Black Voices – Rich Wilson

On Tuesday June 2nd, I, like many others, posted a black square to my Instagram with the #BlackOutTuesday hashtag. Almost immediately I realized that this was not nearly doing enough and that if I truly feel Black Lives Matter then I have to do something more. I figure something I do have is my modest platform here at DC Heavy Metal. With that in mind I started reaching out to some of my black friends to ask them if they’d like to make a guest post on DCHM. I told them they can write something, make a video or audio recording, share links, literature, whatever. The subject matter of each post is entirely up to them, it does not have to be related to metal or even the DMV area. This is the third of this series of posts I’m calling Black Voices and I hope you take the time to listen to them. You can find all the posts in this series using the Black Voices tag here.

For this post I reached out to Rich Wilson, the vocalist of local metal band One Slack Mind. He decided to share this very personal post about how police violence has affected his family. I think it is important to be reminded that the people affected by police violence aren’t just in distant cities but also live here in our community, going to metal shows with us and even taking the stage too. Please note that you can also read the full transcription below the video.

First of all, Chris, I would like to say thank you for doing this. It was a great idea and… respect.

I was planning on doing probably three or four stories but I decided to narrow it down to one. I feel like a lot of black families have a story or an event or some sort of huge event that’s happened in the family history that informs how they feel and perceive race, the police, race relations, etcetera, so here’s mine.

When I was about four years old I remember that my parents, we were living in Brooklyn, and my parents said to me, “we’re going to be moving to your grandparents’ house,” my dad’s parents, [my] grandmother and grandfather, “to help out your grandmother” but I never knew what they meant. I didn’t ask. I didn’t think to ask and I just knew that she needed help somehow so we were moving there. So we moved in there and I remember that being enjoyable. She gave me piano lessons and I remember I used to get up early in the morning and see my grandfather off to work and all that. So I found out, maybe six years ago, five years ago, that the reason she needed help is because my dad’s older brother, my dad’s the youngest, he had a brother, Linwood, who was three years older, and he has an older brother than that, Clarence. I found out the reason that she needed help was because she was distraught, she was inconsolable regarding her middle son, Linwood, being killed by the police. And in July of 1972, ’73, something in there, and so I knew that my uncle had been killed by the police and that there was some sort of a, something foul went down and it wasn’t justified but I didn’t really know, I still don’t know that much about it but, I had my kids interview my mom and that, a lot of details came out then and I found out that he was shot in the temple at point blank range and that he had powder burns on his face and this only happened maybe a block or two away from my grandmother’s house. So she had to go out of her way to avoid, it was July, and his blood was all over the sidewalk. My dad told me that it went to a grand jury but nothing ever came of it regarding… I mean as you can imagine that happens a lot. Nowadays I can’t imagine how often it, you know nothing ever came of a improper shooting in the early 70’s.

A memory that I had while thinking about all of this for this video, a memory I hadn’t had in 30 years, was that, I used to wake up I think when I was living there or I could come there during the summers also and I would hear my grandmother talking loudly to somebody and I would think, “oh I wonder who is here” or what have you, and I’m creeping down the steps trying to find, figure out who she’s talking to and she was praying. But it was a, almost like a Old Testament, God why have you forsaken me and taken my son, type of like wailing type of situation and this is something that I would, this happened many times when I was younger and I totally did not remember this until I started thinking about the whole incident. I talked to my dad about it today and he told me that, I guess as he’s going through different things, he found my uncle’s resume that he was preparing. He had graduated college and he was home and he was either going to get a job, he’d also been accepted into graduate school as well. So that was all going on and then he was snuffed out.

Anyway they say [to] say their names. His name was Linwood Wilson.

Linwood Wilson

Black Voices – Crushing Boo

On Tuesday June 2nd, I, like many others, posted a black square to my Instagram with the #BlackOutTuesday hashtag. Almost immediately I realized that this was not nearly doing enough and that if I truly feel Black Lives Matter then I have to do something more. I figure something I do have is my modest platform here at DC Heavy Metal. With that in mind I started reaching out to some of my black friends to ask them if they’d like to make a guest post on DCHM. I told them they can write something, make a video or audio recording, share links, literature, whatever. The subject matter of each post is entirely up to them, it does not have to be related to metal or even the DMV area. This is the second of this series of posts I’m calling Black Voices and I hope you take the time to listen to them. You can find all the posts in this series using the Black Voices tag here.

This post is another video, this time by my friend Crushing Boo. I think just about everyone involved in DC’s DIY scene knows who Boo is but even if you don’t I hope you can appreciate what he has to say about his experiences with heavy metal and police profiling in this post. You can read the full transcription below the video itself as well.

Hey Chris. Thank you for giving me a chance to tell my story.

I remember the first time I heard Napalm Death and thinking, “wow it’s really cool that a band can be brutal and talk about intelligent things that affect all of us.” I loved, you know I love metal I loved, you know, the evil shit but it was really cool to see a band that was socially and politically oriented with their songwriting and their lyrics.

I also remember the first time I heard Suffocation and I opened up the CD book for Effigy of the Forgotten and saw the band photo and was blown away by Terrance Hobbs and Mike Smith. You know, seeing these two black men just obliterating, shredding the shit out of the world musically and putting on an amazing show live. And one of the things that I also loved about the metal scene is, when I was a kid you, well when I was a teenager, it was possible, at least in the DC area for some of these bands when they came to town, to be able to hang out with them. So it was great to be able to actually meet like Barney [Greenway, vocalist of Napalm Death] and it was cool to like be in the same room and drink beers with the dudes from Suffocation. That was not without its downsides. I definitely remember the N word being dropped by the singer from Deceased and basically setting Mike from Suffocation off and almost ruining a really good time. And it’s really sad that in a scene where everyone hates authority [and] wants to buck the system that you can’t get past dumb shit like that.

So that being said, I want to tell a story about the first time I was ever profiled. Now [I’m] 19, a big ol metal head, baby dreads, black t-shirt, black jeans, black combat boots and waiting at the bus for, I’m waiting at the bus stop about to go to work and a police officer pulled up and turned on lights, got out of his car, proceeded to question me. He asked me where I was, where I was coming from, excuse me. What I was doing, which is weird because I was waiting for the bus. Where I was going, I was on my way to work. And how long I had been there. And I, you know, told him everything that, I told the truth. I lived around the corner. I’m waiting for the bus. I’m going to work. And he proceeded to ask, well I asked him why I was being stopped and he proceeded to tell me that I fit the description of a person that was breaking into houses in the neighborhood. This is in Silver Spring, Maryland, not too far from the DC line. And when I asked what he looked like the officer told me that the person, the suspect was a young, black male with braids in his hair, white t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. Again I’m, baby dreads, black t-shirt, black pants, combat boots. Explained to him this is what I’m wearing, this is where I’ve been and his response is “well, you could have changed your clothes.” So while this is happening my bus pulls up, slows down, stops for a second, and then keeps on going. A couple minutes after the bus leaves the officer gets a call on the radio and lets me go on about my business. My boss, I was late for work but my boss was cool. It was great to be able to not be taken into custody for false identification or being falsely identified. But the one thing that sticks with me from that day so long ago is the looks on the faces of the people on the bus when it stopped. And they all, most of them looked at me as if, just by, because I was being stopped by the cops like I had done something wrong. It really, it shook me. I can still see some of their faces. People shaking their heads and poo-pooing when I [was] just a young, 19 year old, black man trying to take the bus to work. So it was really disheartening and yeah, that’s my story.

Racism is bullshit. Black lives matter. Black voices matter. And we should do the most metal thing that we can possibly do and that’s smash racism in its fucking face. Thank you for giving me this space, Chris. I love you brother.

Black Voices – Dré

On Tuesday June 2nd, I, like many others, posted a black square to my Instagram with the #BlackOutTuesday hashtag. Almost immediately I realized that this was not nearly doing enough and that if I truly feel Black Lives Matter then I have to do something more. I figure something I do have is my modest platform here at DC Heavy Metal. With that in mind I started reaching out to some of my black friends to ask them if they’d like to make a guest post on DCHM. I told them they can write something, make a video or audio recording, share links, literature, whatever. The subject matter of each post is entirely up to them, it does not have to be related to metal or even the DMV area. This is the first of this series of posts I’m calling Black Voices and I hope you take the time to listen to them. You can find all the posts in this series using the Black Voices tag here.

This first post is by a friend of mine named Dré who I met several years ago through our local metal scene. Even before COVID came he’d stopped going to metal shows and in the below video he talks about why that is. There’s a lot to be learned about what we as a community can do better here. Enough from me, watch Dré’s video below and feel free to read the transcription below that if you’d like to as well.

Hey Chris this is Dré. So I’ll try to be just like brief on why, so the video is basically about why I stopped going from metal shows in the DMV, and just metal shows in general, to going strictly to electronic dance music shows.

The main reason I moved away from that was because of the fan base in metal. Now I love metal. Metal will always be a part of my heart. I listen to it everyday. I was grateful enough to be [given] the opportunity this year to go to 70,000 Tons Of Metal and to be their pool boy and to be a model for them and I’ve always wanted to go to 70k so I was so super happy. I had a great time. I saw most of my favorite bands on the boat and it was amazing but the main reason I went from going to metal shows to EDM shows is because [of] the fan base. I never felt so loved and accepting of a community in EDM than I did in metal. In metal there’s a lot of amazing people in that genre of music and I’m grateful that a lot of those guys are still my friends but the metal community is just judgemental assholes. I was tired of going day to day like going to shows trying to prove my metal credibility. I had to quote Slayer albums, I had to quote song lyrics from bands I’ve seen and I would not get the same amount of lovingness and care that I would get from in electronic dance music. I was getting into fights in metal over just dumb shit and it was mainly because people were just being assholes. People, I don’t know if they had a bad day or just their cat died or something like that but a lot of them were just really mean to me.

Then being a black man I had to prove to them, I had to prove my metal credibility in order for me to go to these shows. Like “oh, do you even know this band?” “What’s you’re favorite subgenre of black metal?” Like why the fuck would I need to go and answer that when I’m just trying to go hang out with my friends and listen to some good music? But when I go to EDM, electronic dance music shows, I feel so loved and so happy being there. These people will, they will do stuff do stuff for you and they won’t even know you. When I lost my wallet at an electronic dance music show this lady gave me $200 just for me to go home. I didn’t need the $200. I didn’t even tell her that I couldn’t be able to go home but she insisted that I take this money to make sure that she was good. Of course I didn’t take it but that’s just how the community over there is and I fell in love with it and when I got older I got pissed off at metal shows and metal fans because a lot of them were just obnoxious. Make you, a lot of them make you feel that you weren’t supposed to be part of it, at least for me. And I’m not saying that race was a big part of it but it was definitely part of it. When I went to West Virginia at shows I would get called the N word and I just grew tired of it. Especially with the DMV I just hated the metal scene and the community over there. There was drama happening every single day and I was just tired of it. Hardly had any drama in EDM.

So the main reason why I didn’t want to go to metal shows any more is because of the fan base. Unless the fan base changes then I’m not going to go. Unless the band is amazing and I need to see them or I get personally invited out from the organizer or if I know a friend who’s playing in the band I most likely, probably won’t go to metal shows mostly any more. It sucks but at the end of the day I feel much more loved and respected in the electronic dance community versus the metal community and it breaks my heart because I love metal but unless the people change then I’m not going to change my stance on it. So I know I traded in my Darkthrone shirt for candy and glow sticks but the people that have the candy and glow sticks are much better to me than the metal community. So, I’m just like, I mean… yeah.

Cancellations due to COVID-19

I figured I’d put a post together with updates on all the postponements, cancellations, and non-cancellations, in our area due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus. I’ll try to keep this as up to date as possible as I get more info about various metal shows in the area.

On March 11th DC’s Mayor Bowser declared a state of emergency and advised that “mass gatherings” (events with more than 1,000 people in attendance) be cancelled by organizers, but it is not mandatory. You can get more info on that here.

Later the same day IMP posted (here) that they will be closing all of the venues they operate through April 1st. This includes the 9:30 Club, The Anthem, U Street Music Hall and the Lincoln Theatre.

Also on the 11th, Italian symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse postponed their entire US tour, including their date at Baltimore Soundstage on 3/20. You can read their statement here.

On March 12th Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan said in a press conference (here) all events with more than 250 people in attendance must be postponed or cancelled. This presumably cancels the upcoming metal shows at the Fillmore Silver Spring, including Overkill on 3/13 and Killswitch Engage on 3/14. I’m still waiting on an official statement my the Fillmore Silver Spring but I’ll update this post with that here when I see it. This also presumably cancels upcoming shows at Baltimore Soundstage, including Thy Art Is Murder on 3/13, and again I’m waiting for a statement from the venue to confirm status. UPDATE: My contact at the Fillmore Silver Spring emailed me to let me know that all shows there through March 31st are postponed. This includes the metal shows Overkill on 3/13, Killswitch Engage on 3/14 and In This Moment on 3/31. UPDATE 2: Baltimore Soundstage has posted that they will not be open for their shows this weekend, which includes the Thy Art Is Murder show. Read their statement here.

Rams Head Live was supposed to host Devin Townsend on 3/16 but Heavy Devy had already canceled his tour (statement here) before Larry Hogan’s order.

The St Thrashrick’s Fest, headlined by Lich King, was supposed to be at Angel’s Rock Bar in Powerplant in Baltimore, but it was moved to the Depot and now finally it has been cancelled. You can read the promoter’s statement about the cancellation here.

On March 13th we started seeing many tours get cancelled, especially those with foreign bands. Devastation On The Nation tour with Rotting Christ and Borknagar, scheduled to be at the Ottobar on 4/5, has been postponed. That tour is planning to reschedule for 2021 at the same venues with the same bands and you can read the statement about that by the tour promoters here.

Sepultura and Sacred Reich have postponed their tour, including their date on 4/8 at Baltimore Soundstage. You can read the statement from Sepultura about it here.

Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum cancelled their tour, despite already being in the US, and this includes their date at Fish Head Cantina on 4/18. The bands seem to be hit quite hard financially because of this and you can read their statement here.

The Rotting Kingdom show at Metro Gallery on 3/29 has been cancelled, however at the time of this writing the tour still seems to be happening, including their date at Atlas Brew Works on 4/1. You can read the statement by the promoter of the Baltimore show here.

Deafheaven has postponed their entire tour, including their 4/6 show at the 9:30 Club. You can read Deafheaven’s statement here.

After the DC Department of Health updated their recommendation to Mayor Bowser, she has now banned all events with 250 or more people in the District (more info here). This falls in line with similar bans in the states of Virginia and Maryland. So basically, the DMV will have no concerts or other events with more than 250 people in attendance in any kind of foreseeable future.

Due to the new ban the Black Cat has announced they will be closed until March 31st and you can read that statement here.

On March 14th Kayo Dot cancelled the remainder of their tour, including their show at VFW Post 9274 in Falls Church on 3/18. You can read the band’s statement here.

On March 15th Ripping Headaches Promotions cancelled their three area DIY shows in March, which are High Command at Atlas Brewery on 3/20, Midnight at Metro Gallery at 3/24 and Morpheus Descends at Atlas Brewery on 3/27. You can read their statement about these shows here.

Perdition Booking cancelled the upcoming Rippikoulu and Chthe’ilist show at the Metro Gallery on 4/9. You can read Metro Gallery’s statement about that here.

DC’s Mayor Bowser has closed all nightclubs and put restrictions on all restaurants and bars in the District. Details on that here.

On May 22nd Rams Head Live in Baltimore posted (here) that all their upcoming events through the end of May will be postponed. This presumably includes Maryland Deathfest, which is scheduled to take place May 21st thru May 24th at both Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage. However, at this time I have yet to see anything official by either MDF nor BSS claiming the entire fest has been postponed.

I’m doing my best to keep up with all the cancellations and postponements but if you hear about one that I haven’t updated on the calendar or here yet, feel free to email me at DCHeavyMetal@Gmail.com

Zealot R.I.P. beer release show

Extinction Of Brew

Just a quick post today but I wanted to remind everyone that this Saturday, November 23rd, at Haydee’s in Mt. Pleasant, there’s a killer show with Zealot R.I.P. (featuring members of Pig Destroyer and Darkest Hour), the Loud Boyz (wild party punk rock) and Neolithic (death/grind from Baltimore). That’s a great local metal show for sure but what makes this one special is that Champion Brewing will be releasing their Extinction Of Brew lager, the official beer for Zealot R.I.P.! That’s the tentacley can art up above, and you can see the show flyer below. More info is available at the show’s Facebook event page here.

The venue is a Mexican restaurant on Mt. Pleasant Street, basically just across the street from The Raven bar. It’s walking distance from the Columbia Heights metro station. And remember that the vocalist for Neolithic is Evan Harting, one of the guys that runs Maryland Deathfest. Be sure to get there early so you can ask him why your band wasn’t invited to play Maryland Deathfest, I hear he loves that. But seriously, this is a great line up from top to bottom and it’s always cool when a local metal band gets their own beer. Be sure to stream some tunes to check the bands out at the bottom of this post.

Zealot RIP beer release show

The Pinch to close on October 22nd

I’d heard rumors that the Pinch in Columbia Heights was going to close at the end of the year but last night during the Nationals game they posted on Facebook that the restaurant, bar and concert venue will be closing its doors for good this coming Tuesday, October 22nd. You can see their post here. This is a major blow to DC’s DIY community and as you might expect, social media comments, tweets and shares show that lots of people are pretty bummed to see the place go. I have personally been to about 70 shows there since early 2013, held the DC Heavy Metal holiday party there in 2014, and booked several shows there myself as well. The staff was always super good to me and DCHM, not just friendly but actually helpful. It really showed that they enjoyed being a part of the local music community.

Earlier today I spoke with Dan Maceda, bartender and part owner of the Pinch, about why the venue was closing. He told me that, “the reality of it is after seven and a half, eight years, the business was having a tough time and the financials just made it so it wasn’t making sense.” When I asked about why the venue is closing next week instead of at the end of the year Dan told me, “the intention was to continue as long as we could and it just got to a point where it just couldn’t be sustained.” There are still several shows scheduled after October 22nd including Carnivore A.D. on November 2nd and Agnostic Front on December 11th. I asked him what the future for those and other upcoming shows would be and Dan told me, “Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to accommodate those shows. When I booked them I did it in good faith, intending to be able to host them. We’re trying to work with the promoters who hosted those. It is going to be up to them to move the show or cancel or whatever. Individually they’ll have to make those decisions. We’ve given them suggestions of places to move those shows, places like Atlas Brew Works and Slash Run. I think those promoters are making inquiries and making arrangements and will announce once they know.”

The Pinch logo

The Pinch opened in May of 2012 and started hosting DIY shows in October of that year because the downstairs stage wasn’t completed at first. The first non-open mic show I could find there was a “Night of Art and Music” with local musician Jonny Grave being the only musical performer that night. It wasn’t until February 2013 that the Pinch hosted their first metal show when the now defunct local thrash metal band Warchild performed with indie rock band Shark Week. However the first big metal show there was the legendary performance by black metal band Absu on November 14th of 2013. The place was packed and this was the show that really put the venue on the map to local metal heads. Punk and metal bands found a home at the Pinch with a staff that wanted to be involved. Like most DIY venues, the sound wasn’t always great but it was a place to see bands you might not have been able to otherwise. When Jaxx/Empire finally closed for good in May of 2015 the Pinch became the place in the area that would host local metal bands with touring headliners regularly. When Damaged City Fest needed a venue that more bands could keep playing in around St Stephen’s time restraints, the Pinch was glad to host. When all the house show venues like the Corpse Fortress ended up getting shut down the Pinch started hosting the bands that would have played those venues too. A lot of people grew up in our scene at the Pinch, met friends and even partners there. The venue will be sorely missed. There’s still time to stop by though before they’re closed for good, including several shows still listed before the final concert at the Pinch, which will be a punk show featuring Bootlicker from Vancouver and ExLex from Minnesota (show info is here).

Before I got off the phone with Dan he told me, “Closing the doors is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make. We absolutely love the community we service. I’m sorry we won’t be able to run it after the 22nd. We’ve made some great friendships and it’s been a great 8 years as far as I’m concerned. I met my wife at the Pinch as she was coming to these shows. I owe my personal life to that.”

Owners Dan, Carlos and Ashley did something special for us with the Pinch. They took a neighborhood restaurant/bar and turned it into a place where punks and metal heads could let our hair and guard down, put our footprints on the ceiling, sweat out our frustrations in a friendly mosh pit and be ourselves, together. It sucks to see the Pinch go but I’m grateful it existed and for the memories I have there. I’m sure going to miss the place so below I’ve posted show flyers from some of my favorite times at the Pinch. Feel free to share your favorite memories in the comments.

Warchild at the Pinch

Warchild was the first metal band to play the Pinch

9 Feb 2013

Smokin Brown Ale release at the Pinch

Borracho’s Smokin’ Brown Ale release show at the Pinch

18 May 2013

Absu at the Pinch

The legendary Absu show at the Pinch

14 Nov 2013

Borracho at the Pinch

Metal Night V at the Pinch with Borracho

14 Dec 2013

Mutilation Rites at the Pinch

Mutilation Rites first show at the Pinch

14 July 2014

Castle at the Pinch

Castle was the first show I ever booked at the Pinch

17 July 2014

Deceased at the Pinch

Deceased at the Pinch

11 Nov 2014

Fortress at the Pinch

Fortress headlined the 2014 DCHM Holiday Party at the Pinch

19 Dec 2014

Gatecreeper at the Pinch

Gatecreeper played the Pinch before being signed by Relapse

25 July 2015

Malthusian at the Pinch

Malthusian and Imperial Triumphant at the Pinch

12 Nov 2015

Cloud Rat at the Pinch

Cloud Rat at the Pinch

13 March 2016

Nervosa at the Pinch

Nervosa came all the way from Brazil to shred at the Pinch

14 Aug 2016

Morbid Saint at the Pinch

Morbid Saint at the Pinch

29 Oct 2016

Vektor at the Pinch

Vektor at the Pinch

23 Nov 2016

Valkyrie at the Pinch

Eyehategod and Valkyrie at the Pinch

9 Sept 2017

Bat at the Pinch

Bat and Loud Night at the Pinch

14 April 2018

Venom Prison at the Pinch

Venom Prison came from the UK to play the Pinch

12 Oct 2019

Bootlicker at the Pinch

Flyer for the final show ever at the Pinch

21 Oct 2019