Most Decibel readers likely know 6623 Press founder D.X. Ferris as one of the most incisive, dogged metal journalists around -- the man who literally wrote the (absolutely indispensable) books on both Reign in Blood and Slayer's "Jeff and Dave" years.
But Ferris is also a dad. A suburban metal dad, more specifically. It's a role and a calling he's hilariously chronicled twice a week for several years now via a Popdose comic strip entitled...well, Suburban Metal Dad. Now comes the brilliant, beautifully paleo, lives-up-to-its-epic-title first collection of Ferris' Cosby-by-way-of-Integrity sweet n' acerbic dad comedy stick figure apocalypse Suburban Metal Dad: Compendium One: Raging Bullsh*t (Years III and IV) (Volume 1).
From the introduction:
You grew up listening to Megadeth. You thought authority figures were full of shit. You didn’t know the half of it. Now you have to deal with middle management. And you can’t punch motherfuckers in the head who are just begging for it—because you have a mortgage, wife, and kids, so you need to be a responsible role model. You are a Metal Dad.
To mark the release Decibel asked Ferris to allow us to reprint a few of his DIY masterpieces along with a curated soundtrack. He graciously agreed...
'TOON: "I grew up on Peanuts, and holidays are a big part of my comic strip, too. Except, unlike Charlie Brown, Metal Dad is free to curse when his aggravation levels rise. In year 3, Metal Dad almost kills himself hanging Christmas lights. He ultimately says “fuck it” and decides setting off nightly fireworks is an easier light show. This is mostly fictional. Entirely, I mean."
TUNE: "High on Fire's 'Silver Back.' If I need to get some bad shit out of my system before I settle down and work, this is a perfect tune for some mental bloodletting."
'TOON: "I hate the mall, and I got no patience."
TUNE: "Clutch's 'Equinox.' One of this era's great, under-recognized rock bands covers the John Coltrane jazz classic. I could listen to this on a loop all day."
'TOON: "Metal Dad, I swear, is not a personal webcomic. But this one is a true story. When you write for a living, it’s like having term papers due the rest of your life. But the flexible schedule sure is nice."
TUNE: "Mastodon's 'Hearts Alive' -- Love all Mastodon instrumentals. I hope they do more film work one day. Jonah Hex didn't deserve them. [And] if you never heard Sam Abbott's full-length piano cover of the full 'Leviathan' album, treat yourself."
'TOON: "Fuck dishes. I see a lot of dads make their family their personal support staff. I don’t like doing mundane household chores -- it just bleeds hours out of your day if you let it. But I also refuse to be an unproductive member of the household team. So I do dishes when I need to, which is often. Also, I think we’re never more than six weeks away from a Mad Max scenario. God forbid it happens… but if and when it does, certain things I won’t miss."
TUNE: "Converge's 'Wretched World.' Like earlier Nine Inch Nails, Converge has this great collection of chill tunes. But with Converge's downtempo jams, you can also punch shit to them."
'TOON: "I hate all forms of the telephone. Especially smart phones. I think phones connect you to the web, but ultimately alienate you from the real world around you. And I always preferred metal over the indie rock/alternative/college rock/whatever-you-want-to-call crowd, because metal is more of a community and fellowship. It seems to me like metal people aren’t as quick to hide in their phones as awkward indie-rock heads."
TUNE: "High on Fire's 'Samsara.' Remember how Metallica's 'Anesthesia' starts off, 'Bass solo, take one'? The tone on this is like, 'Bass solo, take two.' Baddest, most hypnotic bass riff ever? I think so. All respect to bassist Jeff Matz, bandleader/guitarist Matt Pike & producer Kurt Ballou are the presidential ticket I want in 2016."
'TOON: "I am, in fact, a suburban metal dad. But we don’t have our own pool -- we’re not living that well. So in the summer, we spend a lot of time at the community pool, where you’re subject to whatever music they play, which is invariably happy Top 40 stuff. And as a dad, you wind up listening to a lot of radio music, ‘cuz your kids like it.
Three points from that: One, as the paterfamilias, part of your job is constantly taking one for the team so they can be comfortable and feel good and have fun. Two, I believe in letting the kids like what they like -- if you don’t, you’re just as bad as the people who told you that metal sucks. Three, you don’t have to like it, though."