For those who were fortunate enough to be around June 1967, this area was the site of the seminal Monterey Pop Festival, the first ever music festival devoted solely to giving exposure to the rock ‘n’ roll bands of the day. It featured such heavyweights as Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Ever since that time, however, Monterey’s local music scene has focused on Jazz, Blues, Swing, and other decidedly non-rebellious styles of music.
For students at Cal State Monterey Bay (CSUMB), the local music scene has very little to offer in terms of traditional rock, punk, and heavy metal options, and in order to view any bigger ticket bands, students have to travel an hour out of the way to either San Jose or Santa Cruz, which is not an easy task living on such restricted budgets as we do.
With an utter lack of any real options for seeing live metal, it isn’t surprising the metal scene at CSUMB is almost entirely non-existent. Aside from groups of friends who get together on the weekends to listen to the newest releases from their favorite bands, Monterey simply doesn’t have any kind of setup which allows local metal bands and fans to get together in a live setting the way other places, such as Berkeley’s “The Gilman” allow for. “One of my favorite things to do on weekends in high school was go to The Gilman and see local metal bands,” says John Peoples, sophomore, Business Administration, at CSUMB. “At those shows you get to know people, fans and musicians alike.”
With Monterey lacking suitable venue for even local metal shows, it is not surprising Monterey is passed over in favor of larger cities like San Jose for bigger ticket acts, and without these shows, it becomes very difficult to create any sort of local movement.
While it isn’t surprising metal isn’t as popular with the older demographics of Monterey County, it is interesting to notice that even on campus, among students who are the prime demographics for aggressive music, heavy metal is still almost completely unrepresented in the community.
“The average CSUMB student probably thinks metal is not cool because it’s not contrived,
electronic, pop-regurgitation with some guy rapping like what they listen to,” Mike Jones, junior, said. “Good metal requires talent to make; the average CSUMB student does not appreciate talent”.
Metal is usually digested best through the experience of listening to an entire album, and with today’s use of the internet to stream whatever song by whichever artist at whenever time has rendered the album format obsolete for many young people. Add that to the fact metal music is starting to fall out of the mainstream again, and with it goes the various stereotypes associated with rock music in general, “that the average student’s perspective of heavy metal is that it is loud, talentless, devil worship, anti god”, as Peoples puts it, and perhaps it isn’t particularly surprising our small campus lacks any unified scene.
The reality for many CSUMB students is simply that live music isn’t much of a part of their entertainment diet, and that music consumption isn’t the active entertainment it was for our parents, or their parents, and with that comes the lack of commitment required to spending time studying the role of heavy metal in the music world. Give the campus more time to grow and metal more time to come out of its current creative decline, and we’ll see what happens with heavy metal in the local community.