Right, so last week the internet turned upside-down and inside out when Fat Mike, front-man of punk stalwarts NoFX, reflexively punched and then brutally kicked a fan, who had invaded the stage during their sell out show in Sydney, Austrailia.
His act of moderately extreme violence was condoned or condemned with passionate veracity depending how dangerous a place you consider the performance stage to be, in the still considerable wake of the shooting of Dimebag Darrell.
When it turned out that the Kid in question was an extremely youthful fan, armed only with a big smile and a love for NoFX in his heart, Fat Mike rapidly showed significant contrition; promising to buy the young man (Alex Medak) a beer among other conciliatory gestures via his twitter feed.
And Lo, it came to pass that this Friday young Master Alex got enact a degree of revenge on his erstwhile Hero. Being allowed to deliver a return kick to Fat Mikes shin. Admittedly this kick was only allowed to happen once he had changed into a complimentary pair of fluffy cotton slippers.
But the blow struck home strong and true. Doubling Fat Mike over in pain, twisting his band-mates into paroxysms of mirth and restoring order and justice to the world of Punk.
He also received a unique NoFX shirt featuring a picture of his assault, a beer (Mike tries to fob him off with a half drunk one, but capitulates and grants him access to an unopened bottle, along with the golden opportunity to join Mike on stage to help singing fan favourite 'Linoleum' that night.
Alls well that ends well.
But the incident brings into sharp focus the potentially perilous nature of being on stage. After all it is only 18 months since Randy Blythe was found not guilty of causing the death of Czech fan Daniel Nosek. In the TMZ clip, Mike is obviously and sincerely glad that the fan he kicked is both alive, healthy and that he is "taking it so well" – presumably shorthand for not attempting to use the situation to his financial advantage.
I am happy too, it is always a pleasure to see common sense and kindness prevail. But it does ask the question, just where does the responsibility for avoiding future fan/band confrontations, lie? With Bands? With Fans? With Venues, Security or with the social conventions of attending a show?
I'm old and past it now myself. But for some young people a night without Stage Dive is not a night worth remembering. So hopefully collectively we can rise above the petty torments of fear and mistrust and feel the collective respect that loving Metal (or punk) generates within us.
No Stage Diving = No Circle Pit = No Moshing = No Movement = No Atmosphere = No Crowd = No Fun = No Show.
Hold on, No Circle Pit? Fuck that shit. Circle Pit for Life!!!
– John Whitmore