As is usually the case with me, I am the last in the world to chime in with my two cents on the death of Darrel Abbott. His murder, mind you, kicked me right square in the nuts.
Growing up in Oregon, I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to listen to all this ‘heavy shit’, except for the copy, of a copy, of a copy that someone from California brought with them when they moved up.
My introduction to truly “heavy” Metal (bands like ‘Motley crue’ and ‘Dokken’ don’t really qualify for that distinction) was an old tape, which I found on the road, that had no label at all. That tape happened to be a copy, of a copy, and so forth, of Metallica’s first album, “No life Til Leather”. At exactly that moment in time, my eyes opened, my ears opened, and I realized that there was way more to music than the whining, country guys that dad always listened to. Which left me wanting more.
As luck would have it, Metallica’s first ‘studio release’, Kill ‘Em All, hit a few select stores very shortly after my new found love for this type of music. Of course, there was not one of those stores anywhere near me. Which led to more listening to copies, of copies, of copies, which didn’t lend itself to making it sound all that great in the first place. Thus was my experience with really ‘Heavy’ Metal, at least for the first half of the eighties (here I simply must note that I was only 11 in 1985, and one of the biggest fans of the genre).
About that time Metallica fired Dave Mustaine, who went on to found Megadeth, and still remains the only person that I have ever really idolized…Yet, the really heavy music still flowed through my speakers. Usually in the form of copied tapes from someone who copied them from the original, which someone had illegally recorded at the show (makes me wonder what they worry so much about piracy for. It was a copy, of a copy, of a really bad recording, I bought the studio release the second I had the opportunity).
Anyhow, to try to get to Pantera at some point during this history lesson, I must mention my first experience with the band.
I know that the studio release of Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell” didn’t happen until 1990, and that does fit with my scenario pretty well. One of the songs that was on that ‘studio release’ was Heresy. That happened to be a song that was on one of the copies of copies, of the previously stated bands. Part of it was taped over, of course, it always was. But that song told me to just sit down and take it. After a few minutes, it was over. Then I had to add Pantera to my ‘must own list’.
By the time I finished listening to (what I heard of) that first song, I was hooked. Pantera had turned into one of the four. The ‘four’, to the layman, are Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Pantera. Were it not for those bands, Marilyn Manson might not be able to shock and amaze as he does today. It took the testimony of some of the biggest rockers in the world to get the P.M.R.C. to back down and just require labels on the albums, as opppsed to banning it all.
Elderly folks just don’t seem to understand that battling for the freedom to use drug references in their music (in the late ’60’s or early ’70’s), is exactly the same as the battle to use profanity for the sake of song. Mind you, I don’t approve of the method. If you are trying to be a rapper (‘dark poet’, as I have heard them callled), you really should have a few words in your vocabulary that don’t end in a hard ‘k’ sound. I.E., if you are able to make a controversial video without saying the word ‘fuck’, you might be onto something.
The rest of us are left to live by rules. Rules that we might not like, and might rise against. But one man can only do so much.