Stomping the Indian Metal Scene further deep in excrement are the ones who cannot make a living off it. While the children bicker about death metal/black metal/other sub-genres and irrelevant subjects like hair, clothing and other trends, I’ll talk about people making the music we worship sound like an unpaid whore.
I realized long back that rock/metal bands might not end up making a lot of money. Guns N’ Roses and Metallica did. And while making shitloads of money, Metallica opened the floodgates for other worthy bands like Megadeth and Slayer.
Most of us work during the day so we don’t need to be unhappy after playing the kind of music we love. Nobody asked anybody to quit studies or working, nobody told anybody that living the rock ‘n roll dream would eventually pay off in cash. Nobody told Lemmy, either. He stuck to it because he believed in it, and it paid off for him much later because he’s fucking Lemmy. I’m sure he didn’t think of it as an investment.
If you’re the one who thought so and aren’t making the kind of dough you’d like to, maybe it’s time to admit it was a failed experiment. The music you make is greatly affected if you’re dependent on it for income. I don’t care how extreme your band is; if you’re making money off it and not doing much else, you will, at some point, have to make it as saleable as possible so that you (and your offspring) can enjoy the luxuries of life. Does that sound cheap? You should have thought of it a long time ago.
The ones who want to create music will do it anyhow. Without a record label, without expecting people to listen to it, without thinking about how to get cash out of every kid once the album is ready.
About CDs and album sales: Ha! I can’t think of one death/black metal album made by an Indian band that is actually worth paying even 50 bucks for. What the hell are bands charging over 200 rupees for? And if that isn’t shameful enough, bands have been using guilt tactics to get kids to pay for the music. Just because you could make a CD of your songs that are not very good, why should some kid pay 200 bucks for it? So that he need not feel awkward about saying hello to you after a show?
And what happened to self-respect? Do you think Metallica went around with CDs of Kill ‘Em All saying, “Please buy the album from me or so-and-so.”? I don’t know about you idiots, but I like my metal heroes to be just that. Metal heroes. Not calculative businessmen. Not door-to-door salesmen. Remember one thing, if your album is really good, people will buy it. You weren’t kept in the dark about heavy metal being even more ‘underground’ in this country, right? Metal empowers you; let it be your strength and not your weakness.
I am certainly not going to part with even twenty bucks to promote shitty music. I don’t give a flying fuck if you’re my friend or enemy; make a good album, sell it at a reasonable price, and I might consider buying it.
I remember clearly sitting on Prashant’s terrace and us deciding that we wouldn’t ‘sell’ our music – some of you may not like our band – but we think of our music as priceless. We decided that day to never put a price tag on it. My heart and ass swell with pride every time someone asks me where they can get CDs of Exhumation’s two albums and I tell them to download them from the Internet. I love how I never have to ask any kid to put his hand in his pocket and remove money because he wants to listen to my band’s music.
When people come up to me and say, “Hey bro, your band fucking owns” and “Dude, your guitarist is a fucking god”, that’s my reward, that’s currency, baby…that’s my money right there.
Want to know what makes me cringe? Bands that say things like “Keep supporting metal”. Are you implying that metal is weak? I don’t care if it’s some cheesy Indian band or the singer of Cannibal Corpse saying it. Heavy Metal doesn’t need support – it is the strongest thing there is. I don’t know what to call this feeling I have for metal, but what I know is there is nothing more powerful than this feeling.
The next time somebody tells you to keep supporting metal, know that what they’re really saying is “please give us your money”. Someone like that cannot be my metal hero.
Your metal heroes write whiney notes and update their Facebook status for fanboys to ‘like’. My metal heroes – I haven’t seen most of them perform live and might never get to – my metal heroes make countless metalheads bang their heads in unison like possessed zombies and then tell them to go the fuck home. That’s called keeping the spirit of metal alive.
Be proud of Indian bands that make quality music instead of being emotionally blackmailed and embarrassed into buying stuff that isn’t really all that great.
I’ll sign off with a request – and I’m not speaking as Aditya from Exhumation – I’m the kid who was reborn the day he understood Metallica, the boy who stopped existing and started living the day he understood the spirit of heavy metal – please stop prostituting the music I worship.