Jägermeister is like that dark mysterious friend you have. It takes a while for people to approach, they may be hesitant, they could be afraid, they may not even like what they find; but the moment that one person decides its their drink, they are friends for life.
A lot of my metal head friends are like Jäger. Often misunderstood, they don’t always look normal based on what society deems “normal”. Maybe even a bit scary to approach. But most of them have great passion for what they do, or even how they live their life, and to their loyalty as a friend. To many, this can be somewhat abrasive and hard to take. But I can tell you this, I wouldn’t trade one of my metal heads for a single normal looking, nonmetal person who is overly judgmental about people who look and act different.
It’s true, some metal heads are completely off the reservation. They take things to extreme, but doesn’t every clique have that sub-group? I mean, look at Kanye…the dude is just weird and because he claims to be our generation’s greatest rockstar, that just proves that he is nothing more than a corporate music clown and misinformed douche. C’mon, if your beats come from a sampler, those aren’t beats, that’s just random percussive sounds put together in a machine. I’ll take Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) over any drum machine beat ever created.
I got together with a few of my metal head friends recently to have a few drinks and chat about music, good and bad booze, why we gather to drink, and much more. We never solved the world’s problems, and we couldn’t possibly fix what is wrong with people but had a good time, nonetheless. And that’s what having a few drinks with friends is all about – having a good time.
We started off discussing good and bad beer and a brief chat about what The Thirsty Muse was all about. Like many longtime readers of the ‘Muse might imagine, I didn’t have much to say about the macro beers (fizzy yellow beer in the red and white cans) but I think my friend Ryan may have seen the snob in me as not much of a snob. I mean, I really don’t care what you drink, I just want you to drink the best. If that means a light beer works for you, then fine. It led to the concept of baker’s bread versus bread from the giant shopping center. If you had the choice, wouldn’t you go to the baker and get fresh bread made today? Paul, says no, because he has other things he needs from the store that the baker doesn’t sell and it doesn’t matter, it is just a matter of convenience. Am I to think the easy to find beer is simply convenience and that millions of drinkers just don’t care? I guess – seems legit.
Which as you might imagine, talking about watered-down beer resulted in a few comments about watered-down music (Nickelback came up a lot – but I assure you, I am the ass that doesn’t like their music). We proceeded to talk about great bands touring the country this past summer and I spoke highly of Full Devil Jacket since I got to photograph them on the Hinder tour, meet with the singer, and be reminded about how awesome they are.
Before I get too far, I have to say that Paul and Ryan are two-thirds of the band MG Flash. Unfortunately, Karl (drummer) was out of town or couldn’t make it (short notice on my part). I asked them who their musical influences were and I was surprised to find that both Ryan and Paul didn’t really become musicians until they were in their late teens.
Ryan recalls, “Metalli-Mega-Slayer-Deth” from the late 1980’s were a major influence on his music. He also referred to his brother’s collection of old Judas Priest and Black Sabbath albums as a source of encouragement. We all agreed that Pantera held it together for the metal genre in the 1990’s and kept us moving forward as musicians. Paul was a late-comer to the metal scene and was much more into Megadeth before discovering the older Metallica albums (Kill ’em All, Ride the Lightning) even though And Justice For All was the current Metallica album. The old Metallica he discovered (through researching Dave Mustaine) is what inspired him to take up the bass guitar thanks to the late Cliff Burton.
To pick a fight I said, “Ozzy Sabbath or Dio Sabbath” but that only ran us down a great rabbit hole of Sabbath just being two different bands with two different vocalists – neither was really better, they were just different versions of the same band. The magic of having the right people, and making art. You just can’t get these guys to argue, I mean it was deep thinking, easy drinking, and great conversation about the magical metal music of the late 1970’s, and early 1980’s. The music of MG Flash is an amalgamation of old school rock and metal. MG Flash make music they like to make…not a formula, not playing to the cheap seats, and not giving an ounce of fuck to ever care about making mainstream music.
Once we got into the meat of music, and how the music industry is completely devalued these days, it really got interesting. The magic isn’t gone because the good musicians are dead, the magic is gone because the mystique of discovering bands is lost on social media and anyone can find anyone on YouTube. They/we no longer have to attend a show, or wait for four hours listening to the radio anymore just to catch that one tune. We got lazy. Nobody is going to shows anymore. What happened to packing a 700 person venue with a bunch of sweaty, leather-clad metal heads to see a band?
In fact, Paul and I were at the Crobot show in Columbus at The Alrosa a few months back and it makes the perfect example of what is wrong with music today. It’s not the bands, or musicians, it’s the fact that metal heads, or concert-goers in general, aren’t going to the shows and supporting the bands. Crobot killed it, they played as if there were 100,000 fans in there. Unfortunately, all but about 75 of us attended the show and I can honestly say Columbus let them down. The sad part is that this is not unusual. If a nationally known band can’t always fill a venue, where is the incentive for the regional or even local bands?
Paul had a great comment that relates well to Jäger. It doesn’t matter if you were poor, middle-class, well-to-do, the sports kid, the geek, the artist, musician or whatever clique or social class you were in because if you liked Slayer, you all banded together. That pretty much sums up what metal heads are like. And I’ll say it again, we might be strange and hard to approach (like Jäger), but if you like us, accept us, and like the music we like, you are already one of us.
Finally, if you are not seeing the bands live, it is like leaving that bottle of Jäger on the shelf at the liquor store. Yes, you may have tried it at a friend’s house, you probably heard about it once, you may have even researched it online; but until you buy that bottle, take it home, and drink it, you are not experiencing what it has to offer. You may not even like it…I recommend keeping in the freezer. Add some Red Bull if you don’t like it straight. Try it in orange juice (I love it that way). But for the love of Odin, just because a pop star recommended a whipped vodka, that doesn’t mean that particular type of liquor is the rock star at the party.
Drink responsibly, drink well, raise a fist in the air and bang that head every once in a while! But never be afraid to try something new, even if you don’t think you will like it. Now go out and buy some music, and support an artist.
Learn more about MG Flash here: