I love that meme. That is totally me in there. Take away the v-neck sweater and the button down short and replace it with a t-shirt(preferably black) and you got it. This piece though deals more with age. I was inspired to write this up thanks to a Metalsucks article dealing with the nature of pitting. And articles like that are usually an entertaining read especially the comments. The one thing that struck me though was this mindset that if a person is of a certain age then they essentially need not show up to a metal show or have the right to gripe about it because as at least two people put it “this is a youth movement”. I of course got into a debate in the comments over this aspect but then decided to carry it over here and see what other people think of that idea.
I recall when metal was quickly gaining popularity in the early to late 80’s that yes, the average age of a metal fan was between 14-25 let’s say. That’s pretty young. But now we’re three decades into it since then and I believe that even though quite a few people deviated to other,more tame, genres of music that a core group did stay with it. So can we really believe this is a youth movement anymore? And is it a movement? I think it’s a culture by now. The bands are getting older but still playing. People still show up in band shirts or patched jackets. People still have long hair and there are still pits. And I believe (as a 42 year old male myself) that I actually have more to be pissed off and aggressive about then a 16 year old kid does. Because I’ve lived life. I have to put up with a wife, kids, mortgages, taxes, and all of it in an ever increasing tech age where more people get connected and are just as stupid. I work and don’t make enough money and am always in danger of being laid off and know people my age that are. I’m starting to get aches and pains and don’t know why and pulling back muscles from sneezing. I can fuck longer then a young guy but he can go more rounds and is more interested in it. The younger set has to deal with hormones that will stabilize and then drop off, school,girls,and deciding between school, job, military, or still living at home. So just what the hell makes this an all exclusive young guy club and no old farts allowed?
Let’s talk about the metal show and pitting then. In the 80’s you had arena rock or hair bands if you wanted to go to a show and get drunk and just rock out to the band on stage. If you listened to thrash, or speed metal or any incarnation of extreme underground metal you’d go to a show to pit and crowd surf or stage dive and the actual pitting was everyone in the front body checking each other or slammming. Now I’ve never been a pit guy. My reasons are one, I have a temper and all it would take is for one drunken asshole to put a forearm in my back or in my face for me to retaliate and then get thrown out. That’s too much money wasted when I just want to throw up the horns and headbang to my favorite bands. And second I’m there to show my support for the bands the way I see fit without being distracted that someone is going to get knocked off their feet and right into an exposed area of flesh that I would need a week to recover from. And I’m entitled to do just that just like people are entitled to go crazy in a pit. In that Metalsucks thread there were countless people that posed the question of “Well if you’re not pitting why are you there?” Because, asshole, pitting is not the central core of heavy metal music it’s an aspect of the “culture”. These people are the ones that could care less about the music other then it has power chords, distortion ,blast beats, and a razorblade gargling singer. Tell them your age and then the reaction is well you’re too old to be there anyway. Or I don’t want to hear about back in your day. Really? I’ve seen quite a few people my age or even older that were in the pits and being just as much of jackasses as the younger set.
There is something else that people seem oblivious too. Metal is not a simple genre anymore. It’s not like the 80’s where you had hair versus extreme. There are all kinds of genres where pitting is something that is much too over the top for the music vibe onstage. You don’t pit at a Nightwish show. You don’t pit at any power metal show really. Instrumental metal like Animals as Leaders or Scale the Summit….do people pit? If so why? But thrash,and death metal sure…it’s to be expected. Metal is not just a a simple aggressive music anymore( as some people would have you believe) and I would like to think with as many people that get up in arms over discrimination over race,sexual orientation or gender these days that discrimination would also not carry over into age. So I ask you, how old is too old to attend a show and/or pit or to even be a metalhead? Am I over reacting to think there is some discrimination over age when it comes to these matters?