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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Metal Maniacs Closes Up Shop For Now

John of Beyond Fear, Liz Ciavarella, Wifey, Ray and Dave "Capt. Cavebitch" Brenner

Yet another victim of the Bush administration and Wall Street's failed economy, it was hard to digest the news that Metal Maniacs, along with Metal Edge and Relix magazines are all ceasing activity indefinitely.

I can poll my fellow metal scribes and the majority will tell you that Metal Maniacs has long been one of the most revered periodicals of our scene, one we all climbed mountains to become a part of. I can honestly say when I was accepted as part of the Maniacs staff I felt one of the bigger moments of accomplishment in my journalism career. Not only has the pay been fair in a medium that seldom has the means to compensate its writers, but Metal Maniacs' editor Liz Ciavarella has been, bar none, my favorite of the bunch. I think we might've had one testy moment that was of my doing, but Liz has always treated me with respect and given me an abundance of assignments in my few years on board.

I am most pleased to say I interviewed some of the coolest in the scene such as Exodus, Helloween, Max Cavalera, Metal Church, Testament, Fear Factory, Earth, Chris Poland, Hammers of Fortune, Leaves Eyes, Master, Destruction, Gorerotted, Warface and others. I had fun taking Glenn Danzig as well as Joey Belladonna during the Anthrax reunion, and I was especially proud of my chance to do horror-related interviews with Betsy Palmer, Don Coscarelli and Stuart Gordon. I won't ever forget Liz giving me the green to venture up to New Jersey to the camp where the original Friday the 13th was filmed to take photos and write a companion article to the Betsy Palmer piece. Seeing the tiny bunkhouse where Kevin Bacon got his throat gored out was incredible in a strange way, as venturing down the main street of the town where Annie the cook shambles through in the opening of the film.

I can say some of the best of the best writers in the biz have come through Metal Maniacs and I value the chance to work on the Fear Factory piece together with Liz. I came to the magazine when her publicist husband (and my main hookup shiznit in this game) Dave Brenner shot her a blog piece I did where I battled Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying against Metallica's Masters of Puppets and crazily declared Peace Sells the winner. Liz ended up publishing this insane battle in Maniacs after I'd tried to get in for months beforehand and thus I was brought aboard. Scoring my gig at Maniacs in such a zany fashion is one of the pride and joy stories of my writing history.

Though we've been told Maniacs is in the "hiatus" stage, it's difficult nonetheless to imagine life without this magazine. On the same day a co-worker of mine was let go, this news comes thereafter. Once I finish writing up the new Zombi album for Heavy Metal, I might go sit and contemplate what this scene is truly about to lose without Metal Maniacs...

Thanks a mil, you greedy corporate fucks. May hi-def scorch your worthless eyes.


cjk_44 said...

wow - that's bad news.

i met Liz C. at the Metal Meltdown in 2000 (might have been earlier). i think she was working for Nuclear Blast at the time and since i got there early on the first day we had plenty of time to talk - just through casual discussion she taught me a lot about the metal industry and the journalism side of it in a very short time. Liz is the consumate professional.

i never met Dave B. in person but he was always great to me in various e-mails in his role as a publicist when i was taking a more active role in securing promos and interviews for my writing gig.

Tom said...

I might go sit and contemplate what this scene is truly about to lose without Metal Maniacs...

exactly. a true pillar of our scene. hard to imagine what would fill that void...this is a black time in Metal. 19 years of publishing. I wouldn't be here without it.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Yeah, Tom, I've been waiting for this metal resurrection to dive into the same cyclical tailspin that killed metal off in America the first time around. However, there's triple the bands this time and far better thought being put into the music as a whole.

Normally signs of magazines dropping off is your clue to the scene itself following suit, but this time we have the economy to blame. I've been wondering if the changeover from conservative to liberal politics was going to knock metal out again since rock over the ages has flourished during Republican regimes as a direct means of protest. This time, the decaying effect is from a different resource.

I don't think metal itself is going to vanish here just yet, not for a few more years still, but losing Maniacs, Unrestrained, Pit, Metal Edge...those are all big league or metal institution a part of Maniacs, I felt more embracement from the industry itself than anywhere else, although I am getting tons of interview requests for Hails & Horns, who will be momentary recipient of much of this reading demographic.

The thing with Maniacs is was so well produced for a magazine that catered more to the deep underground where only true insiders knew most of the running order of bands, and it came out looking like a million bucks. Maniacs is the Circus or Hit Parader of underground metal without having a sellout factor about it.

cjk, Liz is a class act and I hope to run into her and Dave again in NYC sometime. The night of that picture was a blast...we were out until 5:00 a.m. on St. Patty's Day in an Irish bar one block east of Times wife and I had just blown a lotta money in the Virgin megastore until 2:00 a.m., then Liz and Dave met us after going to a promo event at Vh-1 and we drank pretty heartily with some soccer players from Ireland hanging about, begging for me to share my wings, which I was a crazy long night and I won't forget it

Grindgodgrind said...

Man, this sucks. I used to get MM all the time, (UK resident here), and I often preferred it to Terrorizer. It's sad to see such a fantastic piece of work out of production. I used to love Firing Squad, some of Dave's comments on peoples bands were great!

A shame.

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