Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wherever I May Roam...As long as I get to plan the trip

My brother thinks I'm bossy. We have this conversation occasionally and it's usually because I have been the decisive member of our family. It could be about planning my mom's birthday, driving cross country, or going through the basement and getting rid of all the crap that lives there. My brother, if questioned extensively, would probably be able to point to multiple times in our lives where I have bossed him into doing something. Usually, the end result is very positive. My bossiness is a positive trait (at least that's how I see it) and it moves us along and means that we are, as a family, more decisive. I do not believe we should "ban bossy" as some people would like us to do. I love being bossy. Banning the word bossy isn't going to solve the issue of female empowerment. I think it will have the opposite effect. I feel the same way about bossy that I do about slang terms for female anatomy that are used as slurs; if you don't take ownership of the word it allows someone else to do it for you. Own bossy, don't ban it.

I digress. Several years ago I decided to try Netflix. This was back when you could only do the DVD option and no one binge watched television. I believe we had more patience back then (in 2004). My first Netflix delivery was the documentary Some Kind of Monster. If you've never heard of this documentary, it's follows the heavy metal band Metallica and their experience going through therapy as a band, recording their album (the terrible St. Anger), and replacing bassist Jason Newsted. Newsted left the band (for lots of reasons) and as a result, Metallica's management team hires a life coach-y guy to works with the band through their issues so they can deliver the new album. My description is not doing the film justice; you really just have to watch it. You don't even have to be a Metallica fan or a heavy metal fan to enjoy the film. Would it help you if I told you that Dave Mustaine (he was kicked out of the band in the 80s and went on to start Megadeth) almost cries during his confrontation scene with Lars Ulrich? Watch it just for that. My brother and I convinced that there is "lost" footage of Dave crying but since the damage to his psyche has been complete, the filmmakers opted to keep it out of the finished film. Weak.

Anyway, Metallica is one of my brother's favorite bands (he also enjoys Megadeth) so when I finished watching the film I immediately sent him a text that he had to watch it and that I would bring the Netflix DVD to him. I wouldn't say I was being bossy just incredibly enthusiastic about something that I thought my brother would enjoy. My brother might say otherwise. He watched it, agreed that it would have been better if Dave Mustaine had actually cried, and went on with his life. We occasionally talk about the film at odd times and went to see Metallica live during the Death Magnetic tour in 2008 (one of my top five concerts). I genuinely like Metallica. I own several of their albums and the concert was amazing. Lars Ulrich is a phenomenal drummer (and incredibly narcissistic) and James Hetfield is terrifyingly awesome. Kirk Hammett, the guitarist, is a saint (dude puts up with a lot of BS from the others) and the bassist selected during the film, Robert Trujillo, fits in the lineup nicely. I feel sort of bad for Trujillo. Dude probably just wanted to play bass in a heavy metal band (and play he does) but he also inherited a band that is sort of broken (at least at the time) and run somewhat like a corporation. There's even a part in the film where the rest of the band discusses their original bassist, Cliff Burton. You get the sense that no one will ever replace Burton. That's a hard role to be in.

Last week I detailed our adventures on Record Store Day 2014. We could have spent our day in Baltimore waiting in a crowd at The Sound Garden for Robert Trujillo but we did not. My brother admitted that he didn't want to deal with a crowd for the a guy who wasn't part of the original lineup (poor Robert Trujillo). Had it been any other member of the band, he would have done. I did not boss him into going and we had a nice day visiting a few stores and eating tater tots. I did, however, re-watch Some Kind of Monster. And here is the grand realization that I had: I am Lars Ulrich and my brother is Kirk Hammett. Metallica is often described as a band that's existence is fueled by the constant power struggle between Lars and James and that other members, including Kirk, are often left powerless and voiceless in the band. This is probably one of the reasons that Jason Newsted left. In my re-watching of the documentary, I remembered my initial reaction to Kirk's role in the band - poor Kirk. There's even a scene where the band is discussing guitar solos and the guys stop short of calling them unnecessary. Seriously Metallica?

I had actually come to the realization that my brother is the Kirk Hammett of our family earlier in the day when we were discussing the documentary with my friend Anita. She has not seen it nor is she into Metallica so the whole band history was bit foreign to her. As we described the events of the film and the band, she agreed with my comparison. Anita has known my brother forever so she wasn't just following my weirdo theory. Scott, my brother, is fairly unassuming, responsible, likes loud guitar music, keeps to himself, and is pretty quiet. Kirk Hammett is fairly unassuming (for being a member of Metallica), responsible (at least he seems like he is), likes loud guitar music, keeps to himself, and is pretty quiet. Lars, on the other hand, is pretty loud, sort of a jerk, and 100% bossy. Now, I don't think I'm nearly a narcissist like Lars or as much of a jerk (and PS: Lars is my favorite member of Metallica) as he is but when it comes to bossiness and saying things that sound complimentary but maybe aren't, Lars and I are the same person. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist like Lars. I would have probably made Dave Mustaine cry too. 

What's important to keep in mind is that you can't have Metallica without both Kirk and Lars just as you can't have my family without Scott and I. I mean, you could but it wouldn't be our family just like Metallica would never be the same if any of the original lineup left. You need bossy and you need quiet sensibility. That's what keeps the world going round.

Take Back Bossy
Band image
Kirk Hammett

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