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Heavy metal and hard partying

Many heavy metal musicians may like to play up their personas as devil worshippers that are rebelling against Christendom, but in reality most will spend more time gambling than making Satanic pacts and biting the heads off bats.

The mythology surrounding heavy metal and all its sub-genres can be complex, with anyone who has seen the recent film Lords of Chaos understanding just how dark and twisted some people can be. However, for the vast majority of metal bands, the dark side is less a draw than the outlet of the music itself and the mask the genre can offer.

Gambling has gone hand-in-hand with the hard living reputations of rock stars for decades, and it is no surprise that the most famous track from seminal metal band Motorhead had Lemmy growling about the Ace of Spades as a signal of the reckless life he led right up until his death and the age of 70 back in 2015. Only Keith Richards can compete with Lemmy for a more rock’n’roll lifestyle and surprising longevity, with the Rolling Stones guitarist still somehow touring the world at 75.

Not all the coverage of gambling in rock songs is the fun partying aspect, however, with more thoughtful tracks about struggles of addiction coming from both Iron Maiden and Megadeath over the years. Nonetheless, heavy metal is just as entangled with gambling, as the crooner sounds of Frank Sinatra makes everyone think of the best United States casinos in Las Vegas.

Beyond the songs themselves, many bands have given permission to gambling companies to use their names, logos, or songs for various forms of gambling from online slots, with Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, and Motorhead all lending their names to games, giving each of the bands (or their estates) an additional revenue stream beyond the standard CD sales, Spotify streams, live shows, and TV and film sync deals. And if the stats provided by numerous musicians over the last few years are true, then bands need to utilize every revenue stream at their disposal, because Spotify and YouTube simply do not offer the rewards as traditional vinyl or CD sales. Bands need hundreds of millions of streams today to earn the same as selling a few thousand records in the 2000s, and so if a large gaming firm offers them the chance to brand a game, many would jump at the chance.

Image courtesy of Lords of Chaos / Vice Films

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