I Was A Victim Of Moshing: One Metalhead’s Confession
It was the first week of ninth grade. There I was, Kelly Rhombus, your typical fourteen-year-old in a Powerman 5000 shirt, excited to enter the world of higher learning. Little did I know the life of shame, bitterness, and sweat-drenched rage that awaited me.
After gym class, I was grabbing my backpack and looking at my class schedule when I heard snickering from behind me. Turning around, I saw a group of the upperclassmen standing among the crowds of recently-showered students, whispering to each other and glancing occasionally at me. Many of them were dressed in cargo shorts and denim vests. One of them was definitely heavy-set and wearing a Pantera shirt with the rebel flag on it. At first, I thought maybe they wanted to introduce themselves to me, so I politely smiled and waved.
“Hey, new kid,” said one of them, a junior named Larry. “You doing it?
“Doing what?” I asked, suddenly not so sure this was the welcome wagon I expected.
“The Toxic Waltz, motherfucker!” he screamed, clenching his fists at his sides.
“Let’s open this shit up!” bellowed another guy. He and his friends all extended their arms and ran backwards, slamming us into lockers and creating an open area in the center of the locker room. The lights dimmed for no apparent reason. From somewhere behind us, Lamb of God’s “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” began blaring. Suddenly, everyone was wearing Pantera and Slayer shirts, along with camo cut-offs and wallet chains.
And then, it began.
For the next twenty minutes, I was repeatedly moshed. There was two-stepping, floor-punching, head-walking, emo karate, arm-over-shoulder headbanging. I took elbows to the face, crowdsurfers to the skull, a whirling Doc Marten to the balls. Sometimes, everyone was shoving at once; others, a single massive Hispanic guy who looked too old to be going to school with us strutted around the pit, glaring at anyone who made eye contact with him. Just when I thought it was finally over, Larry stuck up his finger, spun it around, and mouthed “AW YEAH.” A circle pit erupted, and without warning I was sucked into a whirlpool of bodies, guys shoving me from behind and screaming along to the lyrics of the various thrash tracks that emanated from somewhere in the room.
Needless to say, the day changed me. I went home bruised and bloodied wearing a fluorescent wristband I have no memory of putting on.
But that wasn’t the last time moshing invaded my life. For you see, that day taught me that moshing was okay. As a reaction, I’m ashamed to say that I, too, took part in moshing at my school. As I grew older, I found myself moshing underclassman constantly. Almost overnight, my wardrobe was dominated by Pantera shirts. Before classes began, I’d sit on the front steps of school with my buddies watching Freshman walk in, sizing them up, Testament lyrics on our lips: “The mass production and the killing of all, in-to the pit…”
For years, I’ve kept this kinetic, musclebound secret to myself. But today, when Slipknot’s Chris Fehn revealed what I’ve been thinking for years—that moshing is bullying—I realized I didn’t have to be afraid any more. I am not alone.