Master of Puppets

Here is where the journey started, looking at two types of worship:

In one, open hands reach out in need and surrender and awe. In another, horned hands punch the air in fierce fanaticism.

I find the lyrics of the second really interesting too. They are clearly about drug addiction and how drugs like heroin/cocaine etc master you and pull your strings. The words are not saying how great it is to do drugs, quite the opposite in fact. They will “help you die”. And yet the tone of the song, as it is sung, and played, seems somehow to delight in what is being said.

When the crowd shouts “master, master, obey your master”, are they making a strong  anti drug statement or are they saying that the master should be obeyed? The ambiguity stems from the fact that the words of the song are from the point of view of the drug, not the addict or a concerned observer. When you sing the song you take the part of the “master”, or echo his words, gloating over the horrors of drug abuse.

That is not in any way to suggest that the writer or performers of the song think taking drugs is a good thing. In fact, they explicitly say they do not and even work to help those who get ensnared in them. It’s just that I am uncomfortable with the ambiguity and concerned that it makes the song a double-edged sword. Would it be better to be clear cut as for or against this evil? But then a “just say no” song would not really fit with Metallica’s image.

The lead singer, James Hetfield,  has always wanted to express himself through music. He says some really interesting things that make me want to find our more about the man behind the music.

“every day there is that reminder again that you get to do what you want to do and create, and it is sustaining you and sustaining your family”.

“there was certainly a time when it got out of control. The black album. The tour. Out for a long time… Multiple divorces, lots of egos, swollen, no one was right sized any more, Everyone was bigger than they should have been”

“the adulation you get out there [on stage] is unreal. It is like a fantasy. These people think that you are more than you really are. That’s why you have got to stay grounded. I am human. Something knocks you back down to reality. …. I [just] got a gift of playing music, That’s what I’ve got.”

He say’s

“If you want to keep what you’ve got you have to give it away”

and backs that up with his actions in doing some great charity stuff. James is really involved in Road to Recovery  This is from their web site:

“ROAD RECOVERY is dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities by harnessing the influence of entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises and now wish to share their experience, knowledge, and resources.”

Well, it just goes to show, there is always more going on than you see at first sight. On one level, the lead singer of a heavy metal band singing in an angry voice about drugs. On another, a man in the image of God, aware of his own imperfections, looking to help others. But I am only just scratching the surface at this point. I was not expecting to find the dots join up as they did when I kept digging.





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