When did metal stop being dangerous?

Trendy Iron Maiden tank top. Sorry about the reflection.


I found this item passing by H & M today. When I was a teenager, I was a rebel for listening to Iron Maiden: that was the devil’s music. 30 years later, it’s on tank tops sold in trendy shops to people who probably couldn’t name a single song…

Wait, is this what they call getting old? This reminds me of reading about Dee Snider of Twisted Sister
telling Marilyn Manson (and I paraphrase): “Enjoy being the devil while it lasts. In the 80’s the PMRC dragged me before Congress, but today my songs are played in baseball parks!”

Seriously, it’s great to see that these amazing bands are still doing well and reaching new audiences today!

Jean-Frederic Vachon
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  • Matt Syverson , August 15, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

    Shallow hipster fashion absorbs even that which it has no understanding of.

    • jfvachon , August 15, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

      Well said Matt.

  • Pris , August 16, 2013 @ 7:02 am

    And not just metal, punk and grunge artists are sold in trendy/mass-appealing/affordable fashion shops as well. H&M is especially notorious for doing that.

    However, I don’t think it would be possible without Iron Maiden’s (or their trusted representative’s) consent. The music industry has become a huge shopping mall where musicians aren’t artists, but brands with well-known/catchy names and logos. And that sells.

    • jfvachon , August 16, 2013 @ 7:56 am

      You bring up a good point. As they grow older, bands are less and less concerned about the “purity” (for lack of a better word) of their brand and see it as any businessman would: any opportunity to grow the brand is a good opportunity.

      It’s hard to fault them for wanting to ensure their retirement and provide for the future of their kids. But I guess my objection or surprise is at the bands chosen. We know KISS is a merchandising juggernaut. We know the Stones are a corporation. But Maiden, the Ramones or Bob Marley seemed too authentic to be reduced to hipster marketing.

  • Ms. Ray , August 18, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    I had a similar reaction when I saw a chorus of 6 year olds sing “Flight of Icharus.” At first, I thought, “aaw, how cute.” But, then I realized, “Wait! When has metal become safe enough for kids?” As Pris thoughtfully expressed, it’s not just metal, either. But, I don’t think age has really anything to do with it other than a lack of education and genuine ignorance.

    Music is one of the mortar bricks in the foundation of culture. What is worn (and why) what is seen (and why) and what is heard (and why) defines a lifestyle, a community, and a history.

    If the younger generations who are wearing Sex Pistols and Black Flag gear actually understood who they were and what they stood for, they wouldn’t be sporting them so casually. Most likely, they’d either they’d find new heroes to worship or would be appalled. At the same token, though Maiden, Sister, and other metal legends’ management may have given permission to sell the merchandise, I really doubt that Dee Snider or Steve Harris would be happy to see their logos coupled with a Dior cardigan and capris…

    • jfvachon , August 19, 2013 @ 6:35 am

      Great comments Ms Ray! It’s hard to know the level of agreement these artists had with these endeavours. It’s entirely possible they signed a deal for “various apparels sporting the band logo” with visions of t-shirts and leather jackets but ended up with trendy tank tops. 🙂

      I like your comment on the lost meaning of these icons for the younger generations. Another non-musical figure who gets the same treatment is Che Guevarra. I doubt every kid wearing his image knows what he was about.

      Thanks for the great comments! I love this thread.

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