I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog about this topic as it was sparked by Gene Simmons’ latest stunt to trademark the devil horn gesture, as I feel my response somehow dignifies his actions. At the same time I feel his actions, intentional or not, are something of a reflection of the current state of music. We saw this with the burning of millions of dollars worth of punk memorabilia with much of the same response from me. The publicity stunts provoke some thoughts as whether we’re placing our value in the right aspects of music.
While the case of the punk memorabilia was mostly about the commercialization of a counter culture that ironically stands against such ideas metal has veered more towards one of the other issues, namely with social stratification. Where in punk there’s need to be more punk than everyone else in metal there’s a need to be more metal than others. The ordinary metalhead manifests this with various elitism, but it ultimately boils down to being the first one to do it. Whether it’s the first to become a Children of Bodom fan or the first to hate Dragonforce being a “true” metalhead is about setting the trend or being part of the right trend. These comments aren’t new and can be found in any culture.
So what does this have to do with trademarking the devil horn gesture? One of the toughest things about art is making it relevant. When the art can’t be relevant I’ve noticed an artist will try to be relevant in other ways. The best ways to do this are through shock value or appealing to nostalgia. Gene Simmons is notorious for trying to be “the first” of things, and in this aspect tries to appeal to nostalgia. I suspect in this way he wants to ensure his music was / is relevant. Trying to trademark something closely tied to a community not only appeals to the shock value aspect but also to the sense of nostalgia by trying to cement his place in metal history.
While Gene Simmons did withdraw his trademark application (like we knew he would) the implications will live on. I’d say it has damaged his career, but this stunt will be forgotten until the next one occurs. The stunts will keep happening as long as the focus will be more on the image of music and less about creating music that meaningfully contributes. How to determine what is meaningful to a community, however, is another matter.
If you’re like me you try to get as close to the stage as possible at concerts. If you’re also like me you know you have to toe that line between being able to watch the show and getting sucked into the mosh pit that is always around the stage. Sadly I have failed in maintaining that line more times than I care to admit. I’ve also learned a few tricks on how to not get completely bruised while retreating and planning my harrowing escape. Want to know how I do it? I act on these strategies.
Know the mosher archetypes. Just as there are the types of people everyone meets at a concert there are different types of moshers. The more you understand if you’re dealing with a guy who thinks he knows karate or the guy who had too much the better you’ll manage.
Expect strange liquids. Sometimes when threatened, especially folks like overly enthusiastic mosher, moshers will go into a frenzy and knock the drink out of someone’s hand. Sometimes the guy who had too much decides that chucking his pisswater at the stage is the equivalent of throwing confetti. Sometimes ignorance as to what is soaking you is the best. Regardless of how you got wet…
Don’t leave your mouth open too long. There’s more liquid in store. If that’s your thing I won’t judge you too much, though.
Don’t fight against the moshers. If you want to join the moshing, join the moshing. Since you’re probably reading this to eventually get out of your situation you probably don’t want to try that. If they get too close and the group is small enough just nudge offenders back into the hoard. I promise you they won’t notice. If it’s a wall of death you may want to pray to Jesus and join the moshing. There is no escape once you’re caught in that.
Know the moshers will eventually thin out. The guy who wants to practice karate will either get tired or folks will get tired of him. The guy who had too much will eventually have to pee and pass out in the stall. Some folks will leave because they only wanted to see certain bands. Whatever the reason the crowd will get thinner and you can make your escape.
Even if these tips don’t help yu as you’re being smashed around at the concert you can take comfort in knowing that you probably aren’t alone in trying to survive the situation. Who knows, maybe you’ll run into them and survive through solidarity. Or you’ll get knocked around into someone who will know your pain.
Posted in music, Uncategorized
Tagged concert, how to, humor, life advice, mosh pits, moshers, moshing, strange liquids, survival, survival guide