It’s been a couple of weeks since I first penned this article and many of you have been kind enough to voice your approval for my suggestions but more importantly some felt energised to provide your own, most of which, I wished I had included in the original list. So I have decided to revamp and revise the Guide to include your prescient and intelligent comments.
If after you have read this, you still feel that an essential point has been missed, please comment below so we can produce the definitive guide and all of us can become the champions we were born to be. Sucking fucking sucks. So let’s not suck anymore!
All new suggestions are marked with an *.
Some people live with their head in the sand and don’t truly appreciate how much hard work and dedication goes into making the Music that we love.
To be frank, I used to suck; I was an ignorant at how things worked and took for granted the existence of my favourite bands. But through seeing several of them crumble under the weight of financial need, I began to piece together a collection of simple rules for myself, that if I followed, would ensure that if any band I loved ceased to be, it wouldn’t be in any way my fault.
This may be motivated by my selfish desire to avoid a sense of personal blame. But fans and bands have a symbiotic relationship one into which they both need to feed. Fans as consumers may think that they fulfill their part of the bargain by listening to the music and cheering from the side-lines. But they can become a much more integral part of the system that nurtures and sustains bands; encouraging them to reach greater and greater heights of spectacle and brutality.
1) When at a show have 2 less drinks and buy a band shirt.
Did you ever see bar-staff at a venue under-employed, searching for some-one to serve? Rarely, if ever. How many times have you seen a member of a hard-working touring band standing behind his merch table, a despondent look on his face, as drunken people busily turn over-priced booze into pee all around him? I certainly have.
Most touring bands survive off the revenue generated by t-shirt sales. It can even make the difference between being able to make it to the next gig and not. A t-shirt is a permanent memory of the good time you had at a show, so go and make the Singer or Bass player (as it invariably is ) smile and buy a shirt, because let’s face it, we’re both drunk enough.
2) Don’t Be Judgmental*
Everyone likes Metal for slightly different reasons. Its speed, heaviness, aggression, skill, technicality, power, bleakness, euphoria, passion, intensity; the list of qualities that metal encapsulates are legion and far too numerous to list completely. So the reasons that you like what you like won’t mesh totally with the person next to you. Don’t look down on them for what they enjoy.
You took Metal to your heart because it was the only thing that could empathise with you during the darker moments of your youth. Don’t be a hypocrite or a close-minded elitist because now only Black Metal or Djent or Future-Neo-Blackened-Alien-Core floats your Boat. Name calling is essentially childish, so be the bigger man/woman and tell everyone what you like about your favourite genre, rather than what you hate about theirs.
3) When given the opportunity to “Name Your Price” on BandCamp, it should never be Zero
Even if The Circle Pit has a kickass “Free Music” campaign to help spread deep underground bands… Music is expensive to produce, both in time and money. Studio time, rehearsal space, equipment, engineers, mixing, mastering. It all costs and costs and costs again. So if you like someone’s music enough to download it, chuck them a Pound, or a Buck, or a Euro, or some Yen.
4) Don’t Steal Music
Metal-Heads have a rapacious desire for new music and finances are naturally limited. But theft is theft. Besides, nearly every album you could want to hear is available to listen to on a variety of websites. YouTube, Spotify and Free Music Monday right here at TheCirclePit.com can all be used to sate your desire for listening to the latest tracks. Find the albums you love and then save up to own them.
5) Don’t Be An Arsehole*
I love moshing; probably a little less than I did when I was 21 but it’s still an awesome way of relieving stress and becoming a part, albeit temporarily, of the music. But some people seem to have forgotten or seemingly never learnt how to do it correctly.
a) Don’t Punch. It’s a mosh pit, not Fight Club. If you’re hard-core arm flailing, ensure you’re not going to ruin someone’s month with a reverse round house to the face.
b) If someone falls over, pick them up.
c) Don’t cop a feel. Misogyny may sound like a band name but it’s not fucking cool! Women should be able to enjoy a mosh without having to feel cheapened
d) Apologise – if you knock someone flying and it looks like they didn’t enjoy it say sorry. Not everyone is as strong as you.
e) If someone looks like they want to escape but can’t, help them. It’s like their drowning and the water is the lifeguard.
6) Turn Up Early
Going to a show? Fan of the headliner? If you can, go along and check out all the support Bands. They will love you for it and you never know who you will discover. I went to see Nile late last year and they had 4 support acts, the first 2 Pestifer and Svart Crown are now among my favourite artists.
7) Let Yourself Go*
Whether you love to mosh or enjoy standing at the back of the crowd, open your heart and your mind to truly experience the cathartic effect Metal can have on your soul. Within the whole realm of music, nothing can grab you by the lapels and truly shake the accumulated shit out of you quite like Metal. And when a band has finished kicking your ass back to normality, show your appreciation – Raise the Horns, hoot, holler and clap your hands off.
8) Do Your Best To Spread The Word
Even your non-Metal friends’ need to Thrash Out! Because of this requirement they can be easily manipulated into becoming one of us. You just need to choose their gateway band wisely.
9) Start your own Band*
Don’t hesitate for a minute, advertise immediately, find other people who share your dream and get going. Each new Band further cements Metal as the world’s strongest music movement. Even if you’re terrible to begin with (which you might well be) keep going – you’ll improve, get fans and get that rush of adrenaline fuelled satisfaction when someone tells you they loved your set!
10) Support Your Local Scene
I was guilty of moaning, at what I perceived a lack of Bands playing shows local to me. But what I had failed to grasp is that I was surrounded by literally hundreds of bands striving to make their mark.
Supporting local Bands is simple, their shows will often be free and they will be mightily gratefully to anyone who shows up; they sell cheap merch, which means the 2 drinks you sacrificed following point 1 can easily be regained.
11) Don’t Rely On Facebook!*
It may have brought some amazing bands to your attention but it has become a Black Hole into which dreams, news and musicians hard work disappear. Posts that used to reach 25% of a bands likes, now only manages 3-4% at best. So if you want to know when your favourite artists are touring or have a new record out, make the effort and visit their page or get yourself on their mailing list.
Can someone for the Love of God/Satan (your pick) please invent a site called MetalBook, where every band gets one post per day and everybody who likes that band sees each post. So we can live without the avalanche of selfies, cat videos and Doge memes and just get the info we want…. and relax.
12) Just Say No To Bootlegs
I’m prepared to look the other way if you want to buy an unreleased live recording of Maiden playing in Tokyo in 1983 which will never be available otherwise, but your counterfeit Gorgoroth Long-sleeve isn’t helping anybody.
13) Attend Small Festivals
Ok, so you won’t see Emperor play at Beermageddon, but you will have a great time and get to meet and know the bands that play at these grass-roots events, because they’ll probably be camping next to you.
They are vital opportunities for bands to reach a wider audience and without our support these festivals won’t survive and we’ll all be going to Download.
The Metal community is unique within the world of Music. It is a self-sustaining collective that we are all in some small way responsible for. It is made by Fans for Fans; there is a singular beauty in this circularity. Let’s all work together to keep the wheels spinning.
– John Whitmore