Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"ME"TAL 101 presents Fork Tongue




ALUMNI: IMZ, Underground Hip Hop Artist, USWF's XTREME

Top Pick Of 2013 - MAGIC CIRCLE
M101: So Fork Tongue tell our reader's about what bands you're listening to right now.

Fork Tongue: Oh man, discovering lots of old stuff that I didn't know about is where my head has been at. Lots of old Crust Punk stuff and of course metal. The metal community is amazing in that it never lets good material die. Even if a band only had a demo and 10 people heard it, it will eventually pop up and circulate again. Other than that the band that has been getting most of my listens lately is a doom band named Magic Circle that I cover in my best of column.

M101: You have a really interesting background. Not only are you a Heavy Metal vinyl collector and underground rap artist. You spent a number of years wrestling in backyards and in the squared circle most recently. What was the most "METAL" manuever you've performed or been put into?
FT: Yea, I guess I'm an amalgam of strange combinations. A libertarian, rap music making, professional wrestling heavy metal lover. There's nothing more metal than getting a metal street sign, chair or ladder smashed onto your head I suppose.

M101: You are a diehard Vinyl Collector. You've always got the hot tip on rare metal releases. What is your main source for all this wisdom about Metal?
FT: Message boards. I'll throw in a plug for (yes that's the address, I typed it correctly) and the Nuclear War Now! forum. NWN is a label that releases really underground, death/black/war metal stuff and the forum is a treasure of info about bands that you probably didn't know existed, past and present. is a great review site, with great writers and accompanying columns and the forum is also really active and a great place to keep up with stuff. Especially the "Now Playing" thread. I'm very active over there.

M101: As a participant in both the Hip Hop and Metal scenes. What is your favorite crossover band or album involving those genres? Have you ever been inspired to create a "Rap Metal" record.
FT: I generally dont like any crossover at all. I grew up on rap and didn't really get into metal until I was 17 or so. I'm 33 now and mainstream rap no longer appeals to me but there are a handful of underground rap acts who I still love and ironically almost all of them have metal backgrounds, whether as fans or artists. They have that metal attitude without really crossing the genres at all. I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz - Heavy Metal Kings. Don't be fooled there is no rap metal on there but Away from Voivod clearly did the album art and both are huge metalheads.

M101: Over the years, Metal and aggressive music have become much more acceptable. Has Metal gone commercial? If it has, is it a good thing?
FT: I think metal and other forms of aggressive music are more acceptable but that's just a matter of time passing. Metal and rap for instance are still young genres in the grand scope of things. Believe it or not society is less violent than ever and I think part of that is the cathartic effects of aggressive music, violent movies and video games and so on. It's all a release for people, I don't buy at all that any of it causes violence. If someone says some form of entertainment was their motive, they were already a crackpot. As far as the mainstream question, yes it is more mainstream. But like any form of music there's the radio friendly stuff and there's the more artistic stuff plugging away in the underground. As long as you're willing to dig you can always find the good stuff. Besides, most kids come into metal on Slipknot and bands like that and then when they outgrow that stuff they find bands with more staying power and integrity and become life long fans of the genre and active members of the community, so I have no problem with it.

Music is literally at our fingertips now. What drives you to still hunt down records at the few stores that are still left?
FT: I used to download everything. It got to the point I was downloading shit and never even listening to it. I don't buy many CD's but vinyl gives you a different listening experience thaN digital. With vinyl there's the larger artwork and all that yes. But when I have to take the record out of the jacket, place it down, place the needle, flip the record, place the needle and then put it away I tend to sit down and actually listen. I'm not driving, I'm not at the gym, it's not background music. I'm sitting down with my complete attention on what I'm listening to. It's something I think people who only listen to MP3's and even CD's miss out on. Don't get me wrong though, I love MP3's and the ability to take my music anywhere.

M101: What was your favorite record store that no longer exists? Favorite record store currently?
FT: There was a place directly across the street from where I grew up called Woody's CD's and Tapes that I spent way too much time in. The guy would always kick me out cuz I browsed for so long and I usually had no money to buy since I was probably 8 years old. I did buy my first album thee though. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. My favorite shop now is easily Armageddon Shop in Providence and there is also one in Mass. They specialize in Punk, Hardcore, Metal etc but you'll also find some great Rock and Blues stuff. CD's, Cassette's, Vinyl, they have it all. Time Capsule in Cranston is great for used vinyl. There's a shit ton of vinyl shops in RI now but Armageddon takes the cake because it's geared toward the music I love.

M101: If you could create your own BIG 4 concert who would you put on stage?
FT: Oh man. I'd have to go with Pantera, Sepultura, Acid Bath and Darkthrone. Not my favorite 4 bands or anything but I never got to see Pantera, I'd love to see the original Sepultura, Acid Bath didn't last long enough and Darkthrone doesn't play live.

M101: Do you feel new bands are at a disadvantage now that record labels are not signing the bands the way they used to?
FT: No I think they have an advantage in this age. Metalheads will ALWAYS find the new shit. You don't need to send demo's out anymore. You can make stuff in your bedroom, put it on Bandcamp and if people like it you can get signed. I've seen it happen. Even if you don't get signed you can create your own buzz and do your own shows with the internet. The day of the giant record label is virtually over.

M101: Will the US ever compete with European Fests like WACKEN and Download?
FT: I doubt it. We've have some good ones here though. Maryland Death Fest is great. Chaos in Tejas. There's a pretty good one coming up in Providence in July also. But from what I'm told metal overseas is accepted in the mainstream and I don't mean just a few bands like here. A band like Amon Amarth would have trouble doing their own tour here but they are huge overseas. Just a completely different attitude.
Chaos In Tejas

M101: Do you feel that the international view of Heavy Metal makes it more viable for bands that normally would tour the US to stay overseas now?
FT: Yes, it's actually the same for hip hop. The stuff I like that draws a couple hundred people here draws thousands overseas.

M101: I often equate the success of Metal to Boxing or even MMA. When the economy is in the toilet, people attend more boxing matches, start more bands, and listen to more aggressive music? Why does Metal/Punk appeal to people during bleak economic times?
FT: It's hard music. Lots of it comes from aggression, depression, despair, revolting against the norm, revolting against the system. It's my whole basis of being, from my politics, to the music I make, to the music I listen to. For some people that mindset is based on their surroundings, for some it's bred into them. Lots of people come out of the woodwork in those times.

M101: Finally what releases in 2013 are you looking forward to hearing?
FT: To be honest I have no idea who's coming out with what and when. I tend to hear about stuff right before or right when it comes out. I hate expectations. I usually build stuff up in my head to unreachable expectations so I like to be surprised.

Thank you Fork Tongue, we look forward to your next column. Stay tuned!

Professor Fork Tongue's Syllabus

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