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The Headbanging History Of Heavy Metal Music In San Antonio

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Decades ago, San Antonio was called the "Heavy Metal Capital of the World," when a particular sound of fist-pumping rock 'n' roll had music-lovers headbanging through South Texas and beyond. 

The 1970s saw the rise of metal music – a genre that exploded with energetic influence. Metal eventually splintered into numerous heavy rock subgenres, but popular bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Rush helped heavy metal stand the test of time.

Metal became extremely popular in San Antonio due to the perfect storm of influences. For years, a vibrant metal scene dominated San Antonio's soundscape. 

The Institute of Texan Cultures is hosting a one-time event highlighting San Antonio's roots in heavy metal history with new research on how local figures like Joe Anthony, Lou Roney and Jack Orbin of Stone City Attractions were instrumental in shaping the heavy metal experience for fans and musicians in town and on tour. The event is derived from an exhibit hosted earlier this year at the South Texas Popular Culture Center (Tex-Pop).

How did certain music acts, promoters and radio stations like KMAC-AM and KISS-FM build up San Antonio's metal scene? What role did local musicians and DIY culture play in the genre's popularity? 

What legacy does metal music have in the Alamo City? 

For more infomation on the Sunday, Oct. 21 exhibit and presentation, click here.


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.