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Old 11-16-2005, 06:42 AM   #1
PiNk_ThE_pUnK
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Hardcore Dancing (and moshing) Origins

So I was talking to an old friend of mine (old as in age not i've known him for ages) who was around throughout the early 80's punk and hardcore scene and we got talking about dancing. What he had to say I found incredibly interesting and I thought some of you would also like to learn about this sort of thing. So here it is:

I've heard of two different characters who apparently 'invented' slamdancing. One is Jim Kaa, guitarist of seminal beach punks The Crowd (y'know where the Descendents got it all from along with the Klan), and the other is Mike Marine (of the Decline of Western Civilization). The year and place the same; 1979 in Huntington Beach, California.

Bored of the traditional pogo, jumping and pushing into other people became the order of the day. And if you believe the Mike Marine story, gave a good battering at the same time. The dance was referred to as the 'Huntington Beach Shuffle' (as immortalised by Shawn Kerri's 'skank kid' cartoons for the Circle Jerks) when the dance evolved into running in a large circle; "If you look at the slamdance itself, if you look at the configuration, it's basically a kid riding a skateboard." (Keith Morris, Circle Jerks/Black Flag).

If you want to look at the dance, you also have to look at the precise origins of hardcore itself. Which again, traces back to Huntington Beach, and certain schools such as Edison High, where otherwise normal beach kids were getting regularly hospitalised by roaming gangs of 4x4 Lynyrd Skynyrd rednecks. A friend of 'Eugene' (Decline of Western Civilisation) called Dana decided to form a "fight-back skinhead army", and within weeks was in 'control' of upwards of 100 kids controlled by an inner circle; 'the Wayward Cains' (6'+ surfer kids who later became members of bands like T.S.O.L.) These beach kids took on the more sensationalised and violent media version of what punk rock was supposed to be, and intensified it.

Darby Crash died in December 1980, so the Germs, the only original 1977 band of the Masque scene to be embraced by the beach kids, were out of the frame, and the rest of the early punks rejected hardcore. But bands such as Black Flag, Fear and the Circle Jerks, were speeding up their music, encouraging slamdancing. Which was already being shortened to 'slamming' or 'skanking', and the dancefloor became known as 'the pit'.

The Circle Jerks (and entourage) had headed north in August 1980, and played at the Mabuhay Gardens with a touring Teen Idles from Washington D.C. and MacKaye, Rolllins, Nelson and their counterparts went back east impressed with the codified behaviour, dancing and uniform of these 'hardcore' punks, and Minor Threat was formed, along with harDCore, as they adopted it, including as a way to defend themselves against the normals. The influence also left it's bootprint on San Francisco at the same time, seeing bands speed up, including the Dead Kennedys on the 1981 'In God We Trust, Inc.'

But it remained the 'slam' until the last-legs, and desperate for ideas, heavy metal, decided to appropriate hardcore's intensity, art and fashion in order to redefine itself as thrash metal in the mid-late 80's. This is where it was renamed the 'mosh' (if it was Vinnie Stigma, he was probably asking Roger for a 'wash' ); a caricature term, much more cute, and media-friendly, that has, sadly, become the accepted term for the slamdance.

By the mid-late 80's, hardcore 'punk' had obviously moved on, with the post-revolution summer D.C. scene moving on and eschewing violence, and even dancing in totality. Other reactions against (in true punk rock fashion) were the pigpiling, goofing about and food fights, popular in the emerging S.F. Bay Area 'Gilman Street' scene and the likes Operation Ivy and especially Isocracy (later Samiam), where humour and shift back to melody and urgency, spawned the pop punk scene that exploded globally in the mid 90's.

The current fare of macho ridiculousness came to the fore with the rise of Victory records style 'hardcore', and bands like Earth Crisis in the mid 90's, further evolved by Bridge Nine type dirge. I don't know anything about the specifics of this kind of 'hardcore' as I have no interest in it, own none of the music, and have heard very little, as it is a continuation of the late 80's thrash metal as far as I'm concerned.

"I don't know when they stopped calling it the 'slam pit' and it started to be called the 'mosh pit'. That term came about after I got out of the scene. I think it came from heavy metal. It's not punk. It never came from Flag or any of the early Orange County hardcore bands that I remember." Mugger (SST Records, Black Flag roadie, Nigheist)

Just something i'd like to add Vinnie Stigma of Agnostic Front is credited with coining the term "mosh" as it supposidly stands for "March Of Skin Heads" but it is actually a derrivation of a term the Bad Brains used which was "mash it up" which was a form of afro-carribean dancing. This got changed as people without the afro-carribean accents started to use it.

Just some history for you all their that I thought was interesting.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:07 AM   #2
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Wow, I never knew that Vinnie Stigma came up with the term "mosh", and that it standed for "March Of Skin Heads".
I still think slam dancing sounds better though.

Interesting read there. Well written too, I might add
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:07 AM   #3
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God do I hate hardcore dancing. Nothing ruins a show better than having some spazzy 14 year old running towards you, flailing his limbs in every which direction when all you're trying to do is enjoy the music.

I've dealt with this many many times and I don't even go to hardcore shows! Some kids were doing this at a friggin midtown concert for crying out loud!

So when I see an unearth concert on TV or something, and I see kids drop-kicking each other in the face, it really makes me sick. Jumping and/or moving around to release some energy is one thing.... but super street fighter II turbo jumping flash kicks are another.

But...... to each their own, I guess.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:32 AM   #4
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:33 AM   #5
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Informative and well written, great job.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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Nice read!

you might have noticed I haven't been around much Dai, I've been really busy with my band, study and girlfriend lately.. I've decided to quit modding on UG since I'm hardly around.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:49 AM   #7
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No worries man, i've been pretty busy with college etc at the moment so I know what that's like. It's a pity you've quit modding but I guess your real life is more important than a forum eh?!
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Old 11-16-2005, 03:14 PM   #8
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this was probably the best article i've seen on this sight for a logn time.
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:31 PM   #9
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tru dat..
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:39 PM   #10
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I'm assuming this is also a good place to fill others about local forms of slamdancing. Here in North Alabama me and some friend do this thing called "The Alabama Shuffle" it where you dance like a hick and ****ing run into everyone in the pit and scream things out with a thick southern accent.

If you can come across the Chaos ******* episode with the Eyes of Hate, I'm on it doing the Alabama Shuffle.
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Old 11-17-2005, 05:02 PM   #11
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this is awesome. its good to show kids that hardcore dancing has some history to it, since everyone on here seems to hate it. it also goes against the metal forums making fun of it in thier "Hardcore Dancing" thread where all they do is bash it.
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Old 11-17-2005, 08:43 PM   #12
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Hardcore dancing where you act like a ninja is stupid.


Circle Pits, Not Ninja Kicks!
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Old 11-17-2005, 08:45 PM   #13
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Circle pits suck.
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Old 11-17-2005, 09:54 PM   #14
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Hardcore dancing has got to be the most absurd thing I've ever seen. The fact that so much of its history is based on random things said by former members of "classic" hardcore bands just shows its stupidity even more. Circle pits are ridiculous...moshing is supposed to be about having fun, not getting the crap kicked out of you by some kid who has a bone to pick with the air.

Having said that, it was a well-written article, and you definitely did your research, no matter how silly I believe the subject matter to be.

Quote:
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this is awesome. its good to show kids that hardcore dancing has some history to it, since everyone on here seems to hate it. it also goes against the metal forums making fun of it in thier "Hardcore Dancing" thread where all they do is bash it.


How does the fact that it has a history mean anything to people who hate it? And that thread in the metal forum is long dead. There was one about dancing at a Cryptopsy show, though, which disgusts me...that might still be floating around somewhere...
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Old 11-18-2005, 04:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedZeppelin
Circle pits are ridiculous...moshing is supposed to be about having fun, not getting the crap kicked out of you by some kid who has a bone to pick with the air.



ummm a cirlce pit is a bunch of kids that run around in a circle.
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Old 11-19-2005, 05:15 AM   #16
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circle pits n two stepping is so fun. good article.
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Old 11-19-2005, 12:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casualtyvampire
circle pits n two stepping is so fun. good article.

Isn't that an oxymoron?
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyvern
ummm a cirlce pit is a bunch of kids that run around in a circle.


Those were separate thoughts. Circle pits are stupid, "air ninjas" are stupid.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:11 PM   #19
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I'm assuming this is also a good place to fill others about local forms of slamdancing. Here in North Alabama me and some friend do this thing called "The Alabama Shuffle" it where you dance like a hick and ****ing run into everyone in the pit and scream things out with a thick southern accent.


You assumed correctly. That sounds totally awesome man.
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Old 11-22-2005, 04:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedZeppelin
Those were separate thoughts. Circle pits are stupid, "air ninjas" are stupid.

yeah running into people and banging your head is so much funner
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