Sunday, March 28, 2010

Metal at the End of the World: Appunti per una storia

Let it be known.

I intend to write a book on metal.

See, this past Wednesday, it turns out that two movements of the universe played into my favor.

First, I say the Exodus/Testament/Megadeth 20th Anniversary Rust in Peace tour the night before.

If you need a review, you probably haven't ever listened to any of the bands in question. The only complaint I have is that Testament played the whole of The Legacy instead of the whole of Souls of Black. That's sort of like saying, gee, I wish we'd've won the Super Bowl by more.

Anyway, then, Wednesday, it turns out that the cord that connects the computer to the digital projector in the classroom in which I teach was crushed by some misfortune and thus not working.

So, like any good academic, I improvised and lectured at my students about Benjamin, Barthes, and Megadeth. I was sort of mindblown on the larger cultural significances of going to see Megadeth, absent two original members, playing the whole of an album live that had been released 20 years earlier. I feel like I did a pretty decent job at it and may have created at least one more metalhead amongst America's vulnerable youth. Everyone wins.

I kind of wish someone would break that cord again, but don't tell my boss I said that.

Lecturing about metal is lots of fun.

Thus the book, which is currently a figment of my imagination. In fact, I looked on the ol' today and realized that there is actually a nice body of literature out there. Author's note: that's what academics say instead of using normal phrases like "there's a lot of books."

What this means really is that I have no idea if someone has already talked about what I want to talk about, so this may all go belly up. But that's the risk of academia, right? Someone's probably said something similar already. But I'm still hoping to contribute. Right after I manage to figure out when I'm going to have the time to not be a specialist in 20th century Italy.

Anyway, just in case you're a book publisher or grant giver, here is the tentative table of contents. I've made some pretty corny titles out of some of these, so forgive me. In no particular order...

-Apocalyptic City: Politics and Metal at the End of the Cold War

-Roots, Bloody Roots: Sepultura and Post-Colonial Metal

-Metal's Constructed Masculinities, or Why Dave Mustaine had to take His Shirt Off

-The Benjaminian Nostalgia of the Rust in Peace Anniversary Tour

-Metal's Classical Instincts: Anti-Simplicity and Anti-Punk

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