SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin calls from his Affliction office bounding with energy. The Phoenix-born host and programmer is ready to talk metal, the genre he has pushed since he was raised among cowboys and Latinos in the Arizona border town of Douglas.
“It’s always been my life,” Mangin says. “My plan was never to make riches, buy a house, get this, get that. I just wanted to be a metal guy. It was to be pure.”
The inked mogul with the gauge earrings has become one of the foremost authorities on heavy metal. Sixteen years ago, he helped create satellite radio’s Liquid Metal and Octane stations. He laid down guest vocals on a Suicide Silence song, introduced Metallica at Yankee stadium, hosted a Korn concert in Los Angeles, and interviewed Ozzy Osbourne.
“I’m passionate about a lot of things,” Mangin says. “It’s led me to everything—my family, my wife. Everything I have today is rooted in this lifelong devotion to metal. Being good and positive does pay off.
“There are so many people in positions of influence who are negative. It’s gross. For me, I have to champion the genre to be the positive voice. I’m looking at the glass half full, instead of half empty. I’m always the optimist. I look at metal as the key to making dreams come true.”
Mangin was born in 1977 at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He and his family lived in Phoenix, Sierra Vista and Tucson before settling in Douglas.
He was introduced to metal by older cousins when he was in kindergarten.
“They had a room in the back shack with cool metal posters,” Mangin recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow. That looks awesome. What is that?’ There was a big metal scene in Douglas.
“There were a bunch of long-haired dudes. There wasn’t anything in Douglas other than Mexican music, cowboy boots, Mexican language, and super, super Mexican dudes and chicks—then there were the in-betweens, who leaned toward rock and metal.”
His first concert was Iron Maiden and Anthrax at Compton Terrace, south of Chandler, in 1992. Mangin left school and took a bus from Douglas to Tucson, where he met his cousin and a friend. They drove to Compton Terrace, and took the same route back.
“It was a big deal,” he says with a laugh.
Mangin wanted to attend other shows, but his parents weren’t too keen on it.
“I tried to go to other metal shows,” he says. “I wanted to go to Clash of the Titans, but I couldn’t go. I was too young. I didn’t have the means to do any of that. We were very poor as well.”
To commemorate his first concert, Paul Booth’s Tattoo Parlor inked “Persistence of Time” on the back of his leg as Anthrax watched. It was during an episode of Headbangers Ball, which he has hosted since 2011.
After graduating high school with a perfect GPA, he attended University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in chemistry, thanks to a full-ride scholarship. He then headed to Tennessee to pursue a doctorate.
While at the U of A, he served as music director of KAMP, the studio radio station.
“Arizona is what made me into the metal person I am today,” says Mangin, who has family in the East Valley. “I love giving credit to Arizona. I wear Arizona jewelry. I always have my stuff that I bought in Bisbee or Scottsdale. I have Native American jewelry, and turquoise jewelry. When people compliment me on my jewelry, I tell them it’s from Arizona. I’m proud—and quick—to point out where I’m from and bring it up in conversation.”
While in town, he has joined Sebastian Bach on stage, and visited with Soulfly and Sacred Reich last year. He would love to start a “cool annual metal event” in Phoenix with “a bunch of tequila, tacos, Mexican beer and metal bands. I think it’ll be a fun thing.”
It’s a family thing
He met his wife nearly two decades ago while they were both working at TVT Records. As the story goes, a week after they met, they moved in together. They were married nine months later. A smart businessman, Mangin is sponsored by Mexican beer maker Modelo, and co-owner of Riazul premium tequila and rock ‘n’ roll clothing company Affliction.
He counts Osbourne, Robert Trujillo of Metallica and the guys in Slayer among his friends.
“Some say, ‘This dude is so overboard. He’s too much,’” he says with a laugh. “After 17 years on SiriusXM, they say, ‘Oh, this dude’s for real.’ Then they really bring me into their inner circle.”
That includes the Trujillos, a family with whom he has a special bond.
“Tye, Robert and Chloe’s (12-year-old) son who played with Korn this summer, he can marry any one of my daughters,” he says. “I even tell him, ‘Dude, take one of my daughters.’ Then I’ll marry into Metallica. It’s a prearranged marriage that we talked about, signed off on and the kids know about it. They haven’t met each other yet.”
He admits, though, he gives preferential treatment to Arizona acts like ded.
“Jose is the best,” says ded singer Joe Cotela. “His energy and enthusiasm for hard rock and heavy metal is unmatched. It’s always a good time and a good hang with him, plus he’s from our home state of Arizona. The heat breeds metal heads.”
Mangin is proud of Arizona.
“I really talk about it and push it,” Mangin says. “Nobody is doing it, but I’ll take it. I’ve got it on a national level. I’m very proud of the Grand Canyon State.”