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Dave Hunt VI: Hellfest, the Diamond King and Mr Mustaine
Hellfest was a blast. Exhausting, but good. One of the things I liked most was the contrast between Megadeth and my personal highlight of the festival, King Diamond. Mustaine has reportedly refused to play alongside other bands with overtly anti-christian stances (e.g. Rotting Christ, Dissection) in the past – Wikipedia will tell you that it’s always been in a self-effacing spirit where Megadeth simply bow out gracefully, but anyone with a brain can see that faced with an ultimatum, festival organisers will back the bigger band. It also appears he can’t keep his mouth shut about American politics and things like homosexuality seen from a christian point of view. So it was lovely to see King Diamond come out with a rather unequivocal backdrop immediately after Megadeth’s set. All the more so, because on top of chronic back problems, less than two years ago King underwent triple heart bypass surgery.
SOME GUY CALLED DAVE
When Mustaine speaks out, he cannot ever do so as just some guy called Dave – it’s unavoidably the case that he does so from the Megadeth podium. He gave up the right to be a loudmouthed private moron in favour of always having an automatic platform in exchange for millions of dollars and the opportunity of a lifestyle thousands dream of. That’s celebrity. The thing is, politicians, for example, do that intentionally. If they ‘rise’ to office and then complain that everyone keeps taking what they say seriously, well, cry me a fucking river. But musicians? It’s a blurred line. Most are either politically unsophisticated or not massively interested in being ideologues. And virtually all of them got where they are because they wanted to play rather than pontificate.
SELL YOUR DAUGHTER
Is it odious for someone in a position of influence to denounce homosexuality, with reference to an anachronistic, bigoted text that demands fucking murder for fuck’s sake, and that any credible adherents of the faith would reject to the point of embarrassment? Yep. To be honest, it seems likely to me that intolerant christian attitudes towards homosexuality will one day be looked back upon in a similar light to racial segregation. (And should anyone wish to observe that the bible may command homophobia, but not xenophobia, well, where to start? Perhaps Exodus 21, where we’re told it’s fine to sell your daughter to a compatriot so he can fuck and beat her, but not to a foreigner. The blanks between that and the Amalekite genocide pretty much fill themselves in). Is it repulsive and at least faintly ridiculous to see a metal musician publically agreeing with people who have an agenda to reconnect church and state? Sure is.
Is it then all the more inspirational to see a man about whom nary a word has been said other than that he is polite, dignified, professional and treats people with respect, overcome huge personal catastrophes and still rule the roost with all the occult theatre, pomp, silliness and evocative power that metal can muster? Yep.
TIME TO CHANGE
There is a place for seriousness, earnestness, die-to-defend-it passion in music. Of course there is, be it the semi-articulate roar of Q: And Children…, Nathrakh’s own paeans to detestation, or just as an example from a totally different angle, the anguish of E Lucevan Le Stelle with its lyrics strangely resembling the line from Life Eternal by Mayhem – ‘How beautiful life is now when my time has come’. But when you’re up against an ageing bloke in makeup singing falsetto, and you’re the one left looking juvenile and foolish, maybe it’s time to change something.
Picture credit: Helen Moss