I told you all I had a special guest today, and here he is. Armand Rosamilia has been a metal fan for over thirty years, and he’s the author of “Metal Queens” a series of ebooks celebrating women in metal. These aren’t pun-up pictures of hot metal chicks (although,
First of all, why Metal Queens? What made you decide to write a book series about women in metal?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Metal, and women in Metal always intrigued me … first, in junior high when I saw them as simply hot chicks in Motley Crue videos, but later as actual musicians. And as I’ve grown older the Metal community has as well, with more and more females no longer just being fans of Metal but putting out solid music in their own right.
How about you? How did you first get into metal and how did you get into writing the Metal Queens series? What makes you the man for the job?
I got into Metal in 1982 when a friend turned me on to “The Number of The Beast” by Iron Maiden. From that point on it was nothing else but Metal for me.
The idea for “Metal Queens” actually came around for me in the mid-90’s when I was managing a local (New Jersey back then) Death Metal band and noticed a few bands we shared bills with having female bassists or backup singers. I was putting out a magazine at that point called Black Moon Magazine and started actively searching for females into Metal or hard music, but couldn’t find too many. It had been on my mind on and off for the years since, and in 2007 I started putting feelers out to see if anyone else was doing it and if there would be enough interest in it to make it viable.
I think I have a definite passion for Metal and for females into Metal as well. I’m always interested in hearing new bands and if they include a female, so much the better. Most people have been very supportive of the series and what I’m doing, although I have gotten a negative ‘Metal dude’ who e-mails me about how females should still be posing in Motley Crue videos instead of playing guitar. I ignore them as much as possible. I’ve also been told that, since I’m a guy, I should let a woman do this. Not really sure why …
Who have been some of your favorite women to interview?
*Angela from Arch Enemy was very supportive of “Metal Queens” from the beginning, and I’ll always appreciate that. Herlaka Rose from “Grins From Below” is still a huge supporter as well. Both of them did great interviews, but there have been so many others in the time I’ve been doing it.
Reading your books, I love the diversity of the women you feature. It’s clear that a Metal Queen can be any race, religion, and nationality or belief system. Each woman takes from metal something unique. Do you think there’s such a thing as the “typical” metal Queen? Where do you find such unique individuals?
*I love the diversity of the women in the books myself, and have found that no two Metal fans are exactly alike, male or female. The one thing you have to love about any Metal fan is that they are so passionate about their favorite bands and will go on for an hour about what they despise in Metal bands as well. There’s no such thing as a typical Metal Queen, and that’s what keeps the series fresh for me and (hopefully) for the readers. I find the fans all over the internet, mostly on myspace in the beginning and now facebook, but most of them have been ‘word of mouth’ because women in the latest issue will post about it, tell their friends, etc. and people will e-mail me about the information.
Why do you think metal draws the female fans it does? We’re not in the majority but there are definitely a fair number of us around. Do you think the metal scene as a whole does enough to welcome and encourage female members?
I think, initially, in the early 80’s, most females were drawn to the ‘cute long-haired guys’ but they weren’t comfortable in getting on that stage themselves. Females like Lee Aaron, Lita Ford and Joan Jett were the exception to the rule in the beginning. I think as females got more and more into it, picked up instruments themselves and got the confidence, they got up on that stage and held their own. I think females are getting so normal at this point that when someone mentions a band its no longer just talking about the ‘hot singer chick’ or the ‘sexy women in this band’ but in the music.
Most of the women you interview actively identify as “metalhead”. When they say “metalhead”, what do you think they mean? Do you consider yourself a metalhead? How do you define a metalhead?
A Metalhead is someone who lives and breathes Metal, as cliche’ as that might sound. I think the women mean it the same way I mean it.I have been a Metalhead for almost thirty years and don’t intend to stop listening to it. Whether it’s popping in a Maiden or Priest CD or listening to Arch Enemy and Hammerfall at home, it’s always near. I’m a sucker for the VH1 Metal shows, the Behind The Music things and greatest albums and top 50 Metal bands, etc.
Do you notice if women are drawn to a certain metal sub-genre? Ie – are there more female death metal fans or power metal fans? Why do you think this is? Do you think certain sub-genres resonate with certain personalities?
I think women are the same as the men – they are all over the place with what subgenre of Metal they listen to. The first three “Metal Queens” books we did were for fans of Death Metal, Classic Metal and Black Metal. We got such a big response from women who listened to those subgenres, but we also got so many that listened to Power, Doom, Thrash, etc. that we decided with issue four to showcase all different kinds of Metal.
How do metal fans receive your books? Do you get a lot of positive feedback? Do people ever say negative things about women in metal? (I know I get a lot of negative comments on my blog – which I delete – about how I know nothing about metal because I’m a chick)
There are a few different places to get the books. First, on our website at Rymfire Ebooks and also by searching for us on SmashWords and Amazon and also eBook and print versions on Lulu. I get 99% positive feedback from men and women. I do get the occasional negative comment from guys who think that I should be doing guys in Metal instead of ‘wasting my time’ interviewing chicks unless they’re hot and/or naked.
Do you have your own Metal Queen? What do you like about metal girls as opposed to “ordinary” girls?
I knew my fiance’ Kim was my soulmate when I was watching a Black Sabbath concert on TV and she was singing every word to “Heaven & Hell”. She might not be the biggest fan of Metal but she knows the classic stuff and tolerates me blasting 80’s Metal in the car. Metal girls to me, in general, are sexy and cool. I’ve known some great ‘Metal Queens’ over the years and they are knowledgable about their music and share a passion for it.
What are some of the craziest stories you’ve heard from women in metal?
My favorite question to ask in the books is ‘Your most embarrassing Metal moment.’ Some women will talk about falling off a stage, forgetting lyrics, but my favorites are the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ stories where they are up there with a crowd staring at a naked boob or their thong is sticking out. Some stories have been a bit too graphic for me to print as well … but great for me to read …
I’ve heard a lot of discussion in metal circles about the lack of decent female metal musicians. There certainly aren’t nearly as many women up on stage as men. Do you think this is just a numbers game (less female metal fans = less female metal musicians) or do you think there’s something more to it?
It’s simply the percent of females to males in the fan base … when I went to see hair bands in the 80’s their were plenty of women but they were there to see the guys and not emulate the music. Bands like Maiden and Priest and Slayer attracted the guys. I think the women you can see at most non-hair band shows are there to see the music and they’re into the scene. Again, its all about the passion.
Can you name one female you wish was a metal fan?
I wish everyone was a Metal fan!
Can you name us five kickass songs/bands we’ve probably never heard featuring Metal Queens?
I’ve been turned onto some great independent Metal bands since starting “Metal Queens” … Seven Kingdoms, Voices of The Dead, Wykked Wytch, Fallen Empire, and A Sound of Thunder are some of the many that come to mind. Each interview of the bands has contact information so fans can go on their website and hear the band for themselves.
Thanks for the time and the interview, and I hope to keep putting out these books as long as there’s interest and there are females into Metal! \m/
I’ve got my own subscription to Metal Queens, and I can promise you all it’s quite an interesting read. So, if you want to win a FREE lifetime subscription, comment below. Or, you can check out the Metal Queens Collection at Rymfire Ebooks.
Your own Iron Maiden \m/