For the past 12 years Robb's Metal Works was a San Antonio cable access show dedicated to all things musical, loud, and heavy. The show ran as a labor of love. Hosted and produced by Robb Chavez, the show was made for no money and little mainstream acclaim. Ni modo. The fans and the bands and labels loved the show. And whether or not you were a metalhead yourself, it was hard not to stand in awe of Robb's dedication to his show, metal fans across South Texas, and the often maligned genre. The show finally ends this week. Robb's going back to school to get his PhD.
In an article I wrote for the San Antonio Current back in 1999 on San Antonio metal, (you can read the piece here), Robb figured in the part where I talk about the local scene. (Oh, and for those lame Coldplay fans out there wondering what exactly a "Pissing Razors" is, they were a metal band out of El Paso, Texas.)
It's a typical Thursday night at the White Rabbit and standing on a chair this Pissing Razors night is Baylor University graduate Robb Chavez. No musical genre draws such intense fan loyalty as Heavy Metal, and in San Antonio, there is no greater metal fan than Robb Chavez.
For the past two and a half years, Chavez has produced the cable access show Robb's Metal Works (Saturdays, 11:30 am, on Channel 20). Consisting of band interviews, live concert footage, and traditional music videos, Robb's Metal Works is a cross between a local version of MTV's Headbanger's Ball and a very well-connected fanzine.
Serving as Metal Work's host, interviewer, videographer, producer and editor, Chavez will celebrate his 100th episode on May 22nd – no small feat for a guy with no budget and no prior production experience, all the more impressive, when you realize he's never shown a rerun. A contemporary cable version of another passionate hard rock fan, Joe Anthony, Chavez serves a dual function as disseminator of what's up in the international metal scene, as well as a promoter of local band talent.
"I got the idea for the show," Chavez says, "because there was nothing else out there." Robb's Metal Works is just one part of an underground network of ‘zines, slick mags, word of mouth, and the internet.
These days, in true bad-boy fashion, metal kids surreptitiously log on in the school library computers and download valuable pages of treasured and arcane information from any number of web sites hosted by metal bands, distributors, and metalheads from all over the world. These days, there’s easily accessible news, such as Pissing Razors CD release date, downloadable sound files of upcoming releases, blow-by-blow tour diaries, passionate debate on whether Marilyn Manson is Metal or not; and ad infinitum links to other metal sites around the world.
Jim Beal at the San Antonio Express-News writes a great piece about Robb here. Robb's official website is here. And I leave you with a clip of an interview Robb conducted with guitarist Nick Hipa of San Diego metalcore band As I Lay Dying.