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Heavy Metal Fans Are NPR Listeners, Too


Here at NPR, it sometimes happens that our letters segment generates a fury beyond the stories described. That was the case this past week when we aired a listener letter complaining about our piece on the state of heavy metal.

Listener Kenneth Hutchinson(ph) described the music as a cacophony and said he couldn't imagine that anyone with an IQ over 40 could tolerate it. Well, metal-heads wrote in droves to defend their music and their IQ's. Time, we thought, for an olive branch.

So for this week's letter segment, we offer an ode to metal in palatable, rhymed couplets based, more or less, on the letters we received.

(Soundbite of man coughing)

ROBERTS: And here to read it is actor Rick Fochet(ph).

(Soundbite of man coughing)

Mr. RICK TOCCHET (Actor): Long Live Slayer, or Ode to Metal. I hope that I shall never see a band of more longevity than beloved Slayer or Mastodon, the ones you score like devil's spawn. We love both Bach and Necrophagists. And only the devil, that awful sadist, would make us choose between the two or treat so rudely our IQ - 140, 150. The bidding goes higher. To say any less would make one a liar. Take Ben Butterfield(ph) of Yonder, Ohio. His IQ of 180 stands tall as a silo.

A typical missive from Christopher Bowmunk - that's bow as in cow and the rest rhymes with skunk - says here in our heads there's a lot going on. They love chemistry, gods and their Mastodon. And there in the music, you hear the echoes of Melville, the Bible, Wagnerian woes, the scream, the growl, the ache and the roar. It's metal that seeps from our every pore.

But for now let us put our dear Slayer to rest and return to the things that this network does best. We await with joy the next musical lark, be it bluegrass or Klezmer or sad Otto Hawk(ph). Rock on. Stay brutal and sharp as a sword, or click Contact Us at npr.org.

ROBERTS: That's actor Rick Fochet, special guest reader of our letter segment. Don't worry. Later in the show we'll have some really poetry, the evolution of Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.