Amber R. Clifford-NapoleoneJul 26, 2015
Queerness in Heavy Metal Music
Much of the scholarship on heavy metal has assumed that the primary audience is straight white males, who are likely sexist and homophobic. In her new book, Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent (Routledge, 2015), Amber Clifford-Napoleone challenges these assumptions through her ethnographic study of self-identified queer performers and fans of heavy metal. She also reveals some surprising links between queer and heavy metal communities. In this podcast, we discuss the history of heavy metal, its connection to the post-World War II leather scene, and how heavy metal's embrace of non-normative lifestyles and cultures has allowed queer fans and performers an accepted space within heavy metal. In the interview, Clifford Napoleone explores why heavy metal has been a welcoming space for queer fans. We also talk about the role of particular musicians and acts, such as Judas Priest and Joan Jett. Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Nance Collections at the University of Central Missouri. In addition to her research on heavy metal, she studies gender in jazz in Kansas City and blogs on heavy metal.