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Mayhem co-founder John Reese pens open letter about this year’s festival

Posted by on July 29, 2015

With 2015’s Mayhem Festival wrapping up this Sunday, it will bring an end to not just the festival, but the discussion that’s gone on around it. As a refresher, co-founder Kevin Lyman, hastily said a thing or two about the fest and the state of metal that he publicly apologized for. Then Slayer’s Kerry King got involved, angering some of the smaller bands that he’d referred to. It’s time for some damage control, which is where his co-founder, John Reese, steps in. In an open letter that was sent to several websites, Reese calls for the metal community to stick together, stating that the comments and backbiting that’s been going on isn’t productive. Here’s his letter, which was sent to Metal Sucks and Metal Injection.

Dear Fans of Heavy Music and Metal Bands Everywhere,

WE ARE ONE COMMUNITY. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY THAT WE ALL UNITE NOT DIVIDE! Without each other’s support the only thing that suffers is Metal as a genre!

In the midst of our most challenging year in 8 years of producing the festival, my partner Kevin Lyman made some comments that he has subsequently apologized for. Kevin is an honorable man and has given everything he has to the presentation of music and expanding the profile of countless artists! I am proud of our partnership and our results throughout the years! We have always tried to deliver a platform for artists to expand their fan base and the genre as a whole!

In saying this, various people involved with the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and some from the metal community have understandably made some divisive comments regarding the event. The event has suffered as a result of these many comments. What’s done is done but I am here to say that heavy metal music is alive and well! I shouldn’t have to remind everyone that we as a culture have faced ostracism from the mainstream for decades and we should not let over-sensationalized media hype separate us! I think we are ALL tired of all of the bullshit. I KNOW I AM!

Let’s move the conversation forward supporting each other not dividing.

Thank you to Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, TDWP and every single one of the incredibly talented bands that have performed this year on Mayhem!

I would also just like to add a few other choice things for any media conspiracy headlines:

“Can’t we all just get along!” – Rodney King 1994

Marilyn Manson did NOT cause Columbine!

Obama is not the Antichrist!! And he ain’t taking our guns!

Justin Bieber….. uhhhh… no comment!

Heavy metal does not cure cancer, but it is good to fuck to.

Hopefully I will see many of you at Knotfest 2015!

– John Reese

It’s a nice sentiment, and while Kerry King might not care about media training, he has to know that his comments didn’t help out the Fest. We’ll also say that having dealt with Kevin Lyman over the years, we have nothing bad to say about him at all. He’s been a stand-up guy, and not one to mince words. Should he have said what he did in an interview? Perhaps not, but he was speaking his mind. So was King, but it definitely hurt the tour. Here’s hoping that Mayhem continues to exist, and that this year is just a hiccup in a festival that’s been pretty well run that other seven years.

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