Jun 252011

Yesterday, the New York state legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law shortly before midnight. Legal gay marriages can begin in New York by late July. With the passage of that bill, New York became the sixth U.S. state — and the largest — to legalize gay marriage. Overnight, it doubled the number of Americans living in states where gay people can legally marry.

Criticism of the new law has already started pouring forth from religious leaders, such as the official statement by the Catholic Bishops of New York that “both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.” I’ve never understood that argument, but then again, I admit I haven’t tried very hard to understand it. To me, you can believe that marriage has a religious/moral component if you want, but it also undeniably has legal consequences, too, and laws like the one NY passed is a matter of extending equal legal rights (and obligations) to gay people. That seems like progress to me.

The metal scene isn’t exactly welcoming to gay people. For the most part, it’s a male-dominated, testosterone-fueled style of music. To steal a line from journalist Amanda Hess, “the human sexuality analysis generally runs along the lines of ‘that band is fuckin’ gay.'” I’ve never really understood that attitude either. To me, metal is about living the way you want and letting other people do the same. It ought to be a culture that fully embraces diversity, requiring only one criterion for admission — that you love metal. But that’s just my ideal, not the reality. The reality, as I perceive it, is that there’s a pronounced prejudice against gay people in the metal scene, which probably explains why metal musicians who self-identify as gay are so few and far between.

But, to commemorate the historic event in New York, I’m going to feature music from a few gay metal musicians who’ve come out of the closet, or were never in it (and credit again to Amanda Hess for these prominent examples). That’s after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Jan 102010

Bury Your Dead used to be one of my favorite bands. In fact, when Beauty and the Breakdown came out in 2006, I put the CD in my car’s CD changer and it’s still there. I’ve rotated other CDs through the remaining five slots over the years, but Beauty and the Breakdown hasn’t moved. Still dig that shit mightily.

And BYD‘s 2005 DVD Alive is still one of my favorite metal DVDs. Great live performance footage of a band that really ripped it up on stage.  And talk about metal — you get to see vocalist Mat Bruso take one in the head on-stage from one of those windmill guitar spins by Eric Ellis, the blood starts really pouring, and Mat just keeps on going — finishing nine more songs. (We’ll show you the clip of that literal head-banging after the jump.)

After the live set is over, the DVD shows the trip to an emergency room and the stapling of Mat’s head (12 staples) — and all the while he’s just yacking away as if nothing unusual has happened. Pretty cool dude.

And then in 2007, everything more or less started going downhill. In January of that year, Bruso left the band. BYD released a statement reporting that Bruso “has come to a point in his life where he must focus on more important things like going back to school to become a teacher and his upcoming marriage.” (I’ve seen a report that he’s currently working in a special education classroom at a middle school in Maynard, Mass.) BYD replaced Bruso with Myke Terry, and, as if to announce to the world that the band was starting over, the next album was self-titled Bury Your Dead. (more after the jump, including some before-and-after video . . .) Continue reading »