Archive: Pit Stories Columns
Our quest never ends to find the best mosh pit stories from ever corner of metaldom, from the most brutal wall of death to the most insane stage antics and everything in between.
This week Subversion vocalist Jay Shields shares the following tale warning metal fans not to judge a book by its cover (and not to be an ass to the performing bands):
I was playing an underground all-dayer in my old band Hollow Immunity, and this really drunk guy in the crowd was heckling all the bands. He didn't look like he was even into metal, just some local piss head who'd wondered in off the street.
As the day progressed, the venue filled up and by the time we took to the stage there were quite a few people in the pit area and Mr. Pisshead was right there with them. By now he was pretty steamed and giving out random abuse to those around him.
When we kicked into our first track the crowd went pretty crazy in the pit… into which he got sucked. Soon enough he was on his arse and looking very dazed and confused. I thought “here we go, he'll disappear now and give everyone a break,” but actually he looked like he was enjoying himself. He stayed in the pit for the rest of the set and even came up to us afterwards to say how much he enjoyed the show.
Turns out he didn't look metal, Adidas trackies and all, but he was a Polish metal head and really dug what we were doing. Goes to show, you should never judge a book by its cover, even if he needed a bit of an attitude adjustment.
What's the most outlandish heckling you've ever seen from someone in the audience? Share your story below!
Subverion's upcoming new album "Animi" is due out March 3rd via Rogue Records America, and you can also see a lyric video for the track "Imperfect" here: More...
Every Tuesday we have musicians from across the rock and metal spectrum share their most memorable mosh pit stories, covering everything from frisky show goers to ill-timed stage dives.
In nearly all circumstances a knife in the pit is a very, very bad idea (just ask Cattle Decapitation!), but in today's story from The Black Lantern, a knife ends up being a sacrifice to the altar of rock:
We grew up playing in bands and going to shows where the unspoken rule was something along the lines of, "if there isn't a pit, then the show ain't shit." The kind of shows where people looked at the resultant knee surgery they had to get as a badge of honor. As a performer, it's the ultimate thrill to see a pit stoke up, and as a concert goer, it feels good knowing that chaos is still a part of rock and roll.
While the Deafheaven and Refused shows we have attended had pits that were beyond our reach, in late 2012 ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead got us involved, whether we liked it or not. They are a huge influence on our band for the very fact that they embody a form of chaotic glory that is often lost in today's music world. When we saw them at the Echoplex, Jason Reece sung songs while participating in the pit himself. Andy stood at the back of the pit and held it in, while Jesse was closer to the stage with his back to it.
We kept each other in sight, occasionally giving the, 'this-is-fuckin-awesome-but-maybe-someone-will-die' glance. Then Andy noticed Jesse was out of sight. Some revelers perfectly executed the "sweep the leg" maneuver simply by falling into Jesse. When he got up, he and another guy were looking right at each other, and then at the knife in the other guy's hand. They both exchanged expressions that equally said "is this yours...what the hell do we do with this?" Coming to no reasonable answer, they decided to place it on the stage, as if it was a sacrifice placed on the Altar of Rock.
While no attention was paid to the knife thereafter, it seemed the sacrifice worked. For the encore Trail of Dead played "Richter Scale Madness," the first song from their first album (and the blueprint for all that they would do). The crowd responded to such greatness by flooding the stage. Reece had drumming duties, but was still returning to the stage from the pit. So a fan sat down and joined in. With at least 50 people on stage, it was impossible to see the transition from fan to Jason, and it was all of a sudden even more crazy on stage than the pit itself. The line between chaos and control was perfectly blurred, and the band guided us through blazingly.
Tuesday's here again, which means its time for another round of pit mayhem straight from the metal underground.
For this week's tale of pit glory, Patrick Morris (Dissident Clone, ex-Demonicon) shares this tale of getting a last minute gig with a big name band:
My former band Demonicon opened for Hate Eternal and Black Dahlia Murder at Station4 in St. Paul, MN in 2008 with two days notice. Three Inches of Blood and Decrepit Birth had just dropped off the tour, so the promoter added us. We hadn't practiced in a few weeks because our drummer wasn't enjoying the band. To our surprise, he agreed to do the show. We were on stage just about to start playing, and my singer handed me a red Solo cup with a generous shot of Jaegermeister in it. I looked at him quizzically - and with his cup in hand, he pointed to the Black Dahlia guys on the side of the stage, who were holding the bottle and giving us the horns. I slammed into the shot and tore into the first song - we were kicking ass!
During the second song, a guy set off the whole crowd with a stage dive. From that moment to the end of the set, there was perpetual stage diving and a sick circle pit. Playing on stage and having people reacting that way to my band totally validated all the bull shit I had gone through in my life to play music. After we got done, there was one dude with a bloody nose and another guy with a broken clavicle. To my surprise, both were in good spirits and talking to me about how much fun they had. Looking back... I’m pretty sure people thought we were Decrepit Birth.
For our musician regulars - be sure let us know the best last minute show you've played and what it means to you to see the fans throwing down in the pit during your set. More...
Each week we check in with bands from around the globe to get their most memorable Pit Stories. This week If These Trees Could Talk shared this tale of learning a valuable lesson about removing your earrings before entering the pit:
When I was young, I went to every metal festival known to mankind, regardless of who was playing. In my youth, I felt invincible, therefore every mosh pit was open season. In the summer of 2000, I attended the Tattoo the Earth Festival with Slipknot and Sevendust. In my naivete, I had a row of ear piercings down each side.
In the middle of Slipknot’s set, I decided to test my might and enter the pit. Slipknot pits are always rowdy, and I was fully aware of the danger that lurked within, but I didn’t give a fuck. I was ready to rage! Unbeknownst to me, a dude in the biggest combat boots I’d ever seen was crowd surging right above me. As I looked up, his boot came down and grinded every earring out of my adolescent ear at once. Extreme pain, blood and adrenaline all at once. This experience never turned me off from mosh pits, but it reminded me to take them out before going into one for the rest of my life.More...
Our never-ending quest for the best Pit Stories continues this week with a tale from Eau Claire, Wisconson-based doom band Caveat. Guitarist Brandon O'Connell shared this story of the slippery beer patch leading to some pit-side mayhem:
Well this story is quite ridiculous, mostly because it involves our old drummer’s dad. It was Caveat’s first hometown show, second show overall. We were playing with our friend, Ben Hinz’s (Dwarfcraft Devices) new band, Blood Bears. They were a mostly-instrumental juggernaut that created soundscapes that could blow doors off bomb shelters. We also played with a melodic death/doom band from Minneapolis called Mordwolf, later renamed Ulvmord due to some weird legal issues. Rounding out the bill were our best pals Good Guys Wear Wolf from Chetek, WI. It was an eclectic show to say the least so there were many types of people there. We were even more of a punk doom band back then. It made sense because two-thirds of Caveat (Palmer and B-Rad, bass and drums respectively) was also in crusty thrash band, Accusation.
Anyway, after our set and loading up our gear, we all grabbed some drinks with friends, family, etc., one of whom was Butch, Brad’s dad, who was already noticeably intoxicated. Once Mordwolf was done setting up and sound checking, their death/doom onslaught resulted in a mosh pit. Things went on without a hitch for quite a while but that didn’t last.
Things got a little heated when some falling-over-drunk guy went thrashing about with no intent but to apparently look like an idiot. He ended up slipping on some spilled beer and INTO Brad’s dad, who was right on the edge of the mosh pit area, totally oblivious to what was going on. Butch ended up stumbling a little bit due to the contact and slipped on the same beer causing him to fall face first onto the ground. The next thing anyone saw was Butch, obviously furious about something, yelling at some kid and trying to grab him. It turns out the fall broke off part of his tooth and he was bleeding out of his mouth. Butch had to be restrained and taken to the other side of the venue in order to calm down. A few vodkas later, he was just fine. That kid ended up getting his at the bottom of a bar stool. Whoops.More...
There's a million and one stories from the mosh pit, and we're on a quest to find them all! This week Chris Milos from Mass Punishment shares a pit story about the band's roadie having a bit too much fun:
When we played The Skate & Surf Festival in New Jersey, our drunk-ass roadie was on stage with us during our set acting ridiculous. He was falling down and crawling all over the stage. He then decided it would be a great idea to stage dive not once, not twice, but 4 times! We thought that it was awesome when he was jumping over the security and barricade at that time, however the crew running the festival didn’t think it was as funny as we did, and wanted to have him escorted out of the venue which would've screwed us over when it was time to break down and pack up our gear.
After the set was over, our wasted roadie, so drained from his drunken antics, was nowhere to be found. So we broke down our own gear anyway. We had to haul it down the street ourselves to our van because he was nowhere to be found. When we got to the van and opened the side door, low and behold there's our roadie passed out on the floor of the van. Well I guess it's a good thing we don't pay him!
Mass Punishment released the "Proving Grounds, Vol.1" album earlier this year, and you can check out a track off the release below. For more info on Mass Punishment, head over to the band's Facebook profile here. More...
The pit is where the action is, but sometimes metal heads take things a bit too far with all that energy pumping as front men scream about blood and murder.
There's a million and one Pit Stories out there, and we're on a quest to find them all! This week Charlie Goler from Canadian outfit Golers shares a tale of his introduction to live punk shows, which included a razor making its way into the pit...
One of the most fucked up things I saw happen in the pit was back around 1987 at the first punk rock show that I have ever seen in Halifax, Nova Scotia. SNFU, System Overload and False Security were playing at the Old Carpenter's Hall on Gottingen Street. At that time I was living in New Glasgow which wasn't that far from Halifax so I went up to see the show. I was blown away with the bands and SNFU was just killing it so as a result the pit was completely out of control.
Everyone was slamming and having an awesome time. Unknown to me, some idiot was slashing people in the pit with a razorblade while they were jumping around. After a few songs SNFU caught wind of what was going on because there were several people that were cut up and bleeding.
I remember Chi Pig was freaking out on the mike and screaming that "if anyone can identify this loser they should kick the shit out of him." Unfortunately , the razor blade was found on the floor and no one ever figured out who the asshole was.This was my introduction to punk rock shows.
Each week we check in with metal bands across the genre spectrum to get their most memorable Pit Stories from live shows.
Today Indestructible Noise Command guitarist Erik Barath shared this tale of the bat wing being invented in Long Island and a fan taking advantage of pain to try to make off with free merch:
The craziest pit story is probably the time we played at the Sundance in Long Island. It was Dennis' birthday and some dude jumped on stage with nothing but a sock on. He dove on top of the crowd, lost his sock and ended up bat winging a bunch of fans. I think he invented bat winging that night.
Another dude dove off the stage, smashed his head and passed out. Our manager took him back stage to recover and when he went back to check on the dude, he found the guy stuffing his pants with our merch. Dennis got wacked in the mouth with the mic stand, chipped his tooth. Fun night overall.
I.N.C. just released fourth album "Black Hearse Serenade" on Ferocious Records, as well as a music video for the track "No Turning Back," which was directed by Thomas Mignone (Slipknot, System of a Down, Mudvayne), and starring Michael Rodrick from the TV show "24." I.N.C. has been touring this month with Tantric. Remaining dates are as follows: More...
Tuesday has rolled around yet again, and that means its time once more to dive into the pit!
Each week bands from across the metal spectrum (and spanning the entire globe!) check in with us to share their most memorable Pit Stories.
You may recall some weeks back that the beer loving folk metal band Protokult shared a story about an unwanted flautist taking to the stage.
This week the band has returned to share a trio of stories covering all sorts of on and off stage shenanigans, from spilled beer to a desperate attempt to get back on stage during a song and even the disappointment of meeting a band that didn't turn out to be as awesome as you thought.
Lemons Made, Beer-Drenched Gear...
A recent pit experience occurred at our own CD release gig. We were playing to a packed punk club; so although cozy, it was jam-packed, smoldering hot and aesthetically challenged. Throw in some beer wenches who joined us on stage with alcoholic refreshments and it was a party set in full swing! Mid-way through our set (I found this out afterwards), a young woman (or beer wench) got bumped in the pit and her entire pint ended up seeping into our guitarist's pedal board. His signal began cutting in and out until finally, it completely died out. When life gives you lemons folks, make lemonade! Which is what Jeremy "Vodnik" Jackson precisely did. Rather than being a party pooper and sulking off-stage, this 6'4 pot-smoking, son-of-a-bitch began dancing moronically and next thing we know, he dove head-first into the pit! Most of our audience (who conveniently happen to be women most of the time) were certainly intimidated and we lost sight of him for a few minutes, so it's safe to say Jackson landed on his head=).
A Drunk, Raging Bull - The Struggle More...
To coincide with the band's new album release today, U.K. doom act Alunah has checked in with us for a Pit Story that's a bit different from the norm.
We've all seen assholes in the crowd heckle a band, and sometimes even the band's front man heckling people in the crowd, but it's less often someone in the pit directly heckles security (without getting a one-way trip out of the venue that is).
Alunah drummer Jake Mason shared the tale below of a bumbling security guard at a Napalm Death show [for those in the U.S. who may not get the joke - Specsavers is an optician chain that's big in Europe and Australia].
I was recently reminded of one of the best heckles I've ever heard at a gig when Napalm Death were playing a launch show back in 2009 for the release of their "Time Waits For No Slave" album in Birmingham. As you'd expect from a Napalm gig it had been a pretty frantic start both on and off stage. So frantic in fact that the two poor security guys (who were wearing glasses) at the front of the barrier felt the need to refresh themselves, and gently threw a bottle of water to each other as Napalm tuned up for the next song... only for one of them to drop it clumsily in front of the onlooking crowd. With perfect deadpan timing and quoting the famous U.K. Specsavers TV advert a lone voice from the pit loudly stated that "you should have gone to Specsavers mate." Cue giggles from the band and crowd for the rest of the show. Somehow the gig was never quite the same after this piece of advice!
What's the best heckle you've ever heard - either from the pit or from the band? Let us know below!
Alunah's new album "Awakening The Forest" saw official release in North America today via Napalm Records. Check out a track off the album below. More...
Every Tuesday we check in with metal musicians from across the genre spectrum to get their most memorable Pit Stories from live shows.
This week guitarist Nick Lee from Riot V shares a tale of a band that's not afraid to leave the stage and get right into the pit with fans - all while still playing the set! Nick had this to say:
I've grown up in pits at local shows and I feel like this was my favorite story to tell. My favorite pit-like experience has to be anytime Alabama's Daikaiju rolls through NYC. Within the first few songs of their set the band (amplifiers, drum kit, and all) is right in the middle of the floor with the audience.
The last time I saw them, right after they set their cymbals on fire in the middle of a tiny, cramped, dive bar with spectators' faces mere inches away, they had the crowd hoist the drummer, and each of his drums into the air, where he played the next song on top of any hands, shoulders, and heads he could balance on. Meanwhile their guitar players are taking turns climbing the bar, and surfing across the audience on their backs, never missing a note. The audience takes the cue and finds their own way to add to the insanity while the employees of the bar look on in horror.
I chose these experiences because they are always intense, sweaty, physical, over-the-top RAGERS but without any violent, chest-beating, machismo bullshit that tends to ruin the vibe of heavy shows. The audience leaves battered and bruised but never without a smile on their face and some crazy stories to tell their friends who stayed home that night.
Riot V - the band born from the remaining members of U.S. metal outfit Riot - is now dropping brand new album "Unleash The Fire." It was released in Japan back in August, and will be released in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. in October.
"Unleash The Fire" is the first record since the passing of guitarist and Riot founder Mark Reale. It features Riot veterans Don Van Stavern on bass, Mike Flyntz on guitar, and Frank Gilchriest on drums, and it is the first record with Todd Michael Hall on vocals and Nick Lee on guitar.
The band is also getting ready to play Loud Park '14 in Japan on October 19th with headliners Dream Theater & Manowar, as well as lining up new tours for 2015. More...
Gather around metal heads: it's Pit Story time again!
This week Dave Davidson from Revocation shares a tale of trying to get a fellow musician to stage dive, who wisely turns the offer down.
Undeterred, Dave decides to show the fans in the mosh pit how it's done, with some unfortunate consequences. He tells the story thusly:
We were playing Cleveland at Peabody’s on the Darkest Hour Legacy tour and I was drinking at the bar with Misha from Periphery. The subject of mosh pits and stage diving came up and he said that he had never stage dived before. I was pretty drunk at that point so I was kind of teasing him about not doing it and challenging him to stage dive. He wasn’t into it so I went up and stage dove during Darkest Hour’s set and came out unscathed.
I came back to the bar and Misha was still not having it so I went for round two to prove my point… but then things didn’t go quite as planned. I dove off the stage backwards but I kind of over shot my jump so instead of catching my whole body the crowd only caught my legs which flipped my body around so that my head came crashing to the concrete floor.
I stood up in a daze after basically “piledriving” myself in the middle of the pit and felt a wetness on the back of my head. I soon realized that wet feeling was actually blood and one of the dudes who worked at the club was nice enough to take me to the ER. 8 staples later I was sent on my way. Misha got the aftermath of the stage dive gone awry on video for your viewing pleasure.
Revocation's forthcoming fifth album "Deathless" will drop on October 14th via Metal Blade. Get a taste of the release by hearing "Madness Opus" here or check out the title track at this location. Check out the end result of Dave's mistimed stage leap in the player below: More...
Every Tuesday we check in with musicians from across the metalverse to find their best Pit Stories from live shows.
While moshing is meant to be a chance to let out aggression while throwing down to your favorite band's music, some metalheads aren't exactly courteous in the pit and tempers are known to flare. Throw in someone who doesn't care about basic hygiene or personal boundaries and you've got a recipe for thrown fists and ejection from the venue.
One such unfortunate incident is chronicled today by drummer Avery Desmarais from Edmonton, Alberta-based metal band Display Of Decay. He had this story to share:
So Disciples of Power is playing their first ever reunion show at the pawnshop in Edmonton, I'm in the audience watching, enjoying the show and some giant asshole keeps elbowing and just laying out the people around him. People who aren't involved in the rowdy violent part of the crowd, people who don't look like they enjoy moshing. And he just keeps laying these people out, boom!
I'm unfortunately now beside him at this point, still watching when he turns, and shoves me pretty good. Managed to stand still, goes for it again and hits me. At this point a guy taps me on the shoulder to get my attention (I do not know this cat), he kinda nudges my hand insisting I smash this guys head in with this empty beer bottle that he is handing me. I think back on it now, I should have. but I'm like nahhh, don't need that kind of drama happening at a venue that I really like going to.
So this asshole, turns to me, and rubs the sweat from his forehead on my shoulder like a cat. Disgusted, I look at him and tell him to "Fuck off." Maybe 15 seconds passed, and I see him going for it again. At this point I'm thinking, okay I really want this guys to be bleeding from his ear right now, so I grabbed this fellow (who keep in mind, definitely has some weight on me, and a few inches, plus he was taller than me) by the shoulders of his jacket and I start whipping him around like hockey players on the ice grabbing the other by the jersey and just giving him all the weight I had.
This guy gets to his feet, swings at me, misses, I throw a punch and I'm pretty sure I hit him in the eyebrow. He swings again and clocks me, but being the spaz that I am along with the help of the pounding doom screaming from the amps of DOP during crisis, it barely phased me. Now we both were grabbed by people and I was taken outside and I went home.
I never saw that guy again. I wonder if he still thinks of me, I wonder if he remembers how we met. Only time will tell.
What's your best pit story of when an inconsiderate mosher practically begged for a beat down? Let us know in the comments below!
Joining the band on stage is a dream for many metal lovers, but sometimes that doesn't always go down the way you might of hoped.
For this week's Pit Story, Martin Drozd from beer-guzzling folk metal outfit Protokult shares a story of inviting a young fan to play on stage without first checking with the rest of the group:
So there we were, doing what we do best and indulging during our pre-show ritual. This venue/backstage was conveniently located right next to a parking lot which was nice and easy access for us to get obliterated before our set.
The sun went down and the Kult was in town and all of a sudden a group of random teenage school kids approached us in the parking lot. They looked a little under age, plus I don't like sharing with strangers so we didn't offer them any swigs but I noticed one nerdy looking kid was carrying some sort of small instrument case. "Hey man, what instrument you got there?" I asked. "I'm a flautist," he chirped back; "just finished a busking gig." I thought to myself, "interesting." Turns out he had the same name as our guitarist (Jeremy) and I decided to test his musical abilities. "If you claim to have studied music all these years, fuck it, join us on stage for a few numbers," I suggested. I am easy going like that and figured it would be worth a laugh; hell, maybe the kid would be amazing!
The young Jeremy was delighted at the thought and I quickly mentioned a few chord progressions for him to keep in mind and practice to. Fast-forward inside the venue. As we're setting up, the nerdy, homeless looking minstrel wanders up on stage and starts blowing his heart out on the flute. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend as the Toronto Jazz festival so I decided to troll the audience a bit. "Good evening folks, this is Jeremy on the flute and welcome to the Toronto Jazz fest." Confusion and apprehension lingered amok but the joke seemed well-received by a majority of the audience. As Jeremy kept fluting relentlessly for what seemed a lifetime, we launched into our first song.
Ekaterina climbed up on stage and gave this kid a swift kick off-stage and in less than a heartbeat, he was gone! He tried weaseling his way back on for a few numbers but she wasn't having it. Being very drunk and focused on my own performance, I took no notice to the occasional plea for mercy and desperate cries of "Please give me a chance, I'm a human being!" Moral of the story? Make sure the full band is aware of any guest appearances prior to performance.
Protokult's new album "No Beer In Heaven" just came out last month and can be heard in full via the Bandcamp player provided below. More...
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!More...
Every week we check in with rock and metal musicians from across the globe to get their best stories from live shows.
While these traditionally take place directly in the mosh pit, sometimes the best stories take place just before or after the show.
This week vocalist / guitarist "The Horde" from The New Jacobin Club shares one such tale of a pants-less evil clown wielding a cattle prod and narrowly avoiding trouble with the local police:
In 2009 we were a 10 piece horror rock/sideshow on the road in Western Canada. At the time, we were on our “Cannibal Circus Roadshow,” tour, and some of our theatrical entourage were dressed as clowns…and not the sort of clowns you take your kids to see at the circus.
One night we found out that two of them were being questioned by police outside the club. One of them was no longer wearing pants. It turns out there had been a report of “two clowns carrying a cattle prod around in public.” One of them did have a cattle prod.
Their reply - “No, officer, we just found this lying here by the alley.”
The cop said “So you’re telling me that there must be two other girls dressed as clowns that were running around the clubs on this strip with a cattle prod?”
The police let them go. This actually happened.
What's the closest you've come to a run-in with the law while attending a metal show? Let us know in the comments!
Every week we check in with musicians from across the rock and metal scene to get their most memorable Pit Stories.
This week, guitarist David Mena Ferrer from U.K. outfit In Search Of Sun shares a story of a band that frequently makes the top of anyone's favorite pit list: Slayer! David had this to say:
Well it has to be none other than SLAYER!!!!!! June 9th, 2007 to be exact. It was my second Download Festival ever and the weather was immaculate for a change, the sun was blazing and we sank warm beer after warm beer. My friends and I were positioned left of the main stage, chilled down at the little hill (you know the one), and watching the masses of beautiful festival freaks stumble past us, already half cut, all eagerly awaiting the coming of the mighty Slayer to blow our fucking brains out!
I even remember seeing a dude dressed in a burglar costume eating a crab that day…wherever the Christ he got that from I don’t know! But anyway, the time was finally upon us so we decided to get our asses up and get closer to the action. Maybe a bit too close perhaps…More...
A few weeks back Halycon Way checked in with us to share a Pit Story about a massive wall of death at a Lamb of God show, and now the Atlanta prog metal group is back for another tale of pit shenanigans.
This week the group shares a tale of an unwanted pit failing to erupt at the NAMM convention. Halcyon Way had this to say about the event:
So, it's the Winter NAMM show in January of 2013. I'm at the Grove in Anaheim for an industry-only show there, and it's Exodus, Prong, and Jeff Loomis playing. I'm with a group of friends - other musicians, manufacturers, our producer Lasse Lammert is there, it's a good group. The Grove is a good sized venue, and it's probably about half full, so there's a pretty fair amount of room in the crowd area too, because the venue's floor is kinda segmented, with 20 foot sections going up from the stage. Basically, you have a 15-20 foot deep section the width of the venue, then there's a couple of steps up and a short wall, and there's another level a couple feet higher. I think there's 3-4 total. Keep in mind that this is an industry-only event, and that the general public was not allowed in. You had to get a pass from Dean Guitars in the NAMM show at the convention center.
So, during Prong's set there's a small pit breaking out in the lowest level, and that's cool. The people that didn't want to pit were up higher watching the show....until some drunk numbnuts decides he's going to start one 2 levels up. And the douche didn't even know how to really do a pit, he just decided to drunkenly stagger from one side of the venue to the other, and ram into as many people as he could. Women? Sure. Dudes? Of course. Mom with baby? He would have if there were one there. The guy was being a complete toolbag, just ramming into anyone at random, hitting them from behind, etc.More...
Get a bunch of amped up metal heads into an enclosed space and shenanigans are bound to happen, but add alcohol to the mix and you've got a recipe for pit craziness.
For this week's look at Pit Stories from metal bands across the globe, Crimson Shadows bassist Morgan Rider shares this tale of a festival getting shut down when the crowd turns on an unruly fan:
I have been playing shows the entirety of my adult and teenage life. I have seen just about as much crazy shit at concerts I have attended as the next guy has too. But actually PLAYING the show gives you that vantage point on the crowd and the pit that being a part of the crowd does not provide. Above all, some of the most insane crowds I have ever seen have been in our home country of Canada. I don't know if it's in the water or the poutine, but I personally think it may be the fact that Canada is one of the less-hit markets in the world for metal. The crowds here NEED their fix of metal!
One instance I can recall comes from another band I play in. We were playing an outdoor festival in Ontario right next to the lake and we were one of maybe 10-12 bands. I remember vaguely as we were gearing up to step up on stage, a roamer happened into our backstage area and started to harass our guitar player at the time that we had better play Lynyrd Skynyrd or Pink Floyd or he'd stab us in the throat or something to that degree. We told him to fuck off so we could get ready to play. And yes, this is the part where he losses his shit and attacks our guitarist who he was previously harassing. The quick tussle ended up in them both being bloody-nosed, bruised and covered in dirt, but otherwise OK! We kicked the random guy out of the backstage area and we moved onto the stage to perform. We didn't really hear him shouting at us about how he was going to round up his boys and come back for us though. Onward the show!
And this is where it gets interesting. We were maybe 3-4 songs into our set; we were enjoying the awesomely large-ish and crazy crowd, the cold Canadian beer and the feel of the breeze coming off the lake when Cpl. McTrailerpark and Company come drunkenly stumbling up into the festival grounds. I guess the guy originally did not realize we were the next performing band, so he went straight for the first long-haired and bearded fellow he happened across and a fight broke out immediately. Of course, we saw everything that was going on, so we shouted at someone to break the fight up before it got even further out of control. Now I have never seen this happen, except if a soccer team loses in Brazil or a bunch of fans streak across a football stadium, but the ENTIRE crowd B-lined and went straight for the guy and his buddies!
The whole crowd swarmed these guys and totally gang-beat them. Of course we did not stop playing. Within 5 minutes, ambulances, police cars and a paddy wagon all arrived with an even larger crowd of on-lookers. Eventually, the police came on stage and stopped us from playing and stopped the entire festival.More...
It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for more Pit Stories!
This week we head into one of the most infamous, bone crunching, bruise-inducing pit activities: the dreaded wall of death.
Atlanta prog metal band Halcyon Way shared this story with us about a wall of death during a Lamb of God set:
One of my all time favorite bands is Lamb of God, and if you know Lamb of God at all then you know that they are known for doing a wall of death at the end of their show. So I was attending their show in Atlanta at the Tabernacle, and the time came for them to play "Black Label" which everyone knows is when the wall happens. So people started lining up, my best friend and I decided that we were gonna do it! So Randy Blythe started counting, when he hit 4, both sides of the room flew towards each other.
In the confusion I lost sight of my best friend and just began fending for my life it seemed! I saw some people on the ground, but saw that they were being helped up and didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I saw videos on Youtube later on that I realized that the side of the wall we were on had completely collapsed under the pressure from the other side and that we were mere feet away from being right in the middle of it, with no idea that it was even happening! It was definitely a blast though and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Halcyon Way's forthcoming album "Conquer" is due to drop on August 19th in North America via Nightmare Records and August 23rd in Europe via Massacre Records.