Thursday, May 27, 2010

R.I.P. Paul Gray 1972 - 2010

Its easy to write off Slipknot as a bunch of meatheads. I admit that I was down on them for years.

Anyway, the news of Paul Gray's death hopefully rounds out what has been a tragic spring for the metal community.

If you had any doubts or preconceived notions about the guys in Slipknot, I encourage you to take a look at the following video of their press conference this week. You won't be converted to being a fan, but I know it gave me a different perception of the band: Stripped bare - without masks, music or costumes; grief-stricken and fragile -- they represent a portrait of humanity that most people never see in metal.

If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, at least try and just to the 4:40 mark for a beautiful moment.

Be at peace, Paul Gray.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

RIP Ronnie James Dio: 1942 - 2010

Well, there goes another one of the greats: Ronnie James Dio died from cancer this morning.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my sadness has almost nothing to do with any liking I had for Dio's music. In point of fact, he didn't really make my type of metal.

On the other hand, I was a huge fan of Peter Steele's music, and I was nearly unfazed by his death last month.


Because Dio was one of the good guys. Whether you're scouring music forums, reading comments on, or talking with old fans, it is universal that everyone thought Ronnie James was a good person.

Of course, you'll also find a great number of wonderful things online about the guy Pete Steele was, but the poor decisions of Pete's life certainly draw a stark contrast with how Dio went about his business, even in the years when no one was rushing to buy his well as those recent years when that cokehead douche bag Jack Black was making him a punchline for all his cokehead douche bag fans.

...And don't even THINK about giving me that shit about how Jack Black really loves metal; I'm sure a lot of guys in minstrel shows really loved jazz too, but that didn't stop it from being a crime against art.

You see, Dio never would have had an outburst like that. Not in his character, God bless him.

Quick story:

A few years back I was lucky enough to attend a screening of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey", during it's limited theatrical release. During the Q&A, director Sam Dunn was asked if Ronnie James Dio was truly the nicest guy in metal. Without blinking, Dunn grinned, raised his eyebrows and said, "Yes, he sure is."

What followed were stories about what an awesome host Dio was in him home, how generous he was with his time, and how every time he mentioned to the other subjects interviewed in the film that he was also speaking to Dio, they all gushed about how wonderful a person he is.

Farewell Ronnie. Rest in peace, brother.