So aside from Adele and Whitney Houston’s estate, there was another big winner at last night’s Grammys: Slayer. Although the band wasn’t even nominated for any awards, they were prominently displayed throughout the night, courtesy of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s T-shirt. The Foos were another big winner, picking up four Grammys. So in between the band’s two performances (more on that later) and their acceptance speech after winning Rock Album of the Year, that was a lot of Slayer. Other than that, the Grammys and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) continued to show their cluelessness and general disdain for metal.
First of all, let’s start with the merging of Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance into one category. We’ve spent enough time venting about how unfair that is, and assumed that more mainstream acts would win every time. Then the worst case scenario happened, with Mastodon, Megadeth and Dream Theater having to compete against Foo Fighters and for some reason, Sum 41. So it wasn’t very surprising at all when the Foos won, for the admittedly kickass “White Limo.” Although Dave Mustaine was gracious in defeat, Megadeth is a legacy act that still hasn’t gotten a Grammy, and if anyone deserved it, it was them. Perhaps Grohl wore the shirt throughout the evening to make up for the fact that his band won an award that he wouldn’t even have been nominated for had the two categories been kept separate.
The Foo Fighters stood out as a breath of fresh air during the ceremony, first bringing the crowd to life with their energetic rendition of “Walk.” And their speech when they won Best Rock Album for Wasting Light was pretty inspirational. “Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood and rather than use all of the fanciest computers that money can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine,” Grohl said during the speech. “To me, this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play and instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here (pointing to his heart) and what goes on in here (pointing to his head).” As heartfelt as that speech was, it was somewhat negated about an hour later when they played a dance remix of “Rope” with techno artist Deadmau5.
Another place where the Grammys were tone deaf was in their “In Memoriam” segment. While onetime Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore made it into the tributes, one glaring exception was Warrant frontman Jani Lane. While Warrant was never nominated for any Grammys, the band was multi-platinum and Lane should have been included. And while it shouldn’t have been a given that GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot would be mentioned, it would’ve been nice. And it was funny but true when our friend Maura Johnston at the Village Voice stated via Twitter “guess Seth Putnam doesn’t get a shoutout in this montage.” Obviously, the Anal Cunt frontman didn’t, but then, neither did Soul Train frontman Don Cornelius. Steve Jobs did, however. Plus, they legitimized convicted batterer of women Chris Brown by allowing him to return and perform, then awarded him the R&B Album of the Year. So it turns out that maybe NARAS isn’t just clueless about metal.