Pit Stories: When Headbangers Collide
The pit is where the action is at, but it can also be a dangerous place with all the banging heads and flailing body parts.
Every week we check in with musicians from around the globe to get their most memorable Pit Stories. Today Martin Van Drunen (Hail of Bullets, Grand Supreme Blood Court) shares this story of a short stage resulting in fan and band coming just a bit too close together at an Asphyx show:
In April 2009, I played with Asphyx in Barcelona in a place called Espasi Jove, together with Graveyard and Looking For An Answer. Two great but unfortunately not very well known bands from Spain. It was one of these shows organized by fans, not professional promoters, so it was a bit pleasantly chaotic, as these shows usually are. The place itself looked like a school building, and the stage was about one-foot high, so it wasn’t really something you could call a stage. But we don't care about minor things like that-- the place was packed and the atmosphere was just great. Both Graveyard and Looking For An Answer did fat performances, which we watched from the crowd, having a good time and drinking, as always. A lot of beers with the metalheads.
So then it was our turn. Normally when we headline smaller shows, we can play up to two hours sometimes, depends if there's a curfew. So this would be a long one as well. I think it was somewhere halfway into the set (we still had to do songs like “The Rack” and “Last One” along with some other Asphyx-oldies) when there was a big guy standing at the front of the stage banging his head off. But he was really tall, perhaps like me, maybe even bigger. So at one point, he was banging his head, but he was standing slightly bent over. And we always bang our heads off too during our set, so when I put my head down, all of a sudden he threw his head back, but also stood up straight. So he hit my forehead fuckin’ hard with the back of his thick Spanish skull. And for an instant, I was blind, couldn't see shit. Then I felt the spot where he hit me, and there was this egg growing rapidly.
The band guys asked if I was ok of course. I asked Xavi from Graveyard (whom I saw standing in the crowd) to please get me some ice, and he started running to the bar and came back with a plastic cup with a big piece of ice in it. Ah, I remember that relief when I put that against my aching and palpitating forehead. But, as we say in the band, we always man ourselves (it's a Dutch expression, not sure how to translate that), and it was our first show in Spain ever. We didn't wanna disappoint the Spanish fans. So I continued the show, with the ice against my head, taking it slightly more easy than normal haha. And the crowd really appreciated it and were grateful that we kept playing on.
Later on, I met the guy and he apologized. I told him, “Hey, not your fault, you had a good time banging to us and you didn't do it on purpose, those things can always happen during a death metal show.”
I think I had a brain concussion, as I still had a satanic headache for days after that performance. But I recovered soon after that, and now it's just a nice anecdote or memory. And let's be honest, boys and girls: death metal just ain't for sissies…
Asphyx released latest album "Deathammer" in 2012, and in other Martin Van Drunen news, Hail of Bullets is gearing up for the release of new album "III The Rommel Chronicles." Check out the first single from the album right here, and be sure to check back in next Tuesday for more Pit Stories!
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