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Archive: Pit Stories Columns

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Tales From The Pit: Joey Vera's Mosh Pit Flips

We've been talking to bands to get their best mosh pit stories. This one is from Joey Vera when he was on tour in 1986 with Armored Saint, opening for Metallica and WASP.

"Just about every night, whoever happened to be watching Metallica's set from side stage, got invited out to sing the 'DIE!' part at the end of Creeping Death. One night in Texas, there I was, hammered and waiting for my nightly invitation. Sure enough, I get the wink from my gracious host, Cliff Burton.

"On I go and give my best beer soaked "DIE!". After my part is played, I walk to the edge of the stage in front of Cliff's floor monitor, turn around to face him, and with all my strength I hurl myself in a back flip into the audience. Luckily the crowd takes pity on my poor aerial form and catches me. Then I find myself in a flurry of sweaty limbs as I begin to surf towards the front of the stage. Metallica's crew pulls my sorry ass out and back onto stage while Mr. Burton tops my score with a thumbs 'way' up. Good times."

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Tales From The Pit: Unholy Rocks A Boxing Ring

We've been talking to bands to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week's story comes from Unholy's Billy Price.

"We played this show in NYC and midway through one of our songs this fight breaks out in the pit and these two guys start slugging it out. Theyknocked over at least 5 people rolling around going at it, get back up and start trading blows, the crowd starts to form around them creating a boxing ring type of effect. No one bothers to step in or break it up and we keep playing while these guys try to take each others heads off. Finally one of the brawlers decided he had enough and disappeared into the crowd, the winner then proceeded to finish moshing to the rest of the song! It was probably the closest we will ever get to playing a live boxing match."

Next week we'll hear about Joe Vera's exploits at a 1986 Metallica show.

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Tales From the Pit: Spin Kicking Davey Havoc

We've been talking to bands around the world to get their best mosh pit stories. We heard from Makh Daniels of Early Graves about his favorite pit experience:

"11 years ago at a now defunct SF venue called the Cocodrie, I was stage diving and moshing a bunch at a Disembodied show. During the part in the song "Bloodshed Rain" where it goes "GOD SAVE US!" I ended up spin kicking Davey Havoc in the face and nearly knocking him out. Highlight of my spin kicking career."

Next week we'll hear about an impromptu boxing ring at an Unholy show.

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Tales From The Pit: Ravage Stops Moshing Kegs

We've been talking to bands around the world to get their best pit stories. This week's comes from Al, vocalist for Metal Blade band Ravage.

"Ravage was playing a thrash/ speed metal fest recently featuring Bonded By Blood, and some other touring and local bands at a place we call 'The Metal Hall' just outside of Boston - which was basically a glorified kegger party in a room with a stage. It ended up raining a lot before the show went on - and outside the hall is an unpaved road and industrial yard, so the crowd tracked a lot of mud onto the floor when they came in and the floor of the place became a slippery, muddy mess. When the bands went on, the pit became insane and people were sliding around like crazy, so it was a wonder no one got seriously hurt. The walls were padded with a lot of sound foam, so that probably helped.

"Toward the end of the show I was standing in the very back and filming the bands on a hand-held camera. All the kegs had been drained and a lot of people were completely blasted. I was standing next to the empty kegs and one particularly sloshed guy came up to me and slurred, "We need to inject a little CHAOS into this party!" He proceeded to pick one of the empty beer kegs up over his head and he tried to bring it down directly on the head of some little guy standing next to me. When I realized what he was doing, I grabbed his arm and was able to stop him from completely crushing the guy's skull (the shocked little guy escaped with just a glancing blow). I grabbed the keg from the crazy guy, put it down and pushed him back into the ongoing circle pit, where I thought he at least wouldn't be able to murder anyone. A few minutes pass and I'm still filming, not totally paying attention to the crowd, and from out of nowhere the same crazy guy comes back, grabs an empty keg from behind me and bowls it into the circle pit where it took down at least two unsuspecting moshers who fell backward onto the slippery floor and were covered in mud and beer. That was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen someone do in a pit."

Stay tuned for next week when we'll read about knocking out AFI vocalist Davey Havoc.

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Tales From The Pit: Losing an Eye in the Pit

We've been talking to bands to get their best pit stories. This week's is from Matthew Zadkovich, guitarist for Starring Janet Leigh:

"I was in Toronto at the Reverb for a show with the Cancer Bats (Blackmarket/Distort) and The End (Relapse). It was in the middle of The End's set and I hadn't been in a pit for a while after some older injuries nearly ruined one of my hands (not too good for a guitarist), but they're a great band and adrenaline was pumping so I figured what the hell, time to bring the mosh! I was a couple people from the front in the crammed pit and one guy up front jumped up on stage to stage dive. 'Right on,' I thought. The dude jumped right at me and instead of going on his back went face first with his fingers pointed out. All of a sudden I couldn't see and my head was spinning. I stumbled out of the pit now realizing that this guy's finger had gone about an inch into my eye socket. I found my way to the bathroom to see blood coming out of my eye socket, and I could only see out of my other eye. Nothing like seeing blood pouring out of your eye socket to make for a memorable pit injury. Amazingly my eye was ok after a few days, but that's one for the ages: middle finger one inch in my eye socket. Yikes haha!"

Next week we're going to hear from Billy Price of Unholy, who tells about playing a show for a live boxing match.

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Tales From The Pit: Trigger The Nosebleed

We've been talking to bands to get their best pit stories. This week's story comes to us from Trigger The Bloodshed guitarist, Rob Pernell

"We recently played Hammerfest in the UK and because our UK label also had a stage we played two sets, one on the main stage and one on the Rising Records stage. Both shows were fucking crazy with some real brutal pits and each time we saw a few people leaving the pits in a bad way! But there was this one dude who came up to us after our second show, with a stitched up nose and a shirt covered in blood as he had managed to break his nose during our set. So he get us to sign his bloodied shirt and when we thought we were done signing, he whipped out another equally as bloodied shirt which was the product of his first broken nose from the day before again during our set! 1 Festival, 1 band, 2 sets, 2 fractures!"

Next week's story will be from Matthew Zadkovich, guitarist for Starring Janet Leigh, and how he almost had his eye plucked out.

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Tales From The Pit: Moshing with Bats, Barbed Wire

We've been talking to bands to get their best pit stories. This installment is from Justin and Angela from Facedown band The Great Commission.

"Rather than go to our prom in high school, Justin and I decided to go to a show instead. Versus the couple hundred dollars we would have wasted, we paid $8 to see Figure Four, Shattered Realm, and Bad Luck 13 at The Showcase Theatre in Corona, CA. It ended up being the craziest show we had ever been to. When BL13 played, they threw weapons into the pit including bats with barbed wire, thumb tacs, fireworks, forks, and random metal objects that were thrown at people. Needless to say it was pretty violent as you could imagine and my shirt caught fire from one of the fire crackers! By far the craziest pit I have ever seen."

Next week hear from Trigger The Bloodshed's Rob Pernell.

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Tales From The Pit: Shai Hulud Loves Pit Ladies

We've been talking to bands to hear their best pit stories. This week, we've got a tale from Matt Fox, guitarist for Shai Hulud.

"I learned pretty early on I wasn't suited for "moshing", though I certainly had no idea I could sustain an injury simply standing in "the pit"...

At a They Might Be Giants show.

For those unfamiliar with They Might Be Giants, they're not terribly mosh-friendly, a far cry from Slayer in speed and aggression (and Satanism for that matter) and inspire more pogo hops than anything else - there is, however, the odd stage dive. I didn't expect it, and I didn't see it coming, but I felt it well enough. I'm not sure if it was a stray hand that belted me, or if the diver and I collided forehead to forehead, regardless, it smarted. The shock of the impact was brief; the shock of the one and a half seconds that followed lasted a good 15 fifteen years plus, as I'm here retelling this story from 1992 in 2009.

So there I am, after getting good and smacked, holding the culprit in the air with another person who's got her legs. Me? I've got her breasts. All two of them. One in each hand. How they got there, I have no idea. I was too busy getting physically smashed to intentionally grope anyone. She scowled at me, and then I pawned her off on the person to my left. If they got past second base with her, I'll never know."

In the next installment of "Tales from the Pit" we'll hear from Angela and Justin from Facedown band The Great Commission. To give you an idea, it involved barbed wire, fireworks, and baseball bats.

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Tales From The Pit: Jono Helps a 1-Legged Man Mosh

We've been talking to bands to hear their best pit stories. This week, we've got a tale from Jono, drummer for The Destro:

"All too often on the road, the words "I'll never forget this" are uttered out of my mouth. A stop in Wichita Kansas was the perfect opportunity. The night goes as typical as any given show night, a set full of intense headbanging, plenty of booze to counter the side effects, and just enough pointless conversation with strangers to entertain yourself. In the middle of one of those conversations, i was asked to do something i simply couldn't refuse, pick up and assist this dude in the pit....that was completely wasted....and missing a leg. i picked up and spun the guy fast enough to inflict some serious hurt on anyone in the way of his roundhouse kick. No one was safe from our crippling violence, including us. We were eventually ganged up on and taken to the ground. Turns out picking up a guy with one leg is way harder than it sounds. Watching my inebriated attempts had to be agonizing for everyone paying attention. I finally got him up. He pounded my fist, showed some horns, and hopped off. I’ll never forget that; dude was a rager."

In the next installment of "Tales From The Pit" we'll hear from Matt Fox of Shai Hulud.

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Tales From The Pit: Gwar Defeats A Wall of Death

We've been talking to bands to hear their best pit stories and will be posting a new story every week in this new column dubbed "Tales From The Pit."

This week, we've got a tale from Oderus Urungus, lead singer of GWAR:

"The greatest pit war at any GWAR show was at one of our first gigs at the legendary "City (shitty) Gardens" venue in Trenton. N.J.. We were pretty unknown at the time, but the promoter loved us, so we would show up on any number of weird bills. One month we were opening for Danzig's first show without the Misfits, the next we were playing with Murphy's Law at a huge skinhead show. That's where it happened. Despite Jimmy Gestapo's love of GWAR, the local crew didn't quite know what to make of us, and decided to see what we were made of by forming 'the wall of death.' We looked up about halfway though the set and saw the mosh pit clear, to be replaced by a huge line of bellicose skinheads, linking arms, facing the stage, and preparing to charge. We only had seconds to act as the screaming mob rushed us. The assault wasn't too well-planned and slammed into the front on the five foot stage where it dissolved into a writhing mass of boots, fists, and bald heads. Before they could figure out what to do next (could have taken years), they were met by a barrage of GWAR spew, applied liberally by the Sexecutioner, which completely drenched and befuddled them, rendering their "Wall of Death" into an impotent blob."

Stay tuned for a new tale from the pit next week, when we hear from Jono Garret, drummer for The Destro.

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