I have to admit that at the time I’m starting to write this editorial I’m not really in the best mood. So please forgive me in case a get a little crabby. There are a few recent events that made me think our behavior as metal fans and I would like to share my thoughts.

Through the years, we, the metalheads have registered ourselves as probably the most fanatic music supporters. We are the most regular record buyers, the most frequent concert attendees and in a continuous search of something new to listen to. But let’s think about it for a minute. Is this the case or it belongs to the sphere of imagination?

I have no memories of the eighties since I was too young and in the nineties the whole metal thing was supposed to be in reduction. Now, almost a decade into the new millennium, metal is coming back strong again. I mean, we have plenty of new releases, more big festivals are organized, great bands of the past are reuniting and even MTV brought “Headbangers Ball” back. And now it comes to us, the fans. How supportive to the metal scene we really are?

To make myself clear, I don’t believe that everyone that happens to listen to a specific kind of music has to actively support it. I’m referring to all those that define themselves as metalheads. We’ve seen festival here in Greece, away from Athens or Thessaloniki, with a crowd counting less than a hundred people. We’ve seen gigs of local and underground bands that you could count the people in the club with the fingers of your hands. And at the same time, we hear all those that chose to ignore these events, to complain about nothing happening in town and about the quality of the local scene. How supportive this attitude is?

The news guys, is that Iron Maiden are not coming to (your provincial) town. To be more specific, not a single “big” band is coming to town. It could be possible in the future, but first someone has to invest some money to book them. And in order to invest on something, he has to have at least some indications that he is going to get his money back. When someone organizes a gig with a foreign and a couple of local bands, that he could cover his expenses with less than a hundred tickets, and ends up with loosing money, he isn’t going to try again. You will have to wait until another crazy man with money to loose is going to appear. And how often do you really have the chance to see a metal concert without traveling?

But let’s leave aside those living away from the big urban centers, and for which the above apply, and have a look in the way all of us are dealing with our local scenes and the underground bands in general. I often get the feeling we treat them as the outcasts of metal music. We don’t even give them a chance to show us what they got.  I agree that the majority of the bands that are making a demo or manage to make their first gig have little or nothing to offer. The question is how are we going to find those that really deserve to be heard and give them the courage to go on? The answer is really simple. We just have to be there. You have nothing to lose by spending a couple of hours for seeing any underground or local band playing.

Some times I left the place with the thought that I should be checking those dudes every now and then to see what they are up to, and some other times I was left wondering why the hell I hadn’t heard of them sooner. It’s not like you are trying to prove you are a bigger metal fan than the others. It’s just the only way to help more and better music come to surface. It can bring you more satisfaction to discover a band that can possibly get big in the future than having a couple of drinks at a bar. It costs next to nothing to actively support you local scene and you could discover treasures in it.

Fotis Karagiannis.