Although I can’t begrudge another’s need to make a living, I don’t believe it should be at the expense of a fan. Our devotion makes this endeavor possible. We want to re-grow the scene, not bleed it dry.

The ‘80s will forever be the golden age of heavy metal. It dominated the airwaves and video outlets as it sold out stadiums across America. The extreme was king. Constantly pushing the limits and never forgetting to add to the mystique.

One day the juggernaut came crashing down. The landscape changed as social media unmasked the fascination. Our heroes were brought down to Earth.

The value of a musician today is nonexistent. We rip off the artist when we illegally download their music. Undervaluing the effort it takes to make the creation great. Playing music is dedication to a craft. A lifetime devotion we seemingly take for granted.

Our icons have little incentive to continue their dream. There was a time when you didn’t see a band until they hit the stage. Now you can see pictures online of what they ate for breakfast.  Although I can’t begrudge another’s need to make a living, I don’t believe it should be at the expense of a fan. Our devotion makes this endeavor possible. We want to re-grow the scene, not bleed it dry.

In my mind, there are three types of people who want to meet an artist. The journalist who is there to spread hype and further interest. The aspiring artist hoping to pick the brain of a master. The fan who wants to brush shoulders with a hero.

In every case, the relationship is beneficial to the group but none is more important than fandom. Without fans the opportunity dwindles. Why wipe out a bank account for a minute of time? Don’t be remembered as the artist who charged $70 bucks for a photo. If you can’t do it for free do it for less. Your contributions won’t be forgotten. Reinforce the camaraderie that makes metal great. A small gesture could do more than make someone’s day, it can change somebody’s life. Living is about paying it forward, is it wrong to do whatever you can?

Let’s get back to basics. Value what makes our music great, the fans! \m/

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