In his appearance, Reggie was not a typical metalhead. A handsome young black man, he had short, simply styled hair and was nicely dressed in a loose blue denim shirt and fashionable blackand-white pants, although he wore no shoes (it was, after all, a July day in Atlanta). A senior in high school, he was exceptionally articulate for his age and also humorous, in a sardonic way. Although he did not look the part, he was a devoted metalhead. He had a job writing about popular music for a local teen magazine, which he felt gave him a certain authority to debunk misconceptions about heavy metal music.
A lot of People say it's garbage, it's loud, everything sounds the same, it's just people screaming. I say that if you really listen to it, if you know what you're talking about and you really read the lyrics, you wouldn't say that. I consider myself to be a student of it, you know what I mean? 'Cause I work for this magazine, and I've interviewed basically every [metal] band that's come to Atlanta for the past fourand-a-half, five years.
He was skeptical of the idea that heavy metal music should be blamed for human violence and venality. Nasty and violent acts take place every day, he pointed out, and few of the people committing them listen to heavy metal. He also rejected the claim that heavy metal music contributes to suicide. To him, the music was being made a scapegoat for the real problems that teenagers have that drive some of them to suicide.
As far as this thing about teen suicide, if a kid's really disturbed and if his parents aren't bright enough or don't care enough to pick up on it, then it's partly their responsibility, too. What's so funny is that if a kid's listening to a heavy metal record and he kills himself, they blame it on the music. But, you "re telling me, with the suicide rate the way it is for teenagers in this country, that all these kids listen to heavy metal?