BUILD YOUR OWN PROG METAL BAND
The human ego is a wonderful thing. It tells us who we are, what we've accomplished, what we have yet to accomplish. It frames all the events in our life as they relate to us. But most of all, it gives white suburban teenagers the impetus to bitch about how oppressed they are. Yes, though often overlooked by historians and other worthless academics, the fact remains that middle class white teenagers are the most oppressed social group in the history of the world.
by C. Burnett Newman
Thankfully, the voices of these oppressed masses will not vanish silently into the night. Thanks to the now flourishing rap-rock and prog-metal movements, the scars left from years of brutal dodge ball games and the traumas of being carded for beer are writ large for all to see. Not surprisingly, this has drawn all sorts of enthusiasm from middle class white kids who didn't even realize they were oppressed. Never one to pass up a golden opportunity to mock the general public and make a little money on the side, I have developed the following DIY prog-metal kit.
First, choose a name. This is easy. go to the library and get a medical dictionary. Choose a random term. One word terms are best, and terms relating to anatomy are even better. Placenta is a good choice, but I'm sure it's been taken by now. You now have a band name. You need a band.
Find someone who knows approximately 4 chords on electric guitar and can repeat them in crunching succession. (You can find these guys in the local high school cafeteria stroking their goatees.) He should have a shaved head and look generally menacing. It's a plus if he has an accent of some kind, although ideally he won't talk at all. Next you need a drummer with long hair and an aversion to shirts. These guys generally sleep in church parking lots and enjoy random physical violence. If you insist on being in this band, we'll assume that you're the bassist. The bassist should look like the guitarist, but weigh about 100 lbs. more. Now you need a lead singer. The ideal lead singer for a band like this is "Poetic and Darkly Sexual". This translates roughly to "A thin pretentious prick" (this mold was originally cast by Jim Morrison). You will be able to find about 300 of these guys anywhere that bad poetry is read and bad coffee is served. If he is not already on crank, get him to start.
You now have a marketable lineup. You need songs. Go buy an album by Korn and one by Tool. It really doesn't matter what album, since they have exactly 2 songs between them. After about 3 minutes, your guitarist should pick up the formula. If not, he is probably legally dead and you should go back to step one. Now that you have a grasp of the music, you need lyrics. Lyrics are essential, because otherwise there would be nothing to mope about and the teen army would be forced to go back to their Sugar Ray records.
The basic prog-metal song follows the template below:
Boy has issues. Boy meets girl. Boy has issues. Girl leaves boy. Boy has issues. Boy blames parents. Boy has issues. Boy shrieks about the abyss into which he is slipping due to his issues. I have included a helpful vocabulary list to work from. (It is not important if you know what these words mean; the chances are good that your audience doesn't know either.)
Using these elements we can generate lyrics such as the following:
"I trusted you, fleshy prisoner
Disembodied hatred, I'm spiraling
into your abyss
Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!
Into the dispirited chamber of your mechanized despair
I slip like a whore, slip like a whore
disfigured by your amputated memory
I'm slipping! I'm slipping! I'm slipping!"
Use the screamed chorus for the song title if at all possible. Now pick one of the left over vocabulary words, put the word "the" in front of it and you have an album title ("The Numbness" "The Sickness" "The Disembodied" "The Despair").
See? Isn't this easy? You are already well on your way to being one of the great songwriters of this emerging genre. In fact, most rock writers assume that if you write in a musical style during the first ten years of its existence that you are a poetic and musical genius. This is not, in fact, very true at all. It is, however the sort of thing that a rock critic can pull out of his ass while chatting up a waitress, so it is destined to endure forever.
That is more than can be said for the music created by your band. In fact, within a year or so, your album will likely occupy the same shelf as Seven Mary Three, Silverchair, Ace of Base, WASP, C+C Music Factory, and Men Without Hats. This is because your band is shit. Your band was spontaneously conceived to cash in on the pubescent anxiety of jaded 12 year olds. Your popularity will last about as long as their acne. The best you can hope for is to get rich enough to tide you over until your music becomes the subject of a kitsch revival a few years down the road. Until then, keep your TV tuned to MTV and await further instructions.
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