Let’s be real: none of us came to metal because we go along to get along. The truth is that the majority of metalheads are in some ways harsh, hostile, antisocial, and outspoken, and the world around us doesn’t always like that. Not only that, but many of us are so used to having our feelings and opinions questioned and dismissed that we’re stubborn as hell and difficult to reach. Simply put, we’re loud people with armor over our hearts, and while the majority of us are polite and well-mannered most of the time, we’re also not the easiest people to put up with.
Maybe this is why metal fans kind of love it when their favorite musicians are grouchy, rude, and incredibly opinionated. There’s a special place in our metal hearts for all the people out there willing to troll a reporter or tell their own fans to fuck off. And while some musicians are annoyingly impossible to deal with, others are heartwarming in their lack of fucks given. One can’t help but feel that they’d make worse music if they were nicer people.
Here’s a list of 10 metal stars who are famously salty and opinionated — and who we’d have no other way…
Maynard James Keenan
It’s real simple: Maynard just doesn’t feel like playing the game. You want to talk to him about Tool? He ain’t talking right now. You want to bring up his millions of devoted fans getting chapped over Tool’s lack of output? He’ll call them “insufferable retards.” The dude has a vision, and it doesn’t involve your ideas, and if you push him on that, well, he’s gonna push back. It’s funny how fans and the press have built an “air of mystery” around the guy when he basically wants you to get off the lawn of his life.
Who listened to Deicide and thought that frontman Glen Benton was going to be a warm, cuddly person? The professional growler is a Floridan fisherman who sings only about hatred, evil, and Satan grinding Christ’s face into salsa. That he has told countless people to fuck off and once described Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine as a “prolapsed rectum” does nothing but track for his character. Sometimes, you’re getting exactly what’s advertised on the label — and this guy burned an inverted cross into his forehead, so, you know, get ready.
It’s not that Peter Dolving is cruel or pedantic, it’s that he just knows he’s right. When it became clear to Dolving that bandmates Anders and Jonas Bjorler would be focusing more on their work with At The Gates than their collaborative band The Haunted, he released a scathing screed calling them out for capitalistic selfishness. And he even noted his own difficult personality, writing, ““I am not a very cheerfulful person. I prefer working to hanging out. Because I love my work more than I love people.” He closes out the whole thing with, “They broke my fucking heart.” Damn, son.
There’s something to be said for a virtuoso who tosses his scarf in your face like you’re a fucking peasant. Yngwie Malmsteen could’ve been that kindly guitar god, whose technical superiority gives him an omnipotent chill. Instead, he’s an opera star of old, shitting on countrymen Entombed in their infancy and refusing to write a song that isn’t about how damn good he is. But we gotta admit, he plays the part well, and if he wasn’t so in your face, he wouldn’t be so believable in it.
The whole ‘What does Corey Taylor thing?’ joke is kind of dumb at the end of the day, because, well, there’s no need to ask. Corey Taylor will tell you exactly what the hell he thinks, whether you like it or not. A lot of this comes from his bone-deep self-deprecating humor, which in turn gives him a sense of pity for anyone who would consider him important and relevant. At the same time, during COVID, he didn’t have a fireside chat, he told you to “put your goddamn mask on.” We love the guy, rabid candor and all.
The stories of Danzig being a pain in the tuchus have become part of his legend. Whether he’s demanding French onion soup or shutting down dreams of a full Misfits tour, Glenn’s participation in a big scene is almost expected at this point. The thing is, Danzig has never backed down on this by trying to act warm and approachable. He’s never made himself street-level — he lives and dies as a satanic goth metal overlord. You can’t hate a dude for doing his thing as hard as possible, even if it’s a thing you hate.
You should know that Fear Factory and Divine Heresy guitarist Dino Cazares will respond to the comment you left on his tweet. He’ll also reply to your comments in the press or banter from your set. He’ll tell the world what he thinks about you even if it results in you kicking his ass onstage. And he never breaks a sweat — the dude will call out his detractors in interviews while looking chilly as hell about it. At least the guy knows what he’d about
There’s something inherently good-natured to Kerry King’s outspoken attitude and snickering sarcasm. There’s a feeling that the Slayer guitarist just has no filter, and so will say what he wants, whenever he wants. Sure, the dude has made some insensitive comments in the past, not to mention worn some T-shirts that invoke a warranted hiss between your teeth. Then again, watch him cuddling his dogs on his Instagram, and it’s tough to get too critical of metal’s favorite chain-wearer.
Of course no one’s surprised to discover that Mayhem’s Necrobutcher isn’t the sunniest of dudes. The bassist helped form one of the most humorless bands in history, after all. But it’s in the recent past — whether he’s drunkenly berating Sam Dunn in Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey or claiming he was on his way to kill bandmate Euronymous himself when Varg Vikernes did — that really shows the depths of his shade. He never promised you a rose garden, or any garden at all.
A little insider baseball here: with Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam D, there’s much more in what he doesn’t say than what he does. Adam won’t shit on a bandmate at random or hate on his fans, but he sure as hell isn’t going to give journalists any info about his personal life, or talk at length about the ‘legacy of metalcore.’ As such, he’s a difficult interview, and can sometimes come off as overly aloof or dismissive because he’s not in the mood to play along. That said, if your method of shielding yourself from the press is to be a madcap nutcase in an Acapulco shirt, you’re way easier to love than some of the other dudes on this list.
Words by Chris Krovatin