With our play-on-words black metal celebration in full effect, it's crucial to remember there is a more important subject at hand during the month of February. I'm referring to Black History Month, a tradition in recognizing the achievements of Black Americans and people of African descent going back to 1915. In honor of this celebration, I'd like to note a few black gentleman in metal. Keep in mind, these guys are not just notable because they're black, but because they're awesome people, and killer musicians.
Carley Coma of CANDIRIA
I have the pleasure of knowing Carley personally, and he remains to be one of my all time favorite people to work with, as seen in my Candiria mini-doc. A true artist, gentleman, and heart warming dude all around, he goes above and beyond to bring his fans some of the highest energy I've ever seen on stage. Keep an eye out for the new Candiria record, coming to Metal Blade Records soon!
Terrance Hobbs of SUFFOCATION
Although Terrance is one of the most badass guitar players, in one of the most brutal bands on the planet, he's another guy who wins at being a warm human. Several years back, I watched a young man begging for change outside a NY venue, in order to afford a ticket to see Suffocation. Once Terrance caught wind of this, he walked outside and handed the beggar $20 to go buy a ticket so he can enjoy the show he was about to play. A+++ dude all the way. Suffocation is about to embark on a European tour, go give that guy a hug!
Tosin Abasi of ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Talk about an artist through and through. We've been watching Tosin tear it up on stage since his days with Reflux, only for him to ditch the touring life and go back to school for music, to be an even better shredder. The outcome of his commitment to music would later inspire countless people, in the form of Animals As Leaders. He's also one of the most humble, well dressed guys I've met in the genre!
Eric Moore and Dean Pleasants of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
Suicidal Tendencies has always been famously interracial with their line-up since the beginning, and with amazing musicians like Moore and Pleasants on board, it's really no question why. The world's best cross over band is touring heavy in 2016, so go catch the fun at a city near you!
William Duval of ALICE IN CHAINS
Filling the shoes of the late Layne Staley is no easy task, but upon catching one of Duvall's first shows with Alice In Chains, it was immediately clear that he wasn't only the right guy for the job, he's the fit the band always needed. Two weeks after the show, I randomly met Duvall in Georgia at a DIY basement grind show. We talked about his passion for the underground scene, and how he likes to support the young bands from his hometown Atlanta, GA. What a rad guy! These days AIC has been low key, but you can find Duvall on the anticipated Giraffe Tongue Orchestra album coming soon!
Doc Coyle of VAGUS NERVE (ex-GOD FORBID)
In 2001 God Forbid released an album called Determination, and I immediately became a huge fan of their work. Having worked with them numerous times soon after, Doc became a good friend and someone I could always rely on for a thoughtful comment, as seen in numerous Metal Injection segments through out the years. Since the disbandment of GF, Doc wasted no time with his new west coast endeavors and continues on with his new band Vagus Nerve. You can also find his thoughtful words on the VH1 blog, or on tour with Meytal Cohen.
Benji Webbe of SKINDRED
Hailing from Wales, Skindred has been a band to make waves with their culturally mixed music featuring metal, reggae, dub, dance, punk, ska, and hip hop. Although vocalist Benji Webbe has seen some better days as of late, he continues to kill it on stage with Skindred in support of their 6th studio release, Volume.
Ice-T, Ill Will, Vincent Price, and Ernie C of BODY COUNT
Body Count first stormed on the metal scene back in 1992 with their controversial hit "Cop Killer", and I can still remember the unsettling feeling it came with, as a young metal head living in NYC. The NYPD was pissed, Govt. officials were pissed, the newspapers had a field day, and the metal community was confused what to do with a rap-metal band making so many sudden waves. This however, is the brilliance of Body Count, a band who spoke their mind and got people talking. Of course, Ice-T went on to see further success in the acting business, but he came full circle once again with the 2014 release of Manslaughter. I literally can't think of the band name now, without saying "Talk Shit, Get Shot".
Derrick Green of Sepultura
Needless to say, Sepultura is a massive band in the timeline of metal. However, nearly two decades later the line up debate is still something being talked about. The way I see it? Much like a kid with recently divorced parents, I get two muthafucking birthdays, and they're both an awesome time! One of the reasons I would never write off Sepultura is because they're still crushing it today! If you've yet to have the pleasure, watch Derrick Green command a large crowd of fierce 'tura fans, it's truly an impressive show.
Doug Pinnick of KING'S X
As one of the earliest metal prog bands to exist, King's X has seen an amazing career spanning over 30 years now. Aside from being highly influential to countless prog metal bands today, front-man Doug Pinnick has also been highly regarded in the metal community for his openness to discuss his homosexuality and anti-christian beliefs. Recently Metal Blade Records has announced the re-release of the band's earlier albums, followed by some tour dates!