Yesterday Music Feeds reported on 3AW Radio presenter Neil Mitchell’s outraged reaction to Australian death metal band Ouroboros being awarded a $20,000 government grant to assist in the writing and recording of their next record.
Triple M’s metal show host Dave Higgins spoke out against Mitchell’s negative comments via his blog, suggesting that Mitchell should not try to denigrate alternative art forms:
“What business is it of yours anyway, Mitchell? I’m guessing you’d make more than $20,000 in other opportunities through your profession whilst these guys are gigging around the country flat out trying to make a living out of something they love. Who the hell are you to try and take that away from them, or anyone for that matter?”
“All I ask is that you be more tolerant of things you don’t understand, rather than trying to convince your listeners that things you don’t like are a waste of money.”
Ouroboros also addressed Mitchell’s reaction via the band’s official Facebook profile with Ouroboros’ drummer David Horgan releasing the following statement:
Thanks to our friend Neil Mitchell from 3AW radio in Melbourne for promoting Ouroboros and stimulating an important and passionate debate about the great value of public funding for the arts in Australia and heavy metal music in general. Australians are fortunate to live in a representative democracy with a rich and diverse artistic ecosystem. The Australia Council for the Arts is doing a fantastic and commendable job of recognising and fostering artistic diversity by supporting a broad range of artistic projects and initiatives, including Ouroboros.
Ouroboros has always been a labour of love for us as band members. We have put countless hours of our time and tens of thousands of dollars of our personal funds into creating original music and sharing it with our fans. The funding supplied by the Australia Council will not only help us create our next album, it will stimulate the wider economy by flowing to recording studios, engineers, studio techs, promoters, roadies, musicians, visual artists and many other businesses and arts workers.
Neil Mitchell admits that he does not see the value of death metal and relies on little more than his own emotional response to form his opinion. He goes on to use some of the lowest forms of rhetoric—specifically ridicule and sarcasm—to express his view that death metal is not art and is not “useful”.
Heavy metal fans and other open-minded music lovers clearly reject Mitchell’s opinion and are capable of seeing the artistic value of bands like Ouroboros. This is reflected in our success at the Australian Metal Awards; the torrent of positive reviews we received in magazines, websites and blogs; the number of people who attend our live shows; the financial support we receive from fans in the form of album and merchandise sales; and—of course—funding approval from knowledgeable panel of music-specialists at the Australia Council.
At the end of the day, Australian heavy metal fans are tax payers too. They deserve to have their artistic interests supported as much as anyone else.
– David Horgan (Drummer from Ouroboros)
Triple M posted a Twitter interaction between Higgins and Ouroboros’ bassist Michael Conti, where the band thanks Higgins for his support:
@mconti666 you’re more than welcome. You guys are great, love the album, and the grant is well deserved and earned in my opinion.
— Dave Higgins (@Higgo74) May 21, 2012