My first experience at the iconic Whisky-A-Go-Go was with my eldest son, David Perras, this year. We decided to go together to see a band he enjoys, Hellyeah. I’d never been to the Whisky-A-Go-Go, ever, in all my years as an Angeleno. I wondered what it was all about. While waiting in line, the crowd grew with people dressed in black, wearing all kinds of body piercings, nose rings, large lobe rings, eyebrow piercings, studded belts, altogether a pretty rough looking group. But hey, who am I to talk? I wear black all the time too. We walked inside the place. All the rock gods suddenly started singing. Slash was on the wall! Cool, cool already.
The crowd gathered around the stage to hear Hellyeah. Everybody maneuvered around to find their spot. I ended up next to a very buff looking man about 6’5” tall. I looked up and thought, whoa dude! I was a little intimidated by his appearance. He was so much taller than me, by about 11 inches. Plus he was wearing all black, had many body piercings and long hair. I was about to find another vantage point to shoot my photos, when he started speaking. From this rough looking guy comes this soft spoken and well-mannered voice. I thought, OK, you’re cool. I decided to stay put.
The band really heated up the crowd. My son joined in a mosh pit that formed. I’d never before seen a mosh pit in action. At first I thought, hey quit pushing my son around you big bully. This big guy was shoving my son around and thinking it was funny.
I observed awhile not wanting to intervene in my son’s experience, he now a man at 26. I soon realized the mosh pit is an egotistical thing. Men shove each other around for the pure sport of it, and do so as hard as they possibly can. It becomes an ego match. And sometimes egos get bruised.
I kept taking photos, and was very involved in what I was doing. The subject, Chad Gray the lead singer of Helleyah, was great. He was artistic and had a lot of bravado. Plus he connected with the crowd so well, it created this really great atmosphere for photography. The light show was fantastic. At this point I’m all pumped up on my art and not looking about me as to what was happening. I’m looking at the band then down at my photos. This goes on for quite awhile as the mosh pit scene grows more heated. One time I look down at my camera, critiquing my photograph to see if I want more in that vein, and suddenly the ground starts moving. I’m being lifted up off the ground and into the air. I look up to find the 6’5” man is lifting me off the ground and carting me off out of the way of a huge crowd suddenly pummeling my way. If he had not lifted me out of the way, I would have been mowed down.
Apparently an older drunk man entered the mosh pit and was offended by the shoving matches. He got into a fist fight with one of the younger males. And, the cock fight ensued. As security escorted the drunkard out the door, he kept asking if anyone had seen his shoe? I looked down. He was shoeless on one foot. After the crowd rearranged itself once more, I looked up at the 6’5” man and hugged him.
“You’re my new best friend!” I said to him.
He laughed. I stood next to him the rest of the night.
The concert got even more heated for the crowd, but in a good way. Everyone was waving double horns. The mosh pit turned to brotherhood. Three guys, my son included, lined up, arm in arm and started head banging in a way I’ve never seen in my day. Head banging to me means you bob your head up and down. To these gentleman, head banging meant they moved their head and bowed toward the band unison arm in arm. This went on for perhaps an half hour.
As the crowd dispersed, I headed toward what was once the mosh pit, and my son. I stumbled on something. I looked down. Oh, I found your shoe, I thought about that drunkard who got kicked out.