INFO ON HER BOOK! Having stumbled on the book "Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture" by accident at the library I figured by looking at the cover which shows Ozzy trying to look like Janis Joplin. You got the feeling that this was just another book by some so called expert who doesn't really know shit about heavy metal let alone understand it and its culture. Fully expecting it to be written by someone who hated metal and wanted to slam someone else to try to make themselves sound more intelligent. Gladly I was wrong once again cause after the first couple pages I started picking up on a certain underlying passion you would expect from a metal zine and not some book written by some Sociologist from DePaul University. Don't get me wrong, the book is very intelligently written and academic sounding but you some realize that the person writing the book is a fan of metal just like you or me. You also realize that the author is also able to step back from being a fan and survey the metal underground as a professional. Allowing her to see the big picture better the usual fan. After reading the book I was so impressed with the way it was handled, written and presented that I had to find the person who wrote it and pester them with my stupid questions, in hopes that I could learn more about the very underground and culture that I'm so proud to be part of! Enter Deena Weinstein Professor at Depaul University, Author,and Heavy Metal fan like ourselves.
Prof.ManiC: Well I guess I'll start off kind of simple, what factors attracted you to Heavy Metal in the first place?
Deena Weinstein: The sound! I found out that I really liked a strong bottom sound, and liked loud very much.
Prof.ManiC: When did you catch the heavy metal virus?
Deena Weinstein: Around 1981. Within the space of two years I got to hear (and see in concert)the classic stuff (UFO, Rainbow, Judas Priest), NWOBHM (Iron Maiden), thrash (Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Metallica, Exodus).
Prof.ManiC: What kinds of metal do you prefer?
Deena Weinstein: I still like lots of that stuff I found in the early 80s, but on a Daily level, I mainly listen to death and black metal.
Prof.ManiC: Are you one of those metalheads who are still living in the 80's, who go to concerts and look bored during the newer songs but run to the front during the 80's songs?
Deena Weinstein: Well, if I'm not taking notes, I'm near the front of the stage. I Rarely listen to radio and have avoided MTV like the plague, so hit songs are not anything that I care about.
Prof.ManiC: What are your favorite old bands and songs?
Deena Weinstein: Are you kidding? There are dozens and dozens, and there is no way for me to choose among Slayer's "Angel of Death," Manowar's "Revelation," Motorhead's "Orgasmatron," Death's "Pull the Plug" etc. etc.
Prof.ManiC: What are your favorite new songs by old bands?
Deena Weinstein: Manowar's "Return of the Warlord", most of Slayer's new album GOD HATES US.
Prof.ManiC: What are your favorite new bands?
Deena Weinstein: Most of the Scandinavian black metal bands.
Prof.ManiC: What attracted you to Sociology?
Deena Weinstein: I only studied it for my Ph.D. I like social philosophy and theory, and I like clearly looking at how the human world works- it is a discipline That values and puts both of those features together.
Prof.ManiC: What aspects of it interest you the most?
Deena Weinstein: Like the "favorite" questions above, I have a variety of interests in sociology, ranging from the social thought of Georg Simmel (a Nietzschian of sorts), analysis of culture, especially mass media, to the interaction in small groups.
Prof.ManiC: What do you this is its' biggest contribution to society?
Deena Weinstein: Not anything much. If people wanted to understand society, the Discipline can help. But most people, and certainly the powers that be, aren't interested in such clarity.
Prof.ManiC: What about it as a profession/field of study gets on your nerves the
most?
Deena Weinstein: The anti-intellectualism of those in the profession.
Prof.ManiC: How has your passion for Metal, Culture and Social cause and effects, grown together over the years?
How has those passions helped you to grow as a person?
Deena Weinstein:

I was asked to do a book on something controversial in the mid-80s. I Told them I'd do it on metal because Tipper Gore and her merry band of Rather dumb and nasty folk in the PMRC had presented the idea that metal was evil to the general public.

Having enjoyed innumerable metal concerts where I'd spoken with hundreds of metalheads, I knew that the fans of this music, the music itself, and of course the musicians, were hardly evil. Or even dangerous. I'd been teaching a course on the Sociology of Rock Music for several years by then and I applied the analysis that I do in class to rock in general to analyze metal. The book took several years and was an intellectual challenge. There is nothing like writing to show you the holes in your ideas. Struggling to write the book advanced my ideas wonderfully.

Prof.ManiC: As someone who has studied metal music and culture for so long, how much of an impact do you think CHUCK SCHULDINER has had on metal music and it's culture?What affect do you think his passing will have on both down the road?
Deena Weinstein:

I'm way bummed out about Chuck's death. I'd sent in a check the moment I'd heard he needed funds, several years ago. He did his work, made his
mark on the cultural world, in the 80s and I don't think his passing will have any cultural impact.

I remember when I first saw Death (the band!) in 1985 I think, at the Cubby Bear in Chicago. I remember thinking that this was never going to be a mass taste, radio and MTV wouldn't touch it. And I thought that was one of its real strengths (besides the sound itself which I really like)- it couldn't sell out. And it hasn't, of course.

What really impresses me too, and I recall at that concert telling my friend Bill, that if the Mexicans ever discovered death metal, they'd really be in to it; their culture prepared them for it. Sure enough, death metal is huge in Mexico, as well as in other Iberian cultures.

Prof.ManiC: What do you think of Nu-Metal? Do you think it deserves the word metal attached to it? Or do you think they just want the rebellious attitude and imagery attached to being heavy metal but yet not have to follow the heavy metal codes? Or are they just another form of metal lite or are they just Retro Rap since what they are doing is the same stuff that black artists like Run DMC, Ice T and Ghetto Boys used to do
during the 80's!
Deena Weinstein: I wrote a piece for a cover story in a Chicago rock magazine on this topic. The sound is far more based on Grunge; there is no specific metal elements in it. But the NU amuses me- it is like nu-leather, a word that gives off a smell of cheap imitation. But I can understand why the mass media has given it that label: it is appreciated by the same demographic (suburban teenagers of a distinctly middle to lower middle class) who, a generation earlier, were into hair metal. Personally, I prefer gangsta rap of the early 90s to anything that passes as nu-metal.
Prof.ManiC: What did you write the book "Heavy metal: the music and culture"? How much research did you have to do or was it just a lifetime of enjoyment as reference? What did you expect your professional colleagues to say or react?
Deena Weinstein:

Well, I answered this in part above. I did tons of research beyond my yearsof being in to it. Forexample, I got friends to dump their old
Kerrang!s, Metal Hammers and metal zines with me, and I read them assiduously.

Or another example, the wild goose chase I had hunting down the answer to the question "Who named heavy metal?"- There were a few books and articles that all said it was done by Lester Bangs in his CREEM piece on Black Sabbath. Well it took much searching to find a copy of the magazine, at a library about 15 miles away. And when I got there, and Xeroxed the piece, and read it, the term "heavy metal" was NOT there. Nor was it in the second part published two months later.

It turned out that another writer had used
the term a year earlier and his (Mike Saunders in his review of Sir Lord Baltimore) was the first time it was used to describe a style of music.

Prof.ManiC:

In your book you have a chapter about the metal gods, you talk about the metal subculture being loyal to its metal gods and basically conservative. You also state in the chapter that cover songs are acceptable but metal bands are expected to write their own songsand not bring in people from outside the metal genre to do so. To do so might be considered betrayal! With this in mind lets consider a couple metal icons who should be up on charges! Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson both at one time denounced metal ( MAJOR SIN! ) in public during their solo careers and proceed to make non-metal albums! (Exhibit 1.Skunkworks and Two) Both singers have comeback metal albums that are partly written by someone outside the metal subculture. (Exhibit 2: Roy Z of Tribe of Gypsies (a Miami Sound machine clone))
And since we are taking about metal icons that don't write all of their own music lets bring to the stand Exhibit 3 the band SAVATAGE who has been using the music skills of a Paul O Neil both in SAVATAGE and TSO. I'm I jumping the gun or have I misinterpreted something? How do you interpret the above evidence? Why?

Deena Weinstein:

Your evidence is sound! Halford and Dickinson were great for many years,but not in the past decade. Had they never done anything except theirpost-horror stuff, we'd never discuss them. And while you've mentioned Halford and Dickinson, why not put up for inspection Mr. Sharon Osbourne.How many of his pop ballads has he written? They are capitalizing on their past efforts at best.

But lets admit that the rules of the game have changed. Those standards that I expressed in the book were from another era although they still hold in the underground (particularly in death metal and black metal).

Prof.ManiC:

When talking about the sexist attitude in metal you don't seem to have any hostility towards it in the book…you almost seem indifferent about it? You also give thanks to Joey DiMaio who during a show can be one of the most sexist men alive, so you know him better then that and just accept it as part of the show? Or does a part of you get pissed off at all the he-man shit and you just keep it to yourself and try to just "be one of the guys" type female metal heads?

Deena Weinstein:

Rock music has always been, and still is, sexist. Groupies are one of the major motivations for many musicians to do arduous touring. Think about
all of the songs that were out in metal by the mid-80s- how many were even about females?

And many metal bands had/have female managers. Both the musicians and the fans were not sexist, in the sense that if a femaledressed in jeans and a t-shirt, rather than in micro-mini skirt and high
heals with lots of skin in sight, she's treated as well as any male. (It takes two to tango).


As for DiMaio, as with most performers, his public persona isn't exactly who he "is."


Furthermore, I think that the sexism in rock in general, as well as in metal, can be understood sociologically. There is not room to elaborate
here, but if you think of how and by whom boys are socialized, women represent all much that is repression and shame. As men, women are
sources of serious problems. So the sense of freedom and rebellion that rock attempts to be is enabled by demeaning women. Think of the way teachers,
another source of repression and shame, are put down in movies from "Blackboard Jungle to "Rock and Roll High School" (and in music videos).

Of course there are bands that do even cross my line on such things- like the Mentors.

Prof.ManiC: Are you always "just one of the guys" in the MOSHPITS or is it different for girls then guys? At one time MOSHPITS could be the friendliest places around with all the pushing and shoving and you always knew if you fell there would be hands waiting to help you up! Nowadays MOSHPITS seem to be getting more hostile? Has the Hardcore closed eyes, flying fists and spin kicks aspect of moshing perverted a part of the metal subculture?
Deena Weinstein:

I remember when moshpits began. I really liked the comraderie and circle-dancing symbolism of it. But people were skipping around out of time
with the music, which drove me crazy. So I didn't partake.

And yes, the crossover music (eg. COC, DRI) and especially the hardcore punk fans, really changed the setting. For the first years, if you looked down on
the floor from the balcony, you could see the long-haired and beefier guys standing around the periphery, and the pit was full of thin, buzz-cut
guys with elbows flying. Yes, this sort of moshing (and why is there more blood at a Pantera concert than any other; far more than at a Slayer concert,
and certainly more than at a black metal concert) does mess up the standards of the metal subculture of the 70s and 80s. In the early 80s it was so clearly
different: at a punk show, people walking through the crowd purposefullybunked into one another but at metal shows they would gently tap oneanother on the shoulder and turn sideways so as not to bunk into one another.

But it isn't only metal that has mosh pits from hell- even the Cranberries (at Woodstock II) had a ferocious one. It indicates that people
are at the concert for a workout more than a listening experience.

Prof.ManiC: What bands do you think continue to give the Metal Detractors ammo to wage their war against metal? Will metal ever have a chance? Or will all rock and roll always be the devils music till the end of time?
Deena Weinstein: There aren't any metal detractors much any more. (Okay, the US StateDepartment still won't let Marduk in but...) Why? Because metal isn't on TV. They take aim at Eminem, and before him, at the gangsta rappers.

As for metal having a chance, hey, it is alive and well. At least theunderground metal is thriving. I get dozens of new albums each year that are magnificent. And this music is thriving all around the world.

Rock and roll is not the devil's music; he'd sold it to the Conglomerates.

Prof.ManiC: Do you think metal is committing GENRECIDE with having so many genres of metal that in turn have so many sub-genres? Is the metal culture doomed to split apart into smaller subcultures just like the music? What genres do you think are legit and which ones are just labels talking shit?
Deena Weinstein:

That's a good word, genre-cide!

You are right about all of the sub-genres.
I don't think it is a bad thing, and I can explain why it occurs. When a style is vastly popular (think grunge in the '90s) the majors sign gazillion bands that all sound alike. But without a major style that musicians who want to "make it big" will work in, bands are free to experiment to their heart's content. Think about how many of these bands in one sub-sub-genre have members who are in other bands in some other sub-genre. Many! (If you know about evolution of flora and fauna, where
there is relatively little food, there are far more species.)

As for legit, I'd rather not mention sub-sub-styles, preferring instead to mentioning the band's specific sounds on a given recording.

Prof.ManiC: How important do you think the Internet has been for metal?
Deena Weinstein: Again, for mainstream metal, it is not significant. But for underground, it is very important - 'zines, mp3s, trading and buying, finding obscure
information on any band, etc.
Prof.ManiC: What do you think of Metallica's crusade verses Napster? Do you think they have betrayed the metal culture at any time in their career? If so should they still be considered metal icons?
Deena Weinstein:

I've written about Metallica and the utter hypocrisy of their Napster position. They got to be known in the first place with people trading tapes
(an earlier form of Napster). When I refer to them, I designate it as Metallica '80s, or Metallica '90s; the first was a thrash metal band, the second a pop rock or hard rock band.

Rethinking their influence, I think metal would have been far better off without them (although I am quite
fond of all of the cuts on Kill 'Em All).

If metal stands for greed and hypocrisy, well then they should be considered as metal icons ;)

Prof.ManiC: How did fellow sociologists take and react to your book? They give you the typical she's a dumb metalhead brainwashed by the devil attitude? Do they and your students take you seriously?
Deena Weinstein: Because I'd written several books and dozens of scholarly articles on other serious sociological topics, the metal book didn't hurt me. I was a full professor when it was begun. No one who knows me, whether they adore me or dislike me, thinks I'm dumb, metalhead or otherwise. My students
certainly do take me quite seriously.
Prof.ManiC: What do you think of OZZFEST? Do you think started as a metal fest then turned into a mockery?
Deena Weinstein: YES
Prof.ManiC: Do you think OZZY is a puppet to his own wife??
Deena Weinstein: Ditto
Prof.ManiC: When you are depressed what do you do to find sanity during insane times? When you are stressed?
Deena Weinstein: Sorry, but I don't get depressed or feel much stress. Maybe it is because I listen to this metal all day and night.
Prof.ManiC: Any final comments or bitches about theinterview?
Deena Weinstein: It took ages to respond but I must thank you for the thoughtful questions.