Here we go!
A few weeks back, Kevin Lyman, the co-founder of Mayhem Fest, made some disparaging remarks about metal and the state of the scene as regards to Mayhem Fest. He spoke about headliners being just concerned for themselves and not the up and coming artists. To refresh your memory, here is exactly what he said:
"The bands at the top all demand a certain level of fee to be on tour. Unlike punk rock, metal never knows how to take a step back to move the whole scene forward. That's how punk rock was. That's how we nurtured punk rock. Bad Religion would take a little less than they could on their own to bring the whole scene forward, so we could make sure we had a good [touring] package around them. Metal doesn't seem to have that concern, never has, never has since I was working in the clubs in the '80s. It's always about a 'me, me, me' thing."
What happened was metal chased girls away because what happened was metal aged," he said. "Metal got gray, bald and fat. And metal was about danger. When you went to a metal show, it was dudes onstage; there was some danger in it."
He went on to call the current Mayhem Fest lineup "the best available for what we had to work with," which wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the festival.
If I was Kerry King, a member of the band that is the headliner of said Mayhem Festival, these comments would come off a bit insulting. King is not somebody who holds back his opinion and it was only a matter of time until somebody asked him about it.
That's exactly what happened over the weekend when King was interviewed by National Rock Review and asked about the Lyman comments, and King responded in typical King fashion:
"What a douche. I do care [about what he said], because that directly affects this product [referring to the Mayhem festival]. But at the end of the day — let me say this — when you think of the old and fat and [bald]… Okay, I got the 'bald' part — I get it — but, I mean, when you think of that statement, do you think of me, or are you thinking fucking Lyman? Dude, I look like a fucking convict; I'm not here looking all old, fat and gray, you know?! It's, like, c'mon, man, speak for yourself. Don't put that label on us, the genre and your festival or anything. That's just fucking… That's one of the stupidest marketing things I've ever heard. It's not marketing. It's just somebody babbling."
I have to agree with King here… Lyman made a huge mistake trash talking his own festival as it was going on. I'm sure it did nothing but sink the morale of all the people out there actually working the thing night after night to disappointing results. To be fair, Lyman has since apologized for the comments, but they should have never been made in the first place.
I went to a Mayhem Fest stop on Camden, NJ over the weekend, which was the same place I went to catch Mayhem for the last few years, and I can tell you there was a very noticeable decline in attendance. The second stage never had more than 1,000 people watching and the only time the place looked remotely full was when Slayer were performing at the end of the night. It was honestly very sad, as in years past, Mayhem was always a fun celebration but this was just one of those shows where everybody involved was like "let's just get through it."