align="left" />Guest blog - Dee Snider is singer with glam metal veterans Twisted Sister.
I first became conscious of the misuse of the metal horns when I read an article a few years ago in the brilliant, sarcastic, fictitious, weekly newspaper The Onion. It was entitled Metal Council Convenes To Discuss 'Metal Hand Sign' Abuse and it was a hysterical send up on how it seemed everyone was throwing the metal horns, and for all the wrong reasons.
A couple of years later I was asked to be a part of a new reality show called Gone Country. The idea for the program was simple: take non-country music singers and subject them to an intense two weeks of “education” to the country way of life and music style and teach us how to be country music stars. Heading down to Nashville, I fully expected to be bombarded by iconic imagery and philosophy.
What I was not prepared for, was repeated posing and photographs by the show’s host (John Rich) and other country music icons, decked out in their country music finest (you know, boots, hats, ties, horses, the works) throwing the heavy metal horns. Some with big, toothy southern smiles and others with snarling faces and mouths wide open. You know... the metal face.
I was stunned. This was a clear violation of the Mason Dixon Accord of 1856, signed at the end of the Civil War. To sum up pages and pages of rhetoric, legalese and political bullshit, it says: “You don’t fuck with our shit and we won’t fuck with yours.” Or something like that. Bottom line: this genre crossing was never supposed to happen.
All of a sudden, it seemed like I couldn’t open a magazine or turn on the television from that point on without seeing some usurper to our symbol, throwing the metal horns.
And not just country and western artists. Hip-hop artists, pop singers, jam bands, boy bands, jazz musicians, pop divas, R&B singers, ‘tween rockstars, hell, I even saw a photo of Miley Cyrus - Miss Hanna Montana herself - throwing the horns, and smiling. What the hell is going on?
But it doesn’t stop there. The metal horns, once thrown exclusively at heavy metal concerts or in the act of doing something “metal,” are now being thrown everywhere, and being entirely misused. I submit for your consideration exhibits A-C:
I was in a clothing store and heard a customer ask some preppy sales girl to find a specific sized, pair of pants for her. Upon taking the requested item off the shelf, the sales girl... threw the metal horns. That’s not metal!
That’s not even an accomplishment worthy of any sort of celebration. It should be noted that a Bon Jovi song was playing on the instore music system. I have a theory about Bon Jovi’s culpability in the abuse of the metal horns. I’ll explain later.***
While waiting in line at a grocery store, I saw a middle-aged guy struggling at the self-check out lane. Upon successfully completing the purchase of his six items... the idiot threw the metal horns. What the hell is that?
Sure, those self-check lanes can be a bitch, and successfully navigating one is an accomplishment of sorts, but throwing the horns? Note: There was a photo of Jon Bon Jovi on the cover of a nearby magazine, smiling. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I was at the airport waiting for my wife to come out of the bathroom. I saw a little boy, five or six years old tops, walk out of the men’s room, still adjusting his fly. A woman, who had been standing near me, called out to the child, “How did it go Jimmy?” Jimmy looked up at his Mom, smiled ear to ear... and threw the metal horns. What?
To make matters worse... Mom threw little Jimmy the horns back! That’s just not right.
What was once a symbol of solidarity and rebellion exclusively for a community of metal heads, has now become a casual symbol, signifying any modicum of success at anything or just something to do with your hands in any photo that isn’t a wedding picture or a mug shot (though I have seen the horns thrown in one or two wedding photos).
This is wrong. It’s time we - the heavy metal community - took our horns back. We need to lay down the law and reclaim that which is rightfully ours. Let’s identify the perpetrators/ violators and let them know that they are treading on sacred ground.
Let’s post photos of celebrity violators on this website and send them e-mails, citations and letters calling them out on their misuse and demanding they cease metal horn usage.
And as far as, Joe and Jane Non-Headbanger go, we need to publicly call them out and shun them (there’s nothing quite like a good shunning) for their misuse of the horns and issue them warnings against any future use. (You will find an easy to print form available on Takebackthehorns.com.)
We must let them all know that we are watching... and we’re not gonna take it anymore! (I had to get that in there somewhere).
So join me, join all true headbangers - join the fight to take back that which is rightfully ours and return the metal horns to their former metal glory.
*** In the interest of complete disclosure it should be noted that I tend to blame Bon Jovi for pretty much everything wrong in the world. The death of 80’s metal, the failing record industry, the crumbling economy, the Bush presidency, etc. are all Bon Jovi’s fault.
While I can back each of my accusations with statistics, solid arguments and physical evidence, my wife Suzette insists that I’m just jealous because Bon Jovi continues to be successful and Jon Bon Jovi is handsome. There may be some truth to this.