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Pit Stories: Bridging The Divide Between Punk And Metal

Photo of Rigor Mortis

Band Photo: Rigor Mortis (?)

Tuesday's not just new release day - it's also when we have the best of the best in the metal world share their most memorable Pit Stories.

This week metal warrior Casey Orr of Rigor Mortis (...and Warbeast, and GWAR, and Ministry, and a whole bunch of others) shares a tale of camaraderie in the pit when metal heads and punk rockers come together to tear shit up and have a good time. Casey recounts the story thusly:

I grew up in Arlington, TX, just east of Ft. Worth and about 30 miles west of Dallas. Though only about 30 miles apart, Dallas and the Arlington/Ft Worth area are very different. While Arlington/Ft. W was clearly the birthplace of heavy metal in North Texas, Dallas, being a bit more "big city," was a fertile breeding ground for punk. At that time my only exposure to punk had been through main stream outlets. I was aware of Devo, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones, but not much else. Our side of the Metroplex was all about Sabbath, Skynyrd, Led Zep, and the burgeoning NWOHM.

Sometime in 1984, a friend told me and Rigor Mortis drummer, Harden Harrison, about this crazy club in Dallas we HAD to check out. It was a punk rock club called The Circle A Ranch, and we said hell yeah, let's go! So one night Harden and I drove out to Dallas to this seedy area called Deep Ellum in search of enlightenment, or beer, or a fight, or all of the above.

We found the club, a dingy dump up a rickety flight of stairs, and we entered. As we got to the top of the stairs I looked around and realized we were the only longhairs in the room. It was all skinheads and mohawks! The band that was playing (I've long forgotten who) was playing faster and more aggressively than almost any of the metal I'd heard up to this point. After a slight verbal altercation between Harden and the doorman over "being a long haired hippie," which ended in mutual respect and acceptance (I was so mesmerized I barely noticed, I think I threw money at him and just went in), we proceeded into the room and soaked in this amazing scene that appeared in front of us. The first mosh pit we had ever seen!

There must have been 50 - 75 hardcore punk rockers slamming each other as they moved in a counter clockwise direction. It looked like they were beating the shit out of each other, but they weren't. In fact if someone went down, they were immediately helped back up and the melee continued. I felt like John Belushi in The Blues Brothers when he's in the church and has his revelation about "the band." After a couple of minutes we looked at each other, grinned, and jumped right in. Of course we went the opposite direction as they were going; what better way to introduce yourself? After a couple of songs we stepped out to catch our breath. Right about then two boots and braces type skinheads also left the pit and came right to us. The bigger of the two, who was bleeding from his forehead, said "I don't give a shit if you guys come here or not, but that shit (pointing at my spiked wristbands) has got to go!" Without even thinking about it, I popped the wristbands off, threw them over my shoulder, threw my arm around the big skinhead and dragged back him into the pit with me. We had a blast that night and it definitely changed me forever.

Rigor Mortis eventually played our first Dallas gig at The Circle A Ranch, and were the first metal band to infiltrate Deep Ellum and the punk scene. Sure there were constant scuffles between our fans (The Longhairs), and The Skins, but we never backed down and gained the respect and friendship of most of the punks in Dallas. And the press did wonders for our reputation!

Rigor Mortis will release the band's fourth and final studio album "Slaves to the Grave" on October 7th, which comes after the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia.

"Slaves To The Grave" will be the band's first studio album in 23 years and features the classic original lineup of Mike Scaccia - guitar, Casey Orr - bass, Bruce Corbitt - vocals, and Harden Harrison - drums. Check out a song from the album below.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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5 Comments on "Pit Stories: Bridging The Punk/Metal Divide"

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Drum_Junkie's avatar

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1. Drum_Junkie writes:

One of the better pit stories. \m/\m/

# Sep 3, 2014 @ 1:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

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2. brandedcfh420 writes:

Unity among hard rocking music....Nice to see!!!

# Sep 3, 2014 @ 3:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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3. hellrat writes:

damned Longhairs! :)

# Sep 3, 2014 @ 5:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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4. Nastrosity writes:

and the lost art of the circle pit lives to this day in the DFW!

# Sep 3, 2014 @ 10:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
NW_MetalHead's avatar

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5. NW_MetalHead writes:

That is up there with the best Pit Stories you have posted, awesome!

# Sep 4, 2014 @ 9:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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