Meet Gorgonna

It’s time you met my daughter, Gorgonna. She’s three months old today (already!), and I feel like a proper introduction is long overdue.

Gorgonna, daughter of Mostly Metal Dad, looking grim in her Hello Kitty onesie.

No, Gorgonna is not her real name. What, you really think the dudes in Mayhem were given names like “Necrobutcher” and “Hellhammer” at birth? Stage names are a metal tradition. I’ve always wanted one but never had the right band for it; the least I can do is live vicariously through my child.

And why wouldn’t I? She’s the best baby I know. I’m biased, sure, but I have other reasons to think she’s great. For one, she is literally a Goat.

Let me break that down for you.

I Believe You’re the Devil’s Child

My daughter Gorgonna was born in 2015. According to the Chinese Zodiac, that makes her sign a Goat (or Ram, depending on what restaurant you’re eating at).

Now, as you know, the goat is a traditional metal symbol. We’ve seen all sorts of goat-related imagery on countless metal album covers, from Bathory to Show No Mercy, to the genre-stirring Welcome to Hell. It goes right up there with the pentagram and the devil horn hand sign. It’s sometimes even found within a pentagram and throwing the devil horns. The Goat gets around.

The goat became a satanic symbol when the “Sabbatic Goat” or “Sigil of Baphomet” or “Whatever the Fuck” became adopted by the Church of Satan. I don’t really endorse any of that one way or the other, but the goat, like the pentagram, are on lots of classic metal albums. The symbols aren’t solely theirs anymore, may not have been to begin with, because it’s metal as fuck. It’s cool and dark and edgy and I like it from the same reason our metal forefathers adopted it for their own purposes.

Whether or not this is the same Goat that graces the dining tables of every Chinese restaurant in America is something I can only guess at.

Babies = 666

So back to Gorgonna. What do we do with all this? Her being a Goat means she could possibly be Satan. That’s pretty metal. I mean, I think I’ll like her more as my daughter, but Damien’s folks didn’t really get much if a choice, did they?

I’ll be honest, I don’t put much faith in signs, but I’ll be keeping my eye on her. The second I notice she’s sprouted horns and is asking me to join her unholy crusade, you’ll be the first to know.

Babies: The Audience from Hell

Babies are a tough crowd. No, they’re worse than that – they’re the most demanding, inconsistent creatures on the planet.

And there’s no escape.

Performing for your baby is unlike any metal gig you’ve ever played. A four minute cover of “Hammer Smashed Face” might get a crowd of death metal fans on your side, but babies are a different breed of beast. Even if you’ve figured out what your kid likes – be it singing to her, reading to her, etc. – you still might have a screaming demon child who opposes your very existence, and who you are parentally obligated to supplicate to.

Breaking the Law

If you’ve played in bands, you know how it’s supposed to go. You show up, you play your set, and the audience claps. There are variations of this scenario, but that’s the basic template, the law of the land. It’s basic cause and effect. But don’t assume you can go into parenting with that same mindset. You’ve got to kick that right now if you’re going to keep your sanity.

Thinking X action will have Y effect every time is a fallacy. You can’t sing to your baby and expect her to calm down just because it worked in the past. Babies don’t operate like normal humans do, they don’t make a hell of a lot of sense. Babies don’t uphold their end of the sacred bargain, and they get away with it.

Once you accept that fact, you can begin to rebuild.

Performing for your Baby

Like baby sleep tricks, you have to have a variety of tricks up your sleeves at all times. Not everything will work the way it did when you first used it. I used to get my daughter to sleep by swaddling her in my lap and giving her a pacifier; that worked for weeks until she grew too big to lie on my lap. Then she started showing signs of being able to flip herself onto her stomach, which means no more swaddle. It’s been a constant struggle figuring out what will get her to go to sleep.

It’s the same with entertaining your baby. You could be giving the performance of a lifetime, a ten-minute set of googly eyes, funny faces, and squeaky voices that’s every bit as deserving of an encore as the most rockin’ metal show, and your child could find it absolutely odious the very next day. Babies aren’t like most audiences; they don’t want to hear the Greatest Hits at every show. Truth is, you can’t really know what they want until you find it, and it takes a process of elimination to get there.

Baby crying? Pick her up. Still crying? Check her diaper. Diaper’s clean? Rock her gently. Baby starts screaming? Maybe she has gas. Screams louder? Try rocking again. If you do the wrong thing, what’s the worst that could happen? Babies won’t boo at you. They’ll scream. For what appears to be no reason at all. I can’t decide which is worse – getting booed when you know you’re sucking, or getting screamed at for doing the things you’re supposed to. It’s like you showed up at your usual gig, started playing the crowd favorite, and everyone suddenly starts wailing like the building’s on fire.

The point is you’ll never know what will placate your baby until you try it.

Learning to Live

I don’t care how many dive bars you’ve played in or how shit your drummer gets at the end of a tour circuit – you’ll never meet an audience that is tougher than your baby. Even if you do all the things they like (and granted, that list is pretty low at the newborn stage) you still might not be able to win them over.

Patience is what you need. Patience and perseverance. Because face it – the baby isn’t going anywhere, and neither are you. You’re stuck with each other. Unlike a proper audience who has the luxury of enduring your off night for a thirty minute set, you’ll be performing for your kid for the next three months. And you won’t even get paid – not yet anyway, and not in cash.

So I’ll persevere, patiently waiting for that day to arrive. Here’s hoping it won’t come too soon; my daughter’s already growing up fast, and I want to treasure these moments as they come.

The Mostly Metal Dad Guide to Baby Clothes

The black band shirt is a classic look, but it’s not for everyone – especially babies. Not for lacking of trying, mind you, it’s just that merch booths seem to lack appropriately sized baby clothes. You still have to go out of your way to outfit your newborn in an Iced Earth “Fuck Posers” tee.

So if band tees are out, what clothes do babies wear, then? Turns out there’s a garment for just about every conceivable scenario (besides looking metal). So here’s the Mostly Metal Dad Guide to Baby Clothes, here to help you through this strange, new territory.

Swaddling Blanket

This is the likely the first garment your baby will wear. I’m hesitant to even call it clothing since you yourself would never go to a concert wearing only a blanket. You’d be wrapped so tightly you wouldn’t be able to throw the horns. But for most babies, getting swaddled is the shit. That snug burrito fold is supposed to make them feel like they’re back in the dark, gurgling closeness of the womb. I mean, whatever gets your goat, baby.

Onesie

Onesies capture the all-purpose, year-round functionality of the metal look, if not the style. Good for all occasions,these one-piece outfits have flaps in the nether regions that snap apart for easy diaper changing. It’s a simple garment, but you can can complement it with socks, gloves, pants, or even a hat. It’s the equivalent of wearing your Immortal shirt and ripped black jeans, then adding the spiked gauntlets and corpse paint for a more complete look.

Sleepsack

There is no metal equivalent for the sleepsack. None. Even on babies, who by default can usually make things pretty cute, sleepsacks look irredeemably dorky. Picture a pope smock, like the kind Papa Emeritus III from Ghost wears with all the inverted crosses, except a sleepsack is more Snuggie than satanic. Some sleepsacks have sleeves like proper pieces of clothing, others are like potato sacks with arm holes. I guess these are good if your baby can’t or doesn’t like to be swaddled, since it keeps their arms free. I dunno, if I were in a sleepsack, I’d want to escape too.

Footed Pajamas

What’s more un-metal than pajamas? Pajamas with footsies attached. I can’t imagine a world where you would buy a pair of jeans and have your combat boots sewn onto the ends of the legs, so why should we impose this our children? On second thought, that would make losing a shoe while throwing down in the pit practically impossible. Maybe the baby clothes people are onto something.

Hooded Towels

Hoods are pretty metal. Especially if they engulf your whole head like you’re some dark wizard. But the times where you get to wear a hood are few and far between. Not so for babies. Every time they finish a bath is an opportunity to don their Cloak of Drying. Granted, hooded towels are usually styled after popular characters like Hello Kitty or Dora the Explorer, or even adorable animals like caterpillars or lions. Personally, I’m holding out for an adult-sized one shaped like Vic Rattlehead. It’s only a matter of time.

Diaper

It gets hot on stage, I understand that, but that’s not an excuse for you to strip down to your Iron Maiden undies and continue rocking like nothing’s changed. You aren’t one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Only babies can pull off the semi-nude look and not get grimaces tossed their way. A diaper isn’t any more a piece of clothing as a pair of boxers is, but it’s a look that’s distinctly “baby.” Plus, it’s good for that whole skin-to-skin physical bonding thing between parent and child the doctors keep talking about.

Wearing What’s Right

There’s an appropriate situation for every kind of baby clothing. Babies don’t have the be-all end-all solution most metal fashion relies on – no, that kind blissful simplicity will be years in the making, as long as you’re setting her on the right path.

Just be sure to have a good idea of your baby’s size when clothes shopping; clothes sizes can vary just as wildly as concert tees can. The last thing you’d want is to finally track down that elusive Emperor onesie only to find it won’t go further than her neck. Not exactly the kind of metal legacy you want to start with your kid, is it?