27 Jun 2015

The secret life of musical injuries

From The Secret Life Of, 4:05 pm on 27 June 2015
Skuldom's Faeces Christ and his onstage injuries

Skuldom's Faeces Christ and his onstage injuries Photo: Heath Mortlock

Musicians are seldom compared to high-performance athletes. Yet the physical demands of practicing and playing music push performers’ bodies to the extreme.

Yadana Saw meets people who have injured themselves in the pursuit of perfect sound and the professionals who help get them back onstage.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Take one black metal bassist, a packet of medical grade scalpels and the biggest music event in the extreme metal scene and you are guaranteed to carve yourself into metal folklore. Literally.

Music isn’t often associated with life-threatening danger - as the more risky proposition is the off-stage, after-hours pursuits of many musicians. But whatever the genre or instrument, the passion to play your very best can have some unexpected and unwanted consequences.

Skuldom are the sort of band that are committed to the extreme. They wear helmets covered in human excrement; syringe their own blood onto themselves before playing a set; hang rotting sheep heads as stage props. Self-mutilation is standard-practice for a band deadly serious about their hardcore aesthetic as the band’s lyricist and bass player, Faeces Christ, explains:

It’s an atmosphere..a stench in the air...it puts people in the mood to make the experience as horrible as the music sounds. It really does create far more than standing there in your jeans and t-shirt playing.

Early in their set at Satanfest 2002, Faeces pulled out his surgical scalpel to carve an inverted cross onto his chest. The first incision was clean and a lot less dramatic than he was aiming for.

“It didn’t really hurt at all because it was so sharp”.

So he sliced himself again. Only this time he hit something and was able to peer into his wound.

“I’m not sure what I hit but it was squirting straight out..I could see a fold of fat hanging out”

One song later and an unsuccessful attempt at audience participation, Faeces passed out and headed to A&E. After 50-something stitches and some questions about his mental health, the hospital nurse wisely advised, “just...wait until it heals till you do it again.”

The next time Faeces Christ took a trip to the doctor it was after a run-in with a bloody craft knife and rotten sheep head. No scalpels were involved.

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