As you may or may not know or figured out by looking around, I am a college student from Pikeville, Kentucky. I go to Pikeville College, which is a private liberal arts college. Because of this arty liberalness, I’m required to take courses that have absolutely nothing to do with my major of choice, which is Social Work.

Future social worker running a blog about metal? What can I say, I’m a bleeding heart hippie liberal. Death to Fox News.

Anyway, I’m taking Music Appreciation: History of Rock and Roll. I’m not complaining because that’s a cool class to have, especially if I’m gonna be opinionated and shit all over this place. At least I’ll get a better understanding of where we are and how far we’ve come to reach this style of music.

So, first day of class rolls around and I’m fairly confident in my ability to succeed in the class. My professor tries to play that “LETS INTRODUCE OURSELVES” game and has everyone in the class say their name, where we’re from, major, and favorite genre of music.

Oh shit.

I look around the room in panic. Just what I feared… I’m the only person in the class the even looks like they would listen to metal. Dammit. This is going to be awkward. If you’re wondering to yourselves why I’d bother worrying, put yourself in my shoes: I’m sitting in the middle of the room, long hair and The Faceless shirt making it completely obvious. I’m also from a small town in Kentucky. It’s apparent that I’m going to be the odd man out here. Maybe I’m making this out to be bigger than it really is? I dunno. I was just hoping someone would say “metal” before I did.


No such luck. I shuffle in my seat a bit, the thought of being “that one weird guy” nipping at me. We’re about halfway to where I sit and most have the answers have been “I listen to a bit of everything” which is a fucking lie. Whatever’s on the radio at the time isn’t “a bit of everything.” I hate people.

So it gets to me and I just get to it. “I’m Jimmy Rowe. I’ve lived in Pikeville all my life. I’m a social work major and I listen to metal.” If the mumbling and whispers I heard around me weren’t about me, then they all have had coincidentally terrible timing. The professor just kinda looked up at me and said “Oh really? Me too.

I took her response as a seething sarcastic remark, so I sat there, wading in my pool of rage. The rest go on about how they listen to everything, blah blah blah drivel. Now it’s time to ask her questions. Among one of the first questions asked was “What kind of music do you like?” and after she through out one of those “everything” answers, she said, to my surprise, “Oh, and I love progressive metal.”

I immediately perked up some and asked her to elaborate on that. She continued, “I did my dissertation on Dream Theater and their keyboard player Jordan Rudess.” I asked if she had heard of Between the Buried and Me, and she had not, but she wanted me to send her some songs. She later went on to say she was in a metal band in college and her first real concert was a Slayer show. Wow, she seemed to have some cred in metal. I thought it was pretty cool, of course.

Weeks went by and she taught the history of rock and roll, leading up to today. When going over the elements of music, she talking about narrow melodies, she brought up Flyleaf‘s “I’m So Sick” as an example. Specifically, the chorus vocal melody. She brought up the video on projector and before she played the song, she said “I apologize to those who don’t like metal. It’s just the best example I could come up with at the moment.”

What? Flyleaf? Metal? That’s a huge stretch, to say the least. Still, I held my tongue. Some of the people in the room probably haven’t heard anything heavier than Nickelback, so to them, this could be metal. They don’t know any better.

So she played the video while I sat there slightly annoyed.


She played about a quarter of it and stopped and then said the stupidest thing I’ve heard in the longest time:

“You know, it’s funny. They’re like the only Christian death metal band I know of.”

Oh. My. God. I could not believe my ears. How anyone could think that Flyleaf are death metal in any imaginable form is beyond me, let alone a rock and roll music appreciation teacher. I was appalled. I couldn’t even find the words to sandbag her in front of the class. I just sat there for the rest of the class slightly pissed off.

I’ll never be able to take this class seriously ever again. Some idiot in the room is probably walking around with bunk “knowledge” about what metal is because our teacher doesn’t know music like she should.

I just don’t even. What has the world come to? Ugh.

– JR


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