“‘Cattle Decapitation‘?! What the hell kind of music are you into now, Colin? Sounds like another really depraved rock band from Sweden or Britain – that’s what you’re listening to these days, isn’t it? Like that other group you worship – ‘Liquid Graveyard’. What the hell does that even mean, Colin? Your mother and I have had it with this heavy metal music, if you can even call it music, which you insist on blaring down here; we’re losing our minds. You have absolutely no respect for anyone else. Your poor grandmother is afraid to come out of her room and eats all her meals behind her locked door. Frankly it’s nothing but noise and I can’t blame her one bit for keeping herself locked away. I mean, it was bad enough when you were into ‘Motörhead’ and that Lemmy freak but we kept our mouths shut; kids go through phases, I know that. Then you started getting into some pretty disturbing stuff, groups like ‘Autopsy’ and ‘Cannibal Corpse’. Really, Colin! It’s damn upsetting to the whole family and we’re seriously on the brink of kicking you out of the house. What do you have to say for yourself? What do you want to do with your life?!” Colin’s father, Mark, was apoplectic with rage.
“I WANNA ROCK!!” Colin wanted to scream at the top of his lungs but he wouldn’t give his father the satisfaction. Instead, he looked up at his father from the beach chair in his basement bedroom and calmly asked “Are you done spewing your uninformed and ponderous statements, Dad, or do you have more to say? If you’re done, I’m gonna ask you to leave my room and let me enjoy my music. If you’re not, feel free to continue your rant. You don’t mind if I put on my headphones, do you?” Colin knew he was adding gasoline to the fire but at this point he didn’t care any more. Obviously his father had been going through his stuff; he never takes the time to listen to what he has to say and has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Actually comparing ‘Cattle Decapitation’ to ‘Motörhead‘ – what a pedestrian misconception!
“Why you little son of a bitch! You’re telling ME to get out of YOUR room? This is MY house; I just let you live here! We fixed up the basement for you when your grandmother moved in. We could have easily had you share a room with Kyle but we realized you needed your own space. And how do you repay us? By turning this place into a shit hole! Look at your crap – magazines, posters, CDs, video games, boxes of God knows what spread out all over the place. No wonder your mother practically has a panic attack every time she has to come down here to use the washing machine. She’s almost as scared as your grandmother! It breaks her heart seeing what you’ve done to this room. You know, she always wanted to make this her arts and crafts area but gladly gave up the space to accommodate you. Have you ever shown your appreciation, even once? No, you haven’t! You’re such a selfish and spoiled ingrate!” Colin stared at his father, fascinated as he watched his eyes bulge with every word and the throbbing veins in his neck looked like they were going to explode.
“Since we’re talking about me, Dad, other than my taste in music and the fact that you think I’m a selfish ingrate, have I ever done anything you‘re ashamed of? I’m a good student and I’ve got a job. All the stuff you call “crap” – I bought everything you see here with my own money. I never asked you for a dime to buy CDs or video games. That’s a lot more than you cay say about other kids my age but you‘ve never acknowledge that. You just constantly browbeat me about my music. Dad, let me ask you a question. Didn’t you have your favorite groups when you were my age, maybe even some your parents didn’t approve of?” Colin asked.
Mark was momentarily caught off guard; he’d never heard Colin talk like this before. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time they actually had a civilized conversation; they always just screamed at each other. Who was this kid?
“Of course we did, Colin. We listened to lots of different groups like ‘Guns N’ Roses’, ‘Mötley Crüe’, ‘Whitesnake’ and ‘Quiet Riot’ but that music is no comparison to the crap that’s out today, especially this garbage you’re listening to. Yeah, maybe my father gave me some grief now and then – it’s a father’s job to keep his kids in line – but back then the music we listened to was really good. You know, your mother still loves The Beatles? You can’t get any better than that.”
Colin sprinted out of his chair. “Dad, do you honestly think you’re telling me something new? I know all about those groups you used to listed to. You think I’m only aware of what’s popular now? Give me a little more credit than that! At least my mind isn’t closed off like yours. I like ‘The Beatles’, ‘Stones’, ‘Led Zeppelin’ and ‘Deep Purple’. But I accept the fact that my music isn’t for everybody and you should at least acknowledge that and try to be a little more broadminded instead of sticking it to me every chance you get. Did you ever think the reason I stay down here listening to my music is because you and I never just talk about stuff?”
Mark exhaled deeply. “You make some valid points, Colin, you really do but at least the names of the groups we were into weren’t twisted. Tell me, what the hell kind of name is ‘Cattle Decapitation’, for crying out loud? It’s not normal! What the hell am I supposed to make of that?”
“Come on, Dad. It’s just a name. Didn’t you listen to ‘Poison’ and ‘Fine Young Cannibals‘ and ‘Nine Inch Nails’? And since you mentioned “twisted”, what about ‘Twisted Sister’? What kinds of names are those? Besides, you don’t know the first thing about ‘Cattle Decapitation‘” Colin replied.
“Well, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what the name means, Colin. It’s repulsive!”
“And there you go again, making a judgment call with no real information to back it up! Dad, can you cool down long enough to let me tell you something about them?”
Mark sat down heavily on the side of Colin’s bed. “Go ahead, Colin, but it’s probably not going to change my mind.”
‘‘Well, you might be surprised. And I’m not making any of this up. It’s all on the internet so Google it if you don’t believe me. ‘Cattle Decapitation’ is an American group, not Swedish or English. That’s right – from right here in the US of A, just like your good old boy Ted Nugent! And they aren’t famous for cutting off the heads of innocent cows or sheep. Their songs actually protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals and the abuse of the environment. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that the members of the band are vegetarians, just like me – or haven’t you noticed I gave up eating meat two years ago? They aren’t savages. When you think about it they’re not all that different than ‘that fab little group’ Mom loves so much; they’re just expressing themselves in a different way.“
Mark looked at his son with skepticism. “I don’t know, Colin. That just doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean, listen to them; that lead singer sounds like he’s possessed by demons!”
“That’s because they’re angry about the situation of the world and they’re trying to get our attention! Their song ‘Bring Back the Plague’ is all about COVID-19 and is the painful, truthful humor we all need right now. And it was filmed responsibly on cell phones while the band was in self-isolation. Do us both a favor, Dad. Forget the music for now and just read the lyrics to their songs, then compare them to the groups you listened to. That’s all I ask; think of it as a compromise. After that, if you still want to kick me out of the house, that’s your right.”
“Ok, Colin, I’ll take a look but I can’t promise anything.”
Mark went to the fridge and grabbed a Bud Light. He climbed the stairs to his den, flipped on ‘Metallica‘ and Googled ‘Cattle Decapitation‘.
“Well, I’ll be God damned! he said after reading for half an hour. “The kid actually knew what he was talking about.” Mark switched off ‘Metallica’ and searched YouTube for ‘Bring Back the Plague’. Putting on his headphones, he took a swig of his beer and for the first time in ages he actually paid attention.
NAR © 2023
Originally published in 2020.
Resuscitated, reprised and revamped
to complement my post for
today’s edition of In The Groove
at The Rhythm Section.
Please stop by and check it out.