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The advent of discussion boards has taken rumor mongering to new heights. Visitors gather in these forums and post on everything gossipy. Tara Ariano, the co-editor of fametracker.com and editor of hissyfit.com writes that "gossip enthusiasts aren't a tiny, rare field subculture. Talking about people behind their backs is a pastime enjoyed by all sorts of people. It's easier to find common ground on the subject of celebrities. Our society is obsessed by celebrity."1

The Internet is saturated with Web sites dedicated to the exploitation of those famous. The juicer the rumor, the better the gossip. And who lives a more gossip-rich, decadent lifestyle than musicians.

Enter Metal Sludge, its title bearing the words "Never has the music industry been so afraid."

"Metal sludge is a force to be reckoned with," said Brent Diamond, a guitar tech for bands such as Skid Row, Vince Neil of Motley Crue and Slaughter. "It causes bands great grief."2

Whether it be on the 'Long and Short of it Penis chart,' or on the explicit "groupie ho-board" message forumthere is nothing sacred in the world of Metal Sludge.

Brent Muscat, guitarist of the 1980s band Faster Pussycat and referred to as "Mr. Internet" by his band mates, said he finds the message boards funny. "What are you going to do?" he says. "If you want to be a musician, then it goes with the territory. At least they are talking about me."3

Muscat says he frequents the message boards occasionally to see what is being said. He said that much of the "news" is only half true and the rest is false. "The people who write things have no responsibility because there is no accountability," he said. "It is very easy for people to hide."

Because there is no accountability, often times the rumors are vicious. Muscat said he remembers one particular rumor stating that his friend Phillip Lewis, lead singer for the band L.A. Guns, had contracted AIDS. Although the claim was 100 percent unsubstantiated and false, Lewis was angered by the accusation.

Both Muscat and drummer Chad Stewart agree that the worst thing to do is to react with a follow-up post. "Just let the fans bicker about it, or otherwise it will escalate," Stewart said.4

Muscat also adds that if you don't respond to the rumor it will usually go away by itself in a few days.

Another guitarist for Faster Pussycat, Xristian Simon doesn't allow himself to be affected by what message boards say about him. "I don't give a flying fuck what the fuck anybody ever thinks about anything ever."

In the years that Diamond has been guitar teching, he has seen some interesting developments stem from Metal Sludge. Remember, rumors aren't always false. "I know one guy who had to put out many fires," he said, speaking about a friend who had one-too-many girlfriends in various cities. With the aid of message boards the girls were able to "keep tabs" on their rocker. "If they have multiple girls, they will get caught," said Diamond. And although the girls did confront Diamond's friend, "he jumped through a few hoops and got away with it."

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Or so rumor has it.

1 Ariano Tara. "Why Gossip Unites Us." MacLeans. September 30, 2002. p.60
2 Telephone interview with Brent Diamond on December 1, 2002
3 Personal interview with Brent Muscat on November 22, 2002
4 Personal interview with Chad Stewart on November 22, 2002

 

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