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Harvey Milk Don’t Care If They’re Called Metal

Harvey Milk

They really don’t. “We don’t mind the metal tag. Metal is f—ing fine,” bassist Stephen Tanner told Noisecreep. It wasn’t until the band reformed in 2006 after an eight-year break up that the members of Harvey Milk heard their band referred to as metal. During the band’s first run in the mid-to-late ’90s, they were just considered a loud noise, akin to the Melvins and Shellac. But while Harvey Milk were away, albums got re-released, many by metal label Relapse Records, which may be one reason the band the band has picked up the moniker.

Tanner believes he is the metal part of Harvey Milk, though. “I’m the only one in the band that even likes that kind of music,” he attested. “I’m probably the one that brings any small little bit of that style music to it. “[Creston Spiers] is definitely blues all the way, and [Kyle Spence] is definitely, too.”

With Harvey Milk’s acclaimed 2008 album ‘Life … the Best Game in Town’ displaying an Iron Maiden poster slowly peeling from a wall on the cover and a slow, gurgling doomy style to the album, it’s rather easy to think of the Athens, Ga. band is metal. For Tanner, he was shocked when he finally realized what the band truly was. “It never occurred to me that it was bluesy music until the last couple years when people started saying that, and I thought about it,” he laughed, reliving whatever space he made the revelation in. “I’ve been playing blues music for a long time.”

The band has actually gained many followers over the years from the metal community, something that has surprised Tanner. “It’s pretty weird. We’ll play some shows or some festivals where it’s all really extreme metal bands, and we’ll go over somehow,” he admitted, wondering how they weren’t hated. “I don’t know. We played a show with Eyehategod not long ago, and in my mind it was going to be really bad when we played, and these crust punk kids — or whatever — were gonna throw bricks at us. And it was one of the best shows we’ve ever played.”

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