A Call to Arms: Helping Metal Maniacs Founder Katherine Ludwig in Her Time of Need
Believe it or not, there was once a time without interwebs, when you had to rely on print media, word of mouth or dumb luck to find new and exciting music. In those barbaric days before instant downloads and 500 review sites, the brightest of the guiding lights for metal fiends was Metal Maniacs magazine. Founded in 1989 by Katherine Ludwig and Mike Greenblatt, it was the “Go-To” source for keen, insightful analysis of the metal scene, top-notch writing and a laser-like focus on the extreme genres of metal often ignored by the mainstream press. As Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Ludwig imparted her wise musical opinions, but even more importantly, she wasn’t afraid to share her world views and she was just as likely to sound off on animal rights, veganism and free speech as she was about the latest thrash album. Examples are legion, but who could forget her embargo on Decide coverage due to alleged animal mistreatment by Glen Benton and the often vicious feud that grew between the band and the magazine over the years.
During Katherine’s tenure with the magazine, it grew to become an indispensable part of the metal warrior’s arsenal, providing critical and often hilarious album reviews, informative, probing interviews and all the metal news fit to print. But what really made the magazine so remarkable was the way it made you feel like a part of a community, as if you were in on a secret society and among like-minded friends. There was a certain warmth and familiarity the writers imparted that made you feel like you knew them, and though the pages were awash with running jokes and insider humor between the staff, somehow the reader always felt in on the gag.
When the magazine went out of business in 2009, it was a real blow and essentially signaled the end of professional metal journalism. To this day I still find myself leafing through my ancient back issues longingly, remembering happier, simpler times. Ultimately, it was my love for Metal Maniacs that led me to my current role as editor/writer/all around hack here at AMG, and with the help of the entire staff, I’ve tried to create the same kind of intimate, community atmosphere here that Katherine created at Metal Maniacs. For all the positive influences and great memories, I owe her a debt of thanks.
And that brings us to the point of this post. It has come to my attention that Katherine was recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Her friends have set up a page where you can donate to help with her medical costs and allow her to get the treatment she needs for a full recovery.
Although we haven’t been big on charitable causes since the spectacular failure of AMG’s Iced Bucket of Raining Blood Challenge™, this is a truly worthy cause and we humbly request that you give generously to a wonderful human being and a true pioneer in metal journalism. She was there when we needed her, now we should be there for her.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, Grymm has his own reasons why you should give to the cause.
Let’s face it: we were all awkward kids in our teenage years. Growing up in East Buttfuck, Nowhere (you mortals call it “Derry, New Hampshire”), I didn’t fit in with other kids or metalheads my age. Either they didn’t get metal music, or thought it was a passing phase left behind like Beverly Hills 90210 and Pogs (you remember Pogs, right?) Back in 1993, my heroes, to put it bluntly, absolutely sucked ass. Metallica and Megadeth just couldn’t cut it for me, Iron Maiden were a mere shadow of their former selves (and don’t even get me started on the fallacy that was Black Sabbath then), and grunge didn’t do jack shit for me.
One fateful day, I stopped off at Book Corner (our mom-and-pop Barnes & Noble) and noticed a benign and quite yellow magazine called Metal Maniacs sitting between Rolling Stone and Wizard. There were articles on then-popular bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Slayer, and… Carcass?! Who are they, I thought… so, in curiosity, I forked out the $ 2.95.
Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to read Metal Maniacs will say the rest is history. Thanks to Metal Maniacs, I found new heroes to champion (Carcass, Acid Bath, Amorphis, ad infinitum), but as great as it was for finding new bands, it was the writing quality that held my attention and guaranteed my continued readership. Editor-in-Chief Katherine Ludwig and assistant editor Alicia Morgan (also formerly of 13) kept us all abreast of rumblings in the underground and exposed us to bands we would never have heard otherwise.
The thing that truly floored me as a young man, was how they introduced progressive concepts to the pages of Metal Maniacs. Animal and human rights, homophobia, vegetarianism, veganism… these were all foreign to a majority of metalheads at the time, and even if those concepts, as well as the banning of Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, didn’t sit well with some of the readers (which didn’t matter one iota, since both Katherine and Alicia were, and still are, unflinching and uncompromising in their beliefs), it made every one of us think. They challenged us, and by doing so, exposed us to a world of diverse ideas.
To this day, reverberations from Metal Maniacs can be found in the few remaining print magazines, podcasts, and various websites, including here at Angry Metal Guy. Hell, I wouldn’t be writing for Angry Metal Guy if it weren’t for the amazing and honest writing found in Metal Maniacs. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Metal Maniacs, its writers, and to Katherine Ludwig, the woman who started it all.
Katherine needs us right now, and for all she’s done for bands, fans, and metal itself, some kindness in return is the least we can do to show our appreciation, our support, and our thanks. Please donate.
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