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Entry Level: How Trevor Strnad Discovered Megadeth

Credit: Trevor Strnad's Twitter
Credit: Trevor Strnad’s Twitter

Entry Level is a new series where musicians re-examine the records which piqued their interests in heavy and loud music as children and young adults.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just endured my first day of sixth grade at Pierce Middle School and boy, was it a shitty one. Not only was I lowest on the totem pole and sure to be trounced by the much larger upperclassmen, I felt like I had the wrong clothes, the wrong looks, the wrong everything. I just wasn’t cool. I didn’t fit in. Forget girls, they were not in the picture. I couldn’t have paid a female to give me a second glance. I was an unremarkable introverted Harry Potter glasses-wearing douchebag, for all intents and purposes. Finally getting in the front door of my parents house and throwing my backpack on the ground offered some relief, but there was still 177 days of this new hell left to endure. I was feeling pretty low, to say the least. I plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. I am of the generation that was raised on MTV, a real child of the 1980s, so it was my first stop on the television dial. Instead of the usual crap they were force feeding at the time; what I happened upon that day would change the course of my life forever.

I saw it right from the opening riff: a video by the name of “Symphony of Destruction” by a band called Megadeth. Heard of ‘em?

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I’d seen their eye-catchingly macabre mascot adorning posters at the local Dixie Land Flea Market, but I had no idea what kind of hellishness I was in for. I had no clue that I would worship Dave Mustaine as a god for the next years, painstakingly drawing the members of Megadeth from their album photos and emblazoning everything that stood still with a Megadeth logo or Vic Rattlehead, both of which I could draw still now in the dark, left handed… whatever. I had no realization that the venomousness and individuality with which he spat his harshly comedic commentary would someday influence my own vocal approach countless years later in The Black Dahlia Murder. It was basically year zero… an event so changing it wiped my entire calendar clean, a new beginning and a beacon of hope for a lost, bespectacled young soul. Megadeth lead me down the rabbit hole, diving head first into the exciting and defiant world of heavy metal music. I instantly knew what those black t-shirt clad dudes that hung out together on the outskirts of the school cliques were all about. It wasn’t sports. It wasn’t popularity. It was music. Music united them. This secret world of the darker than normal was the reality I was searching for. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by likeminded misfits, friends under a common flag. They weren’t afraid of going to hell. They confirmed my suspicions against the existence of a god and it felt massively relieving. They confirmed my masturbation habits were normal, too. Megadeth and their brethren were my people. My family. I had arrived, and the rest is history.

Trevor Strnad is currently the lead vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder and a contributor (as The Obituarist) at Metal Injection. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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