Is Tampa Still The ‘Death Metal Capital’ Of America?

The Tampa, Florida death metal scene was part of Rachel Maddow‘s August 28 segment debunking stories in the day’s news on MSNBC‘s “The Rachel Maddow Show”. In the five-minute clip below, Maddow separates fact from fiction on conventional wisdom about Tampa’s relative stripperiness and its death-metallurgy. (Note: The death metal portion of the segment begins around the three-minute, 45-second mark.)

Tampa, which was known the “death metal capital” of America in the early 1990s, is playing host to the 2012 Republican National Convention, a current gathering of the United States Republican Party members during which Delegates officially nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President of the United States, respectively.

The convention is being held during the week of August 27 in Tampa at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

On August 25, Reuters published a story in which reporter Andy Sullivan wrote, “Some say it’s ironic that a party that includes large numbers of religious conservatives would hold its convention in the city that fostered a musical genre known for album titles like ‘To Hell With God’ and ‘Butchered At Birth’.”

“It’s kind of like having a group called Abstinence For The Sexually Anxious holding its convention in San Francisco,” Steve Huey, a critic at, told Reuters. “Or a group called Society For The Hatred Of Corn deciding to meet up in Iowa.”

During her show, Maddow explained that “Tampa is considered the birthplace of death metal. It’s home to such famous death metal bands as DEICIDE; that was their music video we played a clip of a moment ago. Also, the well-known band OBITUARY. Also, HATE ETERNAL and MORBID ANGEL and the band CANNIBAL CORPSE, which Bob Dole tried to make very famous in the ’90s when he criticized them publicly the year before he ran for president. Bob Dole‘s friends at CANNIBAL CORPSE, they were not from Tampa, they’re from New York, but they moved to Tampas, because Tampa is America’s ‘home sweet home’ for death metal.”

Maddow joked, “Death metal is the honest-to-goodness traditional Tampa experience. If you’re in Tampa for the Republican convention, don’t go to a strip club. Wait ’till you’re going to Cincinnati. Death metal you should check out.”

“Maybe I’m just a really boring human being, but I was not aware of Tampa being a death-metal capital,” Tampa Bay Host Committee president Ken Jones told Reuters. “Maybe had I known that, I could have used that to raise a few dollars.”

Reuters also spoke to several death-metal musicians, all of whom made it clear that they do not spend much time talking about politics.

“There is usually something far more creative and worthwhile happening that distracts our focus from the ever-important empty suits who promise everything and deliver nothing,” said MORBID ANGEL frontman David Vincent.

“The kind of people that are going to listen to Bob Dole‘s opinion are not the kind of people who want to listen to our music in the first place,” CANNIBAL CORPSE bassist Alex Webster said. “There are plenty of Republican death-metal fans. I’m sure we have fans on both sides of the fence.”

“It’s just like they’re all coming home anyway,” DEICIDE drummer Steve Asheim said about the prospect of thousands of religious conservatives descending on his city. “Down here every other block it’s churches and strip bars. It’s nothing new for us, man.”


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