Metal Heads: Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation

By Jeffrey Jensen Arnett | Go to book overview

notes

Preface
1.
I interviewed 48 of the boys and collected questionnaires from another 22 male heavy metal fans in the course of collecting the data for the comparison group. These 22 were boys who indicated on a questionnaire of musical preferences that they "strongly liked" heavy metal music. Similarly, with the female fans, 25 were interviewed and information on 13 others (who "strongly liked" heavy metal) was obtained in the course of collecting data for the comparison group.

The data obtained through the volunteer/interview method and the classroom survey method were highly similar. That is, with few exceptions, the differences between the metalheads and other boys that are reported in the following chapters were statistically significant whether the nonmetalheads were compared to the volunteer/interview group, to metalheads surveyed in the classroom, or to both combined.

2.
The mean ages for the comparison groups were 16.9 for boys and 17.7 for the girls. Walser ( 1993) presents survey data indicating that nearly all heavy metal fans are in the 13- to 25-year-old age range. There was one exception in my sample, an unusual 31-year-old man, but I did not include him in the analysis because his age was so much different (for a profile of him, see Arnett, 1993).
3.
I did not interview the adolescents in the comparison group; instead, I turned the questions that I had asked the metalheads in the interview into multiple-choice or open-ended items on a questionnaire for the comparison group, where they could write in their responses.
4.
Walser ( 1993 ) claims that heavy metal fans are almost evenly divided between males and females, including at concerts. The reason for our divergence on this point is that he includes "glam metal" groups like Poison and Bon Jovi as heavy metal, whereas I do not (for reasons I explain in Chapter 3), and the audience for these groups is indeed roughly gender-balanced. For the heavy metal bands I include as metal, such as Judas Priest and Metallica, the audience is predominantly male, as I can attest from attending many of these concerts (and as Walser agrees). With regard to the age range, Walser ( 1993, p. 17) cites a 1984 survey indicating that two-thirds of heavy metal fans are 16-24 years old, with another one-fifth under 15 years old.
5.
Arnett ( 1991a). In the high school sample, which does not include the boys who volunteered through the music store, 33 percent of boys indicated that they liked or strongly liked heavy metal, whereas only 16 percent of girls did.
6.
Holinger and Offer ( 1989) show that the rate of suicide among adolescents in the United States has risen dramatically, by about 300 percent, over the past 30 years. But this increase has taken place almost entirely among white adolescent

-171-

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Metal Heads: Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Photographs vii
  • Preface ix
  • Profile - Jack 1
  • 1 - A Heavy Metal Concert: The Sensory Equivalent of War 7
  • Profile - Nick 19
  • 2 - Heavy Metal Music and the Socialization of Adolescents 23
  • Profile - Mark 35
  • 3 - What is This Thing Called Heavy Metal? 41
  • Profile - Brian 59
  • 4 - The Allure of Heavy Metal 63
  • Profile - Spencer 73
  • 5 - The Effects of Heavy Metal 77
  • Profile - Lew 91
  • 6 - Sources of Alienation I: Family and Community 97
  • Profile - Reggie 111
  • 7 - Sources of Alienation II: School and Religion 117
  • Profile - Jean 135
  • 8 - The Girls of Metal 139
  • Profile - Barry 151
  • 9 - Heavy Metal Music, Individualism, and Adolescent Alienation 155
  • Appendix: Interview Questions 169
  • Notes 171
  • References 183
  • About the Book and Author 189
  • Index 191
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