Home of Metal Open Day, at The Public; West Bromwich


Home of Metal, a project set up to celebrate the heritage of heavy metal music in the West Midlands region of England, began its 2011 campaign with an Open Day at The Public exhibition hall on March 26th.

Sitting right next to the town centre of West Bromwich, The Public’s free entry policy (not to mention snazzy blue and pink architecture) meant that it was easy for anyone to come on over to this event; which fit in with the overall aim and purpose of Home of Metal. It sought to attract the attention of anyone and everyone with an interest in metal, young or old, veteran or newcomer; the third floor of The Public saw a range of people wandering about and taking part in its various activities if not simply hanging around to talk and drink with friends. Young teenagers in Slipknot or Avenged Sevenfold tee shirts to established metalheads in leather jackets and denim vests made up half of the audience present; whilst families with children (including those of said metalheads) came over to take advantage of the youth-friendly activities. DIY guitars, where anyone could design and cut out cardboard guitars either for the novelty value or to be “played” (thanks to technology of wires, a computer system and lumps of electric putty) proved to be the most popular of these; while posing for a series of photoshoots with these instruments or :rocking out” for a montage of light capture images coming a close second. Even the opportunity to colour in pictures of Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin didn’t seem to draw much attention away from the DIY fun.

For the adults though, at least those who weren’t drawn in by the DIY guitar opportunity, the open day gave them a chance to contribute to West Midlands’ metal history by means of bringing in memorabilia for both the event and Home of Metal’s online archive. Vintage albums, vinyls, band shirts and more were on display and photographed behind the scenes of people bustling about the floor; in itself fulfilling the project’s goal as a homage to the likes of Judas Priest, Napalm Death and even Godflesh – respected names in the Metal world.

Interestingly, despite the fact of Home of Metal’s Open Day being intended to pay dues to all of these bands, the overall atmosphere seemed geared towards a celebration of sorts for Black Sabbath, namely the Ozzy Osbourne years. This seemed to be highlighted not only by the number of photos circulated of the much mediated frontman, but also through the guest appearance of English scene icon Steve “Krusher” Joule.

Long standing veterans, like applauded Birmingham local and Kerrang! Radio DJ Johnny Doom, most remembered him for hosting of the first rock and metal television shows “Raw Power” (later “Noisy Mothers”). However, it seemed to be that his more notable contributions to Metal as a whole come from his graphic design work on some of Ozzy Osbourne’s album sleeves. ‘Bark At the Moon’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’ are just a few of his artistic credentials, along with Black Sabbath’s ‘Born Again’.

In what was the main highlight of the day, audiences settled down to hear Johnny Doom’s live interview with Krusher towards the end of the event; where he spoke about his experiences with the scene since its earlier years as well as what it was like to work with Black Sabbath and even Osbourne’s current wife Sharon before their inevitable wedding.

However, the most rewarding part of the interview didn’t from listening to tales of how money affected the band or even their old frontman’s drunkenness on the day of a photo shoot. Rather, it came from Krusher’s comments on metal music’s evolution and its possible future.

Even with the reputed “old guard” of heavy metal growing older and eventually stepping down, let alone the supposedly dire state of guitar-based music today; it does feel encouraging to note that Metal as music and a scene had encountered similar circumstances in the past and yet was more than capable in making its continual comebacks. With this bit to take home, it looks to be that Home of Metal may well be on its way to becoming a full-hearted tribute to its legacy.


The owner of Me(n)tal-Meltdown, as she stands with Steve “Krusher” Joule




1 Comment

  1. Eeeeexcellent! Nice to see my proof-reading is appreciated.

    Incidentally, for anyone reading, I was first introduced to Kyuss, Kreator and At The Gates by seeing their videos played on Noisy Mothers (I never managed to see the show when it was Raw Power). Even those few times I managed to set the video for three in the morning turned out to be useful. I’ll never forget the whole of Donington saying goodbye to Bullseye in 1995, either – although I’d always thought he was a bull terrier, Wikipedia says he was a Jack Russell. I’ll ask Krusher if I ever get to meet him!

    Rock ‘ard! Rock ‘eavy! Rock animal!

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