Just today I was reading about two things: what it was like for others to find atheism, and a recent music discussion under the forum. And because of this I noticed something about myself that others might find interesting. My family had no problems with me being an atheist, in fact I was brought up without a religion and grew into atheism, quite natural and my parents were supportive. The thing they couldn't understand is why I liked metal.

To understand this, you need to understand a few things about my parents. My mother lost her father at a young age, about 6 if my memory serves me, but she grew up with a step dad which she loved dearly. Her step dad was a musician; a saxophone player and high school band director. Because of this, she grew up as 'the director's daughter' which can be seen in similar terms to a pastor's daughter; she, of course, joined band but not in any particular instrument. She switched around to whatever holes were left by graduating band members. Although not a terribly gifted musician she did love it. My father, awkwardly enough, was a brilliant alto saxophonist who practically idolized my step-grandfather (though I never thought of him as such, he was a part of the family). It is a queer conincidence that my mother fell in love with my father who idolized my grandfather. Anyways, my dad, after graduating attended college majoring in music theory. He wanted to become a jazz musician. Music has always been a part of their lives, and I grew up listening to Miles Davis, Louie Armstrong, and Steely Dan. I was, of course, pressured into joining band. The director had convinced me that I would make a great tuba player because of my full lips and large stature (at the time of fifth grade), and I was happy with that. But my father was horrified at the prosepct of his son being a tuba player! So he quickly notified the director that he would play something more worthwhile! He would be a trumpet player!

So, you get the point, I was raised in a musically pure family. I regret to say that my eventual turning would happen after I ask for Guitar Hero II for my 15th birthday. My parents, of course, got it for me, and it was good! Within a few months I was already playing at expert! At first I didn't like a lot of the songs, but a lot of the classics rang true in my ears. Soon I was asking a friend of mine to lead me gradually down to the deepest depths of metal. He started with some classics, like Metallica, Maiden, AC/DC, Sabbath, etc. But that was mostly classic rock, and some generic heavy metal. My first taste of death metal came when my sister and I were browsing a free music video library provided by our cable. I came across a video called 'Cry of the Blackbirds' by a band called Amon Amarth. It was located in the Metal section, which we normally steered clear of, and the only reason I played it was because I made a joke of it to my sister, something along the lines of "I Wonder if this is a metal band covering Prince's 'When the Doves Cry'?" I know, very very lame. Anyways! It blew my mind, it was the first time I had ever heard a death metal growl and I LIKED it. Me and my sister initially laughed at the voice and the synchronized hair-pinwheels (I don't lie! watch it on you tube!) but we quickly grew silent during the last half of the song. At the end I remember turning to my sister and saying 'that was... kinda... good...' She didn't say much of anything besides a mumble, and we actually watched that same video about 5 times. My parents didn't even know about any of this until i started asking my mother to download some songs for me (she wouldn't let us use limewire, and made us giver her lists of songs for her to get us) and she remarked upon it to my father. Needless to say he was not happy. First I quit band (after five years), and then I started listening to this shit. I remember him making jokes about the song The Hand of Doom, but then later, after I got him to listen to it, he was impressed by how bluesy it was (Most good early sabbath was!). It was kind of like Julia Sweeny's mother saying that it was okay to not believe in God, but to be an Athiest? An ATHEIST???. My dad thought it was fine to listen to Rock, but Metal? METAL???.

This story, though, has a happy ending. My parents, being reasonable and logical people, quickly realized that this was MY choice, and was what I liked, not what they -wanted- me to like. So the verbal abuse and judgment only lasted about 6-8 months, now they accept it. My whole reason on writing this is that, although my 'coming out godless' story is pretty non-linear; I saw the same things happen when my parents realized that I was listening to music I was not brought up with. All in all, LOL!

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Comment by Joann L on December 21, 2008 at 8:50pm
Hi D. E.

Thanks for sharing your story. After raising 5 kids, I had to realize that each was an individual and had different likes and wants. I'm glad your parents came to accept your music choice. I've had to listen to many different genre's of music and I try to keep an open mind about everything. We didn't raise our children with religion but instead let them go to church with their friends, if they wanted to and we let them form their own opinions about things to include religion and music. All in all they all turned out to be good, compassionate honest citizens as I suspect you are too. People should not be judged by the music they listen to but by what they show is in their hearts!

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