Susan Fast's book on Led Zeppelin combined musical analysis, ethnography, and phenomenology and other cultural theory in an illuminating study of how bodily performance, gender and sexuality, sounds, and symbols create meaning for fans and musicians Susan Fast, In the Houses of the Holy: Steve Waksman's treatment of "cock rock" merged sophisticated cultural theory with musical specificity to explore the complex positioning of men and women with respect to music that simultaneously perpetuates sexism and produces liberatory feelings Steve Waksman, Instruments of Desire: The book's least impressive chapter was authored by its best-known scholar: heavy metal, Deena Weinstein argues, is all about power, not masculinity, and the two are unrelated: "It is British heavy metal's affirmative core that insures that its interpretation of 'masculinity' is free standing and not anchored in invidious comparisons based on gender and sexual orientation."
Book Reviews 773 Heavy Metal Music in Britain. Edited tributors, and that introduction, apparently by Gerd Bayer. (Ashgate Popular and without irony, is called “Doing Cultural Folk Music Series.) Burlington, VT: Studies with Earplugs.” Ashgate, 2009. [xii, 201 p. ISBN The book’s least impressive chapter was authored by its best-known scholar: heavy 9780754664239. $99.95.] Index. metal, Deena Weinstein argues, is all about This is an exciting time to be intellectu- power, not masculinity, and the two are un- ally interested in heavy metal. Susan Fast’s related: “It is British heavy metal’s afﬁrma- book on Led Zeppelin combined musical tive core that insures that its interpretation analysis, ethnography, and phenomenology of ‘masculinity’ is free standing and not an- and other cultural theory in an illuminat- chored in invidious comparisons based on ing study of how bodily performance, gen- gender and sexual orientation.” Metal cele- der and sexuality, sounds, and symbols cre- brates the active life, and “Nietzsche, not ate meaning for fans and musicians (Susan Freud or his feminist revisionists, is the Fast, In the Houses of the Holy: Led Zeppelin presiding genius of British heavy metal” and the Power of Rock Music [New York: (p. 28). Nietzsche! That ﬁerce opponent of Oxford University Press, 2001]). Harry women’s emancipation and autonomy, the Berger’s exploration of metal and jazz also famous misogynist who argued that women used phenomenology and ethnography, can’t know truth and have no perspective, with an emphasis on how musicians them- who suggested that “When a woman has selves account for their music (Harris M. scholarly inclinations there is usually some- Berger, Metal, Rock, and Jazz: Perception and thing wrong with her sexually” (Friedrich the Phenomenology of Musical Experience [Han- Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Preface to a over: Wesleyan University Press, 1999]). Philosophy of the Future. In Basic Writings of Glenn Pillsbury’s study of Metallica concen- Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufmann trated on how the physicality of perfor- [New York: The Modern Library, 1968], mance interacts with cultural narratives of 279). In order to mount this preposterous race, orientalism, and musical signiﬁcation thesis, Weinstein simply ignores most previ- (Glenn T. Pillsbury, Damage Incorporated: ous scholarship on heavy metal and gen- Metallica and the Production of Musical der, even her own, which included this Identity [New York: Routledge, 2006]). sensible statement: “Power, the essential in- Steve Waksman’s treatment of “cock rock” herent and delineated meaning of heavy merged sophisticated cultural theory with metal, is culturally coded as a masculine musical speciﬁcity to explore the complex trait” (Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: A positioning of men and women with re- Cultural Sociology [New York: Lexington spect to music that s
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