Metal aficionados aren't the cuddliest folks on earth. They're all tattoo-y and unshorn; they wear black T-shirts with pictures of rotting fetuses on them. Their music sounds, to the untrained ear, like two cats having sex in a garbage disposal. They champion bands called Vomit Remnants and Cannibal Corpse. They split their genre into more subgenres than even electronic music does, with happy names like grindcore, splattercore and death metal.
(To create your own death-metal band name, just combine two foul multisyllabic words, and presto! Blasphemous Cellulite. Engorged Melanoma. Sinister Phallus. You can pass time on the bus with this!)
Death metal-ers need someone to love them. So those in the local scene might be more distressed than most folks to learn that the Streetside Records on Watson Road, known throughout the area as the record store for local metal heads, closed its doors this past Sunday. This fact was confirmed for me by the RFT's resident mook Paul "Technically, Death is Technical Metal" Friswold, who referred to the store as the "magic Streetside" before bending my ear for 30 minutes about thrash.
The store's manager, Chris Hines, says he isn't a dedicated fan: "I'm more of a hardcore kid." (See, more genre-splicing.) But he knows the metal community in the town was underserved, and he was glad to help out. "I'm not a huge metal head, but I know the scene well enough. I have a healthy appreciation for metal. People knew to come here to find things they couldn't get anywhere else."
You might be wondering why I'm focusing on the metal section instead of bemoaning another Streetside gone under. As part of the Trans World Entertainment conglomerate, Streetside is melting away, to be replaced by corporate megastores. But, according to Hines, most of his employees are being shuffled to other stores, so the streets won't be flooded with extra-mopey bespectacled know-it-alls. And the thing that gave the store its real character, the metal section, is moving over to the Wherehouse Music (another chain owned by Trans World) on Hampton.
"This [Streetside] and Wherehouse Music are about fifteen minutes apart," says Hines. "So why not put them together? [Trans World] just want to consolidate."
"Consolidate" is one of those words that set off your anti-corporate alarms, but the Streetside chain was done a long time ago when it was bought by CD World, which went bankrupt and was then snatched up by Trans World (which is one of the most "corporate"-sounding names I've heard), which also bought up the foundering Wherehouse chain. The music is still available, so there's certainly a silver lining on this cloud.
"The manager [of Wherehouse] is already setting up a metal section, and when I get over there I'm going to rebuild," says Hines. "It should take me until February to get it back up to speed, but we're already telling our metal fans to head over there."
So slip on your Cantankerous Enema skullcap and get yourself over to Wherehouse, where you, Hines and Friswold can argue about just when Sepultura stopped being a thrash band and became, well, whatever it is Sepultura is now.
(Thanks to tipster Chris Norris.)
A few weeks back I wrote about an anti-racist fundraiser run by Nate Jones, inspired by the murder of native St. Louisan Nick Holmes. According to a post-event e-mail from Jones, it went well.
"The show went awesome," Jones reports. "We filled the Ground Floor to capacity: something over 200 people attended."
They raised more than $1,000 bucks. Nice work.
I recently met Holmes' grandmother Betty, who wasn't concerned with the money at all, so much as she was happy that one of her 23 grandchildren was being remembered. She confessed that it took her family a little time to find the article, as she doesn't read the Riverfront Times. That's okay, Mrs. Holmes.
Jones' next project may be to try to help the victims of a 2001 stabbing in Springfield, which was prosecuted as a hate crime. But if you've got anyone harmed by racial violence that you'd like to suggest, let me know via email@example.com and I'll pass it on.
In case you haven't noticed, a Beatle Bob war of words has erupted in our Letters page. While I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest a truce between Bob and his critics (and I like a good argument as much as the next guy), even the Bob haters (and they are legion) may want to go check out his eighth annual Birthday Bash in the old Soulard Preservation Hall building this Saturday, January 29. Along with Spooky Daly Pride, Brian Henneman and Johnnie Johnson, Domingo "Sam the Sham" Samudio will be making a guest appearance.
That's not too shabby. If, on the other hand, you can't stand Bob dancing at a concert, this is the one night of the year that you know you won't run into him at another show. So either way, you're golden.