When I was a small child, I would get up off my bunk-bed after my mum and sister were asleep, put on my record player and massive headphones, and dance in the dark to More Than a Feeling by Boston. 30 years later, that song still makes me feel the same joy and childlike abandon, although I am less likely to bother getting out of bed these days.
Music has never been something that I just listened to; it’s something that I breathe in. I see songs playing in my mind. Music moves around underneath my skin, and touches me in ways and places that nothing else can – not even a double-entendre. There is no such thing as “background noise” for me. I find it impossible to tune bad sounds out; they make something in the middle of my head vibrate, and it drives me into a fizzing rage faster than anything else I can name. But when I hear something I like, wherever it is, it soothes me and draws me to it in the same way that the wafting cartoon smell-hand from a baked apple pie used to drag Tom the cat by his nose. I am, and always have been, deeply connected to music.
But a few years ago, I lost my way in life and in the process, I let massive parts of me drift away.
I got into a bad relationship. The details aren’t necessary, beyond the fact that I isolated myself away from everything that was important to me, and rejected a lot of the things that I was quietly steered into believing were bad about me. I cut myself off from everything that made me who I was, and I ended out as simply a mannequin with a bad wig. Except the wig was actually my real hair.
The weight of reality eventually caught up with me, and the relationship – belatedly – ended. As soon as that happened, I began the process of reclaiming myself. I spent most of 2014 grovellingly apologising to friends, ridding myself of a load of unhealthy ideas, and going to an obscene amount of gigs, catching up with the music that I loved. I began to breathe again.
Christmas 2014, and some little shitbag cut the cable from the old Sky dish I was using to pick up free channels. It was no loss, since I hardly watched TV, but it did mean I had to find something to fill the space left by BBC Breakfast. Enter TeamRock and Stephen Hill.
That radio show opened the door to a world of music that I had been missing. It was like going back in time to when mates would send you new songs on MSN messenger every day because they thought that shit was awesome and that you should listen to it too. It brought bands like While She Sleeps, Marmozets and Blood Command into my world and I loved it.
Beez and Stephen Hill have the same passion and joy for music that I have, but they have it squared. And fuck me, do they know what they are talking about. Between them, they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of music, and whenever Stephen starts enthusing, I sit with a notepad scribbling down the band names that come tumbling out of his brain. He has forgotten more about metal than I will ever know.
What I also love is the spewing venom and hatred for bad music, that only comes from people who truly and deeply care. Honest, unbiased, intelligent debate over music, mixed with the sheer power of anger and disgust over musical charlatans and cynical money grabbers.
I think one of features I like the most is the Album Club, where each week they sit and talk about their personal thoughts and experiences with a particular classic album – good or bad – and I get entranced. I could happily listen to them talking for hours.
Of course there’s the swearing too. You all know how much I love swearing.
That’s Not Metal has very quickly become one of my favourite things, and I get excited about listening to the new podcast every week – I don’t normally get excited about anything that isn’t beer.
Whether it be stuff I had on tape but never got round to getting on CD, bands I have never heard of before, or albums that had simply passed me by, this podcast has filled my life with music. I drifted for a long time, and I genuinely cannot remember the last time I felt happier and more connected to the world outside my front door. I’m not actually kidding about the amount of music either – I have bought all of these CD’s in less than two months, off the back of the podcast:
I offer genuine and heartfelt thanks to the That’s Not Metal boys, and a massive endorsement from me to everyone else; if you care – and you should – you need to get on this Podcast.