Slayer! Can you Slay ’em all?
Recently we came upon one of those supposedly funny messages which are conjured up by some smart alecs to spread a positivity in life and which usually gets passed on in the internet for good luck, long life or even lost love. Well this one was titled as To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity and carried a few instructions which were as follows
1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. On all your cheque stubs, write ‘ For Marijuana’
3. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat,with a serious face.
4. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream ‘I Won! I Won!’
5. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Car Park, Yelling ‘Run For Your Lives! They’re Loose!’
6. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, ‘Due To The Economy, We are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.’
And The best is last.
7. PICK UP A BOX OF CONDOMS AT THE PHARMACY, GO TO THE COUNTER AND ASK WHERE THE FITTING ROOM IS..
It’s Called. FORGET WORRIES THERAPY!
Well we are adding Another one of ours to this inexhaustible list and that is –listen to thrash metal and just bring the house down literally
Slayer could not have chosen a better time to visit India. With tempers flaring high among the people due to rising prices, political scams, unemployment, corruption, crime and so forth and on, it would be the best time for the people to experience music which “was intense music and crazy lyrics” as slayer themselves describe their music to be and go for a release , a catharsis, but the only catch here is that no matter how much it is hyped that we are catching up with the heavy metal scene the Majority or more than the Majority still have not developed an ear for it.
It will need more than crazy lyrics, intense energy and pure live music and the hype to displace Lata ji, Bhupen Hazarika, Bhimsen Joshi, Jagjit Singh from the Indian minds and household. For Indian music is not only about “cultural type” as they think it to be . It is about melody and soulful lyrics and maybe less about anger more about hope. Well it still is for the majority Of course music is universal but here for our musicians, music is their universe.
Making a foray into the Indian market does seem to be a calculated risk as we are seeing a revival of the thrash metal scene since the 2000s after lying low for a couple of years in the late1990s. and suddenly remembering the Indian shores at this point of time after 30 years of super successful stint does seem to raise some cynical eyebrows.
Is it a revival for the band too ? But they are quick to deny it.
India is going through a period of neo revolution in all aspects, ranging from social cultural political and even in the arena of economics. No wonder newer avenues with respect to jobs, market and movies and music have come up. But even in this period of liberalisation we cannot ignore the demographics and the statistics say that youth comprises near about 40 percent of India’s population, which logically will be the market for thrash metal.
But even here the figures get divided and dis-figured into a 66:33 ratio of rural to urban and for the life of us we cannot imagine a youth from the rural area absorbing or listening to Angel of Death. That leaves us with 33 percent of the 40 percent of the population. The percentage dips further if we divide the urban youths into again upper class and the economically lower class. Then there is the matter of taste , snobbishness etc and we might have more percentage of them listening to Mozart or Mehdi Hassan as compared to Slayer or Metallica
So to cut a long story short the genre is still niche’ as far as Indian sensibilities are concerned and not an encouraging market for the heavy metal scene and this certainly is not the perfect approach to tap the potential. Maybe it could be one of the ways to encourage the genre but not the sole manner nor is it the most important manner.
If you could just push away the economics, ideology and responsibilities part of the deal and take it as pure business and fun, then of course it is a big feather in the cap on the part of the organisers. In fact Slayer , of the Big four- in India for a concert = a big achievement. We have had Iron Maiden, Megadeth , even others before them and every such concert or any successful international event is a big boost for both the organisers and the country’s image in the international cultural scene. But it doesn’t much help the local players or the genre if there isn’t a concerted effort or a holistic approach.
If it is just money we are speaking, then there isn’t any doubt that the concert will be a total sellout. Even the largest arena in the country with a capacity of 120,000 will have an instant sell out despite the niche audience. Having an audience of 120,000 will not be a problem even after the high priced tickets . Courtesy- the increase in disposable income and the snob value of being a part of a concert of the Slayers, but taking the music to the more than a billion of population surely is a problem.
People will come. They will have a nice time. They will talk about it for days, but other than the already existing fans, how many are converted to Slayer loyalist or thrash metal followers after the concert remain to be seen.
People are happy . There is a big hype. Slayer is arriving . And then what follows is the whole Emperors New clothes story. But the ones who are left cheated at large and unsupported are the upcoming local bands. Nothing much changes for them. They were struggling. They mostly remain struggling in future in spite of the hard work and talent.
A Brahma or a contest for the selection of the second band to be playing in the Slayers concert does not do much for the encouragement of the many others, though we admit that yes, it is a step. Small it is, but a step indeed for international exposure. But the matter of taking heavy metal into the mainstream still leaves to be desired.
Joshish the rock band from Bhopal in one of our interviews had pointed the necessity of mass acceptance of a genre in order to flourish and hence had stuck to hindi as their medium for that reason.
Of course one cannot destroy the genre by incorporating a bhangra or bollywoodise it ; That would surely destroy it and music should remain pure as far as possible, but yes innovations, experimentation remaining within the genre could work better maybe.
Speaking of Bollywood , that again could serve a better medium than social media to reach out to the masses. It did not fail when Roza hit the North Indian market, Rap worked too and maybe could work for thrash or heavy metal. Who knows?
We are a breed of very liberal and tolerant people. We have welcomed strange customs, cultures whenever we had to, as can be seen from our history. We believe in the edict of Atithi Devo Bhava. (The guest is God)
We had welcomed the Lodhis, the Mughals and the East India company too. We are welcoming Slayer with open arms. And yes maybe some day people will welcome heavy metal too, but yes you have to touch them..How? That, of course is upto the players.
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