Was 'Heavy Metal' Originally A Derogatory Term? DEE SNIDER And SEBASTIAN BACH Can't Seem To Agree

December 29, 2020

Dee Snider and Sebastian Bach have engaged in a Twitter discussion over whether "heavy metal" was originally used as a derogatory term.

No one knows exactly where the term "heavy metal" originated, but some say that various American critics began using it in 1969 or 1970 to describe music that sounded like "heavy metal falling from the sky."

While addressing the fact that the "hair metal" term was coined in the late 1990s as a way to disparage glam metal acts thought to have been all flash and no substance, Dee took it one step further, writing: "Punk, Grunge, Metal, Hair - all derogatory terms given to describe music forms by critics as a put down. And the bands HATED them. The bands inspired by those bands embraced the labels."

In response, Sebastian wrote: "Metal is not a derogatory term. hair ia a term that never existed. would you please stop so we can maybe play festivals in the USA instead of state fairs".

He added: "If the word metal is a derogatory term there would not be a band called METALLICA and you would not have an album called 'For The Love Of Metal'," referring to Snider's 2019 solo release. "Please stop with the non-stop hair tweets we are begging of you".

Undeterred, Dee fired back: "You are wrong, Sebastian. But it is understandable, you are much younger than me and don't know (No attack my friend, just a fact). And it's just a conversation. People need to be edified."

Sebastian replied: " What am I wrong about Dee? Metal is a derogatory term but there is an album called 'For the Love of Metal'? So we all love a derogatory term? How does one please explain a band named @Metallica ? You are wrong, Dee. Metal has always been cool. Hair metal will never be cool."

Dee and Sebastian later apparently agreed to disagree, with Snider writing: "I love Sebastian Bach! During the darkest period of my career, he stood tall as a Dee Snider fan when few would. I will always be grateful to him for not caring what was 'cool' at the moment and speaking our proudly for the things he loved. Thank you SMF#2!"

Bach replied: "I love Dee Snider. I will always love the music he has made. No matter how much Dee sees himself as 'hair metal,' I will always see him on a much higher level than that implies. He is one of the greatest frontmen and vocalists of all time. Any corny label less than that is an insult."

This is not the first time Dee has argued that "heavy metal" was originally meant to be a putdown. This past summer, he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk": "The term 'heavy metal' — I was there, dude — was a derogatory title, assigned to hard rock of a certain type by arrogant, condescending writers and critics. Calling a band heavy metal was originally meant to be a putdown. The bands hated it. The same goes for punk, grunge… The grunge bands hatedSOUNDGARDENhated to be called grunge. They'd get violent, PEARL JAM. This was a snotty — sort of saying, 'Oh, yeah, that's grunge' — dismissive critics' nickname for stuff. And 'hair metal' was that too. None of these names were ever meant to be complimentary, all the bands hated it, but the fans, on the receiving end, we kind of connect with it. But [BLACK] SABBATHhated being called heavy metal. So did [LED] ZEPPELIN. It's the writers dismissing you.

"Everybody thinks they're making music, and then, all of a sudden, you're pigeonholed: 'Oh, you're this,' or, 'You're that.' And it really trivializes what you're trying to do.

"You think 'boy bands' like to be called boy bands?" he asked rhetorically. "Now they're in their fucking 50s, and you're a 'boy' band. It's not up to the artists."

Snider also addressed Sebastian's Twitter tirade in which the former SKID ROW frontman took issue with being called "hair metal."

"[I've been doing my radio show] 'House Of Hair' [for] 22 years, and it resonates with people," Dee said. "For the fans, they don't find it offensive. Whatever it is, it's just a term.

"I didn't name 'House Of Hair'. I got shit about it. But to me, I just say, you know what? You're fighting a losing battle. Sebastian's losing shit. Life's too short.

"I'm the original hair farmer. Whatever. As long as they remember me."

When Sebastian took to his Twitter in July to explain why he dislikes the term "hair metal," he said, "When I 1st aspired to be a vocalist of a band it was called rock n' roll Heavy metal Heavy Rock Hard Rock Glam metal Nobody in the 80s ever started a hair metal band".

He added: "Being labeled something that I never set out to be labeled gets under my skin. It's a pain when people try to rewrite history. Believe me none of us ever set out to be in a hair metal band that did not exist in the 80s"

Bach previously reacted negatively to the term "hair metal" in a 2012 interview with The New York Times, saying: "I am the man who put the hair in hair metal. I also headlined Broadway musicals. I acted in millions of TV shows. I didn't get to star in 'Jekyll And Hyde' on Broadway because of my haircut. My voice has gotten me everything in my life, not my hair."

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