The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Welfare State: The Metal Years


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for those reason readers who compulsively listen to Stryper and/or Keel, you might consider consulting a doctor. And if you happen to live in Sweden, you might want to locate the closest welfare office. The Local explains:

A Swedish heavy metal fan has had his musical preferences officially classified as a disability. The results of a psychological analysis enable the metal lover to supplement his income with state benefits.

Roger Tullgren, 42, from Hässleholm in southern Sweden has just started working part time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren's salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

"I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap," Tullgren told The Local.

"I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against."

In a country where heavy metal never really went away, this is indeed a dangerous precedent.

Yngwie Malmsteen could not be reached for comment at press time.

NEXT: Votes for Nuts?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You stole this story from The Onion, right?

  2. Afraid not. It is Sweden, after all.

  3. Keel, Styper?? Come on man, you can do better than that. Faster Pussycat, LA Guns , and of course those queens of the Sweedish sissies Europe….

    And for this guy…What a friggin Joke.

  4. JasonC,
    Here is the original story from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, complete with photos of the disabled metalhead.

  5. As I was implying on a previous thread (Votes for Nuts?) what is a mental illness? I doubt the psychology/psychiatry professions are to be trusted to define it.

  6. Has Dethklok been reached for comment?

  7. Well, at least there are some sane people in Sweden:

    The Local spoke to an occupational psychologist in Stockolm, who admitted to being baffled by the decision.

    “I think it’s extremely strange. Unless there is an underlying diagnosis it is absolutely unbelievable that the job centre would pay pay out.

    “If somebody has a gambling addiction, we don’t send them down to the racetrack. We try to cure the addiction, not encourage it,” he said.

  8. “This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.”

    Nigel Tufnel: That’s just nitpicking, isn’t it?

  9. Can’t believe you passed up such a splendid opportunity for a reference to Twisted Sister (“Metal Health”) or Ozzy Osbourne (“Crazy Train”).

  10. The Metal Militia now has the funding required for world domination.

  11. Keel, Styper?? Come on man, you can do better than that. Faster Pussycat, LA Guns , and of course those queens of the Sweedish sissies Europe….

    An alternate title for this thread could have been “The Final Countdown for the Swedish Welfare State?”

  12. I gave up all of my incredulity about affairs within the Swedish welfare state (except about the idea that it actually works) after I heard about their governmental committee for handicraft issues.

  13. Odin bless Wikipedia:
    Swedish heavy metal groups
    Prepare to be amused…

  14. Ah, ya sure! God forbid da government step in and help somevun who need it, now. You loony libertarians hate dat, doncha? Yah, hew betcha!

  15. Twisted Sister (“Metal Health”)

    Sheesh! C’mon, man, that’s Quiet Riot, not Twisted Sister. No disability for you!

  16. Fantastic, Stevo! Awesome!

  17. YNGWIE IS GOD…at least, that was what was scrawled across all my textbooks and locker when I was 14.


    I hete-a tu be-a zee beerer ooff bed noos, boot fur thuse-a reesun reeders vhu cumpoolseefely leestee tu Stryper und/oor Keel, yuoo meeght cunseeder cunsoolteeng a ductur. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! Und iff yuoo heppee tu leefe-a in Svedee, yuoo meeght vunt tu lucete-a zee clusest velffere-a ooffffeece-a. Zee Lucel ixpleeens:

    A Svedeesh heefy metel fun hes hed hees mooseecel prefferences ooffffeecielly clesseeffied es a deesebility. Bork bork bork! Zee resoolts ooff a psychulugeecel unelysees ineble-a zee metel lufer tu soopplement hees incume-a veet stete-a beneffeets.

    Um gesh dee bork, bork! Ruger Toollgree, 42, frum H?sslehulm in suoozeern Svedee hes joost sterted vurkeeng pert teeme-a es a deeshvesher et a lucel restoorunt. Um de hur de hur de hur. Becoose-a heefy metel dumeenetes su muny espects ooff hees leeffe-a, zee Impluyment Serfeece-a hes egreed tu pey pert ooff Toollgren’s selery. Bork bork bork! Hees noo buss meunvheele-a hes geefee heem a speceeel deespenseshun tu pley luood mooseec et vurk.

    “I hefe-a beee tryeeng fur tee yeers tu get thees clesseeffied es a hundeecep,” Toollgree tuld Zee Lucel.

    “I spuke-a tu three-a psychulugeests und zeey feenelly egreed thet I needed thees tu efueed beeeng deescrimineted egeeenst.

    Um de hur de hur de hur.” In a cuoontry vhere-a heefy metel nefer reelly vent evey, thees is indeed a dungeruoos precedent. Um de hur de hur de hur.

    Yngveee-a Melmsteee cuoold nut be-a reeched fur cumment et press teeme-a.

  19. Rather, The final countdown for the Swedish welfare state

  20. I have a fever and the cure is – More Cowbell!

  21. Odin bless Wikipedia:
    Swedish heavy metal groups
    Prepare to be amused…

    I like most of these bands…*pouts*

  22. He’s so metal that he became a ward of the state? That’s brutal.

  23. A Iron Maiden dishwasher in the Swedish Chef’s kitchen? I went looking for a clip, but all I could find is The Swedish Chef Meets IRON CHEF.

    click on my name or C&P:

  24. Man, I would love to tell my boss the first three Entombed records are too awesome to let me do my job.

  25. That isn’t as bad as the Arabs in Sweden and how they have played the system. Check out some of the stuff coming out of Sweden regarding radical Islamic thinking. Be a good article for Reason.

  26. So both Michael Moynihan’s are into scandinavian metal? Who woulda thunk it?

  27. He sounds like he should be represented by Robert Bork Bork Bork!

  28. I’m a big fan of David Hasselhoff.

    Pay me.

  29. You stole this story from The Onion, right?

    Here is the original story from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, complete with photos of the disabled metalhead.

    So, Aftonbladet is Swedish for The Onion, right?

  30. This is totally lame and not metal.

  31. So both Michael Moynihan’s are into scandinavian metal? Who woulda thunk it?

    I spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out if the Reason contributor was the same guy who wrote Lords Of Chaos.

  32. A better link for the ‘Yngwie Malmsteen could not be reached for comment’ would be a link to his famous tirade, “YOU’VE RELEASED THE FUCKING FURY”

  33. His cousin, Jethro Tullgren, has a disability, too, requiring the use of an Aqualung.

  34. Great story.

  35. So I’m guessing that the Swedish media actually has people who are pasionately arguing the side that this is a good ruling. Youtube anyone?

  36. I’m very disappointed that none of you have mentioned “Heavy Metal Poisoning” from the worst album of all time, Kilroy Was Here.

  37. As a big metal fan and a fan of many bands from Sweden, I can’t help but to laugh my ass off.

  38. Re Wiki list

    The Poodles? Excellent metal band name.

    Went to their site and ordered aa T-Shirt.


  39. Next thing you know it will be a disability to be blond in Sweden. That will surely sink their system. Blond metal heads will get the biggest cut of pie. I wonder if they determine your rate by the length of your hair?

  40. H?rdrock ?verallt!

  41. Keel, Styper??

    How about Metalica, Iron Maiden and classic Sabbath?

    I am Swedish American but I don’t know much about Swedish metam, but Yngvie is a great guitarist.

  42. This reminds me of an interview with Finntroll about why they sing in Swedish rather than Finnish: “Because Swedish is a Fucking Troll language! It’s so fucking metal!”

  43. I love Sweden. Go to record shop there: There are ENTIRE RACKS dedicated just to Iron Maiden. It is truly a paradise.

  44. Dude, this news totally rawks!!AAAWWWEESOME!

  45. Wait a minute. Are you saying that metal fans are not truly disabled?
    I’m willing to take Tullgren at his word.
    It’s most definitely a handicap.
    He deserves our sympathy and compassion.

  46. Ok for the record, stryper is NOT metal. Maybe that is what metal is to people that suck. Real metal is black metal and Sweden has some of the best. Besides, America funds more stupid things than this. Ex. Billions of dollars were spent on building a giant, glorious bridge, that connected two uninhabited islands in Alaska. For all the metalheads that have to go through the anguish of ignorant people saying, “Oh you like metal? That’s like ACDC and Metallica, right?” We should get paid for not socking those people in the face. Go Tullgren!!!

  47. Something tells me Sweden will survive this episode of stupidity but at least my own personal point has been proven which is that one has to be disabled to appreciate Metal…or something like that.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.