When we first reported on Brass Against frontwoman Sophia Urista peeing on a willing fan onstage, our thoughts were, Right on. Rock and metal music have always been about freaking out the squares — this was nothing that Mike Patton and GG Allin hadn’t done before — and besides, the dude who got urinated on was stoked about it. However, between the band’s apology, the police investigation, Brass Against being banned from NASCAR-affiliated venues, and the many pearl-clutchers in our Facebook comments section, it became clear that plenty of people were upset. These people didn’t care for watching a guy get urinated on mid-show. They were grossed out. They wanted answers.
And after carefully considering these points, we came to the conclusion that these folks can all fuck off. If a woman giving a dude a golden shower onstage makes you angry or upset or disgusted, then that’s on you. Metal music and culture has never been normal or precious, and someone pissing on a willing fan is the least of our worries. If Sophia Urista offended you, then you don’t deserve metal, and you should get the fuck out.
During Brass Against’s initial response to this incident, it was surprising and frustrating to see how many people claimed that what happened onstage was an assault. Did they not watch the video? That guy was overjoyed! He got up, pumped his fist, and spat a pee-cloud! Word has it he had a GoPro strapped to his head shortly before everything went down. It feels like the ‘assault’ label came from people who couldn’t possibly imagine someone enjoying a golden shower — in which case, if you’re one of those folks, you need to get out more.
But the follow-up was even worse: it was the crowd who was assaulted! They didn’t know they were here to watch a pee show — how dare this RATM cover band do something so vile onstage? This, of course, goes against one of metal’s most crucial philosophical tenets: if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, don’t listen to it. We’ve relayed this message to every Tipper Gore or Bob Larson who’s ever tried to paint heavy metal as some sort of poisonous influence ruining America’s children. If you saw Sophia peeing on that guy and it turned your stomach, all you had to do was leave, or look away and say, “Tell me when it’s over” to the person next to you. Not that hard.
That said, if someone peeing grosses you out so much, why are you here? Other acts on the Welcome to Rockville 2021 line-up included a clown who huffs dead animals, a shock rocker who surrounds himself with nudity and slasher gore, a metalcore acts whose every song idolizes fictional murderers, and a bunch of aliens who literally cum all over their fans. With that kind of rogue’s gallery in play, it’s pretty glaring that NASCAR and Danny Wimmer Presents aren’t exactly here to protect fragile sensibilities. So we have to wonder: was it the nudity that most upset them? The urine itself? The squatting? The idea that someone might enjoy being pissed on by a woman?
It’d be easy to claim that the negative response to Sophia is just misogyny — that an exposed female butt and genitals is what has gotten so many people angry. We’re not sure that’s entirely true. As many people have pointed out, had the genders been reversed, and a male artist had peed on a willing female fan, the press surrounding this would’ve been far worse, and the claims of assault would be more widespread. Having a big, brolic dude get pissed on to his glee comes off as less hardcore than it would if, say, one of the dudes in Chevelle had peed on a woman.
But maybe the issue isn’t a woman peeing on a man, it’s a woman taking part in a shocking act during a rock and roll show. Though some might have found it gross, we can’t help but feel that a male artist urinating onstage would’ve been portrayed as gross in an outrageous-yet-acceptable way. Hell, Ozzy Osbourne peed everywhere, including the Alamo. According to Mötley Crüe, Ozzy drank his own pee off the ground. But for Ozzy, this is seen as awesome, a sort of honesty so brutal it one can’t help but respect it. Sophia Urista, meanwhile, did the kind of thing that metal bands have done for ages, and suddenly it’s a police matter.
But ‘woke’ people complain about shocking stuff all the time! I hear some of you shout. Why is that okay, but I’m not allowed to be offended by this? And the answer is, fucking context, man. When a band rocks a Swastika or a Confederate flag, they may just be trying to shock, but they’re referencing a legacy of bloodshed and turmoil. They’re sympathizing with oppressors who caused untold agony to groups of people still recovering from it. Sophia Urista committed a victimless act that didn’t hearken back to, well, anything other than peeing. If you can’t discern context, then metal might not be for you. Metal gets nuts. It challenges public perception. And it looks at the honest nuances of every situation, and can tell true good from bad.
That, when all is said and done, is the most important point here: this is metal, guys. Metal bands do crazy shit — they fuck burritos and get blowjobs mid-show and do meth off of genitals. These days, we read a lot of comments about how metal used to be dangerous and risky and hardcore, usually in response to major artists telling people to get vaccinated or not use homophobic slurs. Metal never used to be this whiny or precious, these people argue. So why are so many people aghast over a dude getting peed on during a show? How come that’s too dangerous?
At the end of the day, we understand why Urista and Brass Against apologized for what happened. Being banned from specific venues or earning a reputation for controversy can definitely hurt a band’s professional opportunities moving forward. But everyone else out there wagging their fingers should take a long, hard look in the mirror. If you claim to love this gory, perverse, blasphemous, insane genre of music, then you have to have a strong enough constitution to handle a little piss. And if you can’t stomach that, well, maybe you don’t deserve this.
Words by Chris Krovatin