Thursday, September 30, 2010

An introduction from Jackson

Welcome to the first installment of Some Heavy Questions. This is a two-author blog dedicated to the objective exploration of heavy metal and hard rock music. This is not a fan page.

I first became interested in music in middle school in the early 2000s. Like many of my peers, my first inclinations were towards heavy rock music, which was simultaneously rebellious and accessible. At this time, anyone with a radio had access to the nu-metal trend and the growing "New Wave of American Heavy Metal," fostered by the media attention attributed to bands like Korn and Slipknot. Additionally, "Classic Rock" continued as a popular post-1980s radio staple, ensuring the continued availability to tracks by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and their inheritors/descendants Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.

My friends' parents passed on the appreciation of heavy rock they fostered in high school and college in the 1970s-80s. Through my friends, I therefore had access to contemporary hard rock, and older tracks by the likes of Van Halen and Metallica. At home, my father, who has been the primary source of my musical input, was drumming frequently for a band disposed to Kinks covers and other rock music, which revived a hard rock interest that he made efforts to share with me as my interest in music grew. By that route, I came to know Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, and Deep Purple, who would for years be my favorite act.

Since that time, I've passed from playing the drums to taking up the guitar, and gradually lost interest in hard rock music, which I came to equate with adolescence. But it continues to dominate rock musician culture, and every time I turn away from it, the next big thing in guitar happens to be a hard rock act, and my curiosity is piqued again.

My friend Steven (Steve-o to innumerable people), co-author of this blog, is a fellow guitarist, and possesses the broadest musical interests of anyone I've ever met. He loves most everything I love in music, as well as stuff I wouldn't go near. So one day, I charged him with the task of figuring out heavy metal. This blog is the answer to that task.

What shall follow is an exploratory analysis of hard rock and heavy metal music in all styles, from Neil Young to Necrophagist, seeking to locate the contributions and innovations of the genre while providing stylistic criticism.

This is an exploration of heavy metal for the academically curious.

Thank you for reading.

I also author a blog dedicated to the analysis of horror films at
and co-author an ongoing discussion on topics of philosophy with my best friend, fellow law student, and former philosophy undergraduate, Dan, at