As an older gent, I am frequently told I should get my recommended daily serving of iron. However, nobody ever stresses getting my daily dose of metal. Largely because heavy metal is considered music for the young, angry and restless. Being older and listening to metal is considered odd by many and in subtle ways, discriminated against. It seems the common expectation is to outgrow our love for all things loud, ugly and aggressive at a certain point in our maturation. Many of my friends did in fact outgrow it by the time they were finishing college, some sooner. Only a few of my life long friends still partake of things metal, although growing up we were all rabid fans. Even my parents expected me outgrow metal and assumed it was a phase. Hell, my mom even thought metal was a fad that would die out like disco. Nope.
This phenomenon of metal ageism leaves the older metal fan in a sort of ill-defined limbo. Do we fit in at concerts? Not really. Is it easy to find like minded friends into the same music? Nope. I get strange looks when I pull up at a stop light blasting Entombed or Bolt Thrower. I’ve also seen my share of puzzled expressions on the faces of women I’ve dated when they found out I liked Darkthrone, Slayer and Manowar. While some eventually came to understand why I liked it, others continued to think it was odd and maybe a warning sign of impending serial killer-hood. Thankfully, Steel Druhm found an Angry Metal Girlfriend that not only understands the music but likes a lot of it herself.
I accept that metal is never going to be seen as music for all ages and walks of life. I’m resigned to being that weird, old guy that hums “Raining Blood” as he pushes his cart through the grocery store. I don’t expect understanding from folks who never listened to, nor appreciated this music. Now, for all you youngins, next time you see an old dude at a concert, say hey and buy them a beer. They’re the elder statesmen of the scene and they didn’t outgrow it, nor turn their backs on it, despite society’s expectations. Until you end up an old metal dude yourself, you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to say the same thing.
P.S. No, that isn’t me in the pics. I’m not THAT old!