How Rolling Stone developed their
list called ’20 Best Metal Albums of 2014’
Recently word hit the street that Rolling Stone Magazine was going to develop a Metal List. We here at www.metal-rules.com knew this would be an incredible innovative and ground-breaking media event so we sent a spy into the Rolling Stone boardroom. Our agent of steel, took a few pictures and wired up a microphone to eavesdrop on their editorial meeting about the Metal List. What you are about to read are exact, unaltered, unedited, honest-and-for-true transcripts of those conversations. Really.
The scene is set, high up in the ivory tower of Rolling Stone’s global HQ, the boardroom is empty soon to be filled with suits.
The meeting starts and one-by-one the drones quietly file in lead by their fearless leader, the Editor-in-Chief of Rolling Stone.
A hushed silence falls over the assembly as the Editor-in-Chief begins to speak.
“Gentlemen, I have a radical proposal. We are going to publish a list about Heavy Metal”. (Audible gasps from the suits)
“More specifically a year end list. I have decided to call it ’20 Best Metal Albums of 2014’. (some subdued applause)
A voice from the back speaks up. “But sir! We have maintained a strict Anti-Metal policy for almost 50 years! Why would we change now?
“Well, I was looking at the Billboard Numbers the other day and apparently Metal fans still actually buy records. I figured we would throw those guys a bone and besides we owe a favour to the last two Big Two Record companies who own all the Metal stuff anyway. Besides it’s the holiday season, I’m feeling magnanimous”. (More subdued applause)
“Now”, he said with a serious tone, “The problem is, we know nothing about this Heavy Metal. That’s why I gathered you all here today, we have to come up with a list of 20 Metal albums come hell or high water. Even if we have to stay until 3:00pm! (collective subdued groan from the suits)
“Are there even 20 Metal bands?” asked one of the suits.
“I’m not sure”, says the Editor. Has anyone even heard a Metal album this year? He looks around the boardroom table as the suits shuffle in their chairs uncomfortable staring at the floor as an uncomfortable silence fill the room. No one answers.
“Well SOMEONE has to know what is going on!” “Fred?, asks the Editor-in-Chief. You are our Rock Editor, I’m afraid the bulk of this is going to fall on your shoulders, don’t let us down son.
“Well”, starts Fred nervously,
“I think we can come up with a list of 20, but it won’t be easy, he says digging out his iPad and typing ‘Heavy Metal’ in Google.
“Just throw out some ideas, let’s get the ball rolling!” says the Editor-in-chief.
“There is this band that wear cheap Halloween masks, there are like 15 of them and one guy even hits a garbage can with a stick, just like Stomp. My grand-niece likes them”, offers one of the suits.
“Outrageous!” exclaims the boss. “They are on the list”!
“I saw this band on Letterman the other night”, says another suit. They had short hair and beards but they had electric guitars. I think they were called Mammoth or something.”
‘Mastodon?, offered one of the other suits helpfully.
“That’s them! Put them on the list! If they are on The Late Show they must be the best of the best. Put them in the Top 10 somewhere” says the Editor.
“What about that black guy who is a rapper but likes to pretend to be metal?” suggests another suit. “I think they used to sing about killing cops or something”.
“Excellent! We need an edgy black guy! They are on the list!”, said the Editor. Also, who buys advertising from us?” Find who they are and add their bands to the list!”
“Will do, boss, says Fred typing furiously on his iPad.
“OK” says the Editor, “We need something about Satan. Those Metalheads are all into that. Find me an album with the word Satan in the title and add them to the list.” (more typing by Fred)
“OK, read me back what we have so far,’ orders the Editor.
“So far we have Slipknot, Mastodon, Bodycount, Crowbar on E1, and Behemoth-The Satanist” replies Fred. “We are a few short of 20 and mostly American bands except Behemoth from Poland.”
“Poland? Asks the Editor-in-chief incredulously. They have Heavy Metal in Poland now too? Strange. Well, let’s add some more bands from other countries, do any other countries have Heavy Metal yet?” (silence falls across the table)
“Does ANYONE know of ANY other Metal bands? demands the Editor looking around the table.
Following another prolonged and uncomfortable silence a suit speaks up. “There is this two-man punk band from New York…”, he stammers, trailing off, looking down at the floor.
“Well, good enough. They are from NYC, we are from NYC, they make the cut.” says the Editor in Chief. It’s all just noisy shit anyway, no one will notice we put a punk band on the Metal list. Add them on”.
“Maybe there aren’t 20 Metal bands out there Chief!” offered one suit.
“OK, let’s quit for today, says the Editor-in-Chief. All this talk about Heavy Metal has given me a headache. I’m going to go home and lie down and listen to some Eric Clapton ballads. We will meet again tomorrow and Fred, do your research and bring something to the table tomorrow.” The meeting adjourns…
…the very next day…the meeting begins.
“OK”, starts Fred happpily throwing three magazines on the big boardroom table. “There are only three Heavy Metal magazines. Decibel, Revolver and Metal Hammer but I managed to get an issue of each one”. “They are all doing year-end lists too!” he said beaming with pride.
“Three? Says the Editor in some surprise. “I’m surprised there are that many. I’ve never heard of any of them but what are they all about?”
“Well, days Fred, “apparently now Heavy Metal is really slow and quiet. And to be cool and get in these magazines you have to have a beard and short hair and wearing thick glasses is really common too!”
“Really? I thought ‘Heavy Metal was supposed to be about long hair and be fast and loud and mean?” puzzled the Editor scratching his head.
“So did I!” said Fred, “…but wait until you hear about this! “They don’t sing about the devil, or partying or cars or drugs anymore, they all sing about social issues and the environment!”
“Well, that’s not so bad! said the Editor-in-Chief, approvingly. “However, I haven’t heard of any of these losers, muttered the Editor with disdain, flipping through the magazines.
“That’s OK, throw some of them on the list. They should consider themselves lucky to be mentioned by us. All of this will be gone tomorrow anyway, not like the good bands. Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1973. It started to go downhill after that band from Canada came out in 1974, you know ,the one from that city north of Buffalo.”
“Toronto?” suggested one of the suits.
“Yes, Toronto, those three Jewish kids from Toronto. “
“I think they were called Rush, Sir” said Fred.
“Oh yes, Rush. Good memory Fred! I don’t know how you know all this obscure trivia but that is why you are my Rock Editor! (Fred blushes with pride)
“That was a low point, the beginning of the end for rock music continued the editor on his tirade. “Whatever happened to them? Here today, gone tomorrow!” he laughed as the suits around the table chuckled politely and shrugging their shoulders.
He continued on, “Fred, take another dozen bands from those magazines and throw them on the list. Don’t do it alphabetically. Make sure they are all play really slow and they all have beards!”, he ordered. “Oh and make sure you have some bands from other countries, I don’t care where, but not too many. Make it about 75% American bands, because the USA is the best.”
“OK” said Fred taking notes on his iPad, muttering to himself, “…slow, quiet, beards…environment…75% US… gotcha!”
“Sir, do you actually want me to listen to any of these bands sir?” said Fred cringing at the thought of having to listen to Heavy Metal.
“No, Fred, don’t waste your time” said the Editor. I wouldn’t do that to you. Just add them on in some random order.
“Alright Fred, what have we got? Read me our list. In reverse order 20-1”, order the Editor.
Fred obligingly starts to rattle off the band names to the blank faces of the assembled suits.
19. Krokodil. I like the way they misspell their name
18. Slipknot those clown guys
16. Electric Wizard Sounds like a Lord Of The Rings thing so I put them on.
13. Blut Aus Nord
12. Austerity Program that local punk band
“Wait, Wait stop ordered the Editor. “Is there really a band called that? We can’t say Indian! That might offend our advertisers!”
“It’s true chief! replied Fred.
“That takes balls!” said the Editor, they must be a really controversial band! Wait until Al Gore gets a hold of that one!, he laughed. “Go on Fred!”
10. Bodycount Ice-Cube or whatever his name is. That’s his band.
9. Crowbar…sounds heavy!
8. Mastodon… the guys from the TV
“Why are they on the list? asked the Editor. “Well, replied Fred I couldn’t think of any more Metal bands so I put an industrial band on. I don’t think anyone will notice”.
6. Behemoth..our satan guys
5. Scott Walker
4. Old Man Gloom
3. At The Gates
2. Triptykon I added them on because that have a scary alien thing on the cover. They must be Metal.
“…and last of of all but not least…” he concludes,
“Why did you put Yob at #1?” inquired one of the suits.
“Well, said Fred, “they seemed like the least offensive, quietest, gentlest band and they had a picture of some trees on the album cover . I looked at a picture online and they have short hair and beards and glasses, and they are American so I thought they deserved it” responded Fred.
“Good call,” the Editor nodded approvingly.
‘Perfect!” shouted the Editor-In-Chief! We did it!” (The suits around the table all burst into a round high-fives and backslapping and cheering.)
“Um, sir? inquired Fred. “Are we actually going to print this? I don’t think metal fans are going to like it”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Fred! said the editor. I wouldn’t waste good ink on that Metal crap. The list is bulletproof! Besides those metalheads never read buy or read our magazine. They don’t have any money. Throw it on-line, I doubt anyone will notice but we can still claim to be credible if anyone asks.”
“That concludes our meeting. Well done everyone. I have to go write a 20,000 essay/cover story about why Bob Dylan is the best!” says the Editor. (The room bursts into thunderous applause.)
The suits file out one-by-one and the Editor-in-chief tilts back in his chair relaxed and confident of a job well done. Rock music is still safe for everyone.