You’re All Partied Out, Dude!: The Mainstreaming of Heavy Metal Subcultural Tropes, from Bill & Ted to Wayne’s World

  • Andy R. Brown
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Subcultures and Popular Music book series (PSHSPM)


Brown explores the contradiction that a youth subculture at the centre of a mass-mediated moral panic was also the inspiration for a string of Hollywood movies, which placed the male-teen-buddy ‘metalhead’ experience at the centre of the narrative. The fact that such films are comedies might suggest the role of satire is to ‘make safe’ a troubling youth culture by simplifying and distorting it using established comedic conventions. But, as Brown shows, while the films do comically simplify the references to heavy metal culture, including argot, electric-guitar virtuosity, bands and fandom, they also articulate a form of ‘protest masculinity’ that subverts both plot and narrative, allowing the ‘loser’ male-teen-metalhead characters to triumph against hegemonic forms of male authority that are depicted as pompous and corrupt.


  1. Best, Steven and Kellner, Douglas. 1998. “Beavis and Butt-head: No future for postmodern youth.” In Youth Culture: Identity in a Postmodern World, ed. Jonathon. S. Epstein. Malden, Mass, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 74–99.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, Andy R. 2015. “Everything louder than everyone else: the origins and persistence of heavy metal music and its global cultural impact.” In The SAGE Handbook of Popular Music, eds. Andy Bennett and Steve Wacksman. London: Sage, pp. 261–277.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, Andy R. 2013. “Suicide Solutions? Or, how the emo class of 2008 were able to contest their media demonization, whereas the headbangers, burnouts or children of ZoSo generation were not.” In Heavy Metal: Controversies and Countercultures, eds. Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris and Mark Levine. Sheffield: Equinox, pp. 17–35.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, Andy R. 2007. “Rethinking the subcultural commodity: The case of heavy metal t-shirt cultures.” In Youth Cultures: Scenes, Subcultures and Tribes, eds. Paul Hodkinson and Wolfgang Deicke. London: Routledge, pp. 63–78.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, Andy R. 2003. “Heavy Metal and Subcultural Theory: A Paradigmatic Case of Neglect?” In The Post-Subcultures Reader, eds. David Muggleton and Rupert Weinzierl. London: Berg, pp. 209–222.Google Scholar
  6. Cashmore, Ellis. 1984. No Future. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  7. Chastagner, Claude. 1999. “The Parents’ Music Resource Centre: From Information to Censorship” Popular Music, 18(2): 179–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christenson Lewis, Peter. (1992) “The Effects of Parent Advisory Labels on Adolescent Music Preferences,” Journal of Communication, 42(1): 106–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Connell, Raewyn. 2005. Masculinities, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  10. Freeman, Hadley. 2014. “Bill & Ted’s 25th birthday: party on, dudes!,” April 17: (accessed 2 Oct 2016).
  11. Gaines, Donna 1991. Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead End Kids. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hebdige, Dick. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Hunter, Ian Q. 1996. “Capitalism Most Triumphant: Bill & Ted’s Excellent History Lesson.” In Pulping Fictions: Consuming Culture across the Literature/Media Divide, eds, Deborah. Cartmell, Ian. Q. Hunter & Imelda. Whelehan. London: Pluto Press, pp. 111–124.Google Scholar
  14. Konecny, Brandon. 2014. “Heavy Metal Monsters!: Rudctio ad Ridiculum and the 1980s Heavy Metal Horror Cycle,” Film Matters (Spring) pp. 13–18.Google Scholar
  15. Martin, Linda & Segrave, Kerry. 1993. Anti-Rock: The Opposition to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Cambridge: Da Capo Press.Google Scholar
  16. Pettinichio, Darlyne. 1986. The Back in Control Centre Presents the Punk Rock and Heavy Metal Handbook. Fullerton, CA: Back in Control.Google Scholar
  17. Plantinga, Carl. 2014. “Gender, Power, and a Cucumber: Satirizing Masculinity in This Is Spinal Tap.” In Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video eds. Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 339–355.Google Scholar
  18. Poynting, Scott. 2007. “Protest Masculinities.” In Encyclopedia on Men and Masculinities, eds. Michael Flood, Judith. K. Gardiner, Bob Pease & Keith Pringle. London: Routledge, pp. 511–12.Google Scholar
  19. Raschke, Carl A. 1990. Painted black: from drug killings to heavy metal: the alarming true story of how Satanism is terrorizing our communities. San Francisco: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  20. Shary, Timothy. 2005. Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen. London: Wallflower.Google Scholar
  21. The Times Diary. 1982. ‘A Head Start on a New Beat Generation’, 5th April, 1982.Google Scholar
  22. Walker, Gregory W. 2006. “Disciplining Protest Masculinity,” Men and Masculinities, 9:1, pp. 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Walser, Robert. 2014. Running with the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Hanover: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  24. Weinstein, Deena. 2000. Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture. Cambridge: Da Capo Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy R. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Bath Spa UniversityBathUK

Personalised recommendations