Archive: Pit Stories Columns
The pit is where metal thrives, and there's a million and one stories to be found there, from fans who've had too many and decide to throw down to bands hitting the road for the first time and experiencing the trials and tribulations of touring.
For this week's Pit Story, guitarist Richard Powley from instrumental metal band Telepathy shared a story of performing live in Poland for the first time... inside a freight container. Powley had this to say:
Our pit story comes from one of many interesting shows during Telepathy's first European tour back in 2012. Having had our debut EP “Fracture” receive glowing reviews from across the continent, we were offered a couple of support shows by our friends in Djevera in eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I quickly arranged three additional concerts in Poland, with the first of these being in Gdynia.
As is sometimes the case with DIY tours, we had an alarming email saying the venue for the Gdynia concert had closed down while we were on the road, and the promoter was looking for a new venue. When we arrived, the promoter (our good friend Ola) had managed to secure a DIY space in Sopot, the neighboring town in the tri-city area. What we found were two freight containers, one on top of the other, repurposed into some kind of lecture hall for arts students. Our show took place in the upper container, and with the PA quickly mounted on top of foosball tables and the venue quickly filling, we knew we were going to have a great, if chaotic, show.
Crowds in Poland are wild, and within the first songs a pit had opened up and crowdsurfers were making their way over to the makeshift stage. By the middle of the set, the venue was a complete sweatbox and the floor had begun to bow under the weight of the crowd. Watching this tiny freight container bend under the weight of a packed out Polish crowd was certainly alarming, but made for one the most intense experiences on the tour.
By the end of the set, and due to lack of ventilation in the venue, the onstage microphone had begun to shock me whenever I approached it to address the crowd. The electrics in the freight container obviously weren’t built to withstand metal concerts, and by the end of the night we had a couple of burnt out fuses in our amps.
As we were leaving, a small man - immaculately presented in a full suit and looking rather nervous from the destruction of the venue - came up to us. He was the owner of the hall. Surprisingly, he had loved the show and after we had settled up he offered us all a lap on the go-kart arena he was also running. So, before we set off to our sleeping place for the night, those of us sober enough ended the night racing laps in the dark. A memorable first time in Poland for sure.
Want to see Telepathy live and form your own memory of the band? Catch these upcoming live shows:
Nov 27th - The Underworld, London w/ Raging Speedhorn, Gurt & Ten Foot Wizard
Nov 28th - Bleach, Brighton w/Conjurer & Latitudes
Nov 29th - Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham w/ Conjurer, King Goat & Iron Swan
Feb 6th - Yorkshire Riffer, Leeds w/ Extinction of Mankind, Svalbard among others More...
It's that time again for more Pit Stories! This week guitarist Francis Larsson from Swedish band Aktaion shares a tale of that magical first time seeing your favorite band destroy the stage live:
Something woke deep inside of me when I was twelve and my older brother loaned me two records that would forever change my life. One was "Toxicity" by System Of A Down, the other one Arch Enemy's "Black Earth." "Toxicity" was real good, I still love that record. But "Black Earth" scared me to death. I couldn't believe my ears and turned that record off the first few seconds in, not to listen to it again until the next day when it was light outside. The madness of the sound I had never heard before drew me in, and I became lost in the world of metal. Arch Enemy became close to a religion for me, right then and there.
Growing up in from the same town as Arch Enemy, it became something magical about seeing them playing live in our shared hometown, back in 2006. My first death metal concert, I did not know how to act or what to do. But I queued outside for hours and then ran to the front of the stage. Too afraid to go to the toilet and lose my perfect spot, I stood my ground, in pain. When Arch Enemy finally took the stage I forgot everything about that. I banged my head because, being cramped up in the front position, it was the only thing I could do, and I did it good. I would be sore for weeks. I experienced sound as never before and were swept away as I never thought possible. After the concert I was handed three guitar picks, which I still keep, from a sweaty hand. It was magic, and somehow matched the feeling of hearing "Black Earth" for the first time.
Although seeing Black Sabbath the year before in Stockholm during their final tour with all original members, Slipknot with Machine Head years later, and many more thereafter, neither would match the special energy in that cramped up space in front of Arch Enemy in the small town of Halmstad that night. I hope it is true that we all have that special concert experience where our younger selves went into an metal concert naive, unknowing of the massive energy outlet the concert-format is, and leave as another person entirely.
Sometimes just getting to the show can be a battle all it's own, especially with metal bands covering long distances by van and bus with few funds (or mechanical know-how) available. For this week's Pit Story, Canadian group Silent Line shares a tale of having to rig up some very ghetto windshield wipers just to reach the venue:
A while back the majority of us lived in Bonnyville and we used to travel to and from Edmonton for the majority of our gigs. Not too long before this specific gig we bought a beautiful yellow 16 passenger van for the band. Bonnyville to Edmonton is roughly a 2-and-a-half-hour drive and about half way through the trip we came up to a pretty nasty storm. Unfortunately, earlier on in the trip we noticed the windshield wipers weren’t working and we needed to pull over and take a look at them.
We pulled over into a nearby gas station ahead of the storm, opened up the hood, and could not for the life of us get the wipers working. After pondering a few moments Mike came up with the suggestion to tie shoe laces to the windshield wipers and manually pull them from the inside of the vehicle.
The shoelace for the left wiper was attached and ran underneath the left side mirror on the van, so when we pulled on that one the wipers would come down. For the right wiper we left a small gap in the top of the window so when we pulled that shoelace the wipers would go up. Dave was in the band at the time and he kindly volunteered to do the first shift on working the wipers. Luckily as kneeled in between the seats and alternately pulled the laces we fed him ice cold beer until his arms gave out. Roughly an hour later we made it somewhat-safely to our show and with a hilarious memory that we would not forget.
That's some dedication to bring an awesome metal show to the fans! Silent Line's new album "Shattered Shores" will drop this Friday - October 30 - and you can also stream the entire release ahead of time through the player below. For more info on Silent Line, head over to the band's Facebook profile here. More...
Ready for a new pit story? This week's comes courtesy of guitarist Mark Drastrup from Denmark-based thrash outfit Essence. Mark shared this story of getting elbowed in the throat at Wacken but downing a handy health potion to get back into the action:
I was at Wacken in 2006 where I went to see Soilwork on the Party Stage I think. I had just discovered them a short time before the festival and I was really excited for the concert, but I didn’t get to see that much of it, because a big moshpit broke out after a short time (I think it was during the song "Nerve") and suddenly I was involuntarily caught in it.
I’m not the tallest guy, so my head is always a bit exposed in moshpits haha. Out of nowhere I got punched in the throat by an elbow, by accident of course, and everything went dark for a few seconds (that’s why I don’t sing haha). Luckily I wasn’t seriously injured, but breathing was a bit hard for a while and I was quite dizzy.
Some of my friends took my back to our camp, where I got to lie down for an hour or so. Then I got up and took a health potion/beer and went back to the festival area. It was my first festival ever, so I didn’t want to spend it lying in camp. I guess that the moral of the story is to always wear armor in moshpits haha.
Anybody else have any great Wacken mosh pit experiences they'd like to share? Let us know about your head banging mishaps below!
Essence signed to Spinefarm Records earlier this year and also just released 3rd album "Prime" worldwide. The album was produced and mixed by Danish producer Rune Rask, and will be supported by new tour dates as the band just signed a booking deal with Live Nation Finland. More...
Not every pit is a massive mosh from hell with a horde of metal fans. Sometimes the crowd just isn't into it, and then a metal fan has to make his own mosh - even if its a pit of only two!
For this week's Pit Story, vocalist / guitarist Farhad Hossain of Shumaun shares this story of the two guys in the back who aren't content to just fold their arms and bob their heads:
Three years ago was the last time I played all original music live with a band of my own, which happened to be my last show with my previous band Iris Divine. That is a long time for a musician who prefers to play live as opposed to being stuck in a studio day in and day out. As you can imagine, the itch to play live again was intense, but it was also quite daunting. How will the music be received? Will the crowd like it? Will I play okay? Will we suck? These are all questions that run through your mind when you debut your new band to a crowd that has never heard a single note from you.
So, here we are at Shumaun’s first show. I look onto a crowd of mainly progressive rock and avant-garde fans, with a few scattered metalheads wearing tees consisting of prickly logos. Intro tape plays, and all eyes are on us as the hi-hat count begins. The first thing I notice is people bobbing their heads back and forth with their arms crossed. For a band that’s used to getting the “prog” label thrown its way, this is a pretty standard audience reaction, so all was good. Shumaun tends to shift in and out of various styles of hard rock, with progressive and metal elements sprinkled in throughout, but that didn’t seem to impress the extreme metal dudes I noticed in the back of the room who just stared at us with no readable expression.
However, soon into our second song, it happened: that magical moment when we got into one of our more metal-inspired sections. I noticed two of the dudes in the back who were wearing the tees with the indecipherable band logos getting a mosh pit started, which unfortunately just consisted of the two of them. They continued bashing up against each other until one of them hit the ground. Sadly, the heavy portion of the song didn’t last long enough for the guy to get up and continue to wreak havoc on the subdued and focused prog crowd, which was more interested in analyzing our every note. It was the best moment of the show for me, and what made it even better was that the two dudes approached me afterward to tell me that they really enjoyed our set. You got to raise the horns up for them!
Let's hear YOUR stories of that time it was just you and a buddy moshing - share away in the comments below!
Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week we head over to the infamous Hellfest, where many a metal head has seen some insane moshing.
What those festival goers don't always consider though is that the bands in attendance want to catch the other performances on tap as well - and being in one band that's playing doesn't necessarily get you backstage with any others.
This week, Mikey from Skindred shares a tale of talking his way backstage to see ZZ Top in a very "these are not the droids you are looking for" moment. He had this to say:
So a couple of summers ago, we're at the beginning of a hardcore festival season in Europe. Among other festivals we're due to play at is Hellfest in France. It's a huge rock/metal weekend in the south of France, huge crowds and big names and so on. Our show on the main stage is kinda hectic due to the headliner's production, lighting and gear spilling all over the stage and making everything run late, but that's another story. Our show was killer and the crowd went nuts, I digress. Playing later that day are none other than the almighty ZZ Top; they've got their own compound backstage so no one really lays eyes on them. I've never seen them live before so I'm jazzed to see their show. I'd managed to get a picture with The Rev. Billy Gibbons at the Classic Rock Awards show a couple of years previous. Which was awesome.
Anyway, I'm walking though catering when my eyes meet with a guy across the room, who calls out "Hey!" and beelines over my way to talk to me. He's about my height, has glasses, a baseball cap. I honestly have no idea who this man is but he seems to recognise me from somewhere, not to be impolite I respond and wave "Hey!" back. He gets closer to me and says "....no, sorry I thought you were somebody else" and walks away. No problem mate!
Later that day, Arya and myself are determined to watch ZZ Top. We want to get on the side of stage to catch a glimpse; occasionally I'll go out front to watch a band but this is ZZ Top man! I want to see if I can get up there to watch. We learn it's a closed stage meaning no access for us mere mortals. Arya grabs me by the arm and says "Come with me. Play along." We walk up the stairwell in an attempt to get up there, only to be halted in our tracks by a large French security guard, doing his job and denying us access to the stage. "Don't you know who this is?!" Arya protests. "This is Billy's BROTHER."
The poor guard's eyes jump out of his head, realises his 'mistake' and lets us through with a heartfelt and humble apology. I cannot believe my luck. We try to play it VERY cool like we're supposed to be there, but I am blowing up inside. I can't believe it. There's no obvious access to Stage Left (Billy's side) so we go over to Stage Right (Dusty's side). It's pretty glorious up there, the band rip into "I Gotsta Get Paid" and I am happy as a pig in shit. Somehow Pepper Keenan (Down, CoC) has found his way up to the side of the stage and is laying down the sweetest air guitar I've seen all day. It's all going great until I look over at Dusty's rack of bass guitars and see the same pair of eyes from earlier, looking right back at me. It's the guy from catering. He frowns at us both, shakes his head from side to side, and slowly points and extended finger to the back of the stage. It's time for Arya and myself to leave. We walk away, with our tails between our legs. I guess even Billy Gibbon's long lost brother can't watch ZZ Top from Stage Right.
Hot off the back of another busy summer festival season, Skindred is about to head out across the U.K. on the group's biggest headline tour to date. Dates are available at Facebook here. Skindred's sixth studio album "Volume" is due out on October 30, 2015. Below you can see footage from the ZZ Top incident in question, along with a song from the coming "Volume" release. More...
We've all got a few stories to tell from the pit, even if they don't necessarily involve the moshing itself. This week, My Dying Bride guitarist, Andrew Craighan shares the story of a man at the front of the crowd who was, shall we say, "up" for the show...
"When we toured with Iron Maiden years ago an Italian fan (Milan or Bergamo, I don’t remember exactly) was at the very front reading a porn mag throughout our entire set completely oblivious to us blasting away. Once we’d finished, he threw the mag at stage which split the magazine apart into fluttering pages of naughtiness and awaited Iron Maiden. So when he thinks of MDB he has a genuine reason to think of tits now or worse depending on what type of mag it was. I’m not sure we had a positive impact on that guy but there you go."
My Dying Bride's twelfth studio album, "Feel The Misery" (reviewed here,) is available everywhere now through Peaceville Records.
Time for another Pit Story - this time about a band taking part in pit shenanigans that saw a show cut short and a vocalist get the boot!
Orc Adams of Orcumentary had this tale to share about performing live while another band was busy imploding out in the crowd:
I played a show a few years ago which turned out to be an interesting spin on the whole “I knew the band before they were famous” thing. I was playing my final song ("Orc Rock Anthem") and after a short amount of time, things seemed to get a bit rowdier than usual. People were moshing, but I didn’t pay that close attention to it, obviously focused on the performance. I finished the song, broke my gear down, got off stage, only to find out that one of the bands just left without even playing.
The account I received of what happened was that in the pit during my last song, someone was pushed into the singer of the aforementioned band. The singer punched that guy in the face and started a big fight. That band fired their singer and they just drove back home (probably a 3 hour drive) without even playing. They had a U-Haul and everything.
I’d prefer not to divulge the name of the band, but they recently signed to a very well-known metal label.
Alright metal heads, let's hear your predictions on who is being referred to in the story! Anybody else actually go to this show and see it go down?
Orcumentary's new album "Destroy the Dwarves" will be released on October 2, 2015 on CD (w/ bonus track) and digital formats. Take a plunge into a cavernous hole with the band below: More...
After some forays away from moshing to look at what happens before and after a show, this week's Pit Story dives straight back into the action!
Drummer Rodolfo Rogers from Mexican blackened death metal band Evilheart shared these tales of the odd things one will encounter at a metal show:
Many years ago we were playing at a local rock festival, and the crowd were pretty apathetic. As we kept playing a burnt smell stated to come out from one of the speakers. We told that to one of the crew people from the Festival, but they told us to keep playing, and a few minutes later, one of the speakers was on fire. The good thing was that the apathetic crowd went apeshit when they saw the fire coming out from the speaker, and after that it was a fucking killer concert.
In our shows most of the time there is the regular mosh pit, and I say most of the time, because there are a couple of exceptions. The first one happened in Victoria City in Tampico, Mexico. In that show people were doing the usual headbanging & mosh pit, but suddenly some guys threw themselves to the floor and they started to roll until they would crash into each other. We all jaw dropped since it was the first time we saw something like that, and it’s been the only place we have seen something like that. A killer show and killer crowd for sure. The second was in Navojoa in Sonora, Mexico. Another killer show and people started with the usual headbanging and mosh pit, and then some guys started to smash their heads against a pole. I wouldn’t do that, but they seemed to enjoy it.
It's Pit Story time once again! Like with last week's tale about dodging moose, today we shift focus away from the moshing over to the time shortly afterward where the band needs to find a place to crash and then hit the road again to keep the music going in another town.
Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Hendrik Wippermann from German hard rock band Eat The Gun, who had this to say:
Over the last 12 years we’ve played a huge number of shows all over Europe so we could certainly publish a complete “Book of Tales from the Pit” if only anyone wanted to read it. Well, here’s one story from the past: We played in a small Swiss rock club, the name of the establishment isn’t important to mention.
The club was really packed, so we hung out at the bar after the show and most of us got pretty wasted. Unfortunately, I was the driver so I had to be satisfied with soft drinks that night. It must have been around 1 AM in the morning when we decided to leave for the hotel, so I asked the owner for the keys to the hotel. He turned around and walked into the backroom returning with five towels. He looked at me and told me that we’d all needed to take a shower.
I started to laugh because I assumed the guy was kidding me. Unfortunately he wasn’t. So I stood there in the still quite packed rock club with my four boozy band mates who were at that point far away from being in the physical condition of taking a shower. It should be added that the showers were placed in the club. I imagined us walking barefoot through the club covered with nothing but white towels.
I turned to the owner and told him that there wouldn’t be the smallest chance for me to convince the other guys to take a shower at this point. He explained that it wouldn’t be possible to use the hotel beds if the band was still “soaked with sweat.” To keep a long story short, we drove to the next venue overnight. Sometimes soft drinks suck.
Tuesday means it's time for more Pit Stories from metal bands, but this week we're going to shift focus and do something a little different.
We're actually not headed into the pit itself this week, but rather rewinding to the part beforehand where the band has to get there first.
Here's the tale Evertrapped shared about dodging dangerous moose on the way to and from a live show:
A few years ago, we had to play a gig out in Halifax which is about 12 hours by car from where we live. We literally left the Saturday morning at around 8am, played there the Sunday afternoon in a festival, left there around 6pm and got back home around 6am on Monday. To our guitarists’ credit, he did the whole drive there and back without switching drivers.
Anyway, when you`re crossing through New Brunswick, it’s moose country. Well, we weren’t really fully aware of the full size of an adult moose until we noticed signs that actually show you the comparison between a full grown moose and your car. It's huge! So every time we passed a moose crossing sign, Vince would slow down to about 80km/h, let the guy behind us pass and then follow him. Especially if it was a truck. Kid of a dick move to the guy in front of us, but further up the highway at one point we noticed two sets of hazards flashing in the distance.
And just as we got close we almost ran over the moose that had actually been hit by the truck up ahead with the flashing hazards. Hitting the carcass alone would’ve killed us all on impact. After that, you’ve never seen a bunch of guys more awake and alert driving down the highway at 4 AM before, I guarantee you that.
Every day bands risk their lives across highways to bring you some head banging metal, and so do fans trying to reach bigger venues for better shows - so let's hear your stories below of the worst driving experiences YOU'VE had trying to get a show!
Gather around for another edition of Pit Stories this week, as we take a look at a really, really bad idea: pregnant moshing during a Mayhem show.
This week Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen from the Norwegian outfit Anfinnsaas shares the following tale of a truly odd pair of moshers who were going to get into the pit no matter what at Wacken 2011:
I'm not a big mosh pit guy myself, but this time I really had no choice. I was at the Mayhem concert at the Wacken festival in 2011. I’ve waited for hours to get to stand in the front and I was really looking forward to this concert. After a while the mosh pit magically started as mosh pits do, but I was able to hang on to the fence and continue to watch the show for a while.
Then this one guy and his girl walked up to me and dragged me with them right in the middle of the pit. Not an uncommon thing at concerts, but this couple really was a unusual sight at mosh pits. He had both hands and one foot completely covered in casts with metal pins sticking out, moshing like it was the last thing he would do before he died. The girl was pregnant and looking like she was about to give birth at any moment.
The pit people noticed this and backed off, probably afraid to hurt this couple. I didn’t see that everyone backed off, so I just continued the mosh pit activities with the two of them. So there we were alone in the middle of the mosh pit; a confused Norwegian, a guy almost covered in casts and his very pregnant girlfriend.
Anfinnsaas is a duo that was formed by Knut Finsaas and Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen in 2013, with a self-titled, debut album now due out this year. The earth-shattering blend of Nordic traditional music and metal that is "Anfinnsaas" is coming September 18 via Autumnsongs Records. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...
Ready for another Pit Story ya crazy fuckin' metal heads? This week vocalist Robert Kreed from Canadian horror metal band Bleed discusses the group's namesake, and the many problems along the way to finding the perfect blood:
Robert Kreed: Hey fella! You wanna you how my blood came to be?
Gibbering bystander: ...no...
Robert Kreed: Well fuck you! I'm gonna tell you anyways...
It all started way back when I was getting all my props ready for a big show we were gonna play. Organs, heads, limbs, Jager spewing babies, all good to go. Oh yeah, my store bought blood. Better go grab that from my basement. When I grabbed the bottle it shifted oddly. Like there was something preventing it from splashing inside the bottle. I pop the cap and holy crap! The whole thing was moldy! What the hell? I go grab another jug of blood. Same thing. Gad damn! I go thru all my jugs of blood. Every one of them slimy with bacteria or caked in black fuzz. Show must go on. I sift out as much of the gross shit as possible, collect it in a bottle and off to the venue. I dowse myself, we do our thing, I go home and shower.
To hell with cheap store blood. I'm making my own. For whatever reason, probably being lazy, I'm in a pinch for blood again for another show. I whip up the stupid corn syrup recipe. Absolute shit show. Costumes are sticking to me. Set lists being dragged all over the stage by sticky boots. I do a drinking blood from a horn gag and all that comes out is the thickest sludge of pure pancreas killing sugar muck. Dolloped on my face and chest. Looked cool but I think my teeth shattered from the sweetness. This has got to end. I must find my own blood.
Doing some research on a variety of recipes, I finally found my own mix. Easy to make. NOT STICKY! Has some flavour but not over powering and smells absolutely wonderful. I use maple flavouring and it just wafts around me the entire time I am covered. People have said I smell like breakfast. Pancakes and bacon. Damn rights son! Metal is in our blood and our blood smells like maple syrup! The epitome of Canadian Metal! There was the one time I tried peppermint flavouring for a show. My body felt like it was constantly on fire and I wept the entire set. Ron said I smelt like Christmas but that's another story, christing fuck. So? What do you have to say about that, fella?
Gibbering bystander: ....leave me alone...
Bleed - a 2015 Wacken Metal Canada finalist - has a new album titled "The Hatred Inside" due out on September 29, following a self-titled EP from last year. See what the band does best in the live setting through the clips below. More...
We've had some great Pit Stories lately about teaching a student the way of the mosh, a trailer park show with some dubious offers for merch, and some hardcore dancers who can't sling insults for shit.
For this week's entry, we again hit up Virgin Steele, who previously gave us a baffling story of a kid who managed to take a nap in the bass bin during a Manowar show.
Today the Steele gives us another rousing metallic tale of just how crazy things can get at a GWAR show:
One night I wandered into a Rock Club that was quite famous here in New York at one time, called Sundance. I played there with Virgin Steele quite often, also Manowar played there, Guns & Roses, Megadeth… everyone. Anyway… one night I wandered or rather stumbled in blind drunk, crashed my way to the bar, ordered another drink, looked around, and there was GWAR onstage wearing these reptile suits.
They were roaring away, the music was deafening, and pounding, and the vocals were low, snarling and well…reptilian… and then quite suddenly the song ended and the head reptile spoke to us in a very human, soft rather cultured voice and I was riveted, shocked & startled by the juxtaposition of visual and aural strangeness and the next thing I knew, the entire audience seemed to have flown through the air and imbedded themselves on the stage!
They were flailing about, leaping off then back on the stage, jumping forwards, sideways, and backwards and generally running around wildly. There were so many people up there that you couldn’t see the band anymore… it looked, sounded and felt quite insane! I had no idea what was happening and thought I was in a Hieronymus Bosch painting or Dante’s Inferno. This was my first experience with moshing and wild over the top audience participation. When I finally stumbled out of there much later, I was covered in a nasty mixture of beer, booze, blood, both real and fake, and other assorted liquids that emanated both from the band and the audience that I would not care to remember or identify…
What's your favorite memory for a GWAR show? Let us know in the comments below! Virgin Steele's "Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation" dropped last month and a song off that album can be heard here: More...
Ready for some more mosh pit mayhem metal heads? Tuesday's rolled around again, so let's dive right in!
A few months back Fin'amor provided us a Pit Story about a fight managing to break out during every single song of a set, and today Fin'amor returns for another tale from the pit. This time vocalist Benjamin Meyerson shares a story of a student learning the ways of the mosh:
It was my first day of teaching seniors in high school, and within 5 minutes a student walked up to me and asked “Are you in a band?” I lifted my finger to my mouth and whispered “tell no one.” It was nice to be asked, but the last thing a teacher wants is for students to know we have lives outside of the class.
After the semester ended I celebrated with a Meshuggah show. The venue was wall to wall packed, and through the crowd comes the same student, who had just graduated high school. He was with his friends enjoying the show, when out of nowhere a massive pit breaks out. He turns to me and asks me very politely, “Mr. M, Can you teach me to pit?” I gave him a five minute lesson on pit etiquette and unspoken metal codes and asked “have you ever crowd surfed?” He says “no, show me.” I smile and turn to the biggest dude I can find, tap his shoulder, give him the double thumb lift sign, point to my student, and he lifts him and throws him into the pit.
I meet him a few minutes later in between two walls of death, he thanks me for everything, the walls close and I see him jumping off into the sea of fists and feet once more. He came up to me after the show and said “that was the greatest thing a teacher has ever taught me.” I smiled, and in that moment realized that I learned something too: experience and learning are like a mosh pit, you either jump in yourself and bust your ass like I did when I was a kid, or someone shows you the way and tosses you in and you bust your ass anyway. Either way, when the walls of death close, someone is going to bust their ass eventually.
Every Tuesday we chat up metal bands from across the genre spectrum and across planet Earth to get their most memorable Pit Stories.
This week Chris Kelly of Philadelphia outfit Alustrium shares a tale of a hardcore dancer battling invisible ninjas - but hitting a real person. While he was great at windmilling innocent passers by, unfortunately his smack talk skills weren't quite up to par (blindgreed1 would have eaten this kid up and spit him out half-chewed in the insult hurling arena). Chris tells the story thusly:
Though we've seen our fair share of notable pit moments in our career, there's one that stands out to me. A few years ago we supported a pretty heavy hitting line up at Croc Rock in Allentown, PA. That place was our go-to stomping ground for a number of years. If I'm not mistaken, the tour package was The Faceless, Revocation, and the Haarp Machine (pretty sure that was the only US tour they ever did). Despite the fact that these were some of the more prominent technical metal bands around that time, in Allentown you will never have a shortage of misplaced deathcore kids looking to fight some invisible ninjas.
Though we avidly despise that kind of ridiculous, spastic self expression, it wasn't hurting us so we kept our mouths shut. That is until the most skilled of the ninja fighters landed one of his windmilling fists on our former drummer's face. Spoiler alert: not a cool thing to do. Needless to say, our guy quickly returned the favor and a few of the venue bouncers immediately stepped in. Both guys were dragged outside and thrown into the parking lot to settle their shit.
At this point the rest of us had either seen or heard about the incident and we were all now running to the parking lot to see what was happening. The ninja warrior was uttering your typical meathead jargon; "come on, bitch, the fuck you gonna do about it?" That kind of thing. At this point our drummer had no interest in continuing to interact with this kid simply because if either of them were to kick the other's ass, it was certain that the police would get involved. However, the last thing we heard him say before pulling him back inside was "Go ahead, man. Keep being a fucking moron. Go back to Zumiez." That line alone made the entire debacle worth it in our eyes.
Alustrium just released new album "A Tunnel To Eden" last month, which you can pick up at Bandcamp here. For more details on what's happening with Alustrium lately, head over to the band's Facebook profile. More...
Tuesday means its time for some new Pit Stories, and this week's entry comes from Canadian grind outfit Fuck The Facts.
In typical rebellious grindcore fashion, Fuck The Facts didn't bother with a story that actually takes place in the pit and instead told us about having waaaaaaaay too much fast food. Bassist Marc Bourgon had this tale to tell:
Years ago, I'm guessing around 2010 or so, we were out west on tour with The Black Dahlia Murder and made a stop in jolly old Regina for a show at the Exchange. The show was rad but it was looking grim as far as a place to stay was concerned so I got tasked with "cold calling" random people at the show to see if they would be cool with having us crash at their place. Usually someone will offer but tonight we were tossin' gutters.
We eventually found somewhere (after a reluctant girlfriend was convinced) and made our way to the dudes apartment.
In our band, we have "sober nights." This is a rotating schedule that determines who has to drive after the show/concert/bar mitzvah. I know for sure it wasn't Johnny or my night to drive because we were plastered. The wagon made a stop at a 24h McDicks for a quick snack and that's when Jibay and I got the brilliant idea of ordering 25 Mcdoubles. Ho-lee-fuck. Within a few minutes of placing the order every fucking beeper and alarm was going off behind the counter as the staff scrambled to fulfill this insane request.
When we got to the dudes house we saw that he made a stop at Burger King and picked up 20 Junior Whoppers. We barely ate any of them. It was awesome. Needless to say, we don't see much crazy road antics.
Fuck The Facts will release new album "Desire Will Rot" on August 25. You can also catch the band live on the upcoming tour dates listed below, where you should probably buy them a bunch of McDonalds or Burger King. More...
It's a double pit story day! Earlier we heard from Leave The Living about an overly large mammal (homo sapien in fact) taking a short but devastating flight through a bar door, and now Pennsylvania band Rosetta shares another story about a questionable venue and a fan short on cash hoping to trade sex for merch. Rosetta's Matt Weed (guitar) offers up this tale:
Years ago we had booked a weekend of shows around playing the Emissions From the Monolith Festival. The last show was in the Virginia panhandle, in an area none of us had ever seen before. When we got there, the town was mostly just a collection of trailers on the side of a hill, at the foot of an enormous mountain. The show turned out to be your basic punk house show – except that the show wasn't in the house, it was in a corrugated metal shed next to the house.
By the time we got our amps in there, set up cockeyed on the gravel floor, you could get about 13 people in there with us. But almost a hundred people showed up to the show. So we played with the shed doors open, to a crowd that was mostly in the driveway and the street, looking at this huge mountain while the sun went down behind it. Totally surreal.
After the show, we decided to pack up early because there were a lot of underage kids drinking and things were getting rowdy. A girl came up to the van and wanted to buy a CD before we left. We told her it was $10, and she replied with “do ya'll take sex?” One of us yelled “NO” and we all jumped in the van and shut the doors, after which she started licking the van's side window. We bailed and drove all the way home to Philadelphia.
In last week's Pit Story we learned you are just not ready for the insanity of a Terror show, and this week Canadian band Leave The Living steps up to share a new tale of a bar that's usually clam and quiet - until one crazy of night of metal rolls around. Leave The Living had this Pit Story to share:
We used to play shows in this little dive bar in our home town, maybe an 80 person capacity. The owner couldn't care less how many people we jam in the place as long as they're drinking. There were literally no issues for over a year. No fights, no one got too crazy, an all around good time for all involved.
Well, this one time we throw a 7 band rager in there and the place was jumping. 130-150 people, I mean, it was packed. Still, the night is going really, really well. We get up to play and the set is just flying along when a couple of our good buddies decide to get in the pit. Now these are two very large land mammals we're talking about. So they start moshing, everything is fine.
We get to the last song and one of the guys picks the other up by the front of his battle jacket and throws him through the door to the kitchen! Door comes off the hinges and breaks in half, owner comes up screaming, we have to move our gear now. Long story short, no pay, no more shows there. Totally worth it. I can still see him flying through the air.
After a McDonald's cheeseburger break down from Zimmer's Hole and fights breaking out in the pit during every. single. song. of an Oceano set, today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Gyre guitarist Chirag Bhatt.
In the tale below, Bhatt reminisces about a simpler time when he wasn't cool enough to listen to At The Gates and ended up stranded atop a table in a sea of thrown fists during a Terror live set:
So, this brief but amusing tale takes place at the now closed Cricket Club in Irvington, New Jersey, sometime in the mid-2000's (honestly, every year from that decade has blurred together in my mind). It was probably my first time at a real hardcore show with bands like Terror and others playing. Though me and a few friends were really only there to see The Black Dahlia Murder because we were in our late teens and nowhere near cool enough to listen to At The Gates.
So, TBDM goes up and crushes their set and I spend the next 10 minutes downing glasses of water for my damaged throat as I had attempted to growl along the previous 30 minutes while forgetting that I don't know the first fucking thing about growling. In any case, it was a fun, crazy time in an old-fashioned metal mosh pit.
Soon enough, Terror goes up and suddenly the mosh pit turned into MJ's "Beat It" video sans the dancing. A flurry of flailing fists and face bandanas eventually lead to my friends and I standing on top of a couple of tables on the edges of the venue because we came to listen to metal, have a good time and not lose teeth. But before we got too down on ourselves for not being so down with the cool kidz, I looked over to the table to my right and saw none other than a few members of TBDM standing right on those tables with us wondering what in the actual fuck was happening - a sentiment we expressed to each other through bewildered looks and monosyllabic grunts of fear. All in all, the moment was a bizarre mix of fanboyism and concern for our physical well-being. But what more can you ask of a metal show?
The band’s new self-released EP "Moirai" is out now and available for stream/purchase at Bandcamp here (also available for listening below). If you missed it, check out Gyre's "I Release" drum playthrough video at this location. More...