’s popular or trendy. In fact, long hair and black t-shirts have been the uniform of heavy metal since it first appeared sometime in the 1970s (exactly when and by whom is of some debate).
Metal fans are authentic, and their interest in the music transcends time and shuns fads. And we know bullshit when we see it. That’s not to say we always agree. No family ever agrees on everything.
“Metal” comes in many varieties, including but not limited to classic metal, hair metal, doom metal, progressive metal, European metal, speed metal, black metal, and death metal. Even some of those sub-genres have blurred and morphed over the years. But at its core, metal is about power, vitality, and an uncompromising attitude. Metal doesn’t give a fuck what you think about it.
I recently spoke with one of heavy metal’s most prominent ambassadors, Don Jamieson. It only took a few minutes for me to appreciate his love of heavy metal. Don’s childhood in New Jersey was all about the three M’s: malls, mullets, and metal. Many of us who grew up with metal in the 1980s and 1990s—even outside of the Garden State—can relate to that sentiment.
Don is an incredibly humble individual, the salt of the earth. He loves what he does and he makes no apologies for it. Jamieson has a soft spot for 80s hair metal (he’s practically neighbors with Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of Skid Row from 1987 to 1996) but his tastes in metal go far beyond that. He loves the early heavy bands such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest as well as the titans of thrash like Metallica and Megadeth. Don is as comfortable talking about 1980s Ratt as he is the 1990s stoner rock scene of Red Bank, New Jersey, which spawned bands like Monster Magnet and the Atomic Bitchwax.
Thorn earned a B.A. in American History from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.A. from Duquesne University. He has spent the last twenty years researching mysticism and the occult in colonial American history.