The Adventures of Moshin' Mike (Complaining like a little girl - Part III)

"Moshin' Mike" - A name given to me by a group of people in Carbondale in the early 90's; something that still stands true today.  

I'm not 100% sure why that name was given to me, but I'm going to assume it was because I was always the one to start up the slam-dancing-moshing-frenzy at all the local punk shows in Carbondale. Oh Seth, how you always made fun of me and my "dancing partner" from that one certain Team Aids show back in the day. I miss you buddy.  

When I first got into metal/punk rock, the one thing I did not start doing until I got a little bit older was moshing, or slam dancing, as they call it. My first experience with this dance form was at a Sick of it All, D.R.I., and Nasty Savage show back in 1990. It was also the first time I stage dove into the crowd, and also the first time I got knocked out from someone stage diving into my eye during D.R.I.; but I didn't mind. After regaining my composure, I jumped right back in and gave another try. This form of release, or dancing to some, is an energy inside some of us that is driven by certain riffs, songs, or bands, and one of the main reasons people like me goes to a metal or punk show; to have some good and friendly violent fun (well, besides to see the bands I love)!  

People standing in the front should already know that if they are at these kinds of shows that there will be a "mosh pit", as they are called. If these people that do not intend to dance in this aggressive style do not want to get accidentally hit by a rabid mosher, then they should politely move so we may have our dance; I say in my humble opinion.  

The incident that inspired me to write a story about moshing was due to an incident that occurred on October 30th at PK's, a local bar in Carbondale. Some buddies from work told me about a Minor Threat cover band that was going to be performing at PK's some time in the following weeks, so the first thing that popped up into my mind was being able to go nuts to a Minor Threat cover band and hoping that since it was a Minor Threat cover band, one of the most energetic old school TRUE American hard-core acts that ever existed, that there would be some like-minded-moshin-individuals at the show that would go nuts with me; I mean, come on, it's Minor Threat yo!!  

So there I stood, waiting patiently, when all of the sudden (and just like on the album) they opened up the set with Filler. I immediately went nuts and cleared a small circle where apparently I was the only one going nuts in (the pit), and where apparently I was making people mad; but more specifically, the owner, but I didn't know it until.......  

Shortly after screaming the last chorus into the microphone and moshin' it up some more, suddenly a large flow of ice (a bucket of ice?) fell upon my head, covering the entire circle on the floor that I had opened up. I turned around and saw the owner, whom happens to tower over me, and begins yelling at me that I needed to "cool" down. Out of rage, I suddenly started yelling obscenities at him, and although I flipped this owner off, wanted to punch him, and yelled things I shouldn't have yelled, I thankfully refrained from punching him and he was cool enough to let me stay inside, regardless of what I yelled at him. Moments later though, a girl grabbed my arm and instigated me to do it again, where once again he came up and grabbed my arm and told me some things that I chose to ignore. After just a few more pushes and shoves with this girl, I decided to give up my moshcapade and just stand there; lifeless, just like everyone else (yawn).  

"Yelling obscenities and cussing a guy out, that's not very Christ-like of you Mike."  

You know what? I'm only human, and getting ice thrown at you unexpectedly at a time when adrenaline is running through your entire body is not cool (no pun intended). Looking forward to the show for weeks and then getting "iced" and being told to stop was once again, not cool. How on earth is "Moshin' Mike" supposed to react to a Minor Threat cover band? How am I supposed to react when someone dumps ice on me unexpectedly; peacefully? Again, I'm only human. I'm not just going to stand there! I almost left out of anger and for the fact I wasn't allowed to express my self freely, but I decided to let it go and not let the ice-man incident get to me that much due to wanting to remain and support the guys in the band (Hey Sam, hey Gary, I had no clue you guy's were in it!!).  

After their set was over the owner walked up to me and apologized for dumping ice on me, and I apologized to him for being me. He told me that he didn't think his bar was big enough for moshing and with no bouncers and only one bar-tender; if anything bad should happen, well, you get the picture. Although I could see his point, I was still disappointed. We humans can be so selfish (me in this case). Disappointing night #??? and fast forwarding a week.  

Disappointing night #??? I say #??? due to the fact I have been disappointed so many times at shows due to the lack of moshing that is beyond my control. As time has told, a few bands now will only play certain songs one can not mosh to anymore due to the bands not really playing the back catalogue of rougher tunes that they have due to the calmer style a band has adapted to with this time (Clutch for example). On top of that, I'm not really sure if I'm dead-on with this observation, or if it's just different from city to city, or if I'm just being silly, or what, but I've traveled to various cities to catch a show and after watching some old-school punk-hard-core live videos from the past (Minor Threat, Dead Kennedy's, D.O.A, etc..), and from observing "pits" in the late 80's and then from moshing it up ever since the 90's up until now, the crowds in the state of Illinois, Indiana, and MO. have all gotten really tame at shows as time passes on. Are people just popping valiums at shows these days enabling them to move, or what? But tonight's case (Clutch), it was all about "macho in-security."  

First of all, when I bought my ticket for Clutch last week, the first thing I noticed on the ticket itself was;  

"Not Moshing or Body Surfing." Yes, they misused the word "Not," instead of using the word "No."  

Right....... Let's see them control people moshing. Normally there are more people moshing than there are bouncers, but to my surprise, they weren't messing around. These jocks were on full alert!! Thinking back at the PK's incident, I decided that after tonights show (Clutch at the crappy Copper Dragon venue) and seeing the bouncers kick people out for moving around "almost" in an "aggressive" manner, after the 3rd song, I decided that as soon as they played Animal Farm, or something that was more mosh/hard-core friendly from the 1st release, that I too was going to get kicked out; "voluntarily."  

I have seen Clutch live since album #1, so I wasn't going to miss anything at all really, you know? I was hoping that the few people who were getting threatened by the bouncers would also follow me into "battle" and let these bouncers "have it" until they kicked us all out or at least me, but........ So that was my goal, to go nuts and get kicked out in the name of mosh, but unfortunately they never played Animal Farm and they pretty much stuck to the latest catalogue of releases, leaving the more hard-core inspired approach from the 1st release out from the set tonight (and only playing one song off of their 2nd release). Was it due to the tickets saying that people couldn't mosh that Clutch decided to play such a mellow set tonight? Or was it by choice? I'm not really sure, but either way I didn't get kicked out and I did have a good time (or so I convinced my self).  

Going back to The Copper Dragon and the bouncers momentarily, can we say; "Macho insecurity, macho insecurity, macho insecurity, you-can't-stand-your-self!" I can't stand all of you dumb jocks for kicking people out just for wanting to move a bit, not just in Carbondale, but world wide! But I will say that all Carbondale preppy suit-tie-guy bars suck!! And no offense people, so do you (the crowd), or those of you who get offended for others engaging in this style of dancing when it should be expected from a metal-hard-core show, you know? You gotta share the dance floor man-woman!!  

So where do I fit in? Some of you may think I'm a "dumb jock" for starting pits and for wanting to have some "good and friendly violent fun," but that is just not the case. I've never even been in what I would call "a real fight." Although the way I mosh and like being hit would make one think otherwise, I really am harmless; honest. :) Maybe I'm just sadistic and I like pain? Either way, I just couldn't imagine just standing there and just watching, unless I didn't really know the band or they just play way too technical to mosh to, you know?  

The entire time I am moshing it up, the majority of the time I have a huge smile on my face, even when I get hit and have blood on my face or I fall down. It's all part of the scene and it comes with the territory, so why get angry over getting hit? Every time someone falls, someone helps them up. Every time I leave the pit hurt, I know I'll heal in a few days. Again, it comes with the territory. I'm far from a jock folks, I promise you that!  

Is it wrong for me to love this style of release/dance? Is it wrong for me to hit people if they are in the way, or by the pit when a band is raging? Is it wrong that I enjoy when people hit me in the pit? Am I wrong for writing a story on moshing and for expressing my love for it? Is it wrong that Anthrax, Exodus, M.O.D., and many other bands have songs about moshing? Are we moshers just childish? Have we not grown up? Are we mindless barbarians looking for blood? Is it because we are just men (although one girl did get kicked out from Clutch last night)? Opinions will always vary on why people engage in this dance, but I will admit, and do not agree with one kind of pit; "The Red-Neck Pit."  

A "Red-Neck Pit" is a pit where no one is going with the music or the riffs, and where people are just literally walking around and just shoving people as if it were football practice (more jocks). Most of these so called pits are usually found at Ozz Fest and other gay events where nu-metal is being performed. These sorts of events attract these red-neck moshers who are usually only there to get drunk, pick fights, and to show forth their "macho-insecurities." If you see one of these mosh pits, I do not practice, respect, or engage in such foolery and neither should you.  

In closing, a fond memory involving moshing still makes me grin when I think back on the memory. I was standing and catching my breath at a local show in Carbondale when some dude came up to me and said;  

"Are you Moshin' Mike? I think it's you because of the way you mosh."  

The way it should always be!!!
Considering it had been at least 7 or 8 years since I had last heard someone say that to me, I immediately got a huge grin on my face and replied;  

"Why yes, yes I am."  

See you all in the pit!!! - - - by Michael F. Coles  

Top 3 Wildest pits ever witnessed  

#1 - Hands down Macabre in 1998 at Milwaukee Metal Fest. They had to pull bouncers from elsewhere and placed them in front of the wooden barricade due to the fact it was starting to bend. There were 8 bouncers total pushing back the barricade and the crowd. As each song was being performed, the pit was only getting more intense by the second. Due to the fear of getting crushed and my camera getting broken, I crawled underneath the stage and came out from behind in safety. The first 2 pictures up above were taken from that show.  

#2 - Napalm Death in 1991 at Mississippi Nights. No one could stop the craziness and insanity that the crowd was involved in. Everyone stage diving and moshing all at once, everyone was getting hit. No one died thankfully, but many got hurt.  

#3 - Incantation in 1991 at Club 367. Although I was very disappointed that they replaced Exhorder on that tour, the pit was really massive and I just could not believe how big and wild the crowd really was.  

Favorite bands to mosh to, or have moshed to:  

Top 3  

#1 - Hands down Napalm Death - No one can get me going in a pit like Napalm Death.  

#2 - Cannibal Corpse - A close second. Some of the best pits I've ever been in were in the early days when Barnes was still in the band.  

#3 - Kreator - Every time I have seen this band, I just seem to go nuts.  

So many other good bands get me going, but not like the above mentioned!