My Metal Ran on Dunkee

Posted: September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
At the tomb of my Metal Gramma, Dunkee, in September 2013.

At the tomb of my Metal Gramma, Dunkee, in September 2013.


At the Columbus, Ohio burial site of my Grandma Lumpkin, better known as “Gramma Dunkee” to all of us who loved her due to my inability as a little kid to pronounce her name accurately. Not since King Diamond’s “Them” opus has a gramma deserved so much praise and respect.

And why, asketh ye? Because Dunkee was my metal gramma. My Gramma Straight was the one who provided chocolates, who taught me how to play solitaire, who bought us Underoos emblazoned with the likenesses of our favorite super heroes and cartoon characters; she was the one, verily, to whom we turned for love and tenderness. My Gramma Dunkee was the one who doled out the brutality: this is both figurative in the sense that she could be cold at times, even against her own will; but also metaphorical, regarding how she provided me some of the best metal I ever heard, and certainly at a time in my teen years when it all meant the world to me. Dunkee hooked me up with Slayer’s “Decade of Aggression” boxed set, Cannibal Corpse’s “Tomb of the Mutilated”, and Entombed’s “Left Hand Path” between the ages of 14-16 in the early 1990s. This was in an era of splendor for extreme metal worldwide. Slayer had just sold out Madison Square Garden during the Clash of the Titans tour (though, admittedly, I think Anthrax actually headlined that gig since NYC was their hometown and it was only right they close the show) and had its own MTV special; Cannibal Corpse was demonstrating to the world that death metal – the bastard child of thrash and speed – was here to stay; and Entombed was spearheading the first major wave of Swedish death metal, establishing a template that would be mimicked by countless Scandinavian bands. Those groups had what could only be described as an otherworldly influence on me as a teenage headbanger and musician, and the musical direction of my band Witch Hunt would never have developed as it did were it not for my metal gramma benefactor. Ironically, even her passing in June 1994 was metal: we made it back from the funeral the day before going to see Pantera, Sepultura, and Biobazard in concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

This photo, taken in September 2013, was the first time I’d been able to visit her burial site since the funeral, paying respect to a grandmother uncommonly cooler than most. If “America runs on Dunkin”, then it’s safe to say that my metal ALWAYS ran on Dunkee.


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