Jumping Darkness Parade




Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a peaceful guy. I have no violent tendencies and avoid fights at almost any cost. I know plenty of people who would be happy to hospitalize someone for me, and that helps me rest easy. Violence is not really something I concern myself with. That said, it is certainly a reality of life. Turn on the news, read the newspapers, or live in a poor neighborhood and you’ll see just how much a reality of life violence is. Understanding that human on human violence is a fact of life brings up the subject of categorization. These categories are simple. Are you justified to beat the fuck out of someone? Well, it depends. Right? Sometimes it’s all right. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. And sometime it’s not the right thing to do. How do you decipher?

Let’s look at one of my own experiences from when I had first started to tour. I was in Belgium; the backstage of the show was mayhem, and we could hear the noises from the front of the house. It was even more violent and fucked up than I could have imagined. This wasn’t just skinheads beating the fuck out of people. It was a little sicker. There was a guy walking around the merch area with a cow’s tongue, whipping people, Indiana Jones-style, with it. Hard. To the face, to the ribs, to women. He didn’t care. He was whipping people with an animal body part.  Multiple fights broke out. Every few minutes I would hear a loud “boom.” Sounded like concrete hitting the ground. No, it was just someone getting his or her head smashed into concrete. Eventually the merch area was closed down due to the extreme violence.

Around when the merch area shut down we got word that anti-American protestors might rush the stage. This was 2004: The American Government started a war in Iraq that most of the rest of the world didn’t condone. Hatred for Americans at that time was at a high. During the days when we went out in Europe, we encountered a good amount of hatred from people. Hatred and threats. We were not comfortable being there. Regardless of the rumors that the stage might get rushed, we decided to play but to be on guard. The other bands on the bill were guarding the stage for us. Everyone was ready to go to war.

The set starts and everything is great. Everything is going. First song ends and the vocalist starts talking to the crowd. At that point I feel someone grabbing my arm. Hard. I look down and sure enough some audience member is grabbing my right arm and just wont let go. In fact he was starting to come up on the stage grabbing my arm while the drummer was counting in a song. SHIT. I took my first opportunity to kick him full-power in the ribs. A second didn’t go by before guys from the opening band rushed the stage, grabbed him, and then threw him at least fifteen feet into the crowd. Apparently, this wasn’t enough for him. He made his way back up to the front and started climbing up onstage to start shit with the vocalist. The vocalist landed an upercut to his attacker’s jaw so fucking hard that if this were a cartoon, you would have seen stars floating around. He flew into the crowd. We never saw him again. Fuck with us onstage and you’ve got problems.

We have been heckled, insulted, made fun of, YOU NAME IT, but nobody in my band (current line-up) has ever started shit with an audience member. YES, we get heckled sometimes. NO, it’s not fun. YES, it’s rude. But hey, buy the ticket and take the ride. The ticket we bought was the “go on tour” ticket. Part of that ride involves getting possibly heckled. Fact of life. If you can’t handle that, you’re a pussy. Not everyone is going to like your music. Some people will be offended by your music. Some people will make a show out of letting you know how much they hate your music. The proper response is NOT to attack them. The proper response is to make light of the situation and to keep on killing it onstage.

I don’t know what happened in this Rose Funeral incident because I wasn’t there, but if it is true – bitch move, dudes. Good going. Very manly and secure of you to attack some kids at a show because they didn’t like your music. How can you ever hope to tour with a band like Slayer?

And to the readers of my blog: when do you guys think it’s justified to bring the beatdown?


Levi/Werstler’s debut album, Avalanche of Worms, comes out April 20 on Magna Carta. You can listen to a track and pre-order the release here. You can also follow the project on MySpace and Facebook.

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