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Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

headbangersjourney.jpgPicture it: it's 11:15 p.m. I've been up for many, many, many hours. Do I go to sleep? No. There's no time for sleep. Quite frankly, I spent a very large part of my day getting ready to leave for Rocklahoma. I'm a packing perfectionist. Ask my husband - he loves to travel with me but my Glam goodness, he hates when it's time to pack for the trip. I pack and unpack several times until things are just "so" and I typically drive myself bonkers in the process. I digress. The point is that I was utterly and totally swamped yesterday. Instead of sleeping...I decided to pop in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (Warner Brothers 2005).

I've written about Metal: A Headbanger's Journey before. After all, it is my favorite rockumentary. I think anthropologist Sam Dunn is a damn genius. True academic studies about Metal music - and the fans of the genre - truly fascinate me. As we all know, Metal fans stick together and tend be to diehard to the genre. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey effortlessly illustrates this point. In short, it doesn't matter how many times I've watched this film: I'm always entertained. 

I would be lying if I said I didn't want to sit down and have a nice long chat with anthropologist Sam Dunn. I swear, that man truly fascinates me. I'd love to ask him why he turned from Glam to heavier bands so early in his life and what it is about those heavier bands that have held him for nearly two decades. Of course, that's a tricky question to answer. I'm not sure I could easily explain my love affair with Glam - it's a complex sum of all the parts I suppose.

I think Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is "stacked" perfectly, to borrow a television production term. Again, the story is effortless, but Dunn is genius because he truly starts at the beginning of Metal and unfolds the story to modern bands. Yes, Dunn connects the dots from Classical to Metal music - but the landscape is so much more. I suppose that's why I get sucked in every time: Metal: A Headbanger's Journey provides a tangible explanation for the need of Metal and how it affects everyone in society - even those who don't consider themselves fans.

Of course, the rockumentary addresses anger and Metal fan as the outsider. I've never considered myself a "weird kid" as Rob Zombie says in the film, but I do think I'm definitely different. I'd venture there are not many 28 year old female Glam fans that would consider Wacken Open Air the trip of a lifetime, but hey, that's me. Actually, if I may wax poetic for ten seconds, I suppose that's the reason festivals work: the diehard, living a culture to the max.

I truly wish there were more movies like Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. My friend Sam Dunn has another film due out any second called Global Metal. I cannot wait to see that film. I think it is important the world learn Metal fans are not an uneducated mass. Rather, we are a truly passionate group of regularly dismissed people.

Here's the trailer and there are many clips of the film on YouTube.

Reader Comments (14)

I was the weird kid :(

I watch this movie almost every time I catch a plane on my Creative Zune W. It rocks.
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I bought the DVD as soon as it came out and I watch it at least twice a month to this day. There's something about the journey that Sam Dunn takes in exploring what Metal is that gets me going. It's an uplifting documentary to say the least and, in the words of the crowd at the screening, I want more!

I can't wait to see Global Metal, I bet that is going to be huge!

Heavy Metal Addiction
I bought it too, but I also saw it in the cinema. I dragged along a friend who is now a metal head as a result ( a Maiden show also helped with that )
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I totally agree! Well done rockumentary!

July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick
I haven't seen this yet, it sounds pretty cool. I'll have to check it out. Thanks Allyson...
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Is that the dood that had the OCD flow chart of the bands and who they were linked to? That was awesome, and the only part of the movie that I found to be of any educational use. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that chart just to read it from head to toe a few hundred times. But when I want a sense of the 'scene', I go to DoWCII:The Metal Years. One of my all-time favorites...that's what *we* watched when we were 14 on Saturday nights when they weren't playing videos on HBB that night (I have a copy in .avi if you want it!) :)

But your right, I'd love to spend an afternoon with that guy and pick his brain.
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermissy
I think they should have shown more of the sunset strip and hollywood...I was all excited when it got to that part..and then I said THATS IT?!!!...and they go over to Mayhem who are absolute garbage..I've heard toddlers banging on pots and pans with more talent then that. Since I knew the guy at my music store good..I brought it back..
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
The thing I love most from this rockumentary is it's final and ending quote.
July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBillyKiss
I gotta get this.Whats Global Metal?
July 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercarl

Global Metal is Sam Dunn's new film, due out soon.


I own Decline of Western Civilization. Thank you for the offer!

July 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
i have seen that like twice its on vh1 classic all the time. love it. every part of it is so true. its almost scary.
July 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChey
I only have 2 problems with this movie.

1. Slipknot is not metal

2. The chart of the subgenres is very inacurate (It claims that Thrash didn't influence Death)
July 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris
i think death came before thrash. and yes Slipknot is metal. what else would they be?
September 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchey
Hanoi Rocks! one of the most influential glam metal band ever.. they started the glam wave,that hit in L.A early 80's.. then mötley crue followed that glam style..then poison etc etc--
May 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermike59

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