Tag Archives: metal

Getting the itch to set up a place to rock.

So, as you may know, I have a few guitars.  Once upon a time we had an extra room that was going to be adorned with said guitars.  Things changed, and that room serves a much more awesome purpose as my son’s room.

We do, however, have a garage that we don’t use at all.  We have talked about closing it in to make more room.  It might be a bit of a project getting the garage door turned into a wall & man door, and will take a bit of interior TLC like more electrical outlets and some type of climate control.  It should keep the aforementioned son’s room a little warmer if it’s an “inside” room.

I’d like to put my guitars in there, and have them ready to play at any give moment when inspiration strikes.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitars - Oct. 2015

AiXeLsyD13’s Guitars – Oct. 2015

I’ve been drooling over different types of guitar storage for a while now, and stowing ideas away on pinterest.

I’d really like to use the house’s old storm windows that we no longer need to build a permanent version of these cool cabinets:

I have the drive, and I can learn the know-how, but I may need the intervention of someone that actually knows what they’re doing at some point.

Anyone else have a DIY rock n’ roll room setup? I’d like to house my CD’s, records, etc. too instead of them suffocating in storage bins. Maybe some recording gear and/or a PC could find a home there? There are so many options. Like a true punk rock musician I’d like to work close to a nonexistent budget.

Hit me up with your experience and ideas in the comments!


∞ Magical Musical Split? @Dethlehem & @TheBloodySeamen should do this…

Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power

Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power – This could be the cover, because… Why not?

OK, so if I had Oprah money and Dick Cheney power, and could treat other human beings like my own personal play things…  I would commission two local Pittsburgh metal bands to do an epic cover split.  Do bands that aren’t punk bands do splits?  Well, they will if they’re my playthings.

I’d want Dethlehem to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (with the original “Walpurgis” lyrics of course), and The Bloody Seamen to cover the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” (which music nerds know features another Sabbath riff from “Sweet Leaf”).

Why?  Why not?  I love obscure and nonsensical covers.  I like these bands.  They would probably not want any part of this.  I mean, guys in bands LOVE it when you go up to them and spew out “You know what song you guys should cover?” then ramble off dumb ideas like this.

Witches gather at black masses
Bodies burning in red ashes
On the hill the church in ruin
Is the scene of evil doings
It’s a place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh Lord yeah

Carry banners which denounce the lord
See me rocking in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me

Don’t hold me back cause I’ve just gotta go
They’ve got a hold of my soul now
Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene
Look in my eyes I’m there enough

On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh lord yeah

Because Mutiny on the Bounty’s what we’re all about
I’m gonna board your ship and turn it on out
No soft sucker with a parrot on his shoulder
‘Cause I’m bad gettin’ bolder, cold cold gettin’ colder

Terrorizin’ suckers on the seven seas
And if you’ve got beef, you get capped in the knees
We got sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
And I shot those suckers and I’ll shoot the rest

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Shh! Snatchin’ gold chains, vikin’ pieces of eight
I got your money and your honey and the fly name plate
We got wenches on the benches and bitties with titties
Housin’ all girlies from city to city

One for all and all for one
Takin’ out MC’s with a big shotgun
All for one and one for all
Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L

Friggin’ in the riggin’, man, cuttin’ your throat
Big bitin’ suckers gettin’ thrown in the moat
We got maidens and wenches, man they’re on the ace
Captain Bligh’s gonna die when we break his face

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Torchin’ and crackin’ and rhymin’ and stealin’
Robbin’ and rapin’, bustin’ two in the ceilin’
I’m wheelin’, I’m dealin’, I’m drinkin’, not thinkin’
Never cower, never shower and I’m always stinkin’

Yo ho ho and a pint of Brass Monkey
And when my girlie shakes her hips she sure gets funky
Skirt chasin’, free basin’, killin’ every village
We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

I was drinkin’ my rum, a deaf son of a gun
I fought the law and I cold won
Black Beard’s weak, Moby Dick’s on the tick
‘Cause I pull out the jammy and I squeeze off six

My pistol is loaded, I shot Betty Crocker
Deliver Colonel Sanders down to Davey Jones’ locker
Rhymin’ and stealin’ in a drunken state
And I’ll be rockin’ my rhymes all the way to hell’s gate

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most chillinest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most killingest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most dustin’ out b-boy, I’m tossin’ my dust
Most finkinest b-boy, I’m doin’ that finkin’
Most rhyminest b-boy, I’m stretchin’ my shade
Most shootinest b-boy, I think you’re shit

Most rhyminest b-boy, I’ll steal your shit homeboy
Most taxinest b-boy, I’ll tax you boy
Most illingest illingest illingest b-boy
Taxin’ all y’all squares, yeah!

Maybe change “b-boy” to “pirate” or something?  Bandit?  Looter?  Outlaw?  Maybe the line “Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L” to “‘Cause the Bloody Seamen have gone A.W.O.L”?  I’d pee my pants if I heard you all rapping.

So what would it take, guys?  Can we get a Kickstarter going, or what?

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen



A reply to an anti-band rant from a venue…

They sadly had a lot of good points overshadowed by ignorance and arrogance:

I sort of blogged on Facebook itself.  First you have to read the original rant, I’d guess. Here’s what I said:

At first I found this amusing, but the more I read, the more the author seemed like an arrogant prick. Sadly, I agree with a bunch of the points on bad band behavior and have had similar rants as the person trying to organize a show or simply having to put up with the antics of another band.

#21. It shouldn’t hurt to ask.

#22. I think you meant “you’re.”

#23. You’re too cool to have a conversation with someone who may just be bored that they’re there with their kid’s band and they’ve heard all the songs 8004 times?

#35. If you use the R-word, you’re an A-hole. If you use the R-word twice, you’re a double A-hole, and you must shit in stereo.

#36. “Load-In Time.” If it’s a local band and they have a 6:30 load-in time, chances are they’re not going to get there on time. Unfortunately a lot of local musicians have day jobs that have a quitting time of 5:00 or later. Getting to the gig by then may be impossible.

To reply to an overall arc of the list… In general I understand clubs need to have people come to shows or they don’t make money or can’t pay the bands. I understand that a band needs to promote its ass off via word of mouth, flyers, classified and event pages in local rags, social media, and any other way it can… but clubs can do some of that too. I can’t get my head around being a draw. I’ve been in a handful of bands over the years that are generally and sometimes wildly well-received when put in front of a crowd… but have found it difficult to predict a draw or to become a steady one. Sometimes I have brought a crowd, sometimes I couldn’t draw if I had a bucket full of crayons and a stack of paper. How does one gain a steady and loyal following, oh great bringers of so much musical knowledge?

I have played many shows with no pay. I have been paid more than what came in the door at shows. I have bought T-shirts and CD’s from bands who were on tour knowing that was probably the only way they’d eat before they get to the next stop.

Things you missed:

  • Setup/Breakdown – Set your drums up before you get on stage. Take them off, then break them down. Don’t take longer to set up your amp and pedal board than it takes to play your terrible set.
  • Tune silently.
  • Watch the other bands, asshat. Also, don’t play first then take your crowd with you. Hang out, buy drinks, catch another act. Don’t hang out in the parking lot while the other bands are playing then swoop in like a rock star when it’s time for you to play.
  • Don’t complain about the monitor mix after every song, or blame equipment for your epic lack of awesome.


I should have blogged this, but didn’t think I’d rant that long. Ha ha.

Related reading:

Merry Christmas 2013!

So, I haven’t blogged much over the last year or so.  The new job has me out & around… not near a desk with time on my hands to save a draft & come back to it later.  I also have less time to monkey around on the internet as it’s mostly taken up by our sweet little girl once I am home.  Speaking of home, that’s new too.  We finally bought a house and are no longer renters!

Check out our little sweet pea in an album on Facebook if you’re interested.  This was the day after moving, and 2 days after Molly turned six months old.  Photos by Kristina Serafini.  This was the one we chose for the Christmas card this year:

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Hopefully I can adapt how I blog, maybe use the android app… to get my thoughts out there. Maybe it’ll be shorter less link-filled stuff. Maybe not. Maybe I can do drafts with the phone and edit/post/link/add media later.

The house is taking some time to get set up, but eventually I’ll have all my toys in a room that will make blogging and computer time easier.  I also have a nice workbench now so I should be able to monkey with my guitars more often.  I have some ideas to put into play.

This has been a crazy year.  New job, new baby, new house.  What’s next?

How have things been for everyone out there in WordPress land?

In the spirit of Christmas, check out this post, and join in:

Playlist by the numbers

Lars Frederiksen

Lars Frederiksen

The other day I plugged my crappy old Insignia Pilot into the truck stereo’s auxiliary input,  & I started playing the songs on my trusty & hardly ever updated mp3 player in order by song title.  I have no idea why I decided to take it off of “random”, but I did.  (Sadly, my 500 GB hard drive has stopped working and unless it’s fixed I’ll lose a TON of music, so whatever this Best Buy generic brand mp3 player holds may be it for my collection for a while!)

I thought that “song titles that start with numbers” would be a pretty cool playlist.  I’d thought I’d share some of my favorites.

I noticed I’m missing a song that starts with 8.  Ha ha.  What songs would you put on your numbers playlist?  Dig any of these?

Insignia Pilot

Insignia Pilot

Guest Post: How to book your band.

I’ve posted advice for existing and aspiring bands before, and I thought this email from a pro would be useful.  It was sparked when I saw his Facebook status the other day: “Great way to start the day: my favorite venue in the country complimented my email skills in contacting them to booking a date. It’s the highest praise I could hope for.”

The status went on to some comments & basically the author said he’d share the knowledge with those who cared to learn.  I asked if I could post it in a blog, and here we have it.  If you’re in a band on any level, pay heed to the advice below.

As far as background on Bengt, he’s in a band (& been in many), he records bands, he’s booked bands, and he’s generally been in every part of the scene.  He knows what he’s talking about.

Action Camp

Action Camp

On to the advice & the guest part of this guest post:


Alright, so here is what we usually send like 99% of the time. There always a bit of customization but this is the basic format:

1. Greeting, name the booker if you know it (usually listed on indieonthemove.com or their website)

2. Band name (with a link to the website), genre, location.

3. Date(s) requested in bold. They love that, it makes it easier read. If you can swing 3-5 dates that’s best, it gives them room. Do them a favor and check the website for those dates first, they appreciate that a ton. Also make sure to follow their booking procedure to the T. A lot of places have a specific way they like to work (Facebook message, Sonicbids, email format, etc). If you do it right it shows you listened so you’re already at the top of the pile.

Also, if another band that’s played there before suggested it, tell them so. It’s like introducing yourself to anyone else and starting with saying you have a mutual friend. It’s a job reference.

4. Links to music, video, press – let them decide if they want to book you. The more you talk about how awesome you are and why you should be booked, the more they think you probably suck and are trying to gloss over it. It’s like handing someone your demo and saying it’s not your best work.

5. If you played there or in the city before tell them. If you know what you drew and stuff be honest, they love that.

6. Offer to help build the bill, and specifically name bands you know or have contacted already.

7. Thanks in advance, Thanks for your time, etc.

8. ALL of your contact info including phone numbers. It shows you are easy to reach and you have your shit together.

One final thing: DON’T say someone famous produced your record, quote random blog reviews, list facebook or twitter numbers, anything like that. No one cares about that if they know what their doing in the working touring circuit. Steve Albini producing your record won’t make 100 people come out in Dayton on a Monday night, and facebook and twitter followers are ostensibly your imaginary friends that only you can see. Plus, even you have 4,000 people odds are only 10 of them are near the venue you are trying to book.

Here is exactly what I sent to Southgate House:

Hello Morrella,

We are Action Camp, an art rock duo from Pittsburgh, PA.

We’re looking to see if you have Friday February 15th or Saturday the 16th available to book in the Revival Room – both look open on your calendar but I wasn’t sure if you would do a full house those nights. Our music is pretty different from what’s going on those nights so I’m not concerned about audience bleed over. This would be our 4th time to Southgate, 7th time in 3 years in the Cininnati/Newport scene. We know plenty of bands so we’d throw a bill together with 2 or 3 locals to help support.

– You can hear our music at actioncamp.bandcamp.com or at our website below.
– Here is a recent video from our 2012 summer tour
– And some press from our Winter tour just a couple weeks ago.

If these are unavailable I’d love to work something out in the future. Southgate was/is by far our favorite venue on tour, I can only assume the new house is great. Sincerely, I (Bengt) booked a venue in Pittsburgh, and based many of my practices on the way SGH was run by Rick and his crew.

Previous dates:

Parlour 10/1/2010 (Gallery Opening, free show, 100+ attending)
Parlour 1/2/2010 (w/ Duppy a Jamba, 97 paid)
Parlour Summer 2009 (Flux Capacitors last show, well attended, don’t have stats)

Our most recent dates in the area were both in Cincinnati:

12/8/2012 The Comet Cincinnati, OH (100+, free show)
7/5/2012 Sitwells Coffeehouse Cincinnati, OH (smaller acoustic show, last minute add on tour)

Thanks in advance, can’t wait to see the new place,

– Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)

So that’s it, pretty simple. Just be honest and to the point. I also should point out that this was 1 of 10 venues we emailed on Christmas, and he got back just a day later with this response:

“Thanks for writing. Those dates aren’t announced yet, but they are spoken for. How about Wed Feb 13, or Sun Feb 17?

“PS – very well done email, especially listing previous show turnouts. You’re way ahead of the curve on that one, and it did persuade me to jump on this, and get you in!”

I always email every venue that would work for us in a city, it’s better to have choices than no show at all.

Hope this all helps,

– Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)


So, there you have it.  Got it?  Good.  Doing research in advance before you ask for dates seems like a no-brainer, but apparently it needs to be said.  I guess some bands naturally put more thought into stuff.

I’m not sure how you’d approach this if you had no previous gigs in an area… perhaps we can get Bengt to comment further for new bands, first time tours, etc.?

Check out the Action Camp video here:

Bands vs. Venues: Who promotes? Who makes money? Can everyone “win”?

Rick from the Fallout Shelter brought up a great discussion topic on Facebook, and it inspired me to blog about it.

That’s a private group on Facebook, so here’s what was said in case you’re not a member:

Rick D'Agostino Looking for some feedback from the music community out there. Do you think that the $5 cover charge keeps you or your friends from attending shows at the Fallout Shelter that they might otherwise attend to check out new bands? In other words, are folks only willing to pay a $5 cover to see bands that they already know? And as a band member, would you rather play to a larger crowd with a tip bucket or to just a few people and make some gas money? I am thinking of making some changes. you can reply here or message me if you want. thanks!

Rick D’Agostino is looking for some feedback from the music community out there..

Dig?  So now, you have the gist of it.  My blog may go on its own little tangent, you never really know with these things.  It’s certainly worth talking about.

First, it’s clear that I’ve never been in a band where making money is the ultimate goal.  I’m amazed over & over that venue owners let me come in, set up, and play in front of people.  Sometimes we get money from the door, sometimes we get money from tickets sold, sometimes we give it all to the touring band, sometimes it’s a charity gig, sometimes no one shows up to pay anyone, sometimes we get some gas money or a couple of bucks to dump back into merch or something.

This is how it’s worked nearly everywhere and every time I have played:  Most of the time, the cover is $3 to $5, unless we’re opening for a national act & it’s through a booker where we’re asked to sell tickets.  Some call the latter “pay to play“, and rail wholly against it.  Some people have no problem selling tickets.  Some bands like mine do, but we try anyway.  At bar gigs, the cover charge is usually $5.  Sometimes it all goes to the bands, especially if it’s a bar & if you provide your own door person.  Sometimes it pays for a sound guy (if there is one) & a cut goes to the bar, then the bands get paid.  Sometimes locals defer and let the out-of-town bands take the cash (if there is one).  Sometimes you can play for free at open stages, sometimes you pay to get in at open stages.  Sometimes no one comes out to see you, and no one gets paid.  Sometimes the band gets free or discounted drinks.  It’s generally a no pay or break even situation.  You hope to sell merchandise and/or CD‘s if you have them, and the bar hopes to sell drinks & food.  The bands should promote and the venues should promote.  Some venues think the bands should do it all, some bands think the venue should do it all.  Generally 3 or sometimes 4 bands are all on the same gig.  Sometimes, it all works out, sometimes… it doesn’t.  This is how bands who largely play their own music are forced to operate.

That’s only 1 way.  There are many other “scenes” here overlapping in the ‘Burgh.

Cover bands… or human jukebox bands, can generally charge a fee for playing a certain style, genre, or “songs that people know”.  This is to provide entertainment to drunken Yinzer patrons who want to yell out requests.  You probably usually play 3 sets, maybe 4… and you’re the only entertainment all night.  You’re probably playing pop country, classic rock, or a little mix of everything.  Professional singers/songwriters operate pretty much the same way as described above, but can get away with putting in more of their own material.

High-class…  I know a band that plays funk, and can get $5000 a gig at the least.  They put their twist on a bunch of songs, dress up, bring lights, and put on one hell of a show.  I’m pretty sure I could never command that much cash for what I do… but how is one less relevant or entertaining?  They do weddings, corporate parties, and “events”.

I’m sure there’s other stuff out there that I’m not even aware of.  I can’t really speak for any other parts of the scene than the one I’m in.

I’ve heard the argument that charging only $5 is devaluing our craft.  Bands should demand more to be heard live.  It worked for Yuengling.  They raised the price on their beer in the late 90s/early 00s and they took off ahead of the other “microbrews”.  Should we then put a higher value on ourselves & our art?  If we raise the price do we raise our expectations?  Do we raise our worth?  Do we raise the value of our music & entertainment?

I also see that a cover charge can make or break a show.  Times are changing.  People aren’t spending money on entertainment.  Music is seen like it’s all supposed to be free.  Why would someone pay for a live show?  To me, if you don’t have $5 on you for a show, maybe you shouldn’t be going to a bar in the 1st place.  $5 might get you 2 beers if you’re a butthole & don’t tip the bartender.  Then again, we hardly ever walk away with any money anyway (the Fallout Shelter is an exception here, we get paid well there, regardless of turnout), so why not let people in for free?

The tip bucket.  I’d play for one.  I have no doubt that we’re entertaining.  Why not, right?  Do all bands split the tip bucket?  Or go per performance?  That if the 1st band up gets all the cash & the “cleanup” band gets nothing simply because the patrons ran out of cash?  Are we nothing more than indoor buskers if we play for a tip jar?  Is it a better measurement of our entertainment value to work for tips?  Does it devalue our art to basically beg for donations to support the rock n’ roll cause?

I certainly don’t want to see my favorite venues close because they can’t afford to operate.  I like to play them, I like to see other bands in them… I want them to do well.  I want them to continue to host my band & other bands.  I even want them to make a buck so it’s all worth their while, and so they can do it to make a living.

I just want to play.  I don’t care where, or for how much.  I have fun doing it.  I think this is an important discussion to have, though.  What is the value of live rock n’ roll?


  • Would you play for less of a cover charge?
  • Should we charge more for shows?
  • Should bands play for tips?
  • How should the tips be split?
  • How does the venue make money?
  • Who pays the sound guy?

Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Related Articles

You ought to come see some of these shows.

I’m sure you know I’m one of the Berts in Ernie and the Berts.  I’m sure you know we play shows.  I’m sure you’d have fun at one (or two or three or four).  Come rock out with us some time…

Tue. 06/05/2012 @ Altar Bar - Real McKenzies, Goddamn Gallows, Bloody Seamen, Ernie and the Berts

✟ The Real McKenzies ✟ The Goddamn Gallows ✟ The Bloody Seamen ✟ Ernie and the Berts ✟

Tuesday June 5th, 2012 at the Altar Bar (Also, win Ernie’s Pants!)

Fri. 06/22 @ Ozzie's - Nervous Aggression, Don't Wake the Dead, Ernie and the Berts

☠ Nervous Aggression ☠ Don’t Wake the Dead ☠ Ernie and the Berts ☠

Friday June 22nd, 2012 at Ozzie’s Bar & Grill

Fri. 06/23/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: Ernie and the Berts, Johnnie Lee Jordan, Alex Payne, Joey Molinaro

☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢ Johnnie Lee Jordan ☢ Alex Payne ☢ Joey Molinaro ☢

Saturday June 23rd, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

Fri. 07/20/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: OTiS, Scratch n' Sniffs, Ernie and the Berts

☢ OTiS ☢ Scratch n’ Sniffs ☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢

Friday July 20th, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

As you can see we have a bunch of stuff coming up.  We generally try to be all kinds of fun.  We’re playing with some exciting bands & artists.  We’re playing some new venues & some old favorites.  We’re playing with bands we love & bands we’ve never met.  Each show is an adventure.  Join us!

Obey the Zone. (Rock Concert Etiquette)

So, I’ve been to many types of shows at many types of venues.  From stadiums to bars and from backyards to amphitheaters.  I’ve seen rock shows, rap shows, country shows, and even Weird Al.  Most of the shows I’ve attended fall in the punk or metal categories.  The crowds can get rowdy.  It’s expected, perhaps even demanded.  I’ve pogoed in a circle when commanded to by Joey Ramone, sat nearly motionless in a sea of silver hair at a Willie Nelson show, and lost my shoe once in a pit at a Misfits show (only monetarily, and it was the first & last pair of Airwalks I’ve ever owned).  I’ve been rubbed up against the sweaty shirtless guy, been flogged by the windmill hardcore kid, and burned buy the a-hole with a lit cigarette in the pit.  I chalk it all up to part of the experience.  Hell, I even had my nose broken in a stage diving incident.  I’m no stranger to the pit.

A man crowdsurfing in a moshpit, uploaded from...

The people are revolting, pushing the sweaty shirtless smelly guy out of the group.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t have it’s place.  I’m just tired of the people who don’t “get” it.  It always devolves into 2 or 3 probably drunken buttholes flailing around like fish out of water trying to start some kind of fight or prove their manliness.  Generally people have good manners.  Most people in the pit are just out to have fun bouncing around to the music, until it gets ruined by the few flailers.

It’s a weird topic to discuss.  Saying the word “mosh” makes it an instantly corny conversation.  I hate to say the word out loud because I’m old and it’s a young man’s (or brave young woman’s) game.  It’s just getting out of control.  I don’t want to see it stop, I just want to see it not be ruined by the few, the proud, the imbeciles.  This was all sparked by our recent adventures at the Flogging Molly show(Which musically, is a rather tame band… but crowd-excitement is off of the charts with them.)

We all know the “unwritten rules”, right?  The only one that I’ve ever seen obeyed consistently is: If someone falls down, pick them up.  This proves to me that we’re mostly all just out to have a good time & not hurt anyone.  As for the rest, I guess I’m going to have to write them for you.

The biggest one and my spark for writing this blog?


Fig. A

Obey the Zone.  This is the biggest rule that you need to adhere to.  You can see in figure A that there is a clearly defined acceptable zone for pogoing / slam-dancing / moshing activity.  It’s in yellow and black… for caution.  It can get a little bigger or even smaller depending on the ferocity of the act on stage.  The blue area is the crowd in general.  Generally, there’s a row or two of people up front really into the band or show and unwilling to move no matter how many goofballs are bouncing off of their backs. This spills out & around to people that are just trying to watch the band.  Is this that difficult?  Am I wrong here?

Please see my additional figures B & C to help drive my point home…

No means no.

Fig. B

Meathead Zone

Fig. C

In figure B we see the big red symbol recognized as “No”.  This is where you’re not supposed to flail, push, agitate, or try to cajole others into moshing.  The other night when we were safely in this zone, a chubby young ginger-headed frat boy was doing exactly that, and looking at all of us like we were crazy for not wanting to hardcore dance with him 1-on-1 when it was happening with willing participants mere feet away.  Was this kid afraid of the real pit?  I say put on your big boy pants & get in there, Skippy.  Or better yet, move into the Idoit Zone as illustrated by figure C.


This unwritten rule is written for you.

The idiot zone is formed when the people who do know how to act at a show force out the people who don’t.  This is where the “too metal for you”, “hardcore windmillers”, and “guy with Greek letters on his hoodie & daddy issues” go to play.  They’re convinced that no one can have a good time unless you go home with bruises.  They feel that they are integral to your having the correct concert experience by placing an elbow repeatedly in your ribs or fist in your eye.  They’re irate when you don’t want to participate.  They go to the idiot zone to act like a wind-up toy and get out their frustration.  They just paid $30-60 for a ticket, $9+ per beer, and $10-$20 for parking to ignore the band on stage.

No moshing sign, Bumbershoot 2010


You have to understand that the whole floor has the potential turn into that zone, and accept your risk of taking a wild hit or someone landing on you if you’re going to get down there anywhere close to the action.  You most likely dropped some serious cash to see this show, and you’re there to see and hopefully enjoy the band… not to get distracted or assaulted by some self-appointed chairman of the mosh commission.

Well, that’s the big rule.  What’s your take on concert etiquette?  I’ll list some others, you give me more in the comments.

  • No lit cigarettes (or other burning substances) in the pit.  Most venues in Pittsburgh don’t allow you to smoke in the first place.  Besides billowing toxic crap into my air, burning someone while thrashing around like a toolbag is not cool.  If you need to get high, go do it in a dark corner.
  • Don’t scream off-key into your neighbor’s ear.  I paid lots of money for the people on stage to scream into my ear, not you.  Shut up unless it’s a sing-along rock anthem.
  • If you’re on the edge of the circle, keep it from spilling over.  Push the lugheads back into the fold.  Protect the people around you who don’t want in it, and watch out for that kid that’s way too young to be there.  Might be good to not trample him to death before he can drive.
  • You are not a windmill.  No one thinks this is cool.  No one likes getting punched in the head.  No one is more entertained by you dancing like Frankenstein than by the band on stage.
  • We’re there to see the band, not you.  You are not that guy on the runway, a traffic cop, or a cheer-leading coach.  Stop gesturing wildly at people trying to get them to go in a circle, spin you around, run into you, or do the safety dance.

Now it’s your turn.  While you think/type, please enjoy the following…


This is not a dance.

(Also, feel free to post other songs about moshing, slam-dancing, circle pits, pogoing, or any related ridiculousness.)

Also… to the people who drink in the parking lot through the opening acts, then come in during the headliner barely knowing where you are or that you’re alive.  Just stay home & get drunk.  It’s cheaper and safer, and you don’t have the potential to puke on my shoes.

The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Movies

I like movies, and I like rock ‘n’ roll.  You probably already knew (or assumed) that.  These are some of my favorite music-related films.  What are yours?

AirheadsAirheads – Such a great goofy film.  I feel that this one is underrated… maybe it has a “cult” sort of following.  The plot is ridiculous and it’s filled with all kinds of great actors.  It’s got some of the best quotes ever, and is why I will someday demand a football helmet filled with cottage cheese and naked pictures of Bea Arthur if ever given the chance to make crazy demands.  I could probably watch this movie over & over as much as I could watch the Star Wars films over & over.

The cover for Shark Sandwich, one of the band'...This is Spinal Tap – This is a no-brainer.  It goes to 11.  It’s the standard to which all other rock ‘n’ roll films are measured.  It has sustain.  Just let the DVD or Blu-ray or VHS tape or Laser Disc sit on the shelf and listen to it.

Music from the Motion Picture Josie and the Pu...Josie and the Pussycats – Laugh all you want, but this movie is super fun.  If you can’t enjoy this one, you have no soul.  I had no attachment to the cartoon in case there are purists out there that didn’t like it because fans of original things rarely like those things rehashed.  Orange is the new pink.  “3 Small Words” is a great pop song.

Empire RecordsEmpire Records – It’s not really about  band or musicians… but the chaos all over the store is all about rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s filled with great tracks from GWAR, AC/DC, Sponge, not quite Body Count’s “Hey Joe“, Coyote Shivers, and Rex Manning.  Ha ha.

Lemmy (film)Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch – If you haven’t seen this & you’re even a casual fan of metal, punk, rock docs in general, or even just heard “Ace of Spades” once, you need to see this.  That was a really long grammatically terrible sentence.  Lemmy would kick my ass for pointing that out.  Maybe not.  He seems like a really likeable dude to hang out with if you can get past the stink of cigarettes.

It Might Get LoudIt Might Get Loud – Not a huge fan of any of these dudes… except Jimmy Page is… well, Jimmy Page.  Led Zeppelin is amazing, I’m just not one of those dudes that has all the albums or knows all the riffs.  U2 actually kind or irks me, but the Edge seems like a cool dude & an effect wiz.  Jack White surprised me, but he’s kind of creepy.  Beyond all that, I still enjoyed this movie.  Guys talking about their love of music, the guitar, & playing… it’s incredible.

Walk the Line (soundtrack)Walk the Line – Probably one of the best biopics ever, if not the best.  Johnny Cash was a great man, and an asshole.  It’s all out there.  It’s a compelling story spanning many decades, and really a love story with Jone & Johnny.  The man in black went through a lot in life.

Ray (film)Ray – Ray & Johnny Cash had eerie similar back stories.  Jamie Foxx is a genius in this film.  It’s one hell of a great story.  Ray did it all, from R&B to pop to country.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (soundtrack)Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – This is hilarious. Watch Walk the Line & Ray first though.  Then laugh hard. (♫ Haaaaard! ♫)

Wayne's World (soundtrack)Wayne’s World – You’re hearing Queen in your head right now, aren’t you?  Well, either that or the theme song.  Excellent!

Detroit Rock City (film)Detroit Rock City – I’m not the biggest KISS fan, but this road-trip gone awry is all kinds of fun.  I have had many less interesting adventures on the way to gigs… just attending or playing.  And, KISS does have some catchy songs… and a great stage show.

Role ModelsRole Models – OK, not a rock movie… but the KISS theme throughout is just hilarious.

CrossroadsCrossroads – The Karate Kid does a guitar duel with Steve Vai.  It’s sort of like  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” as a movie from the 80s.  Instead of Arnold from Happy Days, you have a Blues player, and instead of Karate you have the blues.

8 Mile8 Mile – The concept is weird… a biopic that isn’t quite.  It’s a great move though.  The struggle to make it as a musician/rapper is very compelling, and Eminem’s a pretty damn good actor… playing himself…  sort of.

Anvil! The Story of AnvilAnvil: The Story of Anvil – This movie makes me want to laugh & cry.  I feel the pain that these cats are going through.  It makes you want to punch Metallica for Some Kind of Monster.  After it all it’s all about friendship & the love of music.  Who can’t get behind that?

OnceOnce – Not really a rock movie, but a cool story intertwined with music, performing, songwriting, and even a love/friendship thing.

The Pick of DestinyThe Pick of Destiny – You can maybe skip this one.  Get the Complete Masterworks instead.  It’s slightly funnier.  These dudes are awesome rock ‘n’ rollers who capture the essence of the spirit of rock!  And they battle demons…

Purple Rain (album)Purple Rain – Musicians, watch this and learn how to own the stage from Morris Day.  Oh yeah, Prince is pretty badass too.  This is a weird 80s film, but it’s one you need to see.

Honeysuckle RoseHoneysuckle Rose – Willie Nelson is awesome.  This movie is about a traveling band that looks a lot like Willie’s… with the lead singer who looks a lot like Willie Nelson robbing his ex guitar player’s cradle to the chagrin of his wife. This soundtrack is excellent if you’re a Willie Nelson fan… highlight being a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”.

Bill & Ted's Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure & Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey – Well, the first one was cool.  I can’t wait for #3 if it ever happens!  Be excellent to each other.

Other cool movies where the music is integral… Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Rocker, The Last Dragon, SLC Punk, Some Kind of Monster, Bubba Ho-Tep, High Fidelity, Blues Brothers, Rock Star, The Runaways, and many more I’m sure.