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Pit Stories: Riotgod Talks Pit Etiquette And An Unfriendly Skinhead

Each week we check in with rock and metal bands from across the globe to get their favorite mosh pit memories, and this week's Pit Story comes courtesy of Riotgod vocalist Sunshine.

Check out Sunshine's tale below of experiencing a Flotsam and Jetsam show under the influence where the night's main entertainment came from an out of control skinhead:

This is kinda peripheral, but here we go: No matter what pit I have had the distinction of being in, whether while seeing the Cro-Mags or Agnostic Front at L'Amour back in the day or even in unexpected pits that break out at festivals during bands you would not think bring that out (see “Alice in Chains – Man in the Box”), I have had my share of adrenaline. Exciting but not dickish violent, that is not my scene.

As a musician – sometimes the pit breaks over onto the stage. One time a guy grabbed my mike and was sucked back in to the mosh, getting that back was a trip, kinda like fishing and rodeo at once. My audience based pit experience, it is something I deal with, as most do, to get close to the stage. Some guys are the kind who have to get in the middle of it, arms swinging, pushing and dealing.

A side note: I love it at a poorly attended local show, when ONE GUY is the pit. Anyway, I have always been a musician first and dealt with the pit. I am and have been always vigilant – helping people up – pit etiquette all that – see the Wikihow entry on moshing - can you believe that article, wow! And for this refer to #5: “...How brutal are the individuals bouncing around this particular pit? Are people just having fun, or are they going for blood? Know the difference between those who are ‘slam dancing’ and the idiot high school jock who's running around smashing people in the face with his knuckles...”

I always pride myself on being aware of what is going down, casing the situation for that one guy or group of dopes who surely will make into l:-(ss than. And though having been in more than a few pits of various sizes, as time went on, I was relatively unscathed. But... I always had a feeling that one night who-knows-what would happen but “The Pit” the scene would somehow bite me. Like a snake handler, one day you WILL be bitten, no matter how careful you are.

It was the Flotsam and Jetsam / Leeway show back in the day, at the “new” Ritz in NYC, the old Studio 54. I found a blog that described the night, someone else's take on the night: “The bill that night was Mind Over Four, Repulsion (before they became known as Type O Negative), hometown heroes Prong and Leeway (who I immediately realized most of the NY hardcore and metal kids were there for), and headliners Flotsam & Jetsam. I was nonplussed by the insanity we faced, the sheer physicality of young men with something to prove.”

I knew I was going to take some vitamins, so I knew I would not be going anywhere near the pit that night. I planned to hang up in the balcony, and watch the circle from high-ground. I was with a group of gals, one of whom had provided the tickets and we had just met up with two of their friends. As we all walked down 54th, I spotted some off-looking guy coming toward me and I did my usual observ' without trying to overly-judge – spider web tat on elbow, skinhead with new BAM!!!

I didn't go down. He didn't knock me out. My ears were ringing like I fell asleep on the amp at a Mötorhead concert and everyone kept walking. I gathered my wits and sure everyone around me had that WTF just happened vibe. Who knows what we said to each other.... We soon got to the entrance and I calmly said to the head security guy, “Not for nothing man but you see that dude down there?” He looked down the street, looked back at me, giving me that, “Dude – you're buggin me but I will disinterestedly glance” look and said, “Yea? And?” “My money says you and some of your buddies will get to know him tonight.” You know that conversation Travis Bickell had with the Secret Service guy in Taxi Driver, at the political rally, well that was how the bouncer guy interacted with me.

An account of the night inside: The acrid stench of mace filled the back of the venue, a last-ditch insurance policy by someone to avert a rat-pack beatdown, you couldn’t blame them. Hard dancing, snapshots caught through a kaleidoscope of boots and braces, band tees, and athletic jumpsuits. We caught our first glimpse of what we later referred to as skinhead aerobics, buncha baldies floor-punching and thrusting out arms and legs like hammers, going off to Prong’s main anthem, “Beg to Differ.”

That night I watched from the totally high ground, up in the balcony as it took like 5 guys to rustle that guy up and out of the pit, the circle as wide as my pupils.

Riotgod (featuring Monster Magnet drummer Bob Pantella) will release third album "Driven Rise" on March 18th in North America via Metalville Records. The cover artwork is available below, and more details on the band can be found at Facebook here.

 photo riotgod_zps61c7bf0f.jpg

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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