Dumb Ass Guide to Headbanging

Collected from various sources since some time, here it is… The Dumb Ass Guide to Headbanging!

The term "headbanger" was coined on Led Zeppelin's first US tour in 1968. During a show at the Boston Tea Party audience members in the first row were banging their heads against the stage in rhythm with the music.

Headbanging is a type of dance which involves violently shaking the head in time with music, most commonly heavy metal music. It is most visually effective when the person headbanging has long hair.

There are various styles of headbanging, including:

* The up and down – Which involves shaking the head up and down – This style is demonstrated at the climax of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene in the movie Wayne's World.

* The circular swing (Windmill) – Swinging the head in a circular motion – This style is more commonly known as the Windmill or Helicopter. Popularized by Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse. This style is often used by members of Amon Amarth and many other bands.

* Drunken Headbanging – A form of head banging in random directions, like the person is drunk, often people lose their balance and fall over. Bands such as Immortal are a good example of this.

* The half-circle – Swinging the head repeatedly from side to side in a downward arc: this style is often used by Tom Araya of Slayer.

* The figure eight – Which involves shaking the head in a figure eight.

* The side to side – Which involves shaking the head from side to side, whipping the hair on each transition. This style is used by Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, Mick Thompson of Slipknot (during the "build-up" moments of a song) Martin Mendez of Opeth, and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.

* The whiplash – An especially violent form of the traditional "up and down" style, characterized by the hair of the handbanger moving about so rapidly that it obscures their face. This style possibly pioneered by AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, and also used by Mick Thomson of Slipknot and late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.

* The all-out – The most insane form of all, often involving dropping on the ground, holding oneself up with his or her arms, and violently swinging the head between the arms. This style sometimes involves grabbing onto tables and other fixed objects to hold the headbanger up, as their head movements have become so violent they seriously affect balance.

* The tandem – Judas Priest guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton pioneered and perfected a tandem form of headbanging in which they stand side by side and headbang in unison. (See also Wolf Hoffman and Jörg Fischer of Accept.)

* The asshole – A rather inconsiderate form of headbanging where the person violently swings forwards and backwards from their waist, often headbutting people in front of them, or in more extreme circumstances, behind them.

* The low-profile – A variation on the "The up and down" where the performer's headbanging movements are short and more subtle, but still noticeable.

Various styles are often mixed together according to taste and to the tempo and aggression of the music. In practice, they can also be performed with eyes-closed and/or in combination with hand gestures such as devil horns and/or singing, yelling, or lip syncing. Headbangers' bodies usually bang with the head, reducing the strain on the neck and making the body move in a serpentine, up-and-down fashion to the music. There are a number of different stances a headbanger can stand in, which include:

* Standing up straight. This is most commonly performed with the legs slightly apart, mainly to keep balance.

* Standing with the legs slightly bent and the hands on the knees or thighs. This is a common stance for headbangers performing the half-circle, as it allows maximum movement and balance.

* Standing with the hands behind the back.

* Standing with one leg in front and one behind, with the hands held together near the lower body. This style is often used in tight spaces or to alleviate cramp and maintain balance.

* Standing with legs extremely stretched to the front and back of the body, lowering the head and body as low as possible to avoid loss of balance, while shredding an Air guitar, usually with the hand holding the guitar neck placed on the according knee and the other one lowered to "pick the strings".

Alternatively, a headbanger can also perform while seated, crowd surfing, or in a number of other positions.

Honorable headbangers
(3 Slayer members!)

* Tom Araya
* K.K. Downing
* Jeff Hanneman
* James Hetfield
* Kerry King
* Scott Ian
* Glenn Tipton
* Mick Thompson
* Dimebag Darrell
* Per Wiberg
* Angus Young
* Mark G.

Be Warned!!!

Health issues

In practice, headbanging is considered much safer than moshing and has hardly any short-term side-effects. Unsafe practice, such as headbanging while intoxicated, under the influence of narcotics, or too close to someone else, is the common cause of injury, also known as a bangover. In 2002, Jason Newsted claimed his departure from Metallica was partly due to wear of the cartilage in his neck, but this is the only known case of long-term physical damage as an alleged result of headbanging.

Practice Safe Headbanging!

Stay tuned for Dumb Ass Guide to Metal, coming soon….



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