David Konow   Bang Your Head  
David Konow  
Read an Interview with David Konow

Read an Excerpt from Bang Your Head


For more than a quarter century, the crunching riffs, grand guignol theatrics and titanic egos of heavy metal have earned both the contempt of critics and the passionate devotion of generations of fans. From Black Sabbath's profane conception amid the industrial ruins of 1960s Birmingham to the rise of Guns 'N' Roses from the moral rubble of the 1980s Sunset Strip, metal has been mad, bad and dangerous to know—a high-decibel form of aggressive, transgressive, outsider art. And as devotees from Stephen King to Mike Piazza to Brad Pitt know, it's a helluva lotta fun, too.

For writer David Konow, the poignancy of metal's eclipse over the last decade is about more than the slipping away of his generation's youth. It's about the disappearance of a tight-knit parallel universe of bands and bars, groupies and fans built out of sweat and desire (not to mention weed and brew). But now with Ozzy Osbourne dining at the White House and Metal Shop packing Hollywood's Viper Room, metal is rallying itself from its long exile and swaggering back into the spotlight with all the bravado of an all-female Iron Maiden tribute band. So what better time to revisit the past?

With Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal, Konow recreates the lost world of not so long ago where having a Metallica demo tape was worth more than having a roof over your head and he stakes his claim as the keeper of the oral history of the metalhead tribe. Meticulously researched through years of interviews with band members, girlfriends, and just plain hangers-on, Bang Your Head will likely stand as the greatest commemoration of this exciting and misunderstood music.

—John D. Sparks

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  Photo credit: Erik Bauer

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