On April 11th, the Revolver Golden Gods took place, giving praise and recognition to the rock and metal community. Famous musicians, such as Dee Snider, Chris Jericho, Gene Simmons, Marilyn Manson, Slash, Amy Lee, and many more, were in attendance. It was a night meant to not only celebrate the achievements of rock and metal musicians and their offerings, but it was also a night for the fans, a way to honor their passion and their love. And it was a night that did absolutely nothing to spread the word and the importance of rock and metal.
You see, there are tailored award shows quite often that are specifically meant for the fans of a specific genre. Just look at the CMTs, the BET Awards, the Spike Video Game Awards, etc… These are award shows aimed at a specific audiences because of a perceived lack of recognition in the mainstream. “People just don’t understand country!” Have the CMTs. “People think rap and hip hop is all about drugs, money, and gangs.” Have the BET Awards. “People think heavy metal is only about worshipping the devil and doesn’t have any melody!” Have the Revolver Golden Gods and the Metal Hammer awards shows.
See, what it boils down to is that these award shows are for niche markets only. People who are not into hip hop are not going to tune into the BET Awards. Know why? Because there isn’t a reason to tune in. I can safely say that I’ve never seen a BET or CMT Awards show. But my not seeing these award shows is not because of a disdain or hatred towards hip hop or country. It’s because these award shows don’t offer anything new.
I’m not against hip hop or country. As a matter of fact, I truly appreciate the history of both genres and think that there are astonishing artists in each category. I’ll happily listen to some Aesop Rock, Immortal Technique, and KRS One just as quickly as I’ll tune into some Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Earl Scruggs.
But these award shows only pay attention to already established artists who have broken into the mainstream with huge success and neglect mentioning the artists who are struggling and fighting to make it to some state of recognition. Look at the winners of many of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards: Black Veil Brides, Kiss, Rush, Five Finger Death Punch, Slash, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, etc… The only artist that got recognition that isn’t very well known over here in the States is X-Japan, who happen to be pretty damn huge in Japan and other parts of the world.
Look, I realize that for ever artist that makes it big there are at least 1,000 that are screaming for a tenth of that attention. Hell, a hundredth! All I’m asking for is a few categories that recognize how artists are utilizing new social media platforms in unique and interesting ways, such as a “Best Soundcloud Artist” entry. Perhaps “Best Independently Released Album”?
I’d also love to see categories that represent genres that aren’t as widely recognized, such as “Best Progressive Rock/Metal Artist”, “Heaviest Artist Of The Year” (if Meshuggah puts out an album that year, they automatically win, FYI), “Most Inventive Artist” (this could be usage of new instrumentation, clever use of studio production, etc…), and so on. Hopefully you see my point here. This is an opportunity for artists that wouldn’t normally get a wink and nod to get that bit of attention.
Or what about recognizing artists from countries that people wouldn’t expect to hear from? India is currently exporting a great deal of astounding metal that I’m sure few of you have heard. But that’s not your fault nor should you feel like you are supposed to know these things. After all, how can you? The Internet is such a massive place now that the very concept of finding anything without knowing where exactly to begin is beyond daunting. It’s actually quite terrifying.
What I’m trying to say is that these niche award ceremonies are in a position of power. They are able to not only appease their core audience, they can educate them at the same time. They can be seen as an event to learn about new, upcoming, or interesting artists that would normally pass under the consumers radars. Why not let some of the hosts and special guests talk about the music that they are listening to and what they feel is going to be the future of the genre?
I also want to take a moment here to say that I can probably easily be seen as a hypocrite by writing this article and yet posting news stories about Korn, Staind, and a multitude of other artists that don’t need any more recognition. And you’d be right, I definitely do that.
But do me a favor and dig around a little bit. Remember when I was on a kick posting stories about TesseracT? They were, at the time, basically unknown to mainstream listeners but I couldn’t get enough of them. And my posting stories about them worked! Several times I received emails and tweets from readers who wanted to thank me for turning them onto the band.
Or what about my Best Albums of 2011, Leprous and White Willow? I guarantee you that they have nowhere near the recognition of a vast majority of the bands I post about. But I listened to them, fell in love and I wanted to share that love with you, because I believe that you would enjoy them as well.
Yes, I’m going to post about the big name bands a great deal. But know that when I post about bands you haven’t heard of, it’s because I think there is something special going on and I hope that you trust me and give them a shot. No, you may not agree with every choice I make. But all it takes is for you to hear that one band that takes your breath away for me to feel like I’ve succeeded. THAT is what I want the Revolver Golden Gods Awards to do for me.
Got any thoughts/questions/concerns for Jonny B.? Shoot him a message on Twitter!
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