In her younger days, my daughter indicated that at some point in her life she’d like to manage a death-metal band. (Without going too much into the details, allow me to stipulate that she came close once.) It is, I have since learned, more flexible a genre than I had thought: for instance, it’s possible for a death-metal band to cover Raffi’s “Bananaphone.”
I was not aware, however, that death metal could stretch to include John Cage’s greatest hit:
In 2000, Will Hermes wrote beautifully of the monumental work 4’33” that “Cage gave musicians aesthetic permission, spiritual encouragement even, to go beyond the tonalities of standard instrumentation and engage with the infinite possibilities of sound.” So here we are, 64 years after its debut performance by pianist David Tudor, and the death-metal band Dead Territory — its members clad in raver pants, or a Slipknot T-shirt, or wielding Jackson and B.C. Rich guitars — has covered the composition that sets upon the wonder of silence.
Fair warning: the drummer gets in some stick work before the formal beginning of the score.
Side note: Raffi’s cowriter on “Bananaphone” was Michael Creber, father of voice-actress Michelle Creber, known in pony circles as Apple Bloom.