Metalheads, we're everywhere. Even a member Al-Qaeda throws up the horns! While we typically don't like to get all political here on the blog (we save that for the Livecast), an interesting story has arose in the wake of the death of Osama Bin Laden (what do you mean you didn't know he's dead?!). Turns out one of his potential successors, Adam Gadahn is an American convert now living in Pakistan, who before converting to Islam at 17, wrote for death metal zines and started a one-man death metal band he named Aphasia. So who the fuck is Adam Gadahn?
According to this 2007 New Yorker profile, he was born Adam Pearlman, his dad was a Jew and he was raised Protestant and was home schooled on a farm. He did not have a toilet as a child He picked up an interest in death metal around age 15, became engulfed in the genre, and eventually joined the early 90s tape trading scene. That's right, before there were MP3 blogs, people actually mailed each other cassette tapes, and it would take weeks! He formed a one-man metal band he named Aphasia. The New Yorker got their hands on the tape and a message he sent a friend along with it which described the music as "an experimental symphonic ambient electronic industrial noise collage, depending upon the listener’s point of view." Amazing! I can't begin to tell you how many bands send us experimental symphonic ambient electronic industrial noise collage nowadays. Clearly, he was ahead of his time.
Ironically, on the tape, there is a spoken word message to legendary Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner about how Adam is not cool with death:
At one point, Gadahn can be heard speaking quickly, with the intonation of a radio talk-show host. Referring to one of death metal’s pioneers, Chuck Schuldiner, who wrote a pro-choice, pro-death-penalty song, Gadahn says, "Not for it myself, kind of against it, in fact. But Chuck thinks it’s a great idea. Well, Chuck, you want to kill people, go ahead and do it. Anyway, no, he’s talking about institutionalized murder. I mean, like, stuff like the death penalty and abortion. I don’t know, abortion seems to be a clear issue to me, so does the death penalty. Not really into the killing-people thing."
He also wrote for a LA-area death metal zine called Xenocide. The Gauntlet even has a few of his write ups.
Like most people around 1995, Gadahn got America Online. At this point, he was sort of over death metal and started browsing Islamic message boards intrigued by their messages. Eventually, he converted to Islam. He then went super-fundementalist and eventually assaulted his mentor and the chairman of his mosque, Haitham Bundakji. He fled the country, moving to Pakistan where he married an Afghan refugee. He eventually went all coo-coo for Al-Queda becoming the first American to be wanted for treason in 50 years. I guess he got over not being into the whole killing-people thing.
Hey Adam, thanks a lot for giving the mainstream media yet another reason to talk shit on death metal. We are giving this scumbag more attention than he really deserves but there is clearly a lesson to be learned here… one of you can end up in Al Qaeda. So I will make sure to turn over all of our site records to the Justice Department. Oh, who are we kidding? They already have access to our site records… it's the American way!