Tales from the Jugular
Metal as a Guiding Light?
By: Eric Compton
Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Tales From The Jugular - Metal As A Guiding Light?
Your favorite metal publicist, EC, has reached a crossroads. This will probably be the
biggest year of my life, a checkpoint on what has been a fabulous and eventful life thus
far. 2006 will be the year that I turn 30, a major milestone for most individuals. At the
same time this will be the first year that I experience fatherhood. My wife and I, married
for four years, are expecting Olivia Grace Compton somewhere around June 19th. I have
always said my life could go two ways, the first being NEVER married, never involved, and
never to the point where I could settle down, so to speak. The other option was the exact
OPPOSITE, that being a nice size house, well manicured lawn, and a great family. It looks
like by mid-June that will no longer be an option but a reality.
I can't tell you how excited I am to bring life into the world. I can't believe that this
journey has brought me here, to this place, to this event, to this wonderful and exciting
opportunity to watch and experience growth from the very first breath. In thinking about
all of these upcoming changes and milestones, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my
life thus far and how I got to this point in my life. It was during this thought process
that it came to me, a proverbial "grand vision" that my life follows a road map
created by heavy metal. No, I don't mean this as a silly leatherneck cliche. In all
honesty I believe that without heavy metal my life is completely different. You can chalk
up my life events to the butterfly effect, simple coincidence, or a life path that has
been guided by metal music. After giving it much thought, I would have to say that heavy
metal has guided me through the various stages of my life. It has been my chief
coordinator and planner, and in many ways has led me to my current place in time. Without
going too far into storytelling mode, I will explain to you how my life has been dictated
by heavy metal music. How my life has been controlled by "metal forces" that
have kept my life on a certain path.
My marriage was heavy metal destiny. Yeah, that is right. Marriage made from metal. I met
my wife through a friend, Troy Cole, who also is one third owner of Maximum Metal. The events
that led to the meeting follows a distinct, clear path guided by heavy metal. I was single
at the time and doing some tape/CD trading with Troy Cole. I started going over to his house
dropping off CDs and picking items up from him. His wife asked me to come out and play
some volleyball. Well I did, and I met my wife Laura. IF it wasn't for the heavy metal
trading then I wouldn't have been in contact with him at that moment and never would have
met my wife. For the record she hates heavy metal.
My employment is another fine example of musical wonder. In 1994 I graduated high school
and went on from there to work at WalMart stocking fruit shelves. I then spent the money
on import heavy metal titles from bands like Amorphis, Sentenced, Pyogenesis, and Paradise
Lost. One afternoon I was walking back from break and ran across a gentleman who worked
inside of a bank located at the entrance to Walmart. I was in my peach stained apron and
he was in a suit and tie. But for one moment we were the exact same. He noticed my Iron
Maiden shirt under my Walmart apron, and then began to talk to me about various metal
bands that he knew about and collected. That simple little conversation turned into a
still thriving eight year friendship. Through those eight years I have learned tons of
useful metal info from the late '70s through today's Swedish hard rock scene. But beyond
just the heavy metal, he must have saw potential in me. Heavy metal music bridged the gap
between the blue collar fruit shelves to the white collar suit and tie. If it was anything
other than a metal fan meeting a metal fan then the conversation would have never
happened. But it did, and within a year I went to work with him at a mortgage company. I
went from "lazy young adult living at home" to banker telling people about
interest rates and future home financing. I am still in the mortgage business, still
making a great living off of banking, and my friend is still doing the exact same thing as
well. Our love for metal is still growing and now we can talk about home interest rates in
the same conversation as a new Dio record.
All of my friendships have been started from some sort of heavy metal spark. I met what I
would consider a brother in 1993. He had the same passion and love for heavy metal that I
did. We were both new listeners to heavy metal at that time, and our friendship expanded
as we both picked up new albums and learned about new bands. To this day we still call
each other every few weeks to talk about the "new stuff" that is out online or
on the shelves. We have seen numerous metal shows together and have managed to stay in
contact through the power of heavy metal. The same can be said for another
"brother", Maximum Metal's IcedMojo, who I came into contact with in 1996. I
introduced him to heavy metal, and to this day he is still jamming all of the new albums
and bands. Our lives have followed the same path. He is now a family man, I am becoming a
family man, and we still talk about the metal any chance we get. I'll never forget
climbing up to his apartment roof, which was basically a room inside of a bicycle shop,
and playing bands like Steel Prophet, Stuck Mojo, Iced Earth, and Amorphis for him. My
friend Troy Cole, who of course has the same passion for metal that I do, has given me a
part-time job twice. Both of those employment opportunities just gave us the chance to
stand around and talk about metal bands. Now, we work on Maximum Metal together and still
trade and share heavy metal CDs. The list goes on and on with friends and close
aquaintances that I have made through the power of music.
That brings us to Maximum Metal, a simple idea that was born through one simple little
moment. I was standing in the heavy metal section of a local record store when I spotted a
guy wearing a Punisher shirt. As he made his way over to me I noticed his hands picking up
bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, and Kamelot. Being the friendly metal fan that I am, I
made my way over and said "Nice shirt". That was pretty much all it took. The
heavy metal energy started to flow and about seven months later Frank Hill and I talked to
Troy Cole about forming Maximum Metal. About sixty days after that we were writing our first
Tales From The Jugular column. Now the site consumes just about every free moment of our
time, but we do it out of love for metal.
It is our passion.
It is our calling.
It is our Guiding Light.
--Eric Compton 05.16.06
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