Early heavy metal fans grew up, and a new study shows they're doing better than their peers.

Heavy metal made its loud, raucous debut in the 1970s, scaring the crap out of some people, especially parents.

With bold guitars, brash lyrics, and demonic imagery, heavy metal was completely different from mainstream rock music.


Alice Cooper is here and his snake is hungry for innocent children. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

As with any major shift in popular music, heavy metal was adored by teens and feared by their parents. Concern was abundant, especially after studies in the 1980s suggested young metal fans were at risk for poor developmental outcomes.

But no one bothered to see what happened to "metalheads" when they grew up — until now.

Photo by Carsten Rehder/AFP/Getty Images.

Researchers from Humboldt State University conducted surveys with 377 people, including 154 who self-identified as metal fans, groupies, or musicians in the 1980s, to see how life turned out for former headbangers.

Turns out, much of that worry and fear was misplaced.

When it comes to satisfaction with life, apparently metal musicians and fans have a leg up on their peers.

Looking back on their youth, metal fans reported being significantly happier than their peers.

Photo by Patrick Lux/Getty Images.

They were also less likely to live with regrets.

While metal fans and musicians were more likely to engage in risky behavior (think sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll), they were also less likely to regret the experiences of their youth, with around 33% reporting having regrets, compared to 51% of non-metal fans.

Metal fans scored high in terms of identity development and community building in adulthood, too.

Photo by Carsten Rehder/AFP/Getty Images.

Research findings suggest metal fans felt a kinship within the metal community. These familial connections contributed to a strong sense of self and may have insulated them from the problems many young people face during adolescence, like low self-esteem.

While the results are in, there's plenty more to study, especially when it comes to music fans of color.

Though they were dismissed by mainstream society, 1980s metal fans were still predominately white. The authors of the study suggest an additional exploration of hip-hop fans, who don't necessarily have the benefit of white privilege.

Photo by Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images.

"Youth of color have to not only struggle with their own personal search for self, but they must cope with the knowledge that they will never be truly accepted by the larger culture in which they live," the authors of the study said.

But for now, proceed to rock and roll all night.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.

And while you're at it, party every day. After all, it could be good for your health.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Texas is currently debating two anti-trans bills. Once would criminalize parents for allowing their children to receive gender-affirming treatments. Another would criminalize healthcare professionals who administer them.

For a state that prides itself on promoting personal freedom, these bills go out of their way to punish medical professionals and parents for making deeply personal choices. Shouldn't doctors and parents have the right to make medical decisions for children without the state's involvement?

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less