Metal Heads: Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation

By Jeffrey Jensen Arnett | Go to book overview

PROFILE
Barry

Barry had long, curly, nicely groomed black hair. His features were dark; during the interview he said he was mainly of Peruvian and Italian ancestry, with some Irish and Polish as well. He had a muscular build, which was accented by the sleeveless black shirt he was wearing. It looked like he had not shaved in a while; there was maybe a week's worth of growth to his beard, all of it jet black.

There was a fierce intensity about him. He spoke emphatically and passionately about everything that came up in the interview, as if he contained a tremendous energy that surfaced no matter what the topic. He was intelligent and thoughtful. However, he also seemed restless and erratic, as if he were barely in control of the energy he possessed.

His life was in disarray. He had been fired from his job that morning. During the past week he had either missed work or arrived late nearly every day, and when he arrived late again that day the boss fired him. His mother had gone out of town for the week, and in her absence he had gone on a spree of alcohol and drug use that left him in no condition to work each morning. He had taken "uppers" until late at night, "downers" to make him steep, then "uppers" to get him up again. The result was that "I would get too screwed up and then I'd sleep past the time I was supposed to wake up."

By "downers," he explained, he meant alcohol and marijuana; the "upper" he used was cocaine. He seemed to recognize that he had a problem controlling his substance use, although he did not see himself as being dependent on drugs. "I don't feel that I have a drug addiction problem," he said. "I just feel I have a problem with trying to control myself, of when I'm going to do it and when I'm not."

He had come to rely on the drugs to relax him and help him unwind.

The downer before the bedtime is just kind of a nice thing for me to sit back and enjoy. [What kind of feeling does it induce?] It induces

-151-

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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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