(Andy Synn expresses gratitude to some people who don’t ask for it…)
Recently I went on a little rant about how the term “brotherhood of metal” is thrown around a lot these days… and it’s usually by people using the term in a calculated manner, invoking it as some form of protection against criticism and as a way of making themselves look good for supporting this so-called “brotherhood”.
It galls me, it really does, when I see people invoking “the brotherhood of metal” purely for their own selfish gain, while disguising it in the trappings of mutual support and love of the genre. It’s hypocritical and disingenuous , and to these people it’s a “brotherhood” only as long as it’s convenient, as long as it can be used for profit, and as long as it can be used for self-aggrandisement.
But as pissed off as it makes me, and as negative as this post may have started, I wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring praise to those people who really do make me proud to be a part of the Metal scene instead – not the ones who trumpet loudest about it being a “brotherhood”, whilst simultaneously only helping out their mates and those who suck up to them, but the ones who work tirelessly in the background, without making it all about themselves, without looking to have their arses kissed or their boots licked, without looking for anything more than a way to contribute to making the scene a better, and more vibrant place.
And no, I’m not talking about myself.
The people I’m talking about are the promoters, the agents, the bloggers… the drivers, the bookers, the PR people… the engineers, the artists, the playlist-makers… the people who work on behalf of others to put on shows, to organise festivals, to promote albums and artists and songs and support other bands (either because, or in spite of the fact that they may be in bands themselves) simply due to the fact that they feel like it needs to be done. That the scene needs support, and they have an opportunity to do so.
Oh yes, there are definitely bad examples of all the people I’ve listed above, and I’m not saying that there aren’t still rewards for people who do many of the things I’ve mentioned, but off the top of my head I can think of a whole host of people I know – some very well, and some only tangentially – who go above and beyond the call of duty simply because they love Metal and they want to do something to help keep the scene vibrant and alive.
These are the people who book festivals, put on shows, organise benefits… all without clamouring for attention for themselves, without posturing and preening, without “humble-bragging” or waiting for a pat on the back… the ones who don’t congratulate themselves or inflate their own sense of self-importance due to what they’ve done… even though what they’ve done is truly important in so many ways.
They’re the people who give support slots to bands to help them benefit from the exposure, and do so based on merit and talent, and not just because of nepotism or cronyism, or because they’ve played the game or greased the right palms.
They’re the people who tirelessly repost and share songs and videos from bands based simply on quality — and not because they’re fashionable or trendy. The ones who offer advice to those who need it, who provide a service or simply offer their support in any way they can. Who write articles and do interviews with bands to bring them to more people’s attention, without asking for anything in return. Who do it for the love of it, without a second thought and without an ulterior motive.
Let me stress again. I’m not talking about myself here. Though one of my favourite things is when I can find a new band I love and bring them to other people’s attention, I’m not one of these people. I’m not that good and I’m definitely not that selfless.
No, the people I’m talking about are the ones who honestly humble me with the hard work and graft they put in behind the scenes. The people who help make playing shows, seeing bands, and discovering new music, possible through their own (often unappreciated) efforts.
Though there are those in the scene who make a big deal about how much they do for it, and how important they are because of it… those aren’t the people who mean the most, not to me anyway. The most important people, despite the fact that I might never get to know or hear about many of them, are the ones whose work so often goes unnoticed. But it shouldn’t go unappreciated.
To those people I say… thank you. Truly, truly… thank you. You are a silent army whose work so often goes unsung, and you deserve our thanks for all that you do.