Thursday, December 22, 2011

Diary Of A Groupie: Breaking Down The Head Bang!

Head Banging: Verb. A type of dance that involves violently shaking the head or body in time with music, most commonly rock & roll and heavy metal.

Ok class, take your seats! Everyone, please settle down, we need to begin today’s lesson, one I know you will be excited about. Today we have a special topic, “The Ins and Outs of Head Banging”, which will include the history, physiology and safety of “Violently Moving Your Head to Heavy Metal”.

It seems that Led Zeppelin first coined the term “head banger” in 1968, when some of their fans got so gripped by the phenomenal shred of Mr. Jimmy Page that they began to actually bang their heads against the stage. I guess Mr. Page had that effect on people. The story continues with the popularization of the movement of head banging by a certain Mr. Angus Young, who would use his whole body to express the joy in what he was getting out of his guitar. To this day, head banging is synonymous to Heavy Metal, and if you play or listen to Heavy Metal of Hard Rock, you undoubtedly do a little head bang yourself. They go hand and hand like peanut butter & jelly.

One of my main reasons for focusing and researching this topic was because I was curious to find out why basic head movements (shaking up and down or side to side) are one of the main ways that we humans move our bodies to sound and how that leads to integrating full body and foot/leg movements in conjunction with the music. I actually found northing on that particular subject, but I did get all kinds of neato info on head banging. So I am just going with that instead.

I can tell you that my personal experiences with the expressive art form of head banging is that it feels really good to do, it helps me to integrate the music into my body and mind, plus moving my head around to music helps me get a full spectrum of the sound with my ears. I like to think of it as similar to moving your cell phone around to get the best reception or rearranging the antennae on your old-school TV to get a clear picture. My head is the antenna and I am trying to get a good connection to the Universe of Sound.

There are multiple styles of head banging with more and more styles and forms coming into being each day as rock and roll continues to explode on our airwaves, in our concert halls and on our IPods.

Some of the most common head bang styles are:

THE WINDMILL: This consists of swinging your head in a circular fashion so that your long Rock Star Hair flies around like crazy.

THE POGO: This is one of my favorites for myself because it is a full-body experience characterized by the bouncing straight up and down while bopping your head

FULL BODY BANG: This is FULL-ON, your body bent over, your air guitar flailing, you're so into the music your head is about to fall off.

THE DRUNKEN DUDE: I am not a fan of this one, as being short, I often get knocked around when I am near folks doing this. Usually you must be super drunk in order to accomplish this Head Bang maneuver, in which you must sway, fall over, trip and go “WOO HOO!” a lot as you move NOT in time with the music. You are in your own little world with this one, more power to you, Bro!

FREE STYLE: This can consist of any number of movements that can include Moshing; Air Guitar (with or without the leg stance); The Horns* or the “Rock On!” symbol of pinky and index finger up, thumb over bent over fingers; or clenched fists that are pounded into the air consistently. Choose any combination of the styles above for your own creative bent on the head bang.

*(A random side note of "The Horns" symbol: In the Pagan Traditions, that sign is a symbol of Male Divinity, the Sacred Stag or the god Pan. Early Christianity changed the symbol to be thought of as the sign of the Devil.  And, well, we all know that Rock and Roll is the Devil’s Music, so I guess "The Horns" is fitting as a symbol for Rock music).

One thing one must be careful of when head banging regularly is strain to neck or injury to one’s head. If you head bang too hard near a wall, that may be bad news as you can imagine. Don’t say your mother never warned you. If you are so enthusiastic with your movements and you are not aware of what you are doing, you could get serious whiplash. There have been known cases of severe headaches, neck trauma and even one recorded case of someone having a stroke from head banging. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Movement is just a part of the musical experience. We waltz to Mozart, we booty shake to the Blues and Reggae. We snap our fingers to Jazz and we two-step and dosy-doe to Country & Western. Head banging is just another amazing way to manifest physically the internal ecstasy that the music creates for our mortal bodies.

Class dismissed. 

Moonmama says...........

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