So, I just saw this news item over at Blabbermouth, and my initial reaction was:
“What. The. Fuck.” Followed by a fit of stomping around and blasting “Overactive Imagination.”
A secondary, and slightly more measured reaction, was as follows:
If’n you don’t feel particularly inclined to follow random links, the gist of the post is that a concert is being held this weekend in New York which is billed as a “Chuck Schuldiner Benefit.” Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect, because Chuck’s legacy in heavy metal is absolutely without question. Mantas, Death, and Control Denied deserve all the respect and accolades in the world, and Chuck’s status as one of the prime movers of the early American death metal scene has been well-documented. The thing is, Chuck Schuldiner died of cancer back in 2001.
This was obviously a great tragedy for his family and friends, and I always feel a little iffy suggesting that adding my condolences as only a fan of the man’s music can really amount to anything meaningful, but still. Whether or not I am qualified to comment on the loss to the metal community represented by Chuck’s passing is somewhat beside the point here. What I would really like to put out there, actually, is an open letter to the concert organizers:
To Whom It May Concern (A.K.A., Event Planner With An Unfortunate Choice Of Words),
Hello. Are you well? Just a few friendly words from your pal here at Spinal Tapdance. If you are going to plan a concert to honor the memory of a well-respected and massively influential heavy metal musician who has been gone for nearly a decade, STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE WORD ‘BENEFIT’. THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU MEAN, AND THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY.
I’m thinking that a better word to have used is probably ‘tribute’. See, “Chuck Schuldiner Tribute Concert” has a perfectly wonderful ring to it. You can still have it headlined by the (officially-sanctioned) Death tribute band (see how that works doubly there?), and you can still use it to showcase local talent. All of these things are good. All of these things are right. But if you carry on calling your show a “Chuck Schuldiner Benefit” without further specifying precise what or who stands to benefit from it, I suspect that the very canny and cagey heavy metal community will begin to question your bona fides.
They might even get irritable.
Now, maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Maybe what you actually meant to specify in your press release is that this is a benefit concert for Chuck Schuldiner in the sense that some of the proceeds will go to his family, or perhaps to a scientific foundation which researches rare brain tumors. If this is the case, here’s a pro tip: Tell us that.
Otherwise, with all due warmth and affection, might I kindly ask of you to fuck right along with this ‘Benefit’ language?
I remain, as always,
Your friend in heavy metal,