more stage dives

On display at the Hard Rock Cafe Seattle is this DW drumkit, one of the defining instruments of the Seattle scene. It belonged to Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney and was used to record their masterpiece - 1992’s Dirt.

That one album absolutely defined the grunge/metal connection and is wildly influential to this day. Sean also used these drums on the 1993 Lollapalooza tour which saw AiC headlining the mainstage along with Primus.

When the group reformed with vocalist William DuVall for 2007’s ReEvolution tour, Sean dusted these old drums off and took them on tour once again. These tubs are like some sort of grunge talisman – they’ve seen more stage dives and flannel-shirted slackers than you can possibly imagine.

What We Know, What You Should Know

After 14+ years and 500+ shows, we can’t say anything like that has ever happened before. We know everyone will jump to their conclusions and point their fingers and have their assumptions and continue the charade of this mess, but there’s really no point. In the end, considerable amounts of miscommunication and confusion left us where we were at, and where we were at was a completely no win situation.

Who was in the wrong? Who cares. Nothing will be resolved from it, nothing will change because of it, and no one can rewind and attempt to try again. We all wish we could.

“We’re money hungry assholes exploiting the scene and care nothing about hardcore.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even after years of public abuse and disrespect, we are still here. Personally, I have traveled up and down the road, supporting hardcore shows for well over 20 years. Through out those years there have been shows that permit stage diving, and those that don’t. Hardcore bands have even played Warped Tour, which has a barricade. Sometimes there are things to take into consideration, such as insurance, and it’s just not feasible to have a show with out a barrier, or a no stage diving rule.  Remember we are fans just like you and are both blindsided and frustrated about all of this just like you.

I’m a diehard fan of Stick To Your Guns and have loved the band for years. The guitar player, Chris, and myself have been friends for over 15 years. This situation sucked for everyone involved and there was no successful way out of it for anyone in any way. 

We are still working out the financials because at the end of the night, the bands were paid. All of them, even the bands who refused to play; even the bands who went across town and charged you again to see them play.

If we only did this for money we’d have given up and gotten on with our lives years ago. We have promoted some of the most awful bands with some of the worst messages and behaviors under two notions – that they were bands YOU wanted to see (and proved so by attending) and with that attendance provided us with monetary pillows to promote more shows that less want to see but still want to, to cover those financial losses. Within that, you’ll predominantly find hardcore shows. I drive a 10 year old beat up car and am a full time student trying to right the path, I wish I was doing this for the money sometimes, but this pays less than minimum wage after it is all said and done.

We went through not one, not two, not three, but FOUR hardcore band sets without issue. Four sets without a problem and four sets that just ruled. The venue (who holds all legal liabilities with events of this magnitude) agreed with us, and the bands, to take down the barricades to provide a safer environment for you. That happened, for you. It doesn’t matter how things used to be and it doesn’t matter how things should be and it doesn’t matter how we all (including us) want them to be. One kid, ONE kid (who all of you will insist will never be you) can get hurt at a show and one kid can file a lawsuit and one kid can get a venue shut down. Believe us, we’ve seen this happen multiple times, which is why many venues in Syracuse were shut down.

Where else can we go?  The Theater?  Barricade. The F Shed? Barricade. Badlands? Can’t even fit 100 people. “Why book a Terror show if you’re not going to let Terror be Terror?” Because 500 kids wanted to see Terror and only had to follow ONE rule to let that happen. Those same 500 kids saw GhostxShip, Expire, Counterparts, and Hundredth by following that one rule. 

It isn’t 1997 anymore and it isn’t 2003 anymore and it isn’t 2010 anymore. We lost The Furnace due to lawsuits over injuries at shows - who remembers The Furnace? The most accepting, cleanest, most respectful venue we’ve ever had, GONE, because of lawsuits. Do you want shows to happen or not? Do you want to see bands come here or not? To have an omelet some eggs need to be broken, and with that…expectations are had.

Not many love stage diving more than myself, but I love giving you shows more than that. If you want to see bands come here, some shit needs to be accepted and respected. It just has to, regardless if you think it’s wrong or we think it’s wrong or the bands think it’s wrong, because in the end if we want the shows to happen, we need to make it work. All of us. 

Again, we’re still working this out, but in the mean time…we’re here to listen and we’re here to support you.  We have told you time and again this is YOUR scene and it’s what YOU make of it, and YOU arguing about the rules of a venue provided for YOUR safety led to an incident that caused bands to leave and could potentially put shows at risk. Answer me this, what’s worse - shows without stage diving, or no shows at all? Ponder that, and stay tuned for further details.

POZ Review: Gnarwolves - Gnarwolves

by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen

There are no statistics in punk rock.  There are no quarterback ratings, no batting averages, no plus/minus, and no field goal percentages – just songs.  However, I’d like to argue for adding just one statistic into the punk rock mix, that statistic being stage dives per minute, because never have I ever witnessed more stage dives in a single set than when I witnessed the chaos of a Gnarwolves show.  The band’s ability to incite the masses of youth that attend their shows to disregard all bodily safety is purely uncanny and this energy is exactly what the band squeezed into their debut self-titled LP.

Gnarwolves is brash, bold, and bombastic in ways that every punk album should aspire to be; but more so, the album is not simply a hollow middle finger directed at a passing pig, it is a complete artistic statement that speaks volumes to the depth and intelligence of the three Brighton Boys.  As if Gnarwolves weren’t already aware that this LP would be under much closer scrutiny than their prior three EPs, they titled the opening track of Gnarwolves “Prove It,” which is immediately followed by ten tracks of them doing just that. 

Following “Prove It’s” mixture of big hooks, catchy choruses, and up-tempo verses is “Boneyard,” the album’s second single, which boasts one of the album’s defining lines in “We make a toast to being lonely because it’s better than drinking alone.”  At first glance the song feels like a tired teenage anthem of debauchery and drunkenness, but vocalist/guitarist Thom Weeks’ lyrics speak to more than that.  Weeks’ shouts of blacking out over and over again aren’t celebrating his alcohol use, but rather emphasizing the hardships one continually forgets with the help of countless cans of K Cider.  Weeks touches again on this theme in “Bottle to Bottle” where he sings that, “If we start drinking heavily the walls might stop shrinking.” 

Keep reading