Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: The Foundation and History of Metal — With the O.G Metalhead!


Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop, Butcher Crew! It’s ya girl, The Saw. A couple years ago, while on college radio, I put the O.G. (aka, my dad) in the hot seat, in The Saw’s Electric Chair Podcast. He is an excellent resource for The Saw and The Butcher Shop because of his knowledge of, and experience in Metal. We talked about Metal and how it has evolved over time, from the O.G.’s day to modern times.

Soon, I will have The Electric Chair back up and running in The Butcher shop, and I will have new interviews and new guests hooked-up (including the O.G.). Until then, I’ve asked the O.G. to talk more specifically about the fundamental creation of what we know, today, as “Metal.”

Metal – Founded on the Utter Rejection of All Things Esteemed to Be “Worthy”

So, we already know that, in 1970 “Metal” was invented in the theme and sound of Black Sabbath. However, that acknowledgement is in hindsight – we looked back (at a later time) to discover the fact of the past. And that fact didn’t occur in a vacuum. Black Sabbath was an experiment in revolt over the mainstream Rock-n-Roll of the 60s.

If you would listen to mainstream music in the early 1960s, it’s theme and sound was tempered. It was “safe” and it was “worthy” of mainstream play. It was vocal focused. No matter if the subject is Rock-n-Roll or Country/Western or Folk, etc. In the mid-60s this starkly changed, with the crashing of The Beatles into mainstream consciousness. Think what you will of The Beatles, they changed the trajectory of the music industry – with much more attention on the band, as a whole, and not just the vocals and vocalists. Music altogether changed, dramatically, at this juncture in time.

The Counter-Culture of the 60s drove this paradigm shift, and especially in the music scene. Love, Peace, and Flowers were the expressions and catch-phrases that closed out the 60s. “Summer of Love” was the mainstream catch-all to describe this era. Meanwhile, in the Underground world, an undertow of a darker current was churning. Bands like Led Zeppelin were taking the next evolutionary step in the scene; heavier music, paired with the themes of “Love, Peace, and Flowers.”

While mainstream society attempted to control the narrative, Led Zeppelin (and many others) quickly gained traction underground, and began to shift the narrative in a new direction. In a word, that new direction was “rebellion.” It was a “rejection” of the norm. While mainstream claimed “revolution,” the undertow of the Underground swallowed the movement, and carried it away.

Black Sabbath, in 1970, marked an utter and complete rejection of all things mainstream. The band, their theme, and their sound clearly signaled a breakdown of communication. While Zeppelin (and the like) were attempting the takeover of mainstream consciousness, Black Sabbath rejected the entire thing! It was almost a counter-existence. If mainstream was the goal, Metal would be the antithesis of that goal – an existence in the dark shadows; a new way of thinking. “Metal” was not a product of a band wishing they could be mainstream, it was a statement of rejection, revolt, and rebellion AGAINST mainstream! In essence, whatever you say is acceptable and “worthy,” Black Sabbath – Metal – determined it to be worthy of rejection and unacceptable altogether.

THIS is the fundamental foundation on which Metal was forged. When it came into existence, it’s dark themes and frightening sounds identified it as something “other than;” something different and, therefore, dangerous. Black Sabbath said, “I will not look like you or sound like you, and I will embrace all the things that frighten you.” THIS is the concrete reality of Metal.

Oh, I’m just getting started! I’ve got more to say about that!

— The O.G.