coming to an olympic arena near you: the muskrat toss


The first time I got tossed out of a bar was when a cover band named “Seattle” came to The Ivory Tusk, an 18-and-over watering hole on the University of Alabama Strip.  After a year of ‘Bama bangs and their Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, or Phish covers at every bar and band party within a 10-mile radius, I’d just about given up on hearing live music in Tuscaloosa.  That changed in October 1994 when I learned from an advertisement in The Crimson White that a cover band playing the type of music I liked was coming to town.  The fact that it was also “50-cent Lite Ice night” took me from excited to giddy.  I donned a checkered flannel and ROTC boots, grabbed my friend Jim Bob, and arrived for the first set.

I was appalled.  There were maybe twenty patrons.  They were standing around looking at each other while the band covered “Black Hole Sun.”

“What a bunch of pussies,” I thought out loud.  I plopped a dollar onto the bar and guzzled my first pair of beers.  “I’m gonna learn these Alabamians how it’s done.”

I approached the stage and jumped into a random kid with a corduroy “Breckenridge” cap just as the band hit the opening chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  He stared at me.  A skinny, tattooed redhead I recognized from the dorm the previous year jumped into me.  It was on.  Our mosh pit was poorly populated but trying to get it right, and gradually, the corn-fed locals figured out what to do.

Until the bouncer walked up and told us to stop.  So, we did.  For about 10 minutes.

I believe I’d drunk $3 worth of beers when the bouncer came up to me again and told me to stop “trying to relive Lollapalooza.”

Me:  “Have you ever even been to Lollapalooza?
Bouncer:  “No, but you can’t do that shit in here.”
Me:  “You’re being a dick.  Lighten up.”
Bouncer:  “Okay, buddy, come with me.”

He grabbed my shoulders and forcefully pushed me towards the back, out the door, and onto the sidewalk; he slammed the door behind me.

I continued walking around to the front of the bar, into the front door, and up to the bar for another dollar’s worth of beer.  Ten minutes later, I was starting another pit as “Territorial Pissings” began.  I jumped as high as I could, rotated in mid-air, and swung my right elbow across the head of some dude who resembled Bull Hurley from Over The Top.  Surprisingly, he laughed and jumped back into me.  I climbed onto the stage, leaped, and landed onto the outstretched hands of my new friend before getting passed around over the heads of the now enthusiastic (and large!) crowd as I headed for the back of the bar and was dropped at the feet of the bouncer.

Bouncer:  “What the hell are you doing back in here?!”
Me:  “What’s your fucking problem, man?”

He then picked me up by the seat of my jeans and the collar of my flannel shirt, carried me to the door, rared my kicking body back, and threw me onto the sidewalk.  One of my classmates was outside taking a smoke break.

Smoking Friend:  “Holy Shit!  I have never seen someone get literally thrown out of a bar before!  You okay?”
Me:  “Neither have I, and yes.”

He helped me onto my feet, and we walked back to the front entrance, where the bouncer was waiting for me next to the girl checking IDs.

Bouncer:  “Don’t even think about it.”

I listened to the remainder of the set from the sidewalk and managed to avoid getting thrown out of bars for the next five years.  Stay tuned for the sequel, The Muskrat Strikes Back (and nearly gets pummeled).
Enjoy reading about testosterone-driven alcoholics who curse and tell?  Check out these funny blogs!
This post is dedicated to Punk Rock Dad, who, I guarantee, has had his fair share of good mosh pit memories, A Free Man, who wrote this week of his living in Seattle (so I’m going to assume he too has spent some time in the pit), and The Figurehead, who’s been with me in the pits of Lollapalooza.

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  1. I can’t believe you left this story short; that is not usually your calling card. I would put the number of times you got kicked out that night closer to five, maybe six. Definitely more than twice.

  2. Bob! I almost linked to your Facebook or your business page, but then took out the link. I was afraid folks wouldn’t think I REALLY had a friend named “Jim Bob.” I actually don’t remember how many times I got tossed out. It might’ve been 4 or 5, now that I thing about it. But, again–50-cent Lite Ice. I think I spent $5.

  3. If only I’d known you then, I could’ve handed you beers out on the sidewalk. Or better yet, distracted the bouncer whilst you snuck back in, you bad, bad Muskrat.

  4. Your wife rocks, dude.

  5. Lol.. awesome dude. I’m a total sissy when it comes to moshing.. I have to steer clear – I’d get crushed.

    My hubby though? he loves him a good pit.

    Great story! 🙂

  6. they might respect you if you told them you were a muskbadger instead of a muskrat. sometimes you have to tell humans what they want to hear.

  7. If this tale doesn’t end with you strangling the bouncer with your bare hands, Rickey will be disappointed.

  8. Damn. I do NOT have enough stories like this in my personal history.

    That’s it. I’m gonna go get thrown out of a bar by the seat of my jeans right NOW.

    “C’mon, kids! Everyone in the car – we’re goin’ out!”

    :^) Anna

  9. I worked as a bouncer for about a year in Athens. I was probably the worse bouncer in the world. I don’t think I could throw a muskrat out of a bar, nevermind the Muskrat. I did have a big flashlight, though.

  10. I told my moshing story back when I guest dj-ed for Cynical Dad way back when:

    One night at a club, I was listening to this band when the guy standing in front of me decided it would be a good idea to mosh – by himself – while everyone else stood still and listened. He bounced around and started pissing people off. Never being one to deal with annoyances well, I tossed him away when he bumped into me for the fifth time.

    Apparently, he wasn’t expecting my help, because the next thing I know he’s in my face screaming and yelling. He was quite a bit taller than me, but I was no small guy either, so as he continued to yell, I clenched my fists and took a breath, waiting for him to throw.

    He shoved. Good enough, I thought to myself, and went to lift my arm, only to discover two buddies of mine holding my wrist. They were pleading with me not to do anything, but I broke free and shoved the guy, knocking him over. Then she pried my hand open, took it in hers, and held on.

    “Let go.”

    “No. Come here and hold my hand.”

    “Damnit, how can I hit him if you’re holding my hand?”


    When the song finished, the lead singer said, “Uh, that was a song about making friends.”


  11. Aww, Lollapalooza Mosh Pits. The good old days. I’ve been kicked out of a bar before but only because I thought the whole “must be 21 to enter” didn’t apply to me. But I have been to my fair share of mosh pits… 😉

  12. this story is the close cousing of the story of the Figurehead inciting a riot at a Knoxville frat house by actually performing “Smells like Teen Spirit” on stage with the band – and then leeping in the crowd of alumni frat members. That was a good night. Bear in mind, I wasn’t in the fraternity or even a student at UT.

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