Thursday, February 26, 2015

Story of The Safety Dance

Story of The Safety Dance #MenWithoutHats #SafetyDance

Did you sing those words as you read them?

"The Safety Dance" is a protest against bouncers stopping dancers "pogoing" to 1980s new wave music in clubs when disco was dying and new wave was up and coming.

Story of The Safety Dance #MenWithoutHats #SafetyDance
The song was written by Ivan Doroschuk after he had been kicked out of a club for pogoing. New wave dancing, especially "pogoing", was different from disco dancing, because it was done individually instead of with partners and involved holding the torso rigid and thrashing about. To uninformed bystanders this could look dangerous, especially if "pogoers" accidentally bounced into one another (the more deliberately violent evolution of "pogoing" is slam dancing). The bouncers did not like 'pogoing" so they would tell "pogoers" to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest and a call for freedom of expression. Other lyrics in the song include references to the way "pogoing" looked to bouncers, especially "And you can act real rude and totally removed/And I can act like an imbecile"

Story of The Safety Dance #MenWithoutHats #SafetyDance
Ivan Doroschuk responded to two common interpretations of the song. Firstly, he notes it is not a call for safe sex. Doroschuk says that is reading too much into the lyrics. Secondly, he explained that it is not an anti-nuclear protest song per se despite the nuclear imagery at the end of the video. Doroschuk stated that "it wasn't a question of just being anti-nuclear, it was a question of being anti-establishment."

Story of The Safety Dance #MenWithoutHats #SafetyDance
Men Without Hats initially consisted of Ivan Doroschuk (vocals, keyboards) and Jeremie Arrobas (keyboards & electronics), as well as Ivan's brother Stefan (guitars), with various other members joining and leaving the group, including a third Doroschuk brother, Colin (electronics). The band was founded in 1977 in Montréal and would undergo numerous personnel changes through the rest of the decade with Stefan, Colin, and Arrobas as the only relative constants joining Ivan. The name came about because Ivan and his two brothers, following the self-described principle of "style before comfort", refused to wear hats during Montréal's cold winters, calling themselves "the men without hats." (A popular but apocryphal tale is that an announcer at an early gig misread the band's name as "Men Without Pants.")

The band has reformed and regrouped several times since their beginning.

In 2013, Men Without Hats toured around the U.S. as part of the 80's themed Regeneration Tour with other acts such as Howard Jones, Andy Bell of Erasure, and Berlin.

To see another recent post involving Men Without Hats, Click Here

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