Slough Feg’s Mike Scalzi talks new LP, liking “rock music,” writing op-ed columns, and more
By Doug Moore
Back in 2010, Slough Feg / ex-Hammers of Misfortune frontman Mike Scalzi wrote a brief series of op-eds for Invisible Oranges under the title “Bullpen Bulletins.” The posts — and Scalzi’s unvarnished take on what he considers the malaise of the contemporary metal scene — did far better than he or then-IO editor Cosmo Lee expected, generating a lengthy discussion on the viability of ‘extreme’ metal styles like death and black metal.
The release of Slough Feg’s new album, Digital Resistance (which rules), has reignited that discussion, so we figured it’d make sense to catch up with the man himself. In a new IO interview, Scalzi touches on the reader response to the Bullpen Bulletin posts, among various other topics. Here’s an excerpt:
So I confess, I’m one of those people who read your op-ed on IO, and I was totally one of those guys who felt like…Why is Mike angry at me?
I don’t think I was particularly angry. Maybe it came off that way, but that wasn’t how I wrote it. People really had a strong reaction to it. I thought it was bizarre. The whole thing is very amusing, first off. I don’t take it very seriously. It’s fine if other people take it seriously, but I would hope that people have other things to be serious about, other than some weird guy’s opinion on heavy metal. That’s what blew me away; why is my opinion so important? I don’t think it is at all. The thing got on NPR. Somehow I saw that, I got phone calls about my column bering reprinted on NPR. Cosmo told me it got more comments than anything on there before, or something similar to that, which blew my mind. What I realize looking back is I don’t read much stuff like that. I barely read any heavy metal blogs or websites. So you’ve got to realize I came into it with no fucking idea what the whole standard or climate is. I have no idea, no clue. I was just saying what I’d say to someone in person. It’s not journalism. It’s just me telling my opinions the way I would shoot the shit with friends. I mean, I understand people’s reaction. This is music you love and I’m sitting here bashing it, but I’m just baffled by that kind of music. I just don’t get it.
But really, what happened was that Cosmo came to me — and I had never even heard of Invisible Oranges. I didn’t know Pitchfork at that time. So, I got this email asking to write something for this online magazine about contemporary metal, and I said pretty much verbatim, “I’m flattered but I don’t really know if you want me to. I don’t have anything good to say about contemporary metal.” And he said, “Just talk about that, then, I’d like that.” So I did, and people asked, “Why would Scalzi publish this on a site that covers extreme metal?” I had no fucking idea. [laughs]