For outcasts and misunderstood youth everywhere, metal is still God.
Heavy metal has ventilated the frustrations of young people who, throughout the music’s 40-year history, haven’t had a voice – and feel like they don’t belong. From Iron Maiden to Anthrax to Metallica to Body Count, heavy metal music makes its fans feel powerful, ready to rebel and proud to be different.
Despite metal’s staying power – and its longtime impact on popular culture – the genre has, in some ways, been ignored by the mainstream music industry. Heavy metal bands don’t have a significant presence at the Grammys, the American Music Awards or the MTV Music Awards.
Josh Bernstein, the director of live events for Townsquare Media in New York, is tired of it. He has created an awards show to honor only the music of hard rock and heavy metal musicians. Called the Loudwire Music Awards, the inaugural Oct. 24 ceremony at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles will include awards in 14 categories, including Metal Artist of the Year, Metal Song of the Year, Hard Rock Artist of the Year, Best Live Performance and Most Dedicated Fans.
“Hard rock and heavy metal always get the shaft,” Bernstein told Amplify. “It made sense to us to say ‘hey, let’s have a night of our own.'”
The Loudwire Music Awards is being headlined by Avenged Sevenfold and will include performances by In this Moment, Anthrax, Hailstorm, Ice-T’s Bodycount, Nothing More, Starset, Powetrip, Megadeath’s Dave Mustaine, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. Apple Music is creating playlists featuring nominees and performers.
Nominees, performers and guests will walk into the venue on a black carpet rather than the traditional Hollywood red carpet.
“All of us in Anthrax are honored to be included in this year’s Loudwire Music Awards, both as nominees in the Best Live Band category, and with a special performance at the show,” Anthrax’s Charlie Benante said in a statement. “The Loudwire Music Awards is a celebration of our music, and the support that Loudwire has given to all of us in hard rock, metal and thrash is really appreciated. We take pride in our live show as it’s always a chance for us to connect with the audience, and we hope to bring the Loudwire Awards to a metalized frenzy with the special live set we’re planning.”
Bernstein has been a metalhead most of his life. He loved hard rock and metal so much that he based a sizable chunk of his career around them, working at Revolver, the Alternative Press and other publications that celebrated the artists and their music. He was the creator and executive producer of the Golden God Awards, the first to honor both up-and- coming heavy metal musicians as well as pioneers like Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Motley Crue and Guns n’ Roses.
“There had been nothing on that level before,” Bernstein said. “I got to work with all these artists who had been on my bedroom wall.”
Since he started at Townsquare, Bernstein saw the need for more. The idea for the Loudwire Awards took shape.
“If you look at the last five to 10 years at the major pop culture award shows, unless your name is Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters), you’re not invited to the party,” Bernstein said. “I wish there were a million Dave Grohls in the world, but there are a million artists just as cool and as talented as he is, but they don’t get invited to the party.”
Avenged Sevenfold singer M. Shadows said he and his bandmates “are excited to celebrate a night of heavy metal with all of our friends.”
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar and Halford will receive special honors at the event. Zak Wylde, Vinnie Paul, Steve Vai, Rex Brown, Steel Panther, David Ellefson, Joey Jordison, John5 and Hollywood Dead are planning appearances.
Chris Jerico of WWE fame is hosting.
A Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Summit is scheduled to take place before the show at the Grammy Museum next door to The Novo. Panels will feature Halford, Hagar, Brown, Vai and Frank Bello, among others. The summit is free and open to the public and seating is on a first come, first serve basis.
Loudwire Music Awards VIP ticket holders will be given priority seating at the summit. Registration on Eventbrite is required for summit attendees, including the VIPs.
Go here for tickets to the awards show.
“Heavy metal artists don’t get to shower, dress nicely and say, ‘we put out a really good record, so let’s celebrate it,” Bernstein said. “If we don’t shine this light, who will? We can do it, and build it until it’s a force of its own.”