Of rock ‘n’ roll’s many formats, metal is the most aggressive when it comes to volume, attack and sky-high guitar solos. Metal breathes life into music with a variety of styles and subgenres, but they’re all married by a trust in distorted guitars, heavy riffing and hammering rhythms. In honor of all things heavy, here are 10 Headbanger-Approved Quotes from Metal Bands.
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on writing metal music, as told to Gibson.com:
I just write. I don’t make a habit of sitting at home and playing for hours. I used to. But now, I go into my studio and I write. You do what works for you. These days, I like to play for half an hour, get a riff, and that’s it. But I’ve still got a guitar in my bedroom, and if I think of something I record that and get to my studio and put it down.
I still have tons of stuff, loads of riffs. I’m bursting at the seams with ideas right now, all the time. It’s just finding the time. I’m lucky in that regard. Sometimes, I’ll hear something in my head and grab a guitar and record it. Other times, I’ll purposely go into my studio, start playing and something evolves.”
Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister on seeing fewer and fewer young artists committed to rock ‘n’ roll, as told to Rolling Stone:
There's nobody now. There is going to be a huge hole, and nobody to step into it. I think it’s important music. It's the constant music of this generation and the last one and the last one.
Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde on his guitar philosophy, as told to Gibson.com:
Lots of guitar riffs! My philosophy is writing riffs on the E string and the A string. When I used to listen to “Smoke on the Water” or “Iron Man,” those riffs can be played on basically one string. Being a kid, those were the first songs I learned. They’re just riffs. They’re on two strings, the actual riff. That’s just riff writing.
Judas Priest’s Rob Halford on the importance of good songs, as told to Ultimate-Guitar.com:
If you look at the Stones who just played recently and are starting off their 50th anniversary and tour, your brain immediately starts going through all of their songs they've written. I think that's pretty much the same with any band that's had the good luck and good fortune of getting a life in rock and roll to go on a long journey. I really feel that the core of the whole existence of Priest is without a doubt the songs we've written.
Trivium’s Matt Heafy on the current state of metal music, as told to Gibson.com:
You know, being able to tour all around the world and seeing what’s going on is interesting. Metal was discovered by Black Sabbath, and it’s never gone away. Something that does go in and out are the splinter genres of metal. In the early 2000s, there was metal-core, and then death-core. What’s nice about metal is it’s always there. In the U.S. and U.K., I think metal is in an odd spot. It’s looked at as a genre of music and less as a lifestyle and lifelong commitment. It’s beyond music to us. It’s a lifestyle to us. When you look European vs. American festivals, there is nothing like a European metal fest over here. In Europe, you’ll have 100,000 people who are pure metal fans, and it’s paradise for someone into metal. Sometime, I hope that mentality starts making its way back in here.
Ozzy Osbourne on hiring late, great guitarist Randy Rhoads, as told to Guitar World:
I had almost given up when somebody told Sharon [Ozzy's wife and personal manager] about this great guitar player in town named Randy Rhoads. Shortly afterwards, Randy came over to my Los Angeles apartment. He was so frail, tiny and effeminate that I thought, "Oh no, oh hell." But out of politeness, I invited him to play the next day. Unfortunately, when he turned up, I was stoned out of my mind -- I mean, I was on another planet. Some guy woke me up and said, "He's here!" I looked up and Randy started playing from this tiny amp. Even in my semi-consciousness he blew my mind. I told him to come by the next day, and that he had the gig.
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on keeping the guitar effects to a minimum, as told to Gibson.com:
I play very dry, which means I don’t have a delay on my guitar playing when I play rhythm or leads, which is something that my peers are always surprised by, because I guess when a lot of other guitar players go into leads, the delay kicks in, and it helps the sound a little bit and helps the feel and makes it a little bit easier. But, I’m so used to just playing with my amps plugged into my guitar, both rhythms and leads: no echo, no delay, no chorus, maybe a little bit of wah pedal. When I play a clean sound on stage or in the studio, I’ll put a little bit of chorus on there. When I think a song really calls for it, I’ll put some delay on it, and it will be very exaggerated and very obvious. But, for the most part, I’m very simple. As long as I can blend those two amps, I can get my sound, and that’s how I get it.
Slash on staying sober, as told to Guitar World:
I think one of the things I have to credit in terms of my current presence of mind and my playing level is the fact that I’m not inebriated all the time. Because you can do that stuff and have fun, and sometimes you can even have a great night onstage, but it’s not consistent, and it’s a dodgy thing dancing around that line. And getting sober a few years ago made me realize that there’s a point where you just burn out on the whole thing.”
Satchel of Steel Panther on putting on an entertaining rock show, as told to Gibson.com:
We pride ourselves not so much on our musicality but on our bombasticness. We started off as just a cover band. That’s how Van Halen started. They were just doing covers in Hollywood, and that’s how we started too, man. We would really do anything to keep the audience in the room.
KISS’ Gene Simmons on his musical influences, as told to Gibson.com:
Paul McCartney, above everybody else. His approach wasn’t based on how Motown bassists played. The Motown guys were stupendous, but when you listened to those records – everything from The Temptations to The Supremes to Stevie Wonder – the bass line was never something you hummed. It wasn’t a hook. When you heard Beatles songs, sometimes you actually hummed the melody of the bass. “Taxman” is a good example. A lot of those Beatles songs served as the basis for metal – or certainly hard rock. Think of those bass riffs [hums the riff for “Day Tripper”]. Whatever the bass is playing, the guitar is playing. That’s true of “Lady Madonna” and on and on.