Welcome to the second episode of the Metal Blast podcast!
Today’s episode deals with the study of heavy metal as an academic discipline, and who better to discuss it with than with the first scholar who actually conducted an investigation on the topic.
Deena Weinstein, my guest today, is a professor of Sociology at DePaul University in Chicago who, in addition to a number of publications in the more traditional realms of sociology, has devoted a big part of her academic career to the study and understanding of heavy metal as a cultural phenomenon. To this day, her 1991 book “Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology“, revised and republished in 2000 as “Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture“, continues to be THE go-to academic work for those who want to improve their understanding on the topic. She is a prolific author, and has contributed several chapters to books like “Rush and Philosophy: Heart and Mind United” and ” Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music Around the World“, as well as written many academic papers discussing heavy metal.
She is also a metalhead; one of us.
Now, I don’t know about you, but for me heavy metal was never “a choice”. When I started listening to heavy metal in my teenage years, I just felt a connection with it that couldn’t be explained. And when I go to concerts, something that I try to do as much as possible, I think that I also notice that connection amongst the rest of the fans there. There is something about heavy metal that connects its fans in a way that is hard to describe for those outside of the “scene”; metal fans take their music very seriously (at times maybe too seriously) and they’re always eager to talk about it, learn about it and, of course, defend it when they perceive it is being attacked.
And yet, if we’re honest, it’s just music (or maybe mostly “just” music), so it’s really interesting to see that people develop this type of connection. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that, little by little, the cultural phenomenon that is heavy metal has started to be the object of an increasing interest from academia.
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