METALLICA Releases American Sign Language (ASL) Videos For Every Song On '72 Seasons'
April 25, 2023
On April 15, METALLICA marked National ASL Day with the announcement of a partnership with the Deaf Professional Arts Network (DPAN) and Amber G Productions teams to release every music video for every song from the band's new "72 Seasons" album in American Sign Language. The news was accompanied by the first of these ASL videos, for the title track, "72 Seasons".
Today, April 25, with the posting of the 11 remaining songs from "72 Seasons" on video with lyrics and ASL, METALLICA becomes not only first rock band to release an entire album in ASL, but the first band to release official videos side by side with an ASL interpreter.
The "72 Seasons" full album ASL video release is the result of METALLICA's connecting with Amber Galloway of AG Productions, whose team is known for signing at several music festivals the band has headlined, including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, and The Deaf Professional Arts Network (DPAN),a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2006 by deaf musician Sean Forbes and music producer Joel Martin to make music accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
"As a deaf musician, who has been a huge fan of METALLICA my entire life, it is an absolute honor to work with the band and Amber G Productions to make an entire album of their songs accessible in American Sign Language," said Sean Forbes. "It is our hope that more bands, artists, performers, will follow the example set by METALLICA and make their music accessible in American Sign Language. There is an entire community of deaf music fans that are ready to experience more music and METALLICA doing this speaks volumes to the deaf and signing communities."
"METALLICA has shown the world what access and inclusiveness can look like," said Amber Galloway. "Oftentimes hearing individuals think that captioning a music video is sufficient. Sadly text does not show intonations, it doesn't show the emotional connection that ASL does. These videos also capture the voices of the instruments."
According to Vice, sign language interpreters are becoming more commonplace when making major music festivals and concerts accessible to fans with hearing loss. Interpreters provide a service, giving ticketholders with a disability a more complete experience for their money.
Performance sign language interpreting requires a high level of preparation and creativity. At the concert, interpreters are not just performing the lyrics; they are also communicating the musicality of the song with their bodies.
Five years ago, LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe praised the sign language interpreter who stole the show at the band's concert by passionately signing the music and lyrics for deaf fans.
Lindsay Rothschild-Cross's interpretation of LAMB OF GOD's June 2018 performance in Austin, Texas was captured on video, which went viral on social media.
"I am always extremely pleased when I see sign language interpreters at our shows, and the show in Austin was no exception," Blythe told ABC News at the time. "A LAMB OF GOD concert is a highly visceral experience for both the performers and our fans — we all feel the music together in an emotional and physical way, creating a symbiotic exchange of energy that can and does have profound effects. Deaf fans are no different, and I have long been aware that hearing impaired folks can feel the vibrations of amplified sound waves from a loud P.A. system."
"That day, there were several interpreters taking turns — they were all working hard and doing a great job, but Lindsay's interpretation of our performance stood out to me enough that I hopped down off the stage and sang beside her for a bit," Blythe continued. "Lindsay and the other interpreters became a part of that massive exchange of energy that occurs at our shows, just as important as any of us performing on stage."
In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act requires any place of public accommodation to provide interpreters if even one person requests one.
Rothschild-Cross told CNN that venues will sometimes place interpreters in mosh pits or in an inaccessible area. Occasionally, she said, the artists will not abide by the rules or will be disrespectful. Some musicians refuse to give her setlists in advance, or ask for the interpreters' spotlights to be turned off.
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