"You were eating an ice cream cone."

November 25th, 2007

James Parker's article on rock stars' on-stage banter includes this gem:

Fugazi of Washington, D.C., had riot containment down to a fine art: You might say it was part of their raison d'être. Anyone stage diving or slam dancing at a Fugazi show risked a brisk philosophical re-education—the music would stop, and through the buzz of idling amps, singer Ian MacKaye would make his displeasure plain. "You wanna kick and punch people?" he can be heard asking on Jem Cohen's 1999 documentary Instrument. "Then get the fuck up on the football field!" Co-singer Guy Picciotto becomes interested. "Those two?" he asks, before addressing the culprits in a folksy, reflective manner:

"You know, I saw you two guys earlier at the Good Humor truck, and you were eating your ice cream like little boys. And I thought, 'Those guys aren't so tough! They're eating ice cream! What a bunch of swell guys!' I saw you eating ice cream, pal. Oh, don't you deny it. You were eating an ice cream cone. You were eating an ice cream cone. Oh, you're bad now, you're bad now, but you were eating an ice cream cone, and I saw you."

It says something for the presence of Fugazi, for their commitment to a complete encounter with their audience, that Picciotto was able to improvise such a beat-perfect oratorical flight. What can have remained of the mosh pit goons after this fantastic denunciation? Two smoking pairs of sneakers?

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