I’ve been having a problem lately that I feel you may be able to help me with. Lately I just haven’t been able to like METAL like I used to, and yet, it’s still all that I think about.
I was just at a great Symphony X show and I just couldn’t seem to have fun. I think perhaps a part of me is worried about getting hurt and another part of me thinks maybe the love is gone forever.
I’ve been more into Punk, but even then I just can’t get the same love that I had when I first discovered it. I’ve tried branching out to different things and genres, but now I just can’t seem to like music really at all. Now that I play bass it seems like all I want to do is play bass and I think maybe it’s not fun anymore because I want to be the guy on the stage instead.
I really don’t want to lose this love because it’s been the only thing that’s been here for me constantly and I also worry that my best friend and I only are friends because of METAL and I don’t want to lose him either .
Any advice would be super appreciated.
What? Going off metal? That’s downright disgraceful! You should hang your head in shame!
Kidding :) Seriously, though, I think you’re worrying too much.
I actually get quite a few emails along a similar vein to this, and Odin knows I feel like this sometimes, too, especially because I write about metal 3-5 days a week. So here are my thoughts on why we might get sick of metal and what we can do to rejuvenate our warrior spirits.
I think you’re oversaturated.
It’s as if you ate chocolate with every meal. After a while, it stops being a special treat and starts becoming routine. It becomes mundane, ordinary, and, before you know it, every piece of chocolate starts to sound the same.
Think about it. You love something like metal with such intensity you spend hundreds, if not thousands, or hours researching metal, listening to music, going to shows, talking to other metalheads, reading blogs like mine, writing a blog of your own, adding reviews to Metal Archives, debating on music forums … until you’ve acquired what could only be described as an encyclopaedic knowledge of this wonderful music. It’s as if you’re studying for a P.hD in Metallology – that’s how intense this quest for knowledge can become.
Have you seen P.hD students in their last year? They are insane. After 3-7 years of studying the same subject with increasing intensity, they start to second guess everything. All their brilliant ideas suddenly become pudding. Their oh-so-clever supervisor suddenly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They stare at the pages of books but the words don’t seem to form coherent thoughts. They close their eyes to sleep at night and all they see are Ancient Greek vases … and suddenly, the very thing they love is haunting them, and they wish it would just go away.
Luckily, you are not a Phd student. You don’t have a deadline looming or thousands of dollars of funding riding on you getting an A in metal. You can stop whenever you want. And that’s exactly what I think you should do.
Don’t force yourself to listen to metal if you don’t feel like it – that’s not going to help you love it again. If a band you love comes to town and you’re not excited about it, don’t go. If your mate’s heard this band you just have to listen to, give them a spin once, but if you’re not feeling it, don’t push it.
Stop reading the magazines, stop visiting the forums, stop worrying about not knowing all the latest bands.
If it’s truly part of who you are, it will come back. You might not ever be as intense about it as you once were, but that’s OK. I know plenty of people who consider themselves metalheads and only buy one new album every six months, or see one show or attent one festival every year or two. These people love the music just as much as me, but it’s not the focal point of their lives, and that’s cool.
Our tastes change and morph as we grow older. It’s possible you just don’t love metal as much as you used to. It’s equally possible you’ve simply reached saturdation point and you need a break. Maybe you’re just tired of putting in the effort to keep up with the latest bands?
You will wake up one morning craving an Iron Maiden record, or dying to hear what Vreid or Katyklysm are up to. Metal will become something special again, if you give yourself a break, allow yourself time to remember how it used to make you feel.
I write a metal blog, and I don’t listen to metal all of the time. I listen to metal maybe 40%-50% of the time. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood. The rest of the time I’m listening to Nick Cave, or other gothy indie stuff, or girly pop-rock music, or classical, or English folk, or nothing at all.
Maybe you’re simply listening to too much music. Maybe you need a bit of silence to balance out all the noise.
As for your own music, I think you should keep playing, but play for yourself. Play because you enjoy it. Write your own songs if you’re not already, and don’t worry if they’re metal or punk or whatever, just write them. You can fit them in a genre later.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from my husband. He says “Too many bands say “We want to play like Iron Maiden” and so they go out and listen to Maiden, and even though they’re good musicians, all they put out are watered-down, uninspired Maiden copies. If you want to play like Iron Maiden, you have to listen to the bands that inspired them.” One of his favourite bands is Jethro Tull, and he taught himself to play the flute so he could do an Ian Anderson-style metal band, but he doesn’t just listen to Jethro Tull – he listens to the jazz flautists who Ian Anderson listened to. If you think you need new music to inspire you, then search for the music that inspired your idols. Often you’ll find it’s jazz musicians, old crooners, little known sixties bands and psychedelic weird shit.
The great thing about music is that it’s around forever. Metal will still be waiting for you when you’re ready for it again.
Readers, weigh in with your own thoughts? Do you ever feel like you’re sick of metal? What do you do to bring back the spark again?