About Stephen Hudson

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Stephen Hudson

Stephen Hudson

Hello! I am a PhD student at Northwestern University, studying Music Theory and Cognition. Metal In Theory is, in theory, a blog about metal. But as Steve Waksman has demonstrated powerfully in his book This Ain’t The Summer of Love, metal is interconnected with all kinds of heavy music — including hard rock, punk, stadium rock, alternative, and grunge. Coming to terms with metal music means looking at it in relation to other kinds of heavy music, and this blog is my attempt to do exactly that.

I grew up in California, and started playing cello in an elementary school music program. My open-minded cello teacher had me play a couple of arrangements she’d bought online of songs by the Finnish cello-metal band Apocalyptica. When I was 13 I bought my first record, Toxicity by System of a Down, and in ninth grade a friend burned me a copy (erm, loaned) of Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, and I’ve been listening to heavy rock and metal ever since. One day a couple of years later I was listening to the Dead Kennedys, and my dad walked up with an old copy of the Sex Pistols’s Pretty Vacant, said “I was a punk before you were a punk,” then walked away giggling at the stunned look on my face. All of the sudden I started thinking of the Sex Pistols as a moment in history, not just the sound of wanna-be anarchy. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by the history of rock subgenres, and the dual nature of their histories: a history of musicians making music, but also a history of people listening to that music and making claims about what it means and what (or who) it represents.

I received my BA in Mathematics and Music (Cello Performance) from UC Davis in 2012. I play baroque cello when I’m not studying or listening to metal. My research at Northwestern explores experiences of musical rhythm by combining theories of meter, groove, dancing, and music cognition.

Email me at sshudson@u.northwestern.edu

Stephen Hudson playing cello.

A photo posted by Northwestern University (@northwesternu) on