I never gave goth metal much of a fair shake when I was growing up. As a teenager I was under the impression rock music, especially “heavy metal” and “punk rock” were devil music. I grew up in a Baptist house after all.
It’s not like I never dabbled. I got pretty deep into Marylin Manson for a while. Admittedly my musical tastes have fallen mostly well within the confines of pop. I sometimes stray into the weeds with some hip hop or some alternative rock but for the most part I stuck to the up tempo bubble gum of my youth. That’s not to say I didn’t explore other genres but you want a confession, I didn’t even let myself listen to Metallica, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Aerosmith, KISS, Van Halen or heck even Nirvana until I was several years removed from living with my parents, well into my 30s!
My sisters and I snuck behind my parents backs and watched the R-rated teen road trip comedy “Detroit Rock City” because it centered on a group of kids going to a KISS concert. Thus we became obsessed with the rock band KISS. This was the “evil” music I let myself enjoy, the rare sin I could savor but confess later. I felt ashamed that I liked the band Garbage. I hid it from my parents and when they caught me I just made a joke my music was garbage and dad would agree with me. No joke when asked I would say my favorite band was Garbage and dad would laugh yes they are.
I feel robbed. Cheated out of an entire genre of musical experiences that would have touched my soul in very real ways. I did gradually dabble in Manson as stated above. Despite their best efforts they couldn’t purge me of listening to “The Beautiful People”, “Sweat Dreams” or even “The Dope Show.” Mom chalked it up to my rebellion teen years. I discovered it was me suppressing something deep inside that wouldn’t get out until recently.
As the 80’s grew distant I found myself willing to discover the hair bands of the decade. By that time they were considered classic rock, harmless in the grand scheme of things. No longer able to “open the door to hell” my parents and pastors warned me would happen, I was able to enjoy those old albums. Now I am seething.
I was robbed of a childhood, a teenagers angst. I was pressured to sit in my bedroom alone with my toys and my Bible. Part of my unwillingness to socialize was rooted in my own social anxiety, sure, but much of it was also in the limiting nature of activities my conservative parents would allow as they over saw the choke hold of my life.
They kept me on such a short leash I thought it was a tragedy when Mark turned “goth” on Home Improvement. It was a “travesty” when Roseanne let Darlene become an artist with angst. I spent my youth running from, hiding from rock music because it was the work of the devil. Sure I rebelled anyways but I listened to gangsta rap music, far worse than any metal music in terms of lyrical content, yet that was my way of pushing back not against my parents religious hang ups, I did so to resist their racist teachings I have since had to begin coming to terms with.
Apparently my mom recently confessed she never knew what music I was into just she thought it was all “Satanic” some how. Despite the obvious gay overtones they pushed me into liking Disco and pop because it was supposedly harmless. Some how listening to “It’s Raining Men” was more palatable than “Smells Like Teen Spirit” a song I discovered in my 20s despite being all of ten years old when it came out!
Whenever a well meaning friend would recommend a rock or metal album to me I would cringe. That devil music I would often retort, no thanks not for my fragile “christian” mind. It was one of countless experiences I was denied because I grew up in a Midwestern Conservative home.
Here I sit 39 years old discovering an album, a band, an entire genre of music I would have very clearly enjoyed as a teenager, all for the first time! I am listening to an album from 1996. It’s soul wrenching harmonies touching my ears, piercing my soul for the very first time despite having been the right age to enjoy it brand new. In a way I should be grateful I get to discover music from my past, brand new for the first time! Long time fans lack that.
On the other hand, fuck Christianity and it’s persistent brainwashing of innocent youth!