Edward Colver's famous Wasted Youth Flip Shot
Fishbone made headlines last week when a woman successfully sued the funk/ska/punk band for $1.4 million for stage diving injuries sustained at one of their shows.
Amazingly, the remarkable thing about the story isn’t that Fishbone is somehow still around, or that people are willing to pay money to see them, or even the hilariousness of the notion that any ska band would have enough money to buy new laces for their checkered Vans, let alone shell out over a million dollars. No, the interesting thing here is that the woman, Kimberly Myers, sued because she broke her skull and collarbone not as a result of her own stage diving, but due to the lead singer, Dr. Madd Vibe (real name, I’m assuming) stage diving into the crowd.
Now, stage diving, as an act, is a pretty stupid and pointless exercise. One dumbass ascends the stage, takes his or her sweaty body mass, and hurls it on top of the sweaty body masses of other awaiting dumbasses, all while attempting to look their coolest in a room full of people trying desperately not to die. It is the trustfall for people who aren’t qualified to have real jobs wherein corporate retreats would require actual trustfalls. When you think about, stage diving serves absolutely no purpose. But then again, neither does ska.
Not only is it pointless, it’s a source of constant annoyance. If you’re standing anywhere near the stage, trying to just watch the band or bust out your best two-step or mosh moves that you’ve worked so hard on perfecting in front of the mirror at home (admit it, you have), you are at risk of someone’s spike-belted ass or boot or head landing directly on top of you. So no matter what you’re doing, you’ve got to keep one eye right above stage level at all times. The stage is like the ocean or an irate ex: NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON IT.
But as pointless and annoying as stage diving is, it happens. Particularly, it happens at shows. That’s sort of like, exactly where it happens, actually. In fact, it’s pretty much the only place where it happens. Chances are pretty low that someone will stage dive on you while you’re picking out tomatoes at Trader Joe’s or getting a cavity filled at the dentist. But when you walk into a show, guess what. The risk of you getting stage dived on just went up a million percent. Deal with it.
One way you can deal with it would be to promptly get the fuck out of the way. If a crowd or band is too chaotic for your liking, by all means, go stand in the back or somewhere you feel safe. This seems like some Darwinism 101 shit right here. If you were swimming and felt like the tide was too strong or the waves were too choppy, you’d probably get your ass ashore as quickly as possible, wouldn’t you? Same thing here. If 300-pound shirtless dudes with excessive back hair are bellyflopping mercilessly onto your head, get the fuck out of harm’s way, you dummy.
The same rules apply for doing the stage diving. If you’re going to leap blindly into a sea of strangers who are under no obligation whatsoever to catch you, that’s fine. Do what you gotta do. But if they let you fall flat on your face and you smash your head on the floor and get knocked out, guess whose fault that is. I’ll give you a minute to regain consciousness here, but it’s your fault, genius.
The notion that you would sue the band for your injuries is ridiculous and makes you look like a total asshole. If they played too loudly and you damaged your ears, would you sue them for that? If they spilled beer on you, would you send them the dry cleaning bill? No, you wouldn’t. You paid to see them play and that’s what they’re gonna do: play. Buy some fucking earplugs, wear a shitty shirt, and for god’s sake, look up, stupid.
Dan Ozzi is an editor at Noisey and never thought he'd see the day when he'd be defending Fishbone. Follow him on Twitter - @danozzi
(This shit on the other hand needs to die asap.)