an interview with five OSR "luminaries" - James M. from Grognardia, James R. from LotFPWFRP, Thomas from Original Edition Fantasy, Zak of Playing D&D With Porn Stars, and Michael from Chicago Wiz's RPG Blog.
One of the questions I thought was interesting was "You're off to a desert island – what’s the one album you’d bring and why?"
With the exception of James M. who demurred by saying "No idea. I'm not a huge lover of music, popular or otherwise" (which, may I point out, is just weird - how can you not love music?!), the rest of the interviewees all picked Metal (or, "Hard Rock", in Michael's case) bands: Iron Maiden (James R.), Black Sabbath (Thomas), Eyehategod (Zak), and Lez Zeppelin (Michael). And, even though James M. chose not to answer, he has mentioned several times on his blog that one of the people he learned to play D&D with was a "metal-head."
Until I got into reading blogs from the OSR, I had never heard of so many self-proclaimed metal-heads playing D&D/RPGs.
Where I grew up in the early 80s in Sandy, Utah (a suburb of Salt Lake City), the metal-heads didn't play D&D. They wore the now ubiquitous gamer uniform of faded jeans, old tennis shoes, and black heavy metal concert t-shirts, and then had long hair. But, they were not gamers. This group of metal-heads (or, as we called them back then, "Hessians") only pretty much wanted to talk about music (our metal bands of choice were Iron Maiden, Saxon, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest from what I remember), horror movies (we had just watched "The Thing" and "Videodrome" on a friend's VCR), or girls. That was pretty much it. One thing that we didn't talk about was religion, which was a refreshing change of pace for a non-Mormon Junior High School kid like me growing up in Utah. As I recall, non of my Hessian friends were Mormon, which is what I believe drew me to start hanging out with them in the first place - our common ground was that we were outsiders. Later on this particular group started going to parties, doing vodka-shots around age 14, and a couple years after that, they got into drugs. I stopped hanging out with this group right about this time.
Our "sworn enemies" at the time were what we called the "Preppies", or the New Wavers. They wore pastel-colored short-sleeve Izod shirts, penny loafers or top-siders with no socks, and had short, neatly trimmed hair (almost all of it blonde). They listened to the Thompson Twins and Duran Duran and later on, some ventured into Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but most of them found that music too risque. They were also, almost to a man, Mormon.
I really didn't fit into either group, but the Hessians were my friends (and my protectors, for awhile, when I used to get hassled by bullies for not "going to Church") until they got into drugs, which is when I decided that we really didn't have that much in common after all.
Right around that time, I met a "third group" at school. It was a mixture of non-Mormons and what we called "Jack-Mormons" (meaning, they were Mormon by birth and tradition, but they didn't really practice the teachings or talk about it all the time). The musical tastes were all over the map - some listened to the local "rock" station, KSRP-FM (I might be getting the call letters wrong, but I'm pretty sure that was it) that played an eclectic mix of stuff like Pink Floyd, Quiet Riot, the Police, and Hall & Oates, some listened to country (although we tried to pretend they didn't), and some listened to underground college radio stations that the rest of us had never heard of the played bands with names like the Circle Jerks and Suicidal Tendencies. Some were smart kids. Some were art kids. None were jocks although some of us played soccer after school in an AYSO league. The clothes styles were all over the map - at the time, I distinctly remember wearing gray, black or brown corduroy pants with either long-sleeve button-up shirts and sweaters, or sometimes with short-sleeve graphic t-shirts. I guess maybe we were nerds, but the group was such a mish-mosh that the nerd label really doesn't fit. It was as a member of this group that I first heard of U2, INXS, Dire Straits, and Howard Jones. I also got the confidence to ask girls out to school functions like the roller-skating party held during school hours for the kids who had achieved above a 3.5 GPA for that quarter. I also learned to draw better, and got into sword & sorcery fantasy and classic science fiction. So, like I said... a mixture of nerd and non-nerd, I guess.
Anyway, based on my experiences, I found it interesting that it seems there is such a big correlation these days between metal music and RPGs. What's your experience with music and gaming? Are you all mostly metal-heads, as it seems is the norm, or do you have different tastes?
Every once in a while, I've mentioned at the ends of my posts where I am, what I'm drinking, and what I'm listening to. I'm going to try to make that a more regular habit. These days, my listening tastes, in general tend to be more in the vein of jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chet Baker), electronica (I'm a big Thievery Corporation fan), classic rock (the Police, the Clash, Zep, the Stones), some old 80s stuff (like classic U2 and New Order), and the occasional "alternative" (if that's even a label any more) track.
Hanging: Home Office
Drinking: Anchor Steam beer
Listening: "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo & the Bunnymen