Written by Danny R. Phillips
Metallica, the bay-area giants that legitimized “thrash metal” with albums like Kill ‘Em All, Master of Puppets, …And Justice For All and "The Black Album” were welcomed into the hallowed confines of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009.
Their inclusion, though absolutely deserving in every conceivable way, poses a wider question to my ever curious mind: Will the inclusion of now two “metal” acts, (Black Sabbath being the other. Let’s face it, Led Zeppelin and The Who don’t count as metal.) clear the way for other metal and proto-metal acts?
The governing body of “The Hall” is still skittish when inductions are concerned. The Hall has inducted piano music lightweight Floyd Cramer, but has passed up The Stooges. They’ve welcomed jazz “rockers” Steely Dan and the doo-wop group The Moonglows, but took forever to induct The Ramones and The Talking Heads. So, what would make you think The Hall will get heavier anytime soon?
There are several bands that fall into the metal, punk, thrash and hardcore categories that are entirely deserving of the honor of induction. Here is a list of bands that are eligible and in my mind, should be included. Bare with me, it’s a short list.
Motorhead: Without Lemmy Kilmister and the boys, the genre of thrash (and Metallica) probably would never have existed. Their album, Ace of Spades, is a benchmark of lawn killing volume and speed.
Megadeth: Dave Mustaine, former member of Metallica, focused all his aggression and hatred into classic ear splitting albums such as Rust in Peace, Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, Countdown to Extinction and Killing is My Business and Business is Good. And as an added bonus, the band takes it’s name for the loss of lives from a nuclear detonation. Now that’s Metal.
MC5: The Detroit based house band for the Black panther Party was the first to “Kick Out The Jams”. Their explosive shows, incendiary guitar work of Fred “Sonic” Smith and Wayne Kramer and controversial political stances helped set the stage for both punk and metal.
The Stooges: Again, another band that helped in the invention of metal and punk. For god sake, listen to Raw Power and tell me Iggy Pop and his Ann Arbor, Michigan brethren don’t belong.
Black Flag: No they aren’t metal, but hardcore punk arose from the “forbidden beat” created by metal and more precisely, Motorhead. Black Flag gave birth to thousands of punk and thrash bands either by groups attempting to copy their sound or by guitarist Greg Ginn’s indie record label SST.
The Melvins: Masters of sludge and drone, no Melvins equals no Nirvana. No Nirvana equals none of the good bands and some of the bad (I’m talking to you, Bush and Candlebox) that appeared in the 1990's wake of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
Judas Priest: Rob Halford is the King of the 1980's wave of British Metal. British Steel is an album for the ages.
And there is just a taste of the metal, thrash, hardcore and punk bands that have shaped the musical landscape over the past 30+ years that are up for induction. They have all, either directly or indirectly, changed the public’s perception of what is great, what is groundbreaking, what is acceptable and what is not. And in the process have warped my brain for the better.
I must extend my congratulations to Metallica. They truly are one of the greats of this or any other time. Who knows, maybe next year someone from my list will be asked into The Hall, but my bet is that the voters will probably go with The Carpenters instead. Man, could they wail!