Future of music too much for old farts

This vintage Van Dyke column ran in the Nevada Weekly on Oct. 5, 1994.

I have heard the future of rock ’n’ roll, and it is really, really loud. Well, wait a sec. That’s slightly melodramatic and inaccurate. How about: I have heard a sub-segment of rock ’n’ roll that will probably get bigger in the future, and it wants to eat your mama.

Count me in among the legion of old farts who just can’t hack it with these rockin’ ghouls who purvey the Boschian sounds of death metal to a cowering planet. Have you heard some of this shit? A couple of creeps have moved into my neighborhood, two boys who are probably in junior high, and I can tell already, just by overhearing the stuff they play on their stereo, that society has lost the battle for these tortured minds.

One recent Friday night, their music was being played at the volume level of a prison riot being quelled by cement trucks, and all of us in the vicinity appreciated the boys’ willingness to share cut after cut of what sounded like monsters eating box cars. I’m not speaking in simile here. I’m talking 50-foot monsters gleefully dismantling a battleship.

It was awesome. And weird. Here you have these two dudesicles, out in their yard, giggling and goofing around like teenboys for generations have done. Only these guys, instead of goofing to the sounds of Led Zepplin, or The Stones, or Chuck Berry, are goofing around to music that’s perfect for patricide.

I found myself wondering things like: Do these guys know any tunes from My Fair Lady? If I asked them politely to turn that satanic shit down, would they put me on the top of their “pigs to be killed later” list? Are these the kind of guys who see Natural Born Killers and actually buy into all that “liberation through the act of murder” jazz?

I imagined them going to school two, maybe three times a week, filling their Nightmare on Elm Street lunchboxes with Fritos and Ho Ho’s and cigs, and then doodling scenes of dinosaurs squashing Shakespeare during English lit.

At this point, I should probably cough up that old standard line of cyclical understanding and compassion, which says, “What robot death metal is to us, The Stones and The Doors were to our parents.” Bunk. There’s an extra edge now, a line that’s been crossed. It’s the difference between The Thing and Faces of Death, Part 4. At least with “Let’s Spend the Night Together” or “Strange Days,” we didn’t have to wade through 23 tracks of welding sound effects to see if there was a song in there somewhere.

It’s probably not that bad, of course. And sure, I’m being a complete putz. I’m sure these lads will sagely and safely navigate the tricky waters of adolescence and grow up to become fine, upstanding droogs, running a beef jerky supply house by day and selling black-market plutonium to religious fanatics by night.