The Growling Grandpa Is Back To Scream His Way Through Rob Zombie’s ‘Dragula’

Senior Pop Culture Editor
07.22.16

Black Sabbath is widely considered to be one of the first metal bands, but founding (and inexplicably still alive) members Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, and Tony Iommi are only in their late 60s — we don’t know what a 75-year-old, let alone 80-year-old, metalhead looks like; the genre hasn’t been around long enough. But if Ozzy, or the guys in Slayer, Metallica, and Judas Priest, make it that long (and aren’t completely deaf), hopefully they’re still rocking as hard as the Growling Grandpa, John Hetlinger.

The America’s Got Talent contestant delighted the world with his rollicking version of Drowning Pool’s 2001 hit, “Bodies.” The bodies, and jaws, hit the floor when this old man in khakis started sing-screaming, “One, nothing wrong with me, two, nothing wrong with me…” Hetlinger, a former Navy pilot and aerospace engineer, has since performed the song with Drowning Pool, and last night, he returned to AGT to prove he’s no one-hit-wonder.

This time, instead of “Bodies,” he sang an actual good song: “Dragula” by Rob Zombie, from his 1998 horror-metal album, Hellbilly Deluxe. Sample lyric: “Dead I am the rat, feast upon the cat/Tender is the fur, dying as you purr.” My favorite thing about the clip is how Hetlinger says he has a “lovely young wife.” She’s 63 years old, and apparently knows every word to “Dragula.” Listening to metal is what keeps couples together.

Where’s that greeting card?

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