This week, Slipknot’s Chris Fehn -the one with the ridiculous penis/nose mask- gave an interview at Music Review and he mentioned something really interesting about moshing:
I think, especially in America, moshing has turned into a form of bullying. The big guy stands in the middle and just trucks any small kid that comes near him. They don’t mosh properly anymore. It sucks because that’s not what it’s about. Those guys need to be kicked out.
A proper mosh pit is a great way to be as a group and dance, and just do your thing.
Well, that’s a pretty strong accusation for this big custom of metal gigs. After all, bullying is a serious matter and the last thing the metal community want to be associated with. So, it got me thinking…
On the one hand, we have all seen this at least one time at a metal concert, the drunk asshole that gets inside the pit with the sole purpose to stomp and kick and punch the little guys and women around him. Yeah, that dude sucks ass and I can definitely see Fehn’s point here. Since his stupid behavior is a threat to the well-being of anyone who doesn’t match his physical power or even his crazy and irresponsible intensity, this can certainly labelled as bullying and it has no place in metal or in music in general. He must be punished, maybe by being banned from all concerts except from Nickelback ones. He certainly won’t be in the mood for moshing there.
However, and this is where I have a problem with Chris Fehn’s statements, moshing shouldn’t be judged solely by this jerk’s actions. Most of the time, the people inside the pit isolate this kind of guys or even better they massively turn against them. I mean, when I go to metal shows, I see that there still is a sort of moshing etiquette. People may push and dance against each other -and frankly, this is half the fun, right?- but when someone trips and falls, there will always be someone else who’s gonna help him stand up. Even most of the guys who are elbowing everything that stands in their approximate area, in my eyes they are doing it in a semi-careful way.
The usual complain about moshing is ‘I just came here to enjoy the band play the music I love and even if I want to be in the front, I shouldn’t have to worry about a potential kick in my back from the mosh pit behind me’. While that is a fair sentiment, I have come to believe that moshing overall adds up to the experience of a metal show, even if you don’t participate in it. It’s a part of the show.
Without the crowd interaction, a concert would be just songs that you could listen to at home in better sound quality. And yes, there is a certain entertainment value in watching the artist perform the songs you like but so is in blowing some steam by running around in circles and pushing people to the rhythm of your favorite music.
As long as we keep it clean and isolate the dangerous dudes who karate-kick blindly, I say let it mosh. And after all, you want your metal show to be a little bit edgy and intense, don’t you?