Published on The Deli Philadelphia – Monday, June 14
As chief instigator of local black metal outfit Woe, Chris Grigg knows firsthand the lack of love metal feels in Philadelphia. “I have been playing music for what I think of as a long time and always felt that the metal scene in particular was simply overlooked and disorganized.” In response, Grigg launched his site, Phillymetal.com, this past September, with the intention of drawing attention to and unifying the local metal community. The minimalistic and monochromatic metal hub, modeled after the dial-up billboard services of yore, hosts a daily list of area shows and an extensive message board for metal fans, bands and promoters alike to trade opinions and information. For the Woe frontman, Phillymetal.com is about exposing metal and developing a constant “built-in” crowd, and once it was launched, he “got major support from pretty much every band and promoter in the city, and the rest is history.”
We had a chance to chat with Grigg about his website, the metal underground and why it deserves more attention.
The Deli: Why do you think Philly’s metal scene is barely recognized?
Chris Grigg: It’s hard to say. I don’t know if there really is one answer. Lack of communication, poor show promotion, limited venue support? Horrible egos? Bands that are simply… not that good?
Things have changed a lot in the last few years and it’s probably easier to talk about why things are getting better. I see it as a cumulative effect. The punk and metal scenes now have major crossover, which really got the ball rolling. My website launched, which gives promoters access to a much large number of metal fans than the city has ever had and encourages a community and networking. You have venues that are far more supportive of metal than anything we’ve ever seen, particularly Kung Fu Necktie and the M Room, but there are shows at the Barbary and an ever-growing number of DIY houses and warehouses all over the place.
TD: Does it shock you at all that the local music community doesn’t pay attention to metal all that much, considering Decibel, a well-known metal mag, is based here?
CG: It shocks me more that Decibel does absolutely nothing for the metal community more than anything else. They put their name on shows here and there, and I guess plug them on their message board, but if they want to help, they should do a report on our fantastic scene in their magazine. As for the local music community…metal and punk have always been somewhat segregated from everything else. It’s good in a way. It helps ensure that those who are there are interested in the music, not the social scene. I’d rather keep things small and dedicated than have adults who don’t know anything about the music trying to act like they do because it’s suddenly hip. On the flipside, there is a lot of value in underground metal that I think has appeal outside of our community. There’s a lot for other scenes to learn, just as there’s a lot our scene can learn from others.
TD: Going through PhillyMetal.com, it’s a very simple site, visually and content wise (only show listings and a board). Why is that? Why keep the site to the bare minimum?
CG: There are a few reasons. A lot of reasons. First and foremost, I designed the site to fill very specific needs: reach the area’s metal fans to promote shows, help bands, and build community. Any needs beyond that are already filled by another site, meaning that if I waste my time doing it, it probably won’t be used because someone else is doing it better. It’s like… I could add the ability to upload videos of bands playing and then have a Videos section of the site… but it would never be as good as YouTube, so you know what? If you want to share a video, go to youtube.com and then post the link on our message board. Don’t waste my bandwidth.
TD: What do you hope for the future of Philly Metal and metal in Philly?
CG: The website is not important. Sooner or later, something will come around that does it better and my site will be replaced. I want Philadelphia to make a mark. I want people to talk about Philadelphia (I’d settle for East Coast Metal) the way they talk about Sweden or the American Northwest. We are on our way but still need more quality people involved, more quality bands appearing, more shows, more noise, more art, MORE CHAOS!
TD: What’s your favorite thing to get in the deli?
CG: Oh…Uhh…Matzo Balls, if it’s a Jewish deli.
– The Deli Staff