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James Durbin Sings 'Heavy Metal' on 'American Idol,' Zakk Wylde Helps 

Get ready American Idol haters and bitchers (is that a word?!) one in the same! James Durbin sang Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal" last night as part of "Songs from the Movies" week. The song "Heavy Metal" is from the movie of the same name.

I called James' song choice on Sunday on an American Idol forum. I was very pleased with myself that I was right! I didn't expect to see guitarist Zakk Wylde with James, but that was just added cool. I was instantly amused by all the haters on Facebook...and random message boards. James has Tourettes and Asperger's syndrome. The kid can sing. He wants to bring metal back ("Give metal a chance, America!" was the plea) -- so let's support him. Watch.

Reader Comments (20)

loved it! what a shock to see zakk walk out on a american idol stage!
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrued
I guess Zakk started drinking again. Pathetic. I don;t care if that guys sings every metal song in the known universe, he is not good. That and chain wallets are about 10 years out.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
Scott Whitt is a Douche.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBen hardsell
Well....I saw Accept in concert, last night, and the lead singer had a chain wallet, too. It was METAL to the core. Plus, he sounded amazing. If anyone gets a chance to see Accept on their Blood of the Nations tour...GO. They can play, big time. The guitar work is amazing.

Zakk is amazing and the American Idol dude. I've taught children with the issue that James Durbin has. I wish him all the success.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L

The kid sounds like he can sing to me!

James Durbin may not make the final rounds but he will go on to front a successful Metal band, no doubt. In fact, it will get packaged up by Iovine and Interscope and get some guidance from Tyler, hopefully.

Speaking of Tyler, I'm glad he's being re-educated about Heavy Metal, since he forgot all about what it is and what it means after "Done With Mirrors".

Who figured it would take a kid with Tourette's and Asperger's to do it.

Also, go figure that it took an American Idol contestant, with the support of American Idol (since, let's remember, this is all staged and predetermined, in terms of who they select and how they package 'em up) to let the kid roll with Heavy Metal as his genre, much like the hicks stickin' to Country.

The only difference is Country has become one of the mainstream genres (at least it is today) defining the Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) dominating American Music today. It's safe. It's boring. It's Easy Listening. And it generally sucks!

Whereas Country is almost unconditionally embraced, at least way more than Metal, by Middle America (as a state of mind not actual geographic location), Metal has always been maligned, scoffed at, and ridiculed by people who just don't get it. And that's because it's Rock And Roll!

True, Country gets ridiculed and trashed but it's not controversial. There's never been a record burning of Country albums. No, it was Heavy Metal records that were burning in Church parking lots across the country back in the 70's and 80's.

This kid is doomed as far as making the final rounds, as I said, but at least he will go out in a "Blaze Of Glory". I wouldn't be surprised if he actually winds up singing that exact song as his final curtain call coming up very soon.

But ya gotta hand it to the kid, and Idol, for going with the whole Heavy Metal thing. There may have been some calculation in it, because they figured Tyler would draw more people like us. Last night probably did more for the advancing of our cause, Al's battlecry, to Bring Back Glam! than anything else yet!

Still, all of the other contestants have taken the easy way out, sticking to all that is safe and secure in Pop and FM Lite, while this kid is out taking chances!

Again, gotta hand it to Durbin, even if I didn't really love his song selection last night (sorry, Glametal Princess!), but it was probably his best choice, as Allyson so insightfully predicted, as the name of the genre of music he's so boldly hanging his hat on is in the title of the number he chose to sing.

Still, it would have been fun to see him really go out on a limb and do "The Transformer's Theme" by Lion (though it would have been safer to do Trick's more recent version) or "Dream Warriors" by Dokken (that would have been hard for him) or "Big Gun" from "Last Action Hero" or, better yet, "Shout It Out" by Slaughter from Bill & Ted's Bogus Adventure.

Actually, Durbin probably would have been better off going with some lame-o crap like "Footloose" or the much better "We Don't Need Another Hero" by Tina Turner, as they would have been less risky crowd pleasers and he could have just nailed either of them.

But I am glad he stuck to his guns and went for broke with this one, even trotting out Zakk Wylde.

I really think there is a ground swell recently in generating more interest and appreciation (read "more Rockin' Out") for Heavy Metal than any other time since the Led Zeppelin reunion and even that really just sparked a new found interest in Classic Rock and not our beloved Glam Metal!

Look at recent chain of events. The stuff that's played on video games, especially Guitar Hero and Rockband, New Glam Metal bands like Bad City getting signed to major record labels, The Poison Dolls Crue tour, and now... James Durbin!

Still, this may have been his swan song, since the voting viewers are dominated by people who don't like our music. They probably did not like the song, his performance and especially Zakk Wylde. I can just hear the comments now... "Herman! Eee-Gads! What on earth is THAT?! We must vote him off immediately!) Durbin may even suffer from guilt by association just for having Wylde up there with him.

Hopefully, I will be proven wrong!

Good luck to him!

p.s. Brian L! Accept is astonishing! Not only is the guitar work stunning, so are their songs and so is the show (did Hoffman leave any stone unturned?). They touch on every subgenre of Rock and Roll and somehow thoroughly Metalize it. They played Metal, Glam, Thrash, Speed, Hard Rock and even some Blues. Oh, well -- they skipped Funk Metal, because that's not really their bag and that's probably because they think it sucks like I do! Easily one of the best concerts I have seen in my life and I've probably seen 200 Heavy Metal and Classic Rock shows!
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I love James Durbin. I don't agree with you. HE WILL BE IN THE FINALE!!!!!
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbev
Well, I've already received a ton of backlash for my comment I posted on FB last night about what I thought. Dear Lord, when did it become a crime to not watch american idol?
No, I don't watch A.I. (yes, i have watched a few episodes here and there over the years) and I'm not about to jump on the bandwagon now b/c some guy is a HEAVY METAL guy.

Do I think its cool the guy is a HEAVY METAL FAN? HELL YEAH!

DId I see his Judas Priest song in earlier episoded? NO

Do I love the fact that he wants "America to give Heavy Metal A chance?" HELL YEAH!

BUT....this guy may not be the one! I just tried listening to this song again and still think it sucked!

Did it look "Cool" - HELL YEAH and luckily Zakk Wylde kicked it up a notch and contributed to that. If you truly listen though, I think his voice is very generic. Again, MY OPINION!

Maybe it was the wrong song for him, he's gotten this far so he must be doing something right.

I think TYLER lied through his teeth to appease the public and for the sake of the show. If you watch a clip of the judges, his facial expression says it all. I've been watching his mannerisms for as long as many of you and his face and the words that came out are the EXACT reason why i don't watch this damn show. Someone commented somewhere that the judges are nothing but cheerleaders and they are absolutely right, Its ridiculous!

Best of luck to this James guy! Maybe things will work out for him.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Wow! i generally don't find myself agreeing with Kari all the time, but this time you have hit the nail exactly on the head. I have never watched an episode of A I, and I have no intention of starting. it also disgusts me that sites like CNN report on A I as if it is actual news. That said, I think Durbin's heart is in the right place, and I give props to anyone who champions the cause of a music style that I have loved, and at times been ridiculed for, for over 30 years. That said, i agree with kari that Durbin's voice really isn't all that special. Sure, he's got some decent high range, but the timbre of his voice lacks that certain intangible quality that makes it memorable.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
I love James Durbin. HE WILL BE IN THE FINALE IF ALL HIS FANS VOTE - AND HE HAS A LOT OF THEM WITH GOOD REASON!!!!! Rock on James - keep believin!!!
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna
Love how they mentioned Avenged Sevenfold!!! (Randy did in his review of him after he sang)
oh and james rules cant wait till his post-idol music!
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlorentine
I think America has lost their minds! He is no more special than the band that plays at our local bar & If Simon was still a judge, he would have pointed out the obvious long ago, he is pitchy on every song & misses half of the notes. He is making people remember him with gimmicks ie: fire on the piano, famous guitar player....what's next & how is all this special txmt fair to the other contestants plus he also gets the pity vote, most comments I see refer to his disabilities, which are not an issue when he is singing, he said so himself,"They go away when I'm onstage".
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNot Buying It!
I hope is brings Metal back to the top... Didn't like the version or his voice on this tune. Tried it. Only the second performance I've ever seen on AI so it was something...
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersmknotsmf

Don't expect anyone coming off of idol to be able to bring back an entire genre of music that's been dead for over 20 years. Especially one where the fans of the genre aren't exactly the main demographic watching american Idol and wouldn't take someone coming off the keraoke show seriously.
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRed
One more thought just because I'm in the mood...HAGAR RULES!!!

OH, and Bob, PLEASE TURN OFF THE CNN! That's more brainwashing then American Idol (haha).
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
LOL Kari, very true. it's my wife who reads the CNN web site, so the brainwashing happens by osmosis. :)
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
To Kari and Bob's point, that's why Durbin wouldn't be able to handle Dokken's "Dream Warriors".

As much as I'd love to see him pull it off, he won't make the final rounds, I assure you.
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
That has been my contention with this guy, he does not sing well. Plus, you do not implore people to "give metal a chance", you tell them. His act seems so contrived and judging from the clips of AI that I have seen they seem to be carving out personalities for these guys.
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
Yeah, they definitely carve out their personalities but I do think it's done in tandom with the contestant's vision and persona, as well.

But I also believe Durbin's a pretty good singer.

And the fact remains, I actually think the guy stands a pretty good chance of getting eliminated soon.
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Durbin can sing do a search on youtube The song heavy metal really didn't show case his voice. Listen to his other songs and him doing Zepplin and Dio before he was on AI. He's got chops.
April 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhawk
I really dislike AI and all it stands for so I was surprised to give this a listen and actually like it. Kid can sing. I'm not a huge Hagar fan but I admit that I liked both Hagar's solo stuff and his stuff with Montrose better than a lot of the songs he did with VH. What can I say...I'm a CVH fan to the core. I doubt this kid'll win the darned thing but if it'd be cool if he could front a metal band at some point.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteri'mtheone

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