A Girl’s Guide to Metal by Cleo Howard Part One

 A Girl’s Guide to Metal by Cleo Howard

If you’ve only recently started listening to metal (hello *waves horns*, you have made a great choice, nice to have you on board the crazy train) there might be some things that need explaining. Maybe you’ve never done some of the great fun metal activities, maybe you need wardrobe advice or maybe you’ve got a problem in your life of love. All these are covered in this guide and what’s more they’re covered in leather and then studded. Hell yes!

If you are a boy and are reading this guide loads of the stuff in here is relevant to you and it’s always good to get the perspective of the opposite gender. If you are a boy you can wee standing up at festivals and I will hold that against you just a teeny, teeny bit. However, if you have lovely long hair or tattoos or own Slayer’s South of Heaven album I will forgive you.

If you are a panda and you’re reading this then wow! I knew you guys were secretly very clever and I know that you eat things other than bamboo when we’re not looking. Keep up the nice work with the eye make-up you cuddly looking but dangerous fluffy chaps.

Reader, the highway to hell awaits you. I’d imagine there isn’t anything you’d rather do.


The Music

These ten albums are essential listening.

AC/DC – Back in Black. From the first metallic ‘Donggggg!!!!’ of ‘Hells Bells’ to the final and masterful assertion that ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ this album is superb.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden. It’s no coincidence that Phantom of the Opera was used to advertise Lucozade. This album could heal the sick.

Judas Priest – British Steel. You don’t have to be old to be wise enough to recognise that this is a classic album.

Megadeth – So far so good so what. This album has so much energy you’d think it’s been eating golden syrup. I love angry Dave. If he wasn’t ginger would he still be so angry?

Metallica- Kill ‘em all. Sadly Cliff Burton did not live long enough but he did leave this wonderful legacy that kick started a chain reaction of what would become thrash metal.

Ozzy Osbourne – Ozzmosis. You should be careful not to store this near less good albums or there may be a net movement of awesomeness in the direction of the less good albums.

Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power. What do you call Pantera in just their underpants with daffodils sticking out of them? A vulgar display of flowers!

Danzig – Danzig. This album should be kept where you can see it. It’s so dark and twisted it might sneak off and do mischief.

Bolt Thrower – In Battle There Is No Law. Just look at the cover. You need this in your life.

Suicidal Tendencies – Join The Army. If this can’t recruit you to a life of listening to metal then there is no hope.


Metal subgenres.

You might find it fun to split metal up into sub-types. If so you were probably the kind of kid who put all their felt tips away in colour order. Anyway, here are some subtypes of metal and suggestions for listening. Thrash Metal (Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Kreator), Death Metal (Death, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death), Heavy Metal (Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Manowar) Industrial Metal (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Rammstein).

Metal fans also tend to appreciate Punk (be it British such as Sub-humans, Anti-Nowhere League, The Damned or North American such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, The Ramones) and Goth (The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Alien Sex Fiend).

I’m bored already and we haven’t even covered black metal and power metal. Just listen to what you like, it doesn’t matter if your computer wants you to specify a genre when uploading music.


The Fashion

Black band T shirts. Get some, wear them. Admire those belonging to other people. Use them to start conversations that lead to friendships and much more. Choose T shirts of your favourite bands. Don’t wear a T shirt of a band you know nothing about, you’ll be unable to talk to other fans about it. Gigs are a good place to buy T shirts because then they are also a souvenir. The band’s official website is a good place to look and rare T shirts are often sold on ebay.

Avoid buying bootleg T shirts outside gigs, these are always poor quality and bands need the income from the merchandise they sell to continue recording and touring.

Do not tumble dry your T shirts too hot or they’ll shrink. There are girlie T shirts available quite often nowadays but you might need to buy men’s T shirts if they aren’t. This is okay if you are tallish but you will probably find they are too long if you’re short. If you are short you could cut them to the right length and hem them (ask your Nan for help). Swearing and graphic images on T shirts is fine in appropriate situations like rock pubs, but not when going for a job interview or visiting a nursing home.

Horns. Although not an item of clothing horns are a basic way to display you are a metal fan. Places to show your horns are when meeting a fellow metal fan and at gigs, especially when requested by the band. Places to not throw the horns are garden centres and appraisal meetings at work (although there may be exceptions, depending on what your job is).

Jeans. There are lots of styles to choose from. Flares can be worn with a Misfits T shirt for a nice homage to Cliff Burton. Black tight stretch jeans are favoured by thrash and death metal fans and by goths but can be unflattering if you’re a Whole Lotta Rosie. Tight stretch jeans with ankle zips are favoured by people with no taste in trousers. Boot cut jeans tend to be flattering on most body shapes. Nu-metal parallel cut jeans are comfortable. Leather jeans can be very uncomfortable in hot weather.

Don’t do the vacuuming in flares or parallel cut jeans. You will spend half the time vacuuming and un-vacuuming the bottom of your trousers. Also be careful on really wet days that this type of trouser doesn’t soak up lots of water and fall down.

Studs and studded belts. Get some studs and put them on anything at all, underpants, nightdresses, nothing is not improved by the addition of studs. You can wear a studded belt just as you would a normal belt, threaded through all the belt loops on your trousers to keep your trousers up. Or, you can wear a wide studded belt with two or three rows of studs around your hips. Bullet belts can also be worn around your hips but they are heavy so ensure this doesn’t result in your trousers falling down. You could also wear two studded belts, ideally in two different colours, loosely slung around your jeans by threading them through one or two of the belt loops on your trousers or skirt. Jodie Marsh wore two studded belts in a criss-cross arrangement as a top when looking for a husband. She may have been planning to use them to lasso any suitable quarry that came within striking distance. Until further research has been done this is not advised.

Tattoos and Piercings. Think very carefully before either of these. You will meet drunken old men in pubs who tell you that they regret all their tattoos. Just because they were too daft to decide what they really wanted doesn’t mean you will be but don’t rush into anything. Piercings will leave a scar if you decide to remove them at a later date so don’t have these done without considering the possible impact it could have on your body. Don’t get your tongue pierced because your boyfriend saw Pulp Fiction and has offered to pay for it. Also think about your future career plans when choosing where and what to have pierced and tattooed. Go to a reputable tattooist or piercer. Do what they recommend for aftercare.

Hair. Women can have any colour and style of hair. However, as in mainstream society long is favoured. Men generally opt for long hair because it is not favoured in mainstream society.

Leather and pleather. Leather is lovely, smells wonderful and is very long lasting. A leather skirt can last decades and not look dated if you buy a plain one. If you have ethical reasons for not wanting to wear leather or are on a budget then PVC or pleather is good too.

Waistcoats. Wear with caution. It’s mainly only bikers that look good in waistcoats. A denim waistcoat covered in patches is still a very popular look in Germany and if the patches are sewn on neatly and are well-chosen it can look good.

Fringing and tassels. If you’re tempted to wear anything featuring these I suggest you check your calendar. Is it Nineteen-Eighty-Five? No? Then take it off. Take if off now and we’ll say no more about it.

Double denim. This should be avoided unless you want to look like Status Quo in the Nineteen-seventies. At this time Rick Parfitt was well worth a second look so you decide.

Other accessories. Band logo patches can be sewn onto bags to metal them up a bit, scarves with skull prints can be worn round your neck if it’s cold or on your head if it’s hot to avoid sunstroke, fishnet tights or coloured tights can liven up an otherwise dull outfit.

Advanced metal fashion. If you’ve decided metal is for you then you could go shopping in Camden (or on the internet if you live really far from London). Put together your own look by trying on black skirts and dresses, leather, PVC, velvet, corsets, and then add some colour to your wardrobe. The most popular metal colours are red and purple but you can wear any colour with black. You will also need a white school shirt and a tie for wearing to AC/DC tribute band gigs. Some of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen’s clothing is amazing if you can afford it and if not there is always DIY fashion, adding studs, patches and safety pins to basic inexpensive items.

Heavy Metal capsule wardrobe. This could consist of a band T shirt, a black skirt, black leggings or tights, black nail varnish and eyeliner, black leather jacket, black boots, a studded belt and a necklace with a skull on.

No beige ever.



Check listings for your favourite venues regularly so you don’t miss anything. Alice Cooper make-up should be practised in advance. It’s easy to slip from Alice to panda. At some gigs cool accessories are sold. You might be able to get battery operated light up horns at AC/DC or red spotted neckerchiefs at The Wurzels. Generally you’ll enjoy gigs much more if you are familiar with the bands’ music so try and listen to some of the support acts stuff before you go. Gigs are best when you are with a group of friends who love the band as much as you do.


At Festivals, don’t wander about in the camping area with your loo roll in your hand, you will see someone you really fancy. Do get used to men weeing all over the place. The penis envy will wear off after you get home. Festival comedown is inevitable. Make sure you have something good to look forward to when you get home, like a big cake, a new tattoo or a gig to go to. Leather or PVC skirts are good at festivals as they can be wiped clean.

Most women agree that camping sucks. Although, it’s nice to wake up still wearing last night’s clothes for a reason other than being too drunk to take them off. Camping happens outdoors and is most often cold and wet. However, it doesn’t suck as much as not going to festivals does. Listen to AC/DC’s ‘Let’s get it up’ while erecting your tent. If you can afford to stay in a hotel and avoid camping then do so.

The less make up you wear when you’re out all day, the less awful it looks later. Avoid sunburn. Wear a hat, cap or bandana. You will also need a big jumper or cardigan as it will get cold at night. Queue for the toilet before you really, really need to go.

Not everyone can be at the front, why do bands demand everyone get down the front right now? It’s not possible. Maybe because shouting

‘I want to see everyone staying approximately where they are, because they’ve probably chosen to stand there because that’s where they wanted to stand’ isn’t a great rousing thing to shout.


Metal Love and Sex

Generally metal guys tend to be open minded. Do whatever you want to do. It’s your body. You have freedom to do what you want and freedom from doing anything you’d rather not. Don’t forget this.

Generally the less heavy types of heavy metal address the issues of love and sex more than the very heavy types of metal. I can only think of Flotsam and Jetsam’s ‘Hammerhead’ as an example of a thrash song about sex but I’d be pleased to hear of some others.

Sometimes you might think a song is about sex when it isn’t. AC/DC sometimes seem to sing about sex but really it’s gambling (for instance ‘Big Jack’, from the Black Ice album) and then you think they’re singing about gambling but actually it’s sex and gambling (‘The Jack’). Also, ‘Sink The Pink’ is about pool and sex and ‘Let’s Make It’ is about just sex. This is confusing and should be kept in mind if you ever meet Brian Johnson and he offers to accompany you in an activity.

When Glenn Danzig is singing about a juju bone it isn’t his penis. When David St Hubbins sings about his pink torpedo it is. Kiss’s Love gun is a penis but probably a sub-standard one as they claim ‘Girl I can make you feel okay’. I already feel okay so I’ll pass thanks, Kiss.

Zodiac Mindwarp is the very best at this kind of hyperbolic sexual boasting. You aren’t meant to take it literally and get all offended. If he had indeed had twenty-thousand women, he’d needed to have slept with a woman a day from when he was born until he was fifty-five. Compare this to Gene Simmons who claims to have slept with four thousand and six hundred women. Gene is sixty-one years old. If we assume he began having sex at sixteen then that’s sixteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-five days of being sexually active, he’d have had to have slept with zero point twenty-eight of a woman per day, so it’s do-able and he might well have done. At the very least he’s done the maths.

Zodiac Mindwarp’s lightning rod is his penis, as is his gun, his six-string schizo psycho rod, his sex machine-gun, his key to your ignition, his Frankenstein, his chainsaw, his king of love and his criminal, that he requests you set free. I think Lordi’s Wake the snake is genital based. Consult with a friend if you aren’t sure. Other sexual showing off is done by WASP in the song Animal, although sadly this doesn’t get played live anymore as Blackie Lawless has got religion. He also broke the beige rule at Wacken in 2010 and wore some very odd footwear. Type O Negative are very frisky, especially My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend and Danzig is often singing about sex or publishing comics with nakedness in.

The best music to have sex to is Type O Negative, Danzig or Napalm Death. Do not try Lawnmower Deth or you will laugh it out. Avoid Rush or you may fall asleep before reaching a successful conclusion. Just avoid Rush. The most acceptable metal men to fancy are Tom Araya, Zakk Wylde, Peter Steele and Rob Flynn. The most unacceptable men to fancy are Rick Wakeman, anyone with a mullet and David Hasslehoff (okay, so he has leather trousers and longish hair but he is not heavy metal). If your man plays air guitar during sex try to position yourself in such a way that it will enhance your enjoyment of the experience rather than hinder it. If all goes well you could have a Heavy Metal wedding, with skull print tablecloths and confetti in the shape of bats.


Metal Activities

Listening to music and going to gigs are obviously the best activities. Going to a pub that plays rock and metal is another.

Consider being in a band, have you got any musical talent? Are you motivated to get some? If so do this but remember that being in a band takes a real commitment, you’ll have to practice often, co-operate with other people and be confident enough to sing or play on stage.

Why not build a small shrine to Lemmy, Ozzy or your favourite band?

The pants game is simple to play, just substitute pants for a part of a band name, for instance, Iron Pants or Pants of God. You can substitute pants for another rude word.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a heavy metal version of Hello magazine? It could be called Horns and feature Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. Why not write one.


Metal Myths Dispelled.

When you don a black T Shirt people might be discomfited and might try to dissuade you from listening to Metal. Ignore them. You won’t grow out of it. You will be able to get a job. Body piercing jewellery is not made of magnetic metals so you will not be inconvenienced by magnets. You won’t necessarily start sacrificing goats (but you can if you like, their cheese is horrible).


Suggestions for Further Reading.

Hell Bent For Leather by Seb Hunter.

White Line Fever: Lemmy The Autobiography by Ian Kilminster.

I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne.

For advanced reading try Fucked by Rock – The Unspeakable Confessions of “Zodiac Mindwarp” – Mark Manning. This is not a nice glossy coffee table book and is very dark so don’t read this unless you want a peek at some proper depravity.