In a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, Kip Winger shared his perspective on the fusion of classical and rock music. He expressed his purist stance, asserting that merely layering an orchestra over rock riffs doesn’t constitute a genuine integration of the two genres. Winger elaborated:
“I’m really a purist. I don’t like a combination of a rock band with an orchestra. I feel like you’re superimposing an orchestra on top of some rock riffs, and you can’t really compete with a Marshall amp. I mean, a Marshall amp will blow away a whole orchestra. The whole ‘metal meets orchestra thing,’ it’s just kind of a superimposed element on top of a rock band.” However, Winger did make an exception for Steve Vai, citing him as a musician who seamlessly integrates orchestral elements into his music: “Steve Vai is a good example of somebody who is a very literate musician who can integrate his orchestra music into the music. You’re composing it all at once.”
Kirk Hammett Speculates that Classical Music Composers Would Embrace Metal Given the Chance
Kirk Hammett, the renowned guitarist of Metallica, known for their grand orchestral concerts, holds a contrasting viewpoint to Winger. In a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone, Hammett speculated that many early classical composers might have sought an outlet similar to heavy metal before the genre fully emerged. He expressed:
“I suspect that a lot of these composers were looking for something like heavy metal, and it just didn’t exist. If they had the ways and the means, they probably would have been heavy-metal artists. If you listen to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition from beginning to end, that’s like a heavy-metal freaking opera to me. A song like ‘Gates of Kiev’ is so huge. If that guy were around today, it would be huge power chords and thunderous drums. I totally see a similarity between heavy metal and classical music; it’s all an attitude.” This perspective diverges significantly from Winger’s stance.
Dani Filth Asserts Classical Music as the Heavy Metal of its Era
Offering yet another unique perspective, Cradle of Filth vocalist Dani Filth shared his views in a 2020 interview with Metal Injection. He likened classical music to heavy metal in its ability to convey intense emotions, stating:
“I mean, you could go back to classical music of the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries. Classical music was like the heavy metal of the day, and it was up to them to express strong emotions. And as well as having a lot of very cheery classical pieces, there’s a lot of dark stuff. I mean, just off the top of my head, Berlioz ‘Fantastic Symphony.’ For example, Stravinsky was almost like a Slayer of his day.” The debate over the compatibility of metal and classical music remains a contentious topic, with rockstars offering diverse opinions.