They see themselves playing and living on the edge with a defiant fury the punk "rockers" and

the more aggressive heavy metal "stoners" who glory in their tight black leather pants, boots and black gloves, often speckled with studs and filed spikes. They dance with a frenzy and worship the angry music and band members of such groups as "Suicidal Tendencies," "Septic Death," "Nazi Punks," "Slayer," Sex Gang Children" and "Social Destruction." Drug and alcohol abuse, sexual recklessness, satanic rituals and outrageous behavior and rebellion against all forms of societal authority are part of the culture. For the extremists, so is self-mutilation, such as burning "happy faces" on their arms with cigarette lighters and cutting crude slogans into their thighs and arms. Is punk and heavy metal a passing fad for most teenagers, just another generation showing its youthful antipathy for the establishment? Or is it a peril to society that must be halted by using various "de-punking" and "de- metalizing" techniques, as some members of the psychiatric community are now advocating? Apparently, the notion is growing that a small percentage of true believers in punk and heavy metal are dangerously out of control, acting out their faith in the nihilistic message of the music until they end up in juvinile courts, mental hospitals, maybe even cemeteries. Some suggest that they should be "de-punked" and "demetaled" before it's too late. More than 150 parents, teachers, probation officers, psychiatrists and police turned out for an all-day conference in Pasadena earlier this month to discuss the potentially evil effects of the punk and heavy metal culture. Punk and heavy metal paraphenalia was passed around. Chilling stories were told, like the one about the 15-year old "heavy metaler" who smashed all the furniture in his parents' house and beat his mother about the face. A videotape called "Spikes and Studs" was also played showing young women tearing away their clothes and offering their bodies to the musicians. (Ed. note: As far as the women offering their bodies goes, remember, they did that to Frank Sinatra, too.) Titled "Sound and Fury," the conference - one of the first to be held on the punk-metal phenomenon - was sponsored by the Back In Control Training Center in Fullerton, which was started up recently by two former Orange County probabation officers to teach parents what to look for and how to get tough with their children. For center directors Greg Bodenhamer and Darlyne Pettinicchio, punk and heavy metal - particularly metal -is public enemy number 1. They maintain there is a direct link between the aggressive music and lifestyle, and teenage suicide, homicide and self-inflected wounds. "These kids have been totally brainwashed by this stuff. They've got to be de- punked and de-metalized," Bodenhamer said. He and Pettinicchio point to some well-publicized cases over the past year: Last October, 14 year-old Jennifer Newton was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing and bludgeoning her mother to death in Fullerton. Prosecutors said Newton and her boyfriend were absorbed with heavy metal music. Last August, two teenage San Bernadino boys, described by authorities as "into the heavy metal scene," were accused of murdering a 15-year old boy who was shackled to a heavy milk crate near his home. In January, one 14 year-old boy was found by his parents bleeding in his Santa Monica bedroom after he sliced his knuckles and scrawled a giant "A" for anarchy on the wall. He survived. Not everyone shares the somewhat alarming position that surfaced at the Pasadena conference. "I really don't think they're any big threat," Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Andrews said. "Sure, we arrest a few of them for dangerous weopons like attaching spikes on their hands. But, really, you know, people thought we were crazy too (in the 60's)." Dr. Rex Baeber, assistant professor of medicine at UCLA, explained: "I would make the argument that in any given time in history, there's always been a percentage of young people that are nihilistic, despairing, with psychological disorders and into a lot of drug use. "But I also think it's a mistake to

say the music promulgates the nihilism, although the metalists will reinforce violent, crazy behavior." Although punk and heavy metal are used as terms interchangeably by outsiders, there is a difference. For the punker, the dress code covers the spectrum, the hair is short and often dyed several colors. And the music suggests a certain desperation and hopelessness about the world. The punk symbol is an "A" for anarchy. Shock value is vital. The true punker may autograph himself with knife cuts across the arm or run a safety pin through the cheeck. By contrast, there's more militancy, almost a fascist strain to the heavy metalers. The black, spike-strewn uniform is important, and metalers, unlike punkers, wear their hair longer and cropped on top. -By Ellis E. Conklin -Los Angeles Times -Reprinted with permission ########################################################