Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heavy Metal Monk

I ran across a video from Reuters that features Cesare Bonizzi, an Italian friar and former missionary to Africa who performs Heavy Metal. No fooling! He records under the name Fratello Metallo. Here is a link to the video:

http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=87126

The video put in mind William Everson, the poet and member, peripherally at least, of the Beat Generation. Everson was also known as Brother Antoninus, for he was a lay monk in the Catholic church for quite some time (I forget which order he belonged to). Everson defrocked himself--literally and figuratively--during a poetry reading at U.C. Davis in the late 1960s. He took his monk's robe off during the reading and announced he was not going to be a monk anymore. Also, Everson very much liked the music of Janis Joplin--more blues and rock than heavy metal, certainly, but in the same primal vein that appeals, apparently, to Fratello Metallo. Everson's books include Man-Fate and The Residual Years. Everson was also a master printer of books and a well known conscientious objector during the Second World War, as was William Stafford.
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