Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Balls to the Airport

So I’m sitting here working on the computer, and as usual I have iTunes on shuffle.  The song that just came on was “Balls to the Wall” by Accept, a German heavy metal band from the 1980s.  Check out this album cover.

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Now, as hard as this might be to believe today, nobody thought this was gay back then.  Nowadays you take one look at it and you can just imagine the gerbil crawling up his intestine.  But this was your typical metal band, all about pussy and partying, nothing inherently homosexual.

The truly ironic thing, though, is that the guy who popularized the leather and studs look was Rob Halford from Judas Priest, who actually is gay.  (This didn’t become public knowledge until the 90s.) I remember an interview Halford did once where he said that, in the early days of the band, he was frustrated because he had to stay closeted.  One day he was in New York and he walked past a gay leather shop.  He bought a whole bunch of leather stuff and wore it on stage that night.  The crowd went insane for it, and it became the look not only for Priest but for most metal bands as well.  I remember Halford saying something like, “Here’s this stadium full of horny heterosexual teenage boys cheering at the leather and studs, thinking how cool it was, when in reality it was my way of expressing my latent homosexuality in public.”

It’s weird.  As a kid who grew up on metal in the 80s, I can say honestly that we didn’t see anything gay about it.  But, looking back on it now, man, there was a lot of gay shit.  But it wasn’t gay.  In the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey they devote a whole section to this.  Dee Snider, who made transvestitism an art form, laughs it off and says, yeah, this looks really gay now, but trust me, there was nothing gay about it back then.

I’m not gay.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Update: GripeBoy, in the comments to this post.

I was dressing like a mod and took a lot of shit for listening to supposed “gay” bands like Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode when in fact, the most homophobic of all my friends were listening to a hard core biker fag.

Now THAT is fucking funny. 

Posted by Lee on 08/29/07 at 07:21 PM in Life & Culture • Permalink

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