Denver Metal Musicians on Stage Security and Violence at Shows

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Stage security has been a contentious issue in the decade since the death of Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Lamb Of God vocalist Randy Blythe was famously cleared of manslaughter in Czech Republic after a fan died from complications of a stage diving injury in 2010. More recently, NOFX vocalist Fat Mike made amends for kicking a fan in the face when he was startled by the fan's friendly embrace on stage. Every Time I Die offered no such sympathy to a fan who tried to take a selfie on stage, mid-song. Guitarist Jordan Buckley kicked the phone out of his hand and stood by his action on Twitter. Slipknot percussionist Chris Fehn denounced moshing as a form of bullying earlier this week. Westword caught up with six Denver bands for their thoughts about fan on-stage antics, mosh pits and post-Dimebag stage security.

See also: Six Reasons To Always Stage-Dive

Considering the ten year anniversary of Dimebag Darrell's death, do you think stage security is getting more or less safe for bands?

Muscle Beach (Playing Sunday 01/04/15 Seventh Circle Music Collective): It's too hard to predict something like Dimebag's situation. Trying to be aware of the surroundings and madness that can take place at shows will make the fans and bands safer.

As The Sky Darkens (Wednesday 12/31/14 Black Sheep): That depends on the type of show and venue. There's a significantly noticeable amount of precaution that's being taken, though.

In The Company Of Serpents (Friday 01/16/15 Marquis): That is such an insane, isolated incident that speaks more to how we handle mental illness as a society than to how we should handle concert security. Yes, it's good to have security at shows, but no, they don't need to be armed to the teeth and in the business of beating the shit out of stage divers. If a kid hops on stage and promptly stage dives off, there is no reason for security to then violently wrestle him to the ground and kick him out.

Chingaso (Saturday 01/10/15 3 Kings): Some venues seem more lax, some are way more strict. The Summit, for example, seems to have gotten much stricter.

Dead Temple: It's wild it's been ten years after losing DBD. I still can't really believe it and it still crushes my soul thinking about it. I remember after that incident thinking 'Jesus, now it's going to be so crazy trying to get into shows' but in reality nothing changed. Like at all in Denver at least. There's really only security working the front door at the bigger venues, and not all of them do pat downs. I really only think the last places I've been patted down before entry were stadium arenas like First Bank/ Pepsi center and at the Fillmore. Maybe the Ogden and Bluebird do pat downs but I really only go to rock 'n roll shows, so maybe security is selective based on the show. In rare scenarios there isn't even security. Being in a small local band, those kinds of thoughts will enter your mind. The situation with Dime was such a malicious evil and deranged event, the person who did that was completely insane. I feel like it was a totally isolated event and that's what makes it so tragic, nothing would have stopped that psycho. He probably would have shot his way into the venue.

But in regards to security at shows, I think it's safe. More often than not there is security of some sort and every now and again I'll be at a show and think about how easily someone could do the same thing as in Alrosa (Villa, the Ohio venue where Abbott was shot), but it's very improbable.

Rest In Power Dime. I'll never forgot what he did for me growing up listening to Pantera. --Gianni DiGiacomo, guitar

Allegaeon (Sun 12/28 Bluebird Theater): I'm sure it's about the same. Had this dude stand on the stage when we played Vancouver and it was a little unnerving. No one stopped him from coming back stage, and no one stopped him from coming on stage with us. So I'd say its the same as it was. --Greg Burgess, Guitar

What would you do if someone jumped on stage with you to take a selfie?

Muscle Beach: As long as it didn't interfere with the shredding and slaying taking place, selfie away! But if possible after the set would be ideal.

In The Company Of Serpents: Jumping onstage just to take a selfie is beyond lame. You're saying, "I'm more important than everyone else watching this show right now." I have no problem if someone jumps up on stage and quickly dives off because they're stoked on the energy, but if you linger onstage for too long, you're most likely distracting both the band and the audience in a weird, "Hey, look at me" sort of way.

As The Sky Darkens: We'd probably take the picture with them as long as it didn't interrupt our playing.

Chingaso: Funny you should ask. This happened last weekend. A bride-to-be got up on stage and [guitarist Chris] Chango humped her from behind.

Dead Temple: I'm not very good at "selfieing". So I'd just make my typical "mid-fart metal face". --Gianni DiGiacomo, guitar Allegaeon: This has happened before. We are a band thats all about having fun, so knowing us, (we would be) making a stupid face with the person taking the selfie. What kind of inappropriate behavior would make you want to punch or kick a fan while you are on stage?

Muscle Beach: We would have to say treating women with disrespect while crowd surfing. People trying to cop free feels deserve a swift kick to the nutz.

In The Company Of Serpents: Damaging our equipment, or otherwise doing anything that brings the show to a grinding halt. That said, I'm not prone to violence, so I'd probably just shame any asshole who did that until they left. Also, if I see someone pull stuff like groping women in the audience or physically assaulting someone, I will stop the show until the offending piece of shit is escorted out, preferably into the waiting arms of the cops.

As The Sky Darkens: We don't think punching or kicking are excusable unless they're throwing punches themselves. We'd most likely shove them out of the way, but never strike them.

Chingaso:Taking our shots/booze, grabbing our guitars/equipment, moving/grabbing mic. Pretty much being disrespectful.

Dead Temple: Spitting. So help me Odin if anyone ever spits anything on me I will lose my mind and Spartan kick your face inside out. --Gianni DiGiacomo, guitar

Allegaeon: When audience members sit on the stage while we're playing, and/or texting. Fucking drives me nuts. You wanna text go to the back, and let the people enjoying the show come up front. --Greg Burgess, guitar When was the last time you moshed at a show?

Muscle Beach: Justin Sanderson - "A Wilhelm scream at the Marquis last year. Derek Arrieta - " The Bronx at 3 kings New Years 2012. Roy Jones - "Between the Buried and Me in Minneapolis four years ago."

In The Company Of Serpents: Probably five years ago when Cannibal Corpse played the Gothic with 1349. I'm too old for that shit now. Plus, cowboy boots are less than ideal for moshing on beer-covered venue floors. --Grant Netzorg, vocals/guitar

As The Sky Darkens: None of us really mosh.

Chingaso: Kyle moshed at Gwar on Halloween, the rest of us are too old.

Dead Temple: I retired from the competitive pitting and stage diving somewhere in 2007-2008. I recall getting pretty thrashed in a Black Dahlia Murder pit and just kind of had to stop. I'm fairly sure I bruised a rib. I never felt more old in my life. That doesn't mean I still don't know how to party though, I'm in pits all the time still to this day, but I'm the older guy on the outside of it kind of protecting in a semi defensive stance these days. I honor the metal lords with a lot of metal claws and hair whips. But to actually answer the question I believe a Skeletonwitch show was the last time I did a circle pit thing, then the last time I stage dived was at Lost Lake when we played with Speedwolf. That was earlier this year in March. I won't lie, I was very concerned about my knees, which is just sad. --Gianni DiGiacomo, Guitar

Allegaeon: Been a few years now, getting older man.

How can promoters and security make shows safer for fans?

Muscle Beach: Security just needs to recognize when people try to start shit for no reason. If they are in a spot while trying not to get pushed around then that person should probably not be standing there. As far as promoting goes, quality bands equate to quality patrons. Fortunately, the fans and homies that attend our shows rule.

In The Company Of Serpents: To me, this responsibility lies on both the fans and the venue. The fans are the ones who are creating the community at each show, and it's up to them to make sure they're not impeding anyone else's ability to enjoy the performance. Mosh all you want when there's a mosh pit, but if you're that guy who's the only one violently smashing into people at a show where no one else is moshing, you are being an asshole. As far as promoters and security are concerned, they just need to handle offenders responsibly and professionally. If someone's being a drunk idiot, but not really harming anyone then they don't need an ass kicking, they need a cab home. --Grant Netzorg, vocals/guitar

As The Sky Darkens: We think security should be more educated on the types of shows that are taking place. People are naturally going to hardcore dance at a hardcore show, so why stop people from dancing? Just watch out for people that look injured or ready to start a fight.

Chingaso: Hand out little vials of respect and common sense. Also, bouncy castles in the mosh pit.

Dead Temple: I think going to any type of event is just a risk for anyone these days. People get murdered at schools, and churches and 'safe' places in our time and day, which is horrible but a fact. I think the venues in Denver do a great job of keeping people under control at rock 'n roll shows. I'd say it's rare to see violence at rock and metal shows. Now if we're talking about hardcore, forget it. That's a tough ass scene, from the pits to actual fist fights outside the venue. But even then I think they beef up security for those events. It's not the venue's fault if a bunch of people want to be assholes, most everyone is adults, they should know how to steer clear of harm. --Gianni DiGiacomo, guitar Allegaeon: Keep anyone without a pass or a wristband from backstage unless they are accompanied by a band member.

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