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A few posts ago we posted Ash Avildsen’s response to The Ocean’s no stage dive policy post Now guitarist Robin Stapes of The Ocean has commented back: “… so our recent facebook post on stage diving at Summer Slaughter has recently turned into a bit of a drama, as some people have said – or maybe just a healthy discussion of a difficult topic. Ash Avidsen, head of Summer Slaughter tour, has replied to our post this morning, see link below. And here is our reply, once more.

Ash,

we have been enjoying this tour to the max, despite some venue’s strict regulations, and we appreciate the opportunity of being here. The point was not to diss the Summer Slaughter tour, which we respect for being a forward-thinking and ground-breaking institution – that’s the whole reason why we did it, and we are happy to be part of this not only extreme, but progressive and interesting and diverse lineup. It’s been a great time.

Firstly, I understand that these “no jumping into the crowd” rules come from certain venues, and not from Summer Slaughter – because most of the nights, it has not been an issue at all — only in a certain chain of venues (and you know well which ones I am talking about), where policies have been so strict that the local security would not even let band members get back on stage or backstage, after they had jumped into the crowd!!! Excuse me, but I find this a bit pathetic. And again, this was not coming from the Summer Slaughter HQ.

I do see your point on the risks involved, in theory. In practice, it’s really not about justifying jumping off 30 feet balconies at House of Blues, it’s not about jumping feet-first into the crowd, with the intention to hurt fans. When you have a light-weight vocalist that communicates with the crowd a lot, and makes them anticipate the jump, the potential risk of injury is about as high as the risk of a guitar player breaking his ankle while stepping on the monitor, or the risk of dying from a heat stroke on a tennis court.

With this whole discussion (not just here but in general), what I find lacking most of the time is a bit of common sense. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, and the people in the first row don’t want to get hurt either, but they are aware of being in a higher energy scenario then in the back of the room there (and hence are more alert and cautious and raise their arms when someone jumps). There is a minimal potential risk involved when a crowd gathers to watch a band play, gets excited, and starts moving – just as there is a potential risk involved with playing volley ball, or doing any kind of sports, really. And in the end, that’s what a rock ‘n roll show is, both for the band, as well as for the majority of the audience: an event of sports.

Stage diving is a beautiful thing – it’s an intense interaction between the crowd and the band. It’s the crowd that actually makes it work, for if they cleared out and if there was none to catch the singer, he would face plant on the floor. The fans don’t want that, and the momentum of energy unleashed when a 90 pounds singer leaps into the crowd and 20 people raise their arms to catch him is low enough that none will get hurt. We may not have been doing this back in the days when Iggy Pop, one of my biggest idols, did it – but we’ve been doing it for 12 years too, and noone ever got hurt in any of close to 1000 shows we have played with this band. Just saying.

– Robin Staps / THE OCEAN“