Metal's "B-side"
by C.J. Cain

Back in the days of recordings on vinyl, and dare I date myself, "45s," the two sides of the record were labeled "A" and "B". The A-side was the song that was in heavy rotation, while the B-side was often a "lesser song" that languished in obscurity. Strangely enough, while the A-sides were generally the songs that garnered more commercial success and were heard by the masses, it is the B-sides that have yielded some of music's most precious gems. The portrayal of metal musicians often follows the same formula. The media will let us see plenty of what they want us to, especially in the areas of decadence or extravagance, but is often guilty of neglecting to show us metal's B-side. Allow me.

I will not name any single band or musician, because space prohibits me from naming all of them, but the fact of the matter is - a great many members of the metal community make considerable donations of their time and money to help a number of charitable causes. I do not wish to leave out any contributions, or to imply, by naming any specifically, that they are more magnanimous or deserving than others. Names I came across while researching covered the gamut from acts - from "glam" to "hard core," from "commercial" to "black." The common thread was that these bands have all made the same commitment to use whatever success or notoriety they have to make life better for society as a whole. No, the money did not all go to detox and rehab programs, but to causes and foundations that work actively to eradicate life-threatening diseases, or to provide quality educational opportunities for all.

Metal's "B-side" Page 2