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Gene Chode
Stupid

Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:06 pm
Posts: 91
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:16 pm 
 

It's commonly accepted by sociologists that the heavy metal subculture grew out of a fusion between the biker and hippie subcultures . This theory makes a lot of sense if you think about it , yet sociology is often off the mark when it comes to making statements about the real truth IMHO . After all it's quite easy for someone who wasn't around and/or didn't pay attention to a particular subculture during it's formation , to miss the mark when making statements about it .

So how true is this sociological theory ? Were there a lot of biker and hippie types at metal shows back in the old days ? Is there a prominent biker element among metal fans in certain countries ?

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Dembo
Dumbo

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:35 pm 
 

Gene Chode wrote:
It's commonly accepted by sociologists that the heavy metal subculture grew out of a fusion between the biker and hippie subcultures

Please provide a source for that, because I doubt sociologists would agree.

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John_Sunlight
President Satan

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:41 am
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:55 pm 
 

The way it happened was that a biker crashed into a gay commune and out of the wreckage and flames emerged a fully formed Rob Halford.
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Gene Chode
Stupid

Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:06 pm
Posts: 91
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:03 pm 
 

Dembo wrote:
Gene Chode wrote:
It's commonly accepted by sociologists that the heavy metal subculture grew out of a fusion between the biker and hippie subcultures

Please provide a source for that, because I doubt sociologists would agree.



Deena Weinstein writes as much in her book Heavy Metal : The Music and Its Culture .


Last edited by Gene Chode on Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oxenkiller
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:42 am
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Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:05 pm 
 

I've never really thought about it that way. I would say neither had much to do with metal; maybe superficially (long hair, leather clothing) but really, I would argue it evolved out of the way the bands themselves dressed and acted. I tend to believe it was the music itself that drove the metal culture, not any other existing subculture.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:02 pm 
 

It would depend on what era you were talking about, I think. In the 70s a lot of metal fans did come from hippies, punks, and bikers. Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were sorta quasi-hippies, or ex-hippies, and bands like Saxon were infatuated with biker culture. Iron Maiden of course incorporated some punk elements into their earlier sound. But by the 80s I think a lot of new fans and young bands were basically just into metal as its own thing, rather than immigrating from another subculture.
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Sepulchrave
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:12 pm 
 

Slightly offtopic but: though I am quite interested in sociology and anthropology, I've yet to see a good and comprehensive written piece on the metal subculture by sociologists/urban anthropologists. Sam Dunn is a hack, really.

On topic; I know Black Sabbath mentioned in one of their interviews how they were a reaction to the "all you need is love" wishy-washy attitude of the hippies. Other than that, I can't say there was any connection really with the two subcultures, at least not more than any other musical ones.
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RichardDeBenthall
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:46 am
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:18 am 
 

I think Sam Dunn gets a bit too much stick really. Sure he doesn't cover everything and his conclusions are a little naive at times, but it is the first time someones ever really tackled heavy metal as a broad genre. The series he did after Metal: A Headbangers Journey is a lot more comprehensive and if you watch his Banger Channel on Youtube I think it's pretty damn clear that he know's his stuff and he's a dedicated fan.

Maybe not the best study into Heavy Metal that there ever will be but I'd say its the best so far and a good starting point for the uninitiated!

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Dembo
Dumbo

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:37 am 
 

From what I've seen by Dunn, he's exaggerating alot of stuff and leaving out alot of important stuff. Which means his work is providing a false image of metal, which is worse than not providing anything at all. "Best so far" can mean very little, which I think it does in this case. "Dedicated fan" doesn't mean anything regarding the quality of his work, since alot of us are dedicated fans, and probably more dedicated than him, without being good documentary makers or good at informing people outside of metal about metal.

Sepulchrave wrote:
I know Black Sabbath mentioned in one of their interviews how they were a reaction to the "all you need is love" wishy-washy attitude of the hippies. Other than that, I can't say there was any connection really with the two subcultures, at least not more than any other musical ones.

I don't make a judgement on the main question of the thread, but even if your first sentence here is true, it doesn't mean they had no influence from hippie culture as a whole. You can be against one aspect of that culture and be influenced by other aspects of the same culture.

And I'm sure alot of people in the general public, and possibly people doing research of the scene from an outside perspective, would lump together Black Sabbath with hippies, due to them being long-haired, anti-establishment rockers who have a relaxed attitude to drugs and other taboo subjects. So it may be a case of meaning different things by the same word.

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demonomania
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:44 am
Posts: 299
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:53 pm 
 

John_Sunlight wrote:
The way it happened was that a biker crashed into a gay commune and out of the wreckage and flames emerged a fully formed Rob Halford.


I'm going to go ahead and agree that this is exactly what happened.
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Gene Chode
Stupid

Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:06 pm
Posts: 91
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:01 am 
 

I'm a bit of a Sam Dunn metalhead myself , in that I'm interested in the social roots and history of the heavy metal subculture . I actually enjoyed Deena Weinstein's book about heavy metal culture , though I suppose it might not have been the best sociological study .

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Face_your_fear_79
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:18 am
Posts: 153
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:07 am 
 

OP it's your opinion and you're certainly entitled to it. Myself I have no say really in the matter since I know very little about the history of metal I just know I really love the genre. I can go from Black Sabbath all the way to Slipnot and not miss a beat. Pun not intended.

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Face_your_fear_79
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:18 am
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:20 am 
 

I do know that Black Sabbath invented the metal genre I should of made that clear. Other than that I know very little about the history of the metal genre as a movement.

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philosobat
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:31 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:02 pm 
 

Sam Dunn definitely has said a lot of things about metal that I disagree with and does give a misleading impression of metal as a result. But science (and, yes, I include sociology in this category) tends to progress by making mistakes and then correcting them. So let's find the mistakes in Sam Dunn's work and update the record if we have better info.

Another factor I think has sometimes been overlooked in the history of metal is the possible influence of progressive rock in the 70s. Deep Purple, Rainbow, King Crimson, and early Queen all have influenced many metal bands despite having the feet firmly planted in the more mainstream cultural phenomenon of rock music, playing to large audiences in their prime. Anyone around then who can attest to the degree of influence or cultural connection between 70s prog and arena rock and metal?

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kalervon
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:43 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:02 am 
 

There's been tons of topics about Sam Dunn, I won't get into that again.
Quote:
And I'm sure alot of people in the general public, and possibly people doing research of the scene from an outside perspective, would lump together Black Sabbath with hippies, due to them being long-haired, anti-establishment rockers who have a relaxed attitude to drugs and other taboo subjects. So it may be a case of meaning different things by the same word.
Yes, an Black Sabbath were 4 people. Some of them may have had more of a blue-collar approach (Tony Iommi), others more hippy influenced (Geezer Butler). Whoever has more influence in the band's lyrics, name, interviews.. over time, will guide how the band is perceived now. One thing I'll never quite figure out is why Sabbath went from a being a heavy blues band with no occult elements (Earth) to a band with an occult name (Black Sabbath) with relatively dark lyrics (early version of War Pigs - Walpurgis) to eventually a band with an occult name and relatively tame lyrics (War Pigs as we know it). The band's anti-war stance (War Pigs, Eletric Funeral) clearly resonated with the protests going on in Western countries againt the Vietnam war, and the hippies were of course all anti-war as well. Lyrics such as "Symptom of the Universe" (though well after the hippy area) have references to concept such as "child of love's creation"..
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iAm
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:18 am
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:43 am 
 

demonomania wrote:
John_Sunlight wrote:
The way it happened was that a biker crashed into a gay commune and out of the wreckage and flames emerged a fully formed Rob Halford.


I'm going to go ahead and agree that this is exactly what happened.

If I'm not mistaken Hunter Thompson wrote about witnessing the experience first hand in his novel Hell's Angels.
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demonomania
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:53 am 
 

If ole Hunter saw it, it must have been real.
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Resident_Hazard
Possessed by Starscream's Ghost

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:33 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:06 pm 
 

demonomania wrote:
John_Sunlight wrote:
The way it happened was that a biker crashed into a gay commune and out of the wreckage and flames emerged a fully formed Rob Halford.


I'm going to go ahead and agree that this is exactly what happened.


In all seriousness, a large chunk of modern Metal "imagery" comes from underground gay scenes and fetishes. It was Rob Halford getting into the "studs and leather on studs" kind of scene that helped lead to some of what we have. Look at before and after pictures of this era. Judas Priest were bell-bottom wearing 70's post-hippie rockers until this. Afterwards, the leather became kind of a signature of Metal. Like, it was the inspiration needed to say "oh yeah, Metal should definitely have a harder edge to everything, including our clothes."

Image

Early 70's.

Image

80's, 90's, Oughts, AND TODAY!
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Gene Chode
Stupid

Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:06 pm
Posts: 91
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:50 pm 
 

Wasn't the gay community's dress sense partially influenced by bikers though ? Not that this really matters , but I'd wager that the wearing of leather jackets in the gay community stemmed from biker influences .

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demonomania
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:44 am
Posts: 299
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:06 pm 
 

What influences a person to SIT on a motorcycle onstage during a concert - gay or biker culture? A question for the ages.
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Resident_Hazard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:30 pm 
 

Gene Chode wrote:
Wasn't the gay community's dress sense partially influenced by bikers though ? Not that this really matters , but I'd wager that the wearing of leather jackets in the gay community stemmed from biker influences .


Interesting point.

I am out of knowledge at this point. Surely, someone has some history on this.
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Gene Chode
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Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:06 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:56 pm 
 

I found this Wikipedia article ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_subculture ) which states that the wearing of leather in the gay community likely grew out of biker culture . So it seems that the above assessments of subcultural influences on heavy metal were quite true as well as comical .

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philosobat
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:31 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:09 pm 
 

kalervon wrote:
One thing I'll never quite figure out is why Sabbath went from a being a heavy blues band with no occult elements (Earth) to a band with an occult name (Black Sabbath) with relatively dark lyrics (early version of War Pigs - Walpurgis) to eventually a band with an occult name and relatively tame lyrics (War Pigs as we know it). The band's anti-war stance (War Pigs, Eletric Funeral) clearly resonated with the protests going on in Western countries againt the Vietnam war, and the hippies were of course all anti-war as well. Lyrics such as "Symptom of the Universe" (though well after the hippy area) have references to concept such as "child of love's creation"..


I believe Tony Iommi said that the name change occurred when the band was practicing across the street from a movie theater and saw a long line to see this film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sabbath_(film)

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kalervon
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:43 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:31 pm 
 

Depending on which interview, it is either someone in the band saw the movie, or the poster, or the queue of people lining up to go see it, but the movie came out in 1963 and the band changed its name in 1969. Apparently, they had to change names, as another band was also called Earth. We talked about this in a recent thread (Coven Vs. Black Sabbath). I know all this.

But what I don't really get is why they went from a being a band with non-satanic lyrics, to a band with dark themes (so far it is explainable by the name change and the image that went with it), to a band with almost satanic lyrics (early version of War Pigs for instance: Walpurgis) to being a band with dark themes but socially relevant lyrics - all within less than a year.

I heard interviews for instance where they said that the inverted cross inside the gatefold LP disgusted them (it wasn't their idea). Then you hear the lyrics of Walpurgis:
On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It's the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats' innards

Is it the same band that's offended by an inverted cross ? Again, all this happened within less than a year. By September 1970, Walpurgis had turned into War Pigs and was recorded wth the lyrics we know, which are actually more marketable, and socially relevant.

The only explanation I can see so far is that the band was pretty much trying anything and slowly finding their niche. Some members had ideas which others didn't share, and management pushed them in different directions. Ozzy or Tony may make statements about the band's ideology that don't necessarily fit with Geezer's at the time, or vice versa, not to mention ageing and all the dope using and drinking that hazed their memory beyond repair.
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