Episode 3, which mostly focuses on that boring music-bacterium called "blues", features one of the most overrated bands in rock music, Led Zeppelin. Give me "Kashmir" any day (which surprise isn't bluesy) and a few other great songs, and feel free to keep the rest. Dunn wasn't able to get interviews with these two primadonnas because they "don't want to be associated with the term 'metal'". But being associated with PUFF DADDY, that's OK, right?
Dunn (in his infinite non-wisdom) quotes the "Rolling Stone" magazine saying that LZ is "the heaviest band of all time". If this ridiculous statement had been made at the height of Zepp's popularity it could be forgiven but it wasn't. This amazingly nonsensical statement was published in the 90s! In a way, it does make sense: "Rolling Stone" is the most overrated publication of all time, an utterly useless trend magazine, so considering they'd been getting things wrong for decades, it's only suitable that they'd made such a moronic claim. RS has always been limping behind the times, rarely giving credit to innovation (until a movement started making money), while constantly hyping garbage such as rap. Dunn makes a doofus of himself just by quoting them.
"Without Zeppelin there wouldn't have been HM", says another "expert". So that's already two idiotic Zepp-related statements in the first 7 minutes. Zeppelin wasn't particularly heavy, and their songs weren't based on metal's trademark dissonant melodies but on boring old generic, recycled blues. Next!
"That's all well and good, but that's not what is going on right now, I'm sitting here seeing a guy getting his guts beaten up," says Sabbath's drummer Bill, referring to rose-coloured-glasses naivety of the anti-progressive, decadent, Marxist-supported 60s hippie movement. Unlike the mostly middle-class silver-spoon-in-mouth hippies, Sabbath members all came from the social gutter of the working class, and with their legs firmly planted on the ground could not identify at all with the idealistic drivel and phony message of "love and peace" that those lazy, clueless flower-power morons harassed society with. It was Black Sabbath that first had a distinct metal style and sound, not the Zepps. Let's just finally turn the Page, forget the Led, and Plant ourselves into the biography of worthier bands of the period.
On to Deep Purple, arguably the best 70s heavy band. It was fun to see a very young Blackmore dressed like a 17th-century court jester in DP's weak pre-Gillan phase. The DP segment also reminded me of one of the things sorely missing from the metal of the last three decades: Lord's heavy, edgy keyboard sound. I am baffled that so many keyboard-using metal bands adopted instead that lame pop-80s sound; it's precisely this over-polished, squeaky-clean keyboard sound that makes many doom and black metal bands even worse than they otherwise would have been, had they the sense to use a rougher keyboard sound which suits distorted guitars far better.
"Eric Clapton was tame compared to what Ritchie was doing," says Maiden's Dickinson. He must have meant "lame". I can't stand that whole over-praised generation of stereotypical "blues heroes"; white guys who had nothing better to do with themselves than re-hash a music style that was both limiting, narrow and totally washed up. For this reason it annoyed me to find out that it was Hughes and Coverdale who pushed for a bluesier approach when they joined DP. Blackmore soon got sick of it, and formed Rainbow.
Rainbow's "Rising" is one of the best heavy metal albums, especially those long tracks featuring some of the best solos I'd ever heard. Blackmore may be an odd, aging Ren-fest-obsessed dweeb now, and one of rock's more notorious moody/bitchy divas, but his contribution is undeniable. Unfortunately for the image of metal music, Dio used his new-found success to further cheapen heavy metal's already child-like image by including dragons and dungeons into the mix. Couple that with Maiden's idiotic Eddie and you might almost forgive bands like Deep Purple for distancing themselves from the term "metal".
So why does blues still get such exaggerated adulation in the media? I think it has less to do with the music itself, and more with the social (hence also political) baggage which blues carries with it. Always associated with the "struggle of the proletariat", blues is an attractive vehicle for left-wing music journalists. Also, no other form of music developed in the past century has such a close connection to the "tortured artist" cliché BS as blues does. Someone long time ago had come up with the fanciful/romantic notion that blues can be only created by a "suffering soul" or thereabouts, and liberals just love that kind of stuff, they eat it up like nothing. If this were true, then wouldn't we have a bunch of starving blues legends as opposed to dozens of highly-praised blues millionaires basking in Summer Cannes in their luxurious 100-foot yachts?
This brings me to one of the numerous reasons why metal never got the media respect it deserves: metal was never an overtly left-wing "movement". While certainly tilting more toward the Left than Right, metal's musicians were/are less involved in politics than blues, pop or rap acts. Pop has dozens of Bonos and Chris Martins who are desperately trying to feed their bloated Egos by increasing their fame (and bank-accounts), while making most of the gullible sheep populace who believe that they are doing it out of the "goodness of their hearts". Metal (at least the quality bands) is more about the music itself.
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