Welcome to The Many Faces of Manny—a new monthly-ish column from yours truly that we’re (mostly) proud to introduce here at Horns Up!
For the past couple months, I’ve been writing album reviews on a relatively consistent basis, and through these, you’ll have discovered that I’m not only a medium for conveying music via multisyllabic descriptions, but also a terribly narcissistic person with a literally never ending appetite for attention. But I also have feelings, and unfortunately for those around me, those feelings are often deeply-rooted in anger and expressed through severe and unrelenting aggression. Thus, at the recommendation of my therapist(s), I’ll be working through those feelings by writing this column (which does not, in any way, reflect the views of Horns Up) on a disparate and varied range of topics.
The Many Faces of Manny will run on the second Tuesday of every month going forward. Please feel free to email the Horns Up team or tweet at me with topics and suggestions for me to violently rage about in future columns. But for now, let’s kick things off with this first edition: why I detest the ancient practice of “moshing.”
Teenage angst can be a wonderful thing. At one point it fueled us to rebel against our parents, stay up late, break stuff, lose our virginity and broaden our horizons. Unfortunately, it also makes a bunch of dudes (and some women) think it’s an amazing idea to run in a circle punching others around them in their heads and bodies. Well, I have a great reason why no one should mosh—because it ruins the show for the other 95 percent of the population that isn’t into your pent-up sexual aggression and antics.
Now, if you’re picturing this occurring at a concert, you might think there was a designated area for it. Perhaps it only happens in the back where no one is trying to watch a group of artists perform something they have spent their entire life perfecting. You’d be wrong. Instead they do it right in the damn middle of the entire crowd. Don’t want to be involved? Tough luck! If you’re standing three or four people deep from the pit there’s a good chance that someone will barrel into you, spilling your $12 Heineken Light and stepping on your Dr. Martens.
Here is an example of how stupid people who mosh are: I was in Philadelphia seeing In My Eyes and The Hope Conspiracy play at a student center at Temple University. During the In My Eyes set, a rotund and energetic young lad skittered backwards to do some potentially epic move where he punched the floor and donkey kicked someone in the chest. One problem though: he broke his own leg. His fragile stem snapped under his own weight. As he was wheeled out by the paramedics, no one cheered; instead, people laughed. Because that guy was an idiot and that single event should have ended moshing forever.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me that moshing is an historic practice that goes back to the ancient roots of punk in the ’70s and hardcore in the early ’80s. That’s great. But here’s the thing: the people that started the whole idea were assholes. They started an entire movement that was against the idea of conformity. Their entire goal was to buck the social norms of every situation. Thus, instead of standing there appreciating the art that you paid good money (probably your parents’ good money) to see, they ran in circles, jumped on top of each others’ heads and slammed their bodies together with their shirts off screaming and sweating.
I will admit it: getting old sucks. There are no two ways about it. Once you hit 30, your hangovers last for days, your back hurts constantly, you take anxiety pills like they’re breath mints and you have to wake up in the morning to go to work. Epic bummer. I’m sure this makes me come across as that old guy just a washed up has-been. The guy that all the younger kids call a poser at the metal show. But here’s the thing—I still hated moshing when I was your age. Hated it. I never understood, especially as a musician, how this idiotic display of machismo related to the performance. You’re not in the band, no matter how many people you punch make bleed or cry. You’re just not. No one is paying money to see you mosh. No one is going to give you a lifetime achievement award. The show is simply not about you. It’s about the band on stage.
So stop ruining it for the vast majority of people at the show and please stop banging into us while we try to enjoy something. Please stop listening to music only to identify the mosh part where you can jump on your sweaty friends back and kick some poor, innocent teenage girl directly in her Monroe piercing. You’re cheapening the experience.