Written by Mohsen Fayyazi
Perhaps you were shocked when you saw or heard that Tenacious D won a Grammy award in the “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance” category in the pre-telecast ceremony at the 57th annual Grammy Awards, or maybe not?! And since last night I have read many sarcastic, angry, complicated, reasonable and also nonsensical comments and jokes about it on the social networks and that it was just like last year and the year before that…. “Every year people say that the Grammys don’t mean shit and yet every year they pay attention to it and get angry.” An Iranian metal fan, Saman, commented “Next year Taylor Swift will win the best metal performance and I will not be shocked.” But there is a point which is mostly missed here, Who Should Be Blamed For This Lack Of Knowledge About Metal Music In The Grammys Award Team? Do we really need to blame them, or blame anyone? Or maybe we are just ignoring something?
I believe we cannot critique something without at least a little knowledge about it. So I suggest you continue reading this paragraph to find out more. First of all, the Grammy, is an accolade given by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States, to recognise outstanding achievement in the music industry?! But where does that nominees list come from? Obviously not from “Hell” or “Another Universe”. Record companies and individuals may submit recordings to be nominated. Once a work is entered, reviewing sessions are held, by more than 150 experts from the recording industry, to determine whether the work is eligible and then entered in the correct category for official nomination. Then it will be down to NARAS members to decide, the five recordings that earn the most votes in each category become the nominees. For the final step, the lists are sent to Recording Academy members, who may then vote in the general fields and in no more than eight of the 30 fields. NARAS members are encouraged, but not required, to vote only in their fields of expertise. I think you may have got the point by now!
Perhaps you have noticed two main points from the information above and that is where I want to begin and for us to remember our responsibilities and duties as metal lovers. First, are our record companies doing their job perfectly? Do they send their records from their best and successful artists to the Grammys? For example, have Nuclear Blast, which is the biggest and most honourable record label in our family, mentioned for example ACCEPT, “Blind Rage” and the band’s performance to the Grammys? As I know ACCEPT had a great year by releasing the successful “Blind Rage” album and also a fantastic tour. I did not hear of anyone being unhappy at an ACCEPT show! Well, maybe Nuclear Blast did or maybe not, we don’t know, but I would like to suggest here to all rock and metal record companies, to reveal the list of the artists who have been sent to the Grammys every year. So we will know who is there and who is not.
The second point is that who are those 150 experts? Do they know metal music? Do we have any of our members there? I believe not, or maybe not enough to stop Tenacious D winning. This is a complicated subject but I think we still can do something about it. “Right is taken, not given” and so I suggest a kind of campaign to let the Grammy editors know that we have some more than qualified experts in our family who should be on their experts list. I think some of our journalists and writers such as Alexander Milas and Martin Popoff, everyone from Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and other very well known magazines, and also some of our very active musicians such as Andy Sneap are very capable of that. Then we could be sure that there are some true metal experts who could champion Ronnie James Dio and every artist like him, while they are still alive!
Now there is a question here; why has the metal music industry been so passive against the main stream events, especially one such as the Grammys, for all these years? I cannot remember seeing any complaint comments from any major or tiny metal record company. Is it because of our lack of self-confidence? Or is it because we think we are a separated part of society? Or maybe it is just because we were happy with what we had and we have a lack of Ambition?! I don’t know, but I think these are some good questions which maybe some sociologists and psychologists can answer. But for now, I am sending this WARNING alert to all of you, that if we carry on being passive like this, we will see our industry dead one day, unless record labels, magazines, festivals and fans join the forces to “Stand up and shout.” Main stream music should learn about true metal music. “To arms my brothers and sisters, to arms!”
In the end, I would like to say that the Grammy Awards is a big event which we cannot ignore easily. It could be another opportunity for us to awaken those sleepers who have still not discovered the mightiness of metal music and it so worth fighting for it. You cannot say “the Grammys means nothing” just because you are not happy with its winners and also we can not always blame others when we are ourselves are very passive. The human brain is a strange thing but it’s exactly the border between humanity and animals. Let’s find a reasonable solution instead of hateful comments. As my final word, I would like to send my congratulations to the true and only Voice Of Metal, Ronnie James Dio, whose name was mentioned again in a big event, even when he is not with us physically.
Long live the magic of Ronnie James Dio!
Long live METAL!