Hail Satan: Music, Grief, And Life (Guest Post)

Jennifer Updike sent me this piece about music and society and life, and I immediately asked if I could share it on my blog. I think it provides a great look into someone else’s experience – especially one that may not be the same as everyone else’s. I also highly recommend Avatar’s seven minute featurette “With Horns In The Air” for a further look from other side of the rail. Enjoy.

Hail Satan, I say.

I’m at my uncle’s funeral. People are crying; hell, I’m crying. Sobbing, even though the priest’s words don’t strike a chord. Nothing resonates within me, except for the pain. It’s a blur.

Am I selfish? Perhaps. It’s not just MY loss. It’s the loss of everyone here; all mourning the same person. All the lives he touched.

But somewhere, something speaks to me. Music. I can hear it in my soul over the laments of the priest. Even over my sister’s eulogy.

Because music touched him, too.

As with any good ol’ Irish Catholic funeral, we continue with the house party. There’s always lots of alcohol involved with that… but, with him, music became the center point. I grew my musical tastes from him and my father, and their musical influence has done me nothing but kindness. My own tastes evolved, as most things do, but it all had a starting point with them.

A week later, I’m at something I need. It’s called “Sonic Temple” now, but it will always be Rock on the Range to me. Three days of Rock n Roll, tailgating, and making new friends. Some of the nicest people you could ever meet. An escape from reality. The “real world”? No. There’s no time for it here.

In the pit, music pounding from the speakers, a stranger – a new friend – asks “You want up?” Why, yes sir, I do. As hands raise me above the crowd, all of us celebrating the music we love, I know in this moment that I’m where I belong. I’m where I’m allowed to escape my demons and acknowledge them in the same moment. I know that Dad would’ve been proud for me making the rail for Metallica. I know that both he and my Uncle would have enjoyed the scene had they been alive. (Maybe not the mosh pits, but I make my own decisions now.)

There is so much music in this metal world that holds a different meaning to me now. Parkway Drive’s “Wishing Wells”, Whitechapel’s “When a Demon Defiles a Witch”… and for me – for us – it’s therapeutic. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it; we are here. We love this music.

It makes it all worth living. Even when it doesn’t seem worth it.

So, hail Satan. Hail the “devil’s music” for making life more tolerable.


Featured image from WetWebWork on Flickr. Header modified from an image by RWhite at English Wikipedia. Additional Photo by lifesimply.rocks on Unsplash

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