Truckers in the Wild: NYC
Truckers in the Wild is a six-part series on VICE created in partnership with Hellmann’s. The show follows New York City chefs, brothers, and cookbook authors Max and Eli Sussman as they explore the food-truck phenomenon by finding the best food trucks in six vastly different culinary cities across the country. Together, the brothers learn about the trucks in their natural habitat, and then drive with them out of their comfort zones to see how their menus stand up in completely unnatural environments.
In this episode, the Sussman brothers take the cutesy New York cupcake from the chic streets of Soho to a Brooklyn heavy metal bar. Can cupcakes tame the hearts of these hardcore rock ‘n’ rollers?
Watch the episode
is this the best use of Metallica Font ever?
Remembering Dimebag Darrell, Because No One Else Seems To
Why doesn’t anyone give a shit about Pantera anymore?
Last Friday, I attended an organized tribute/toast to my favorite (dead) guitarist, “Dimebag” Darrell. Though the venue billed the event as “annual,” this was the first New York-area “Dimebag” memorial I had heard about since the Pantera guitarist’s death in 2004, and I did not want to miss it.
I own a fair amount of Pantera gear, but I decided to keep it low-key and sort of preppy that evening. I was hoping to walk in the bar and have all these metal dudes think, “Who is this fucking nerd? I bet he doesn’t know shit.” And I would be like, “Au contraire,” and rattle off a bunch of Dime facts and take a lot of shots, so the metal dudes would be like, “Holy-shit, this dude fucking rules.”
The toast took place at a bar called Idle Hands on Avenue B at 11:59 PM the night of December 7th (Dimebag was shot to death on the 8th, the same date as John Lennon). The flyer promised five-dollar “Black Tooth Grins” (Dime’s signature cocktail) and a Pantera Power Hour to begin promptly after the toast at midnight. We arrived at 11 PM, hoping to beat the crowd but were surprised to find the bar already packed with drunk people. I had never been to Idle Hands before and didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised by the straightness of the patrons. They didn’t seem like quintessential Pantera fans. But, then again, neither did I.
The venue was vaguely 90s hard rock themed, complete with Porno for Pyros posters on the wall and “Spoonman” on the stereo. I guess I was hoping for more of a “Duff’s”-style metal bar, but I wasn’t too disappointed. My group of friends was lucky enough to find a table, so I went to the bar to grab enough Black Tooths and beer to last us through the toast. I turned to the long-hair immediately to my left, gave him a friendly nudge on the shoulder and said, “Fuckin’ Dimebag, right?”
He gave me a confused look and replied, “Um… No thank you.”
OK, I thought, wrong dude. I turned to another guy and tried again.
“Coke or weed?” He asked. “I didn’t even know they sold dime bags anymore.”
Frustrated, I headed towards a guy wearing a Morbid Angel shirt standing near my table.
“Fuckin’ Dimebag, right?”
“Darrell?” He replied. “Yeah… Pantera’s cool.”
The metal scene is traditionally a very macho place. Think long, sweaty manes coiling down the backs of men in black leather, licking their Flying-V guitars as they thrash on stage. Metal is a nerd’s night out. It’s just weird like that. The pit in generally a boys club too. Of course, this has changed. It’s not 1980 anymore. The big-haired, high-cut-bikini-wearing metal groupies are now metal mosher’s or metal musicians themselves. The gender issue has been talked about, but what about black women in metal? Lita Ford has spoken, but where is Tamar-Kali?
In her debut book, What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation In Heavy Metal, music journalist and hardcore metal devote Laina Dawes uncovers black woman’s voices and stories of participation in punk and metal. Being a fan who was tired of the “what are you doing here” looks at shows, she decided to rip open the subject by talking to other black women in the scene. Covering topics from racism, to black woman’s sexuality to personal interviews with women such as Sandra St. Victor, Tamar-Kali, MilitiA and Diamond Rowe, Dawes vowed not to miss a beat. I wanted to know what it was like for Dawes trying to find the black female perspective in the super macho world of metal, so I asked her about it.
VICE: The second chapter of your book is “Metal Can Save Your Life”… how did metal save yours?
Laina Dawes: Metal is commonly perceived to be the outlet for white men to vent their frustrations, to release anger and to escape from their everyday pressures. As a black girl growing up in small-town Ontario, I found that metal helped me express my feelings of alienation and frustration when no one else would listen, or as I thought at the time, cared. What interested me about this project was that many of the women I interviewed felt the same way. As women, and as minorities, the ‘voice’ of black women’s experiences is commonly ignored, and the music served as a way to get those feelings out, and to create an individual way of expressing themselves. You can scream, pump your fists and allow yourself to feel in the same ways as ‘white men’ are ‘allowed to express themselves in the metal scene.
As a girl who plays in a punk band I understand the gender part for sure. Punk/metal are not commonly a woman’s place, especially metal, which is very macho, traditionally. Did you ever play in a band?
No. I do come from a family of musicians, so music was an integral part of my growing up. But I did take guitar and played bass in high school. I lost interest was because I thought that there was no way I would be able to join a band. Who would want me?
Take a Stroll… with Rob Delaney - High on Fire
Dear Matt Pike of my favorite band High on Fire,
How in the name of Fuck do you rock so hard? I can’t even handle it. Your music fuels my days and nights. I am indebted to you for traveling to distant lands to study the filthy ways of the diabolical metal tomahawk assassins and bringing their fury back to my face and ear drum holes. I am but a little Nancy boy and would probably be eaten by a Death Falcon the moment I dared step off the edge of the Earth to follow you.
Anyway, I read that you’re in rehab now. And really, why wouldn’t you be? You make Frodo look like a very seriously embarrassing pussy. You would have hit one chord on your blood covered Les Paul and Sauron would have pissed himself and flooded his subterranean weapon forges with sissy piss, halting all operations and allowing Gandalf the freedom to just fly around on the back of a dragon, drinking Wizard Fresca and banging fairies and shit, instead of having to help Hobbits all day like a chump.
Two VICE Writers Walk Into a Metal Show
I shouldn’t really have to get into why metal is often problematic. It is music made almost exclusively for straight white males by other straight white males, and its lyrics/imagery/sound meet up at the crossroads of power and powerlessness, confidence and insecurity, willful ignorance and abject nerdiness. “Metal Culture” tends to be violent, insular, and you are only allowed to wear black. Also, people in metal bands tend to eat people with more regularity than people in other types of bands, which is not very cool.
Metal is all about power, both overtly and non-overtly. Lyrics that deal with violence are more often than not about possessing agency over whatever you’re doing violence towards, and lyrics that traffic in the occult, or mystical stuff like dragons and clouds and Thor and shit are about the power of knowledge—by inserting obscure references in your songs, you’re creating an inclusionary/exclusionary relationship with the audience. In shutting a part of your potential audience out, you privilege yourself. It’s also arguable that metal accomplishes this more obviously through the harshness of its sonics, but at this point I’m tired of typing a bunch of intellectual shit. The point is that metal is impotent, insecure, offensive and depraved, and I fucking love it.
Last night, two members of the intrepid VICE music squad (me and my friend Beca) went and saw two good metal bands and two kinda shitty metal bands at the New York stop of something called the “18 Nights of Blood” tour. No one bled, despite frequent pleas for blood on the part of the opening band Gunfire-N-Sodomy, who bill themselves as “the world’s only acoustic death metal band.” This is bullshit for a lot of reasons, namely because there are a lot of videos of dudes doing acoustic death metal on YouTube, and judging by the lead singer’s GG Allin t-shirt, he should definitely know that the dude from Anal Cunt once invented Acoustic Death Metal as a joke. Beca and I would later converse with this band’s drummer, and he would refuse to take his luchador mask off. It appeared that he did not know the definition of the word “hyperbolic.” The band consisted of said masked drummer and the aforementioned beshirted singer, joined by a guitarist in a Jesus Lizard t-shirt and a dude who helped the lead singer scream. He was sort of like Flava Flav, if he’d worn all camouflage and a ski-mask. On a scale from “Not Kvlt” to “Kvlt,” I would rate them “Non-Kvlt (Redneck Division).”
“There’s no Williamsburg hipsters in here!” the GNS singer screamed during his band’s set. Well, technically Beca lives in Greenpoint, but I definitely live in Williamsburg, so I had a particularly vested interest in finding out whether or not this was a triumphant rallying cry or a call to have me extinguished. He would later say, “We like to drink, we like to smoke, we like to fuck, and we like to kill. But we’re too fucking stupid to write about all of those things at once. So this song is called ‘Fuck…AND KILL.’”
I’ve known that Dave Mustaine was my biological father ever since last year when I found my mother’s trunk full of Metallica/Megadeth paraphernalia hidden deep within a closet. It took one look at that ridiculous mane of poofy ginger-blonde hair and smirking face to realize that this smug hesher posing with a flying V guitar, this male doppelganger, was undoubtedly my father. I was born in LA in 1983, the year that he was kicked out of the #1 metal band in the world, Metallica, and before he started the #2 metal band, Megadeth. My independent single mother sighed when I confronted her with the truth; she was ashamed of the groupie cling-on status of her past, particularly with this famed hesher fuckup. She confessed the truth and conceded to set up a meeting just a few weeks ago before Megadeth left for their next tour.
I met him at a Starbucks in Sodo, the silhouette of his poofy hair standing out against the neutral browns of the franchise wall. He awkwardly handed me a plush, mint green stuffed bear (I suspect a last-minute Walgreen’s purchase, probably some remaindered Easter animal). Despite nervousness, we attempted to catch up on our lives…and began to hit it off due to the fact that we are both musicians! We have enough ammo to bat around generic conversation about touring, dry-shampoo and how everyone packing gear into the back of the van references the game “Tetris.” I was beginning to think that it wasn’t so weird having Dave Mustaine as your dad!!!!
Unfortunately, things started to go downhill. He didn’t seem too impressed with my description of my band TacocaT, and was disappointed in my choice of bass as an instrument.
“The bass isn’t a difficult instrument to play,” Dave explained. “It’s one step up from the kazoo.”
“Technical skill isnt our #1 priority…and we actually have prominently featured several kazoo solos in our songs,” I said, attempting to explain the band to him. “See, it’s a DIY rock band, you know…we play a lot of feminist queer shows and stuff—”
“Feminist…ugh,” he said with disdain. “You know, that’s fine and all. Let’s talk about something else…what about the rest of your life…do you have a nice boyfriend?”