Blog: Louder Than Hell Book Launch Event
Since the late 1970s, Heavy Metal music has been both decorated and frowned upon and is as polarizing a genre as music has to offer. As fans of its history and pageantry, we feel like we may know all about the sordid tales of our headbanging heroes. But in the end we only know half the story, until now. Writers Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman have worked tirelessly over the course of four years to bring us the definitive oral history of metal in a book as thick as the bible but twice as evil entitled “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal.”
On Monday night, we headed toward Dumbo, Brooklyn’s fantastic powerHouse Arena to attend a book launch and reading with the writers and rock photographer Stephanie Cabral in a killer event moderated by comedian and VH1 Classic “That Metal Show” co-host Don Jamieson. Shortly after 7pm- because nothing should ever start on time when it comes to metal- Jamieson introduced the writers and the book by taking a few humorous jabs at the book’s thickness, before reading an excerpt that was very indicative of how detailed the stories are within its pages. Because of the recent death of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, it was only fitting that the group read a story about the origins of this classic thrash metal outfit. Each panelist took turns reading sections that revealed several juicy informational bits. Slayer in fact, started as a tribute band of other metal acts and members of the band would actually steal lumber in order to build stage props. The audience meanwhile (yours truly included) sat on the edge of our seats, drinking in each of these revelations (and beer) while craving much more. Once the highly enjoyable reading was done, Jamieson began fielding questions to each of the guests- many of which centered around the extensive work that had gone into collecting over four hundred outstanding stories from the halls of metal history. From listening to these extremely passionate writers one can easily tell that each page is filled with plenty of blood, sweat and beers to wet any metalhead’s appetite.
Much of the discussion also revolved around the definition of metal and the artists who may or may not be comprised by its label, which led to some strong opinions and fun banter for the crowd on hand. As metal fans we know that the music we love so dearly has been constantly maligned in popular culture and ultimately deserves more respect. Therefore, it is imperative to have this oral history as a compass to see where we’ve been and where we’re heading, with our horns held proudly up to the sky. “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal” is available now for purchase in bookstores everywhere.
- Jay Rubin