BY DAVE OVERKILL (DESTRUCTOR)
MY STORY: "the golden years of heavy metal."
Let’s just say that for the sake of argument that the end of the 1970’s hard rock yielded to the new years for heavy metal. A whole new era would usher in changing the landscape of heavy music forever. This is my story and this is what I remember.
1980: The point of entry for my real musical journey.
The game changer if you will. I was 16 years old and in my younger years I was drawn to hard rock but now something new and great would take root in my life: Across the planet and even in my back yard, a new found world was there for me and my kind to discover. The youth heard the call and answered. From every land we came to recognize what was happening in the world of metal music.
England would bring us all the N.W.O.B.H.M.: Iron Maiden, Motor head, Saxon among dozens upon dozens of other great bands (far too many to mention). Simultaneously the same scene was giving birth to metal heads everywhere. Yes I know this kind of phenomena existed prior to this era with hard rock but we are talking about the time that shaped what we now know as the golden years of heavy metal. What exists today would never have come to be without the 1980’S... A timeless decade.
Me? I was born and bred in America and I vividly remember what it was like to grow up in these times. IT WAS A SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD. The youth were ready for something more. We were hungry for the next thing and it was coming harder and faster, it was completely glorious. Some very different and unique forms of metal music arose from the depths.
Cleveland Ohio was my land of magic, “The Rust Belt” as it was known. It's where I cut my teeth here. Our music scene back then, in the north coast of Ohio was comprised of traditional metal bands as well as a vibrant punk scene and then there was Destructor. In 1984 I was running wild in a band of newfound power. We were quite possibly the first, of many to follow, in the north coast to bring the power thrash metal music that previously didn’t exist in Cleveland.
Canada brought a new school of talent and on the west coast came the bay area thrash scene as well as L.A. scene and surrounding areas. Beckoning yet more new blood. The east coast was breeding a flood all its own as well as the taste of crossover metal. The mixture of punk and thrash. The southern states in particular Florida contributed yet another new style of metal …....Death metal. All of which similar styles grew worldwide. A convergence of metal glory was happening all at once and in every place imaginable.
In Cleveland, Destructor would gain notoriety and play in the same ranks of all of the great new bands of the day and become friends with many (but those stories are for another day...Another blog).
These were the best of times. Full of sex drugs and rock n roll. The new kings would arise and many of the bands born in this era would gain fans and followers who would remain faithful for years to come. I am first and foremost nothing more than a fan and to this day I cherish the great music given to me over time.
An easy ten years would pass and in Cleveland, everything changed in one night for me, for many. The murder of Dave Iannicca brought the end of this epic decade to a screeching halt. A brother lost to a senseless act that I still struggle with to this very day. A turn of events would sweep through our world and change the Cleveland metal scene forever.
The turn of the century laid waste to hair metal and everything that came before it with a well needed scene.
Old school metal music seemingly, at least in America, was all but a thing of the past.
Still in Europe and in other countries this life’s blood still flowed through the people strong and hard. An era ends and another one is born. The 1990’s gave to us here in America a different time that to this day feels like another life for me. Yet unbeknownst to me at this time metal was still growing and possibly even thriving but just not in my corner of the world. Don’t get me wrong some of the bands that came to life in the 1990’s wrote some of my favorite music still enjoyed to this day. But where was the metal world that I have always loved and now missed? It was in Europe!!!!
The festivals grew and the fans came. The seeds of heavy metal music have thrived and are spreading farther and farther reaching more people that ever imagined previously.
Let’s jump ahead to the days we live in now.
With the technology of the internet we, the like-minded, are closer than ever. Every corner of the planet yielding support for all varieties of metal old and new. The fire burns bright and the glory continues for those that keep the faith. This makes my METAL heart glad and thankful that there is still time left to accomplish good things in music. All joined together for one cause, one love....HEAVY METAL
Destructor and I... We are alive, thriving and running full steam ahead
The future for heavy metal is seemingly endless with another generation of bands and fans to give respect to the early days of heavy metal and supporting the talent that carries the flame into the beyond.