Like most diehard, devoted, metal fans, I was an outcast growing up. During my teenage years, I was very confused about life, my purpose in the world, and how I fit into the grand scheme of things. Introverted and shy, it was a challenge for me to make friends. I tried to be the “cool” guy, but wasn’t often accepted. I had trouble with the ladies due to my awkwardness and it was always a challenge for me to just fit in. The queerness of my teen years led to a lot of anger issues that were difficult to contain. I could not understand why people just didn’t accept me for me. Why did I have to try so hard to fit a mold crusted by society that said we should be one way or another? Then I discovered heavy metal.
It was Motley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls that really kick started my love affair with hard rock music. While I had been listening to AC/DC , Kiss, and Led Zeppelin prior to that, it was the Crue that taught me about partying and being different. This led to my love affair with glam bands of the day, such as Poison and Warrant. Then Guns N Roses hit the scene and literally changed everything. Their new sound and “we don’t care” style showed me that it was all right to stand up for what you believed in, no matter how different it may have appeared to society.
Rock and Roll taught me that it was ok to be different. Metal is an adapted lifestyle that says screw the system and go your own way. It’s all right to be yourself. There’s no need to conform for the man, be proud of who you are. I took that message and ran with it throughout my high school years.
Heavy Metal taught me to be fearless and to go after whatever I wanted with a passion and a conviction that I could not fail. When I had a crush on the most beautiful girl in high school (two years my senior at the time) I followed the rock and roll message and went after her. Using my power ballad romantic side, I went to the flower shop that she worked for, bought her a rose, and left it on the counter with a note. She was quite impressed. While we never did get to go on a date, the experience helped build my confidence. That experience never would have happened without metal music in my ear, egging me on to rise above the challenge and to stop listening to those who told me I wasn’t good enough.
Even to this day, although older and wiser, I use the heavy metal message when I need to. Whenever I find myself in front of a difficult challenge or wanting to just give up, thinking that I’m not good enough, I think back to the metal heroes of my youth. I can hear Paul Stanley singing about believing in who you are and taking a stand. I can feel Manowar telling me to fight the world with no fear. I can sense the power of Motorhead helping me to push forward even through the deepest moments of doubt. Heavy metal music heals me during those rough times. When I lack confidence or start to believe that I’m not good enough to try for something, all it takes is a few spins of a good rock record to change my tune and make me believe in myself. That’s a powerful medium. Heavy metal music and the fans that love it have become a part of my lifestyle and have accepted me for who I am.
That’s the beauty of heavy metal. We welcome all to this house. Whether you’re tall, short, fat, bald, slow, or just a little insecure, the brotherhood of metal music will accept you as you are. We’ve all been in that awkward position. We’ve all felt friendless. And then we discovered hard rock. Long live metal!