90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The History, Sounds And Politics Of Heavy Metal

The definitive history of heavy metal and what it’s always been about.

A metal fan crowd surfs in a mosh pit during the heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air in Germany. (Philipp Guelland, DAPD/AP)

A metal fan crowd surfs in a mosh pit during the heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air in Germany. (Philipp Guelland, DAPD/AP)

Heavy metal — rock’s dark side — tends to draw a bright line through music fans, through any crowd.

People run to it, or they run away from it.  Fans hear majesty and hard, dark truth.  Un-fans hear rage and noise.  Fans hear nuance — power metal, thrash metal, black metal, nu metal.  Un-fans hear menace.  Well, they should.  To a point.

Up next On Point: A big new oral history works through the roots and meaning of heavy metal music.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, authors of "Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal." (Greg Cristman/HarperCollins)

Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, authors of “Louder Than Hell.” (Greg Cristman/HarperCollins)

Jon Wiederhorn, co-author of “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal.” He’s senior writer at the rock and heavy metal magazine Revolver. (@LouderThanHell)

Katherine Turman, co-author of “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal.” She’s a music journalist and producer for “Nights With Alice Cooper.” (@KatherineTurman)

Robb Flynn, lead vocalist and guitarist for the heavy metal band Machine Head. (@TheGeneralMH)

A Conversation With Machine Head’s Robb Flynn

Flynn described Machine Head’s typical audience, saying, “They were just there to vent their anger in a healthy way, and we were there to give them a soundtrack to do it.”

Flynn also revealed the tragic story behind the song “Aesthetics Of Hate,” which he wrote after the on-stage murder of Pantera’s guitarist:

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal” by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman with permission from It Books / HarperCollins Publisher.

Playlist

Advisory: The following songs contain explicit content.

Tweets From During The Show

From Tom’s Reading List

Definitive Metal Family Tree

NPR: China’s Artist Provocateur Explores New Medium: Heavy Metal — “The man ArtReview magazine named the most powerful artist in the world is trying his hand at rock stardom. In 2011, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in detention. He was later let go and charged with tax evasion. Now, he has released his first heavy metal song, based on his time in police detention.”

The Guardian: Rocking On: When One Heavy-Metal Frontman Is As Good As Any Other — It is hardly a high-risk strategy to replace one incredibly famous singer with another, but there must surely be an element of defiance in the move, as if the remaining Pilots are saying: “Well, the last thing we need is another preening berk with a hot temper. Let’s go for someone utterly inoffensive this time.” Whether or not this new collaboration works and leads to more commercial success for the hardy grunge survivors is another matter, but at least Bennington won’t be guzzling heroin and thumping people for looking at him a bit funny.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment