My first time in the pit was in 1992, when I went to see House of Pain and Cypress Hill at The Ritz in Ybor City. This band I’d never heard of called Rage Against the Machine was the opening act and they blew the place away. Of course, they’d soon be blowing up the radio and the charts, but that night they were just an awesome opening act that drew me into the madness. The music and the energy was irresistible.
I went home that night with a new cassette tape and desire to experience that frenzied energy again. So I spent the first few years of the ’90s jumping around and doing a mosh pit mix of kick/punch/dancing. I wore big pants, Doc Martens and a collection of flannels from Goodwill.
I graduated to crowd surfing by ’94 at the Foo Fighters concert once again at The Ritz. I made the mistake of wearing overalls and a couple people tried to get handsy with the easy access. I used a technique I’d honed at Mardi Gras, where you grab the hand that inappropriately grabbed you, and then you punch or kick the person it’s attached to as hard as you can. I have made a lot of rude guys very unhappy.
Overall the crowd was always very respectful to the point of watching out for me. I remember dropping down to the floor at one point, getting trampled a bit and someone yelling, “It’s a girl! Help her up!” Sure I got pushed and shoved around in the pit, but it was mostly just jumping around and hitting into peoples shoulders and then flailing around by yourself for a bit before someone else bumps into you. I also was tall, thin and had short hair, so most of the time it was hard to tell I was a girl in the crowd anyway.
I went to a lot of great shows in Ybor and at Jannus Landing in the early 90s and have many fond memories. I both wish we had had access to camera phones and am grateful we did not. My days of mosh pits and crowd surfing are far behind me now. And while the music will always stir up a little something inside me, I have no desire to jump in a crowd and run into people. In fact, I’d like to just stay home and go to bed at a sensible hour because I have to get up early and do adult life parent stuff.
I swapped raging against the machine for raging about bath time and brushing teeth. I get less bruises and more hugs, so it’s not so bad. Although do sometimes get fed up and get the urge to just start yelling, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” when I get asked for a glass of milk for the 10th time. (It’s a major song lyric in case you don’t know RATM and am wondering why I suddenly got salty) But no, I keep it in check.
I’ll just stick to my enjoying my mosh pit memories, far away from the crowd. And that’s exactly where I want to be.