What an angry man
You sometimes wonder if it’s worth having a Twitter account, don’t you? Has anyone ever come out of that petty little website with their dignity intact? Certainly not Jamey Jasta, a man who shouted, on Hatebreed’s 2016 song ‘Looking Down The Barrel Of Today’, “THE WORLD’S MY TRIGGER AND I’M HERE TO FUCKING PULL IT!” Well, if his recent online behaviour is anything to go by, the world is also Jasta’s ill-thought-out opinion. And he’s here to fucking tweet it.
This week, 41-year-old Jamey Jasta took to Twitter to express umbrage at the fact that Scottish electro-pop band Chvrches are above beloved French death metal dons Gojira on the line-up for Dia De Los Deftones Festival, the San Diego shindig curated by alt-metal heroes Deftones. “Who is churches with a v and why the fuck are they playing over Gojira,” he wrote. “get tha fuuuuuck outtta here have you ever heard The Heaviest Matter In The Universe you’re gonna get embarrassed off the stage lol no offense. God the music industry suckkkkks sometimes.”
To be held in November, this will be the second Dia De Los Deftones Festival; the first, last year, featured rappers Future and Doja Cat, alongside rock acts such as Vein and Rocket From The Crypt. Similar annoyance was, predictably, expressed in certain corners of the metal community. “Sooo I was looking at deftones line up for dia de Los deftones and I just wanna know why the fuck is doja cat and future in that line up im sick,” one fan wrote on Twitter when the line-up was announced. How bizarre that genre borders are still policed in 2019!
Jasta later clarified: “I’m sure they’re lovely people and a popular group, I don’t agree with the line up order, same w/ other festivals, if anyone is butt hurt about my opinion wait til you hear the podcast! Metal needs to be shown more respect. Longer career, legacy, more albums, bill em higher.”
Well, okay, let’s break this down: Chvrches’ most popular song, ‘Here With Me’, a collaboration with EDM monstrosity Marshmello, has been played more than 233 million times on Spotify. Their last album, last year’s ‘Love Is Dead’, reached Number 11 on the Billboard 200 and Number One on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums. So they’re commercially popular, which is the gold standard for high billing at a music festival. Gojira, meanwhile, are an undoubtedly brilliant band whose highest-ranking album, 2016’s ‘Magma’, reached 24 on the Billboard 200; their most popular track on Spotify, ‘L’énfant Sauvage’, has been streamed 14-and-a-half million times.
Interestingly, ‘Magma’ was also the band’s most accessible, perhaps making this metal purism even more of a moot point. Either way, commercially speaking, Chvrches are simply a bigger band than Gojira. Which is why they’re higher on the bill. Jasta’s point seems to be that the former group aren’t heavy, and are therefore less deserving of the spot – but Deftones’ Chino Moreno explained in a press release when the line-up was announced: “In our second year of our festival, the exciting challenge for us is to make sure we once again give the fans a wonderful day of music that reflects the diversity of our own tastes. Each artist fits a different vertical of the music that we all love. There is truly something for everyone.”
Chvrches’ singer Lauren Mayberry has pointed out on Twitter, too, that Jasta needs to take this up with Deftones. So, if this isn’t about commercial popularity, and it isn’t about genre because Dia De Los Deftones was never a metal festival anyway, what is Jamey Jasta’s problem?
One thing’s certain: Lauren Mayberry appears to have to spend an inordinate amount of time defending her band on social media. Chris Brown described them as “the type of people I wish walked in front of a speeding bus full of mental patients” when they expressed disappointment at Marshmello for working with the rapper, who physically attacked then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Mayberry was then inundated with misogynistic messages from trolls on Twitter. Would Jasta have embarrassed himself by dragging a male-fronted band like this? I do wonder.
So, metal elitism – the tiresome scourge of the genre, whereby you’re more credible because you really like metal, as opposed to liking it in the wrong way, or something – converges with implicit bias, and again Lauren Mayberry finds herself forced to defend Chvrches for no real reason. Jasta also tweeted annoyance that Hatebreed were at the bottom of the bill of Canadian rock festival Edgestfest 20 years ago, as “Local H & us (both still rockin) shoulda been above Flys, Econoline Crush & who is My Friend Steve, Marvelous 3?!”
No-one knows who those bands are, Jamey, because it was two decades ago. Let it go. Edgefest didn’t owe Hatebreed anything back in 1999 and Dia De Los Deftones Festival doesn’t owe the all-male Gojira anything now. Metal is not more ‘real’ or ‘credible’ than any other music and adding your voice to the onslaught of criticism of a band fronted by a woman – still sadly a rarity – is not a great look. Jamey Jasta, please: step away from the trigger.