Another musical matter of importance I overlooked was a new fanzine type magazine that came out in 1989, serving the greater Toronto area and its surrounding suburbs. The name of the magazine was M.E.A.T. which was an acronym that stood for "Metal Events Around Toronto"
I'll never forget the first time I encountered the rag. I was partaking in my usual record shopping at HMV, and on my way out the door I noticed a small magazine rack with a sign that said "FREE" so I grabbed the first ever issue of m.e.a.t. It was all printed on black and white news print, like a small newspaper. Although it was somewhat ghetto, it was steps beyond your typical homemade fanzine.
When I got home I flipped through the pages quickly, then I dismissed the mag so I could listen to my new records. Eventually I became bored and made my way back to the magazine, this time however I ended up reading the entire thing from cover to cover. It was actually well written, and the fact it supported local talent was almost a godsend. M.E.A.T. also catered to the typical metal fans in regards to what was happening on the more commercial side of things with bigger bands that weren't local.
M.E.A.T. gained steam and momentum very quickly, and the magazines publisher Drew Masters, was releasing an issue every month. In the beginning I was questioning if we'd ever even see a second issue, now here I was scouring record stores on the 1st of each month looking for the latest copy. The mag had also graduated to a slick, glossy coloured cover by now, signs it was doing well. I had no idea who this Drew character was until I finally saw a pic of him one day. Drew looked like your typical hair bag, head banging rock on, the type of guy I once was, the type of guy I loathed now, and although he did come across as a bit of a dick in some of his writings, I couldn't give the guy anything but respect. Respect for investing his own time, energy, passion, and money into something he truly believed in... Us!
Us as fans of heavy music and us as the local musicians making the music. How could you hate on a guy who had that much ambition which ultimately meant exposure for us. You couldn't hate...even if the guy did look like a Mötley Crüe reject.
For something that was free, the rag had over 35,000 copies in circulation a mere 2 years later , quite impressive for the little zine that could. I think one of the driving forces behind that was the scene itself. Toronto has always had a very prolific music scene, and the fact we now had our own magazine to document and support that scene, how could the rag not do well?
It was always exciting getting the next issue and seeing what bands were being interviewed, what new local talent had been discovered, plus you could find out all of the metal happening around the city as far as live performances went. After awhile it wasn't uncommon for me to see my own friends such as the E.B.S. boys or the dudes from Mal Havoc gracing the pages.
By 1995 m.e.a.t. was no more, but some of its contributors went on to start "Brave Words Bloody Knuckles" which has since became the leading authority in local heavy music, and it would be an understatement to say they've taken the ball and ran with it. Kudos to all involved with BWBK for keeping the spirit alive, and of course Kudos to Drew Masters for being one man who made a difference for all of us. I think he should change his name to Drew Mattered...