Higgo whacks Mitchell

Staff Writer

Following Neil Mitchel's criticism on 3AW Melbourne of the awarding of a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to a Sydney death metal band, "Ouroboros", Triple M's Dave Higgins has returned fire.

Mitchell attacked the award comparing the lead singers vocals to the voice of the Cookie Monster saying: "it's awful stuff and you're paying for it". 

The Council have defended the award to Ouroboros commenting “they have a degree of technical virtuosity and musicianship. No matter what kind of music you are involved in, that comes through”

Now Triple M's 'Higgo', who hosts a late night metal show on the station has written an open letter about Mitchell's comments on the stations website, which you can see here, or read in full below:


So it seems in this day and age, where tolerance is expected of everyone and everything, some people think they are above bigotry?

On Monday morning I was made aware via a fellow music lover that a Melbourne-based talkback radio host, Neil Mitchell, was outraged Sydney technical death metal band, OUROBOROS, was given a $20,000 grant through the Australia Council for the Arts.

The grant will help the band write new songs for their next album, which will include music from a symphony orchestra.

Here's a quote from the story in the Australian Newspaper discussing the reason behind the grant: "They (Ouroboros) have a degree of technical virtuosity and musicianship. No matter what kind of music you are involved in, that comes through," said composer Matthew Hindson, chair of the Australia Council music board.

You'd think that would be the end of it. The Council for the Arts have made a decision based on musicianship of the band and are handing over 20k, but no.

Mitchell, putting his metal knowledge (or lack thereof) on the line, decided 'this is awful stuff, and you're paying for it'.

I understand heavy metal isn't everyone's cup of tea, just like country music, just like hip hop, just like pop music, just like opera. But do those genres come under fire from Mitchell? No. And why is that?

Could it be because Mitchell simply doesn't understand it? Could it be Mitchell thinks this is a waste of money because HE doesn't like it and is tapping into his demographic for populist support?

Surely Mitchell, a broadcaster with years of success and experience, isn't being intolerant of something he doesn't understand?

Well, the fact is, the very music genre Mitchell doesn't understand or like has a huge following in Australia from a very passionate and outspoken community who, every year around March, converge en masse to the Soundwave Festival in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Well over 100,000 people attend Soundwave, year in, year out. So to suggest that 'this is awful stuff' is ridiculous.

It's awful stuff to Mitchell. It may be awful stuff to Mitchell's listeners, who are walking with one foot in the grave and were brought up listening to big band music of the 40s (which I quite like by the way), but it's art and it's music and it's enjoyed by a wide range of people in the community from paper boys to lawyers.

As my friend Chris Maric of Riot! Entertainment wrote: "Metal is a big business. I've always struggled with mainstream media in getting any coverage, unlike in Europe where the genre's musical integrity and appreciation of skill is commended."

What business is it of yours anyway, Mitchell? I'm guessing you'd make more than $20,000 in other opportunities through your profession whilst these guys are gigging around the country flat out trying to make a living out of something they love. Who the hell are you to try and take that away from them, or anyone for that matter?

All I ask is that you be more tolerant of things you don't understand, rather than trying to convince your listeners that things you don't like are a waste of money.

"Dave Higgins, music lover and host of Triple M Metal show Distortion"

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