Banger Films‘ (“Metal: A Headbangers Journey”, “Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage”) groundbreaking documentary series “Metal Evolution” premiered on November 11 on VH1 Classic. The latest passion project from Canadian documentarians Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, “Metal Evolution” will dedicate each episode of the 11-part series to a specific facet of the heavy metal sound and culture. New episodes of “Metal Evolution” will premiere every Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT on VH1 Classic.
“Metal Evolution” presents 11 episodes based on the ground-breaking “Heavy Metal Family Tree.” This 26 sub-genre genealogical chart reveals the vast complex progeny of heavy metal — from Early Metal and Shock Rock to Thrash, from Progressive Metal to Grunge and Nu Metal. Using the Chart as his road map, host/producer and metalhead-turned-anthropologist Sam Dunn crisscrossed the globe exploring the vast history of heavy metal across its 40-plus-year history and beyond. From bars and back alleys to the biggest open air festivals, Sam will visit the pioneers of British and American hard rock who laid metal’s sonic foundation, as well as the current leaders of contemporary metal. Whether you love metal, documentaries or just great stories, “Metal Evolution” is the ultimate examination into the history of heavy metal music.
Dunn recently spoke to Darryl Sterdan of the QMI Agency about “Metal Evolution”. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
QMI Agency: You’ve been working on this series for more than two years. How much more work went into this than one of your documentary films?
Dunn: Well, this series is 11 one-hour episodes on the entire history of hard rock and heavy metal. And each episode is really a documentary unto its own. Because what we discovered is that each metal subgenre — whether it’s thrash or shock-rock or glam-metal or grunge — has its own unique story. And its own cast of characters and key people. So it was a lot more work from a research and writing perspective because we had to pin down the key characters and come up with interesting stories. There were a lot of late nights in the writing room with DEEP PURPLE on.
QMI Agency: What were the biggest surprises and epiphanies for you?
Dunn: One that really stands out to me was nu-metal, which emerged in the ’90s and was this subgenre that explored hip-hop and included turntables. Guys in bands like KORN and LIMP BIZKIT and LINKIN PARK didn’t look metal. And I honestly despised these bands at the time. But in doing the episode, I learned there was some value in what those bands brought to the genre because it tested the boundaries of heavy metal. Part of the charm of metal is the musicians’ and fans’ commitment to the music and the sense of community. But the downside is that can become pretty exclusive and even elitist at times. The nu- metal episode made me realize adding a seven-string guitar and bringing metal back to some sense of groove — which it really hadn’t had since LED ZEPPELIN in the ’70s — maybe wasn’t such a bad thing. Just because I’m a crusty, thrash-loving metalhead from the ’80s doesn’t mean I can tell LINKIN PARK fans their music isn’t important.
QMI Agency: Was there one interview that was particularly meaningful?
Dunn: Meeting guys like Wayne Kramer and Iggy Pop. The MC5 and THE STOOGES weren’t bands I loved growing up, so meeting them really expanded my idea of where metal comes from and the different sensibilities musicians were bringing to the music in the ’70s. Iggy is such an icon and one of the all-time great performers, so travelling down to Miami and getting to hang out in his Everglades man-cave in the swamps of Florida was pretty damn cool. It was kind of weird. It felt like a scene out of “Dexter” — but there was a really nice Porsche outside.
Read the entire interview at QMI Agency.
“Metal Evolution” trailer: