The Life Of The BlogBLOG >> Mind Your Head
Mind Your Head
Nigel, Sunday 26th May, 2013
This being the internets, many of you have probably seen this excellent piece of writing, by a guy who appears to be smart and switched on and honourable and brave and all of that right stuff:
It certainly had a resonance with me, as it's something that crosses my mind on many nights of my working life. In my position sat with a good view of the front row welded to a drum stool and with little else to do of an evening except keep an eye on the goings on in the crowd (well, apart from the drumming I suppose) I get to see all sorts. About which maybe I will talk another time.
But I feel properly torn when anything rough or injurious happens. In Winnipeg on one tour I had to grab some jock moron who was shoving people smaller than him about (that was a bit of over-sensitive sexism worry - my original sentence was 'shoving girls about', but believe me I'm very aware that there are plenty of girls out there who are far more capable than me of standing up to jock morons). But that kind of thing, in its way, doesn't make me tense. It's straightforward - that guy's a dick, and if there's no security to do what needs to be done I'm happy to go and take charge. (The knock-on effect was to cause my biggest and most toe-curling onstage fuck-up ever, but that also is a story for another day).
Harder to cope with is things like the first of our two Webster Hall shows in New York. A crowd surfer came over and mashed a girl's face into the barrier on his way to ground. I very starkly remember the look of horrified shock on the face of her friend next to her a moment later - I couldn't see clearly myself but it had clearly done some serious damage.
My first instinct was to run over and help, but for better or worse in those cases professionalism has to be maintained so I continued drumming, slightly distractedly, while she was taken out of the crowd. When the yawnsome solo acoustic section in the middle (just kidding) came about I ran out to front of house to see if I could find her and check if she was OK. Security told me that she was outside and an ambulance was imminent. To me it seemed a weak and pathetic salve, but I went and grabbed a T-shirt from our merch stand to give to her (to mop up the blood? as a memento of a gig where she got injured? fucked if I know). I caught up with her just before the ambulance headed off, where she looked dazed and confused but alive.
I heard later that the woman concerned was fine, but I see the same thing (thankfully to a lesser extent, and even more thankfully at a different degree of seriousness than the Lamb Of God incident) most nights - someone always gets an unexpected kick to the side of the head in the centre of the front row and I feel really bad. Even though my initial feeling is that the crowd surfers are irresponsible arses, I know that's not the case - it's a gig and that kind of thing is an exciting expression of the energy and enjoyment that we are trying to create. But equally I can't put myself in a position of imagining that what I'm doing is in any way worth getting a boot to the temple, or a cracked skull.
There's no solution here, just spleen venting. But I feel better having screamed. (Anyone catch that reference?) I guess all I can say is look after each other in any rock and roll crowd you're in, and if you want to be in the front row either accept that there may be some roughness, or come prepared with an American Football Helmet.