Death by Mixtape

Pit stops, pizza makers, and Pearl Jam (not).

Just five feet away, just beyond a thick, rotting wooden door, Portland was basking in an uncharacteristically balmy late October Sunday afternoon. Instead of low-riding to "Gin and Juice" one last time in two thousand thrizzle, I was corpse sober at Mary's, a last-stop-on-the-suicide- bullet-train strip bar straight out of Buffalo 66, lacking only the Yes soundtrack. A dancer tried her gymnastic best to make Black Crowes' "Remedy" tolerable, but my thoughts were fixed on the soft, tattooed flesh of a different Italian girl who might have been soon disrobing for rentme.

So, duh, I've been out of the Mixtape zone for two weeks, and Seattle has been clamoringclamoring, I tell youfor an explanation. The answer is twofold: spatial constraints and a little burnout, despite a rash of column-worthy mega-events, all of which I missed/flaked on, including the CMJ Music Marathon in N.Y.C. (no flight dough), acoustic Pearl Jam at Benaroya Hall (publicists probably suspected I'd dis them, but we'll never know; I fucking love "Even Flow"), Blood Brothers and Cursive at Graceland (was in pontificating jackass mode; drank in the lounge), and Lightning Bolt's hog-wild impromptu outdoors set (was in the office, committing temporary Friendster suicide).

A less literal heat seeker on the Andrew D.B. FAQ: "When are you going to do another column so I can hang out with you at parties and/or shows, act 'crazy,' and get my first name in bold print?" Actually, I can't bitch about this one; it's resulted in a few instant-classic anecdotes, especially the one about a local dude who allegedly buddied up with a certain Hollywood starletthe one who's dating the drummer from that band whose moniker tellingly rhymes with "jokes"then froze the condom (thanks, Josh).

Anyway, I'm back and, rest assured, still a misused semicolon from freaking out on this column and the scene and flying to Jupiter. This week's psychological and very physical stopgap: the mosh.

The thing that sucks about going to college and giving up Alice in Chains for Sunny Day Real Estateand I'd better get some electronic hell, yeahs on that, you snobsis abandoning the mosh. How often do we mope around at shows and bitch that "nobody's getting into this!" (Usually because we're covering up for the pathetic inhibitions that keep us from starting the party ourselves.) Grinding exuberantly with perfect strangers is great, but United States of Electronica and the Faint don't exactly have S-Town residencies. Brainy hardcore throwdown perps like the Blood Brothers or Himsa? There's too many people watching out for one another, so what's the point? Rock shows are all about celebrating music by being an aggressive asshole and nearly killing somebody, or being a morbid asshole and nearly killing yourself. Sometimes we gotta crawl back to The End and get stupid. It's stress release, it requires no critical thought, and it makes us feel young . . . um, ideally.

My new obsession unexpectedly began during A.F.I.'s Paramount set last Tuesday. I had no intention of pitting, but after downing three screwdrivers like shotsthe jaded urban alcoholic's equivalent of Peaches' "fucking the pain away"I was tipsy enough that my friend Jesse easily shoved me into the fray. The average A.F.I. fan, it turns out, pits like a cross between Hitler Youth, Jackie Chan, and Nomi from Showgirls. Unaware of this, I happily executed the "pizza maker" and was just about to "pick up change," when I was unceremoniously whaled in the teeth and tomahawked on the forehead and found myself on my back not being picked up.

Suddenly, the whole nearly-dying-in-the-pit thing was a smidge less romantic. Despite being 5-foot-nothing and weighing 100-and-nothing, I'd only been knocked down once at a show before, and that was at Spacehog, for God's sake. (Speaking of which, new Mixtape contributor Josh once berated members of Jesus and Mary Chain for being snooty at a keg party, drunkenly bellowing something along the lines of "I don't care if you're fucking Spacehog," this is how "we" do things "in the States." Go, Josh.)

Nursing the lump on my dome three days later, I needed the pit equivalent of bumper bowling. Thank God for Deftones fans, whose morbid obesity made the mosh as perilous as dodge ball with kindergartnersthey bring it fast, hard, and erratic, but you see 'em coming a mile away. Unfortunately, the band stopped to joke with their swarthy minions in the middle of "Hexagram," nearly allowing me to text message show buddy Demian "suck" in the middle of the pit . . . just before getting creamed and bowled over yet again.

By Friday night, brooding during the Jok . . . shit, I mean the Strokes' . . . exceptional, if sparsely attended Exhibition Stadium Center show, I was in a sad, gray purgatory between mosh and strip. Thank God for this column and your unyielding concern. Let's mosh. Just heed Vincent Gallo's advicedon't touch me.

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