Richard McDeid played Metallica one day and noticed his son Mason had stopped crying. They've since attended over 1,000 metal music concerts together and host their own festival.
When you think of heavy metal music, "calming" probably isn't the first adjective that comes to mind. For Mason, however, listening to metal music has over the years become a way to calm himself down. Mason was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. His early childhood was marked by fits of constant and uncontrollable crying. It was evident that he was anxious, nervous, or uncomfortable. One day during one of these fits, his dad Richard McDeid put on some Metallica. To his surprise, Mason calmed down. He had stopped crying and had even fallen asleep - without anyone's help. Soon, the father-son duo became ardent metalheads.
Describing the moment that Richard spotted the calming effect metal music had on his son, he explained, "One day, I arrived in from work and his mom [Richard's ex-wife] took some time out. He would simply not stop, so I put him in his chair and turned on the Metallica Binge and Purge VHS tape. A few minutes later I was washing the dishes and noticed he’d stopped crying. I checked on him and he’d fallen asleep. This was the very first time he’d done that without someone holding him. Afterward, it started happening in the car whenever Metallica was on."
Mason quickly moved on from Metallica to enjoying other bands as well. "He would calm down and relax," his dad said. "At first, it was only Metallica and then grew to other bands as he learned to recognize them, he instantly responded and it grew from there." Richard and his son began traveling across the country in order to attend various metal concerts and music festivals. The father affirmed, "We don’t let [his cerebral palsy] stop us. It doesn’t mean we can’t do things. It just means that we do them differently. We’re definitely rock guys." Since the day Mason first heard Metallica, the pair have attended over 1,000 heavy metal concerts and festivals.
That's not all though. Richard took his son's love for metal music a step further - he launched a heavy metal music festival specially crafted for those with special needs. Called Mason MetalFest, the music festival is open to all ages and features plenty of big names such as Storm Dragon, Iron Brigade, and Divine Tragedy. The festival even resulted in Mason winning an award for the best show of the year at the Minnesota Metal Awards, also known as the Mattys. Richard shared, "I rolled him down the red carpet and on to the stage with about 1,000 people chanting his name. It was priceless."
Through all this, his father has helped him overcome several challenges, including over 100 surgeries. "In the past [few] years I have helped him through, and nursed him back from, 132 surgeries and many more near-death illnesses," Richard revealed. "It has always been this way since he was four or five years old. I’m a single dad, raising him and his little sister." He's probably one of the most dedicated and loving fathers to have ever existed. Mason and Richard are lucky to have each other; just two rock guys winning cerebral palsy and the metal scene.