Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone on behalf of an organization, or a movement, or something, called National Day of Slayer, wanting to interview me for their website. I had not heard of this National Day of Slayer, but it sounded peculiar enough to pique my interest so I looked at the website. And became all the more intrigued.

As the name would suggest, the folks at National Day of Slayer want to establish a holiday commemorating the great, foundational, uber-heavy band Slayer. To a considerable extent they pursue this goal with a good amount of tongue firmly in cheek, which is a plus. At the same time, there are some serious undertones to the endeavor. National Day of Slayer, as a phrase, is a deliberate play on the National Day of Prayer, and the website and organization seem bent on using Slayer's well-established antipathy towards organized religion as a launching point for their initiative. They also seem to be legitimately concerned to promote the notion that heavy metal constitutes something like a culture unto itself that is worth taking seriously.

All of this became much more clear to me when I got the interview questions over email. These were not easy questions. When I read the first one I almost felt like I was back in graduate school taking an exam: "Are elective cultures, or those which are chosen and not born into, legitimately cultures in a pluralistic society?" Not what I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise. The rest of the questions followed suit, so I gladly replied in kind, though a part of me was still wondering whether there was a joke or a hidden agenda behind this exercise.

The interview went live on the internet a couple days ago, and I was glad to see that there was no hidden agenda - although I didn't know that I was one of three "experts" they had interviewed for a piece dedicated to discussing heavy metal culture. The other two interviewees are Keith Kahn-Harris and Martin Popoff, so I'm in good company and it's an interesting read apart from the typos that mar a couple of my responses. Here's the link:

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