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Kevin Lyman clarifies comments about metal

Posted by on July 9, 2015

Yesterday, Kevin Lyman found himself in a bit of hot water. The Warped Tour founder, who cofounded the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival back in 2008, bluntly held forth on the current state of metal back in May, and the interview ran in the Detroit Free Press. In addition to calling metal “gray, bald and fat,” he said this year’s incarnation of the festival was “the best available for what we had to work with,” and said the festival was in danger of going away at any given moment.” Lyman, if anyone, would know, since he’s done a great job of booking the Warped Tour, and generally a pretty solid one of booking Mayhem. He also has to have known that there might be a backlash against his comments, so today he clarified them via a statement:

“There has been a lot of talk on the Internet about an interview that was done by me a few weeks ago — and I said some things to a reporter that I now regret. In a nutshell, the problem is I was never talking about Mayhem — I was talking about metal scene as a whole.


“Let me go on record saying that I support heavy metal and producing music events has been my whole career. I do appreciate some of the comments because it presents sentiments, thoughts and ideas from the heart of the metal community and I’m happy to be reminded of the passion that fans have for heavy metal music.

“For us, it is our duty to be receptive to your thoughts and opinions because it is our yearly mission to create the greatest festival for you to come out celebrate and herald heavy metal. We do strive to work our hardest to keep this ‘Mayhem’ train rolling and it only works with the support of all of us and I’m apologizing for conveying my deepest concerns on the record.

“The article covers some behind-the-scenes genuine concerns regarding the presentation of an event at this magnitude. It costs lots of money and energy to drive the tour, plus it has been a challenge to work with larger acts who will sell the bulk of tickets to these-sized venues while we still have the responsibility to deliver performances by the up-and-comers, who are the headliners of tomorrow. I pride myself that this is something that Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival has accomplished year after year, assisting in procuring the growth of artists careers such as Five Finger Death Punch, Battlecross, Butcher Babies and many many more … Our festival has also introduced legendary bands to a new generation of fans, such as Motorhead, Slayer, Anthrax and Rob Zombie.. We also have the challenge of timing: which band is on a new album cycle? Or which band hasn’t already booked their touring? Or which bands haven’t played through the same markets too many times? etc. etc.

“Bottom line, we need headliners to put on a production of this magnitude, but in order to fulfill our responsibility to bring fans the up-and-comers. We need the larger bands also so that we can fulfill our responsibility to not only bring you headliners and the up-and-comers (who are the future), but to also continue to maintain our status as the only touring heavy metal amphitheater festival of this size in North America.

“Please accept my apology and thanks for all of your support.”

At least Lyman got out in front of everything, instead of waiting to let the internet rip him a new one.  It seems like he might have been frustrated during the time of the interview, and as an aside, opened up to the Free Press reporter in a moment of candor, who chose to make his comments the focus of the article. And it’s not like anything Lyman said didn’t have some element of truth to it. While there have been some great standalone concerts such as Knotfest, the Rock Alliance tour, and others, it’s got to be challenging to present a festival on the scope of Mayhem year after year.

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