June 23, 2020 4 min read

Gus Straight Edge...Youth Crew all star, Gorilla Biscuits 6th member, and Discipline/Ocean Of Mercy singer are just a few titles he could have been given years back. But he is probably known best as the dude constantly diving and going off to hardcore bands all over during the mid/late 80s and early 90s, and singlehandedly made the Project X longsleeve probably the most coveted hardcore shirt of all time. We asked Gus to share some stage diving memories, and we hope these are the first of hundreds of memories to come. -DCXX

But I didn’t care...I was diving, and the dives ran the gamut: flips, sprawls, punk dives, butt dives. You name it.

I saw Rollins Band headline a bill at a CBs night show, this was around the time of an SST release I believe. Pre-Low Self Opinion and Lala tours. I loved Black Flag and Rollins (up until the one with the razor blade). I can’t remember who else was on the bill. I don’t know exactly who I was there with but I think it may have been Kevin Beyond and Chaka from Long Islang (not Chaka Burn). Maybe Tom Capone, too? But anyways, that night not too many people were diving. I guess that is why I was into it. Kind of like surfing...when too many people are out in the water you wind up fighting for space and waves. When I am alone I go for waves I would never chase normally. It was a wide open crowd. I think it was when diving was becoming passé for some bands. Rollins was one of them, and not many other people were diving. But I didn’t care...I was diving, and the dives ran the gamut: flips, sprawls, punk dives, butt dives. You name it.

Well there was a guy in the front row that was really getting pissed and was trying to punch me and grab me. So after one particular dive where I caught him doing it, I jumped back on stage and stood in front of him. I really could have just kicked the shit out of him as he was sort of stuck there. I just started smacking him a bit and told him not to grab me. Local hero stage divers like me often had the audacity and sense of entitlement to do and dive pretty much as I wanted. You know how they say those who can’t, teach? Well, those who can’t be in a band, dive. Hands down.

Gus Pena Stage Dive
Then Rollins yelled at me. It was still maybe within the first third of the set, but he wanted to put a stop to my antics as soon as he could. He was pissed. He did not give a crap about some local stage dive star in his own mind. I wanted to tell him to fuck off but I was a bit shocked that he would say anything. And it didn’t even kill his vibe. Rollins is a pro and knows how to control just about any crowd. He has played with blood gushing form his face. My obnoxiousness did not even phase him. I figured out quick that it was not a GB or YOT show and just got into the band’s performance. I think more than anything my ego was bruised.

The next time I saw them was a much bigger venue and crowd surfing was more in than a good acrobatic flip was. I just watched.

I know Rollins but I never talked about that show with him. He is intense. Looking back at it now I think he is a nice albeit slightly weird guy and I sort of feel bad for almost ruining his show. I yelled at someone once after an OOM show for starting a fight during our set. I told him he was disrespectful and that he would have to deal with me I ever saw him starting another fight. Tough guy huh?

Another time at the Ritz, I think at a Superbowl show or some show with a big bill, I had been going off hard during Warzone, and I had been moshing for all of the bands. They were all my friends so I felt like I needed to show some support for each set. With Warzone, they were my homies so I had to go off. Well by midset I was quite done with the dance floor and dives that night, I was just worn out. But then Raybeez dedicated “Dance Hard or Die” to me, so I had no choice but to do something sick. I think it was a flip off of one of the stage monitors. When ‘Beez calls on you, you must be ready. After hearing his dedication, it just amped me up more.

Afterwards back stage, he quietly told me in that Raybeez way that he saw me going off. Proud moment indeed. I have gotten a lot of songs dedicated to me but that was one that meant a lot at that time as it was recognition for my moshing “skills.” Now that my friend Ray has passed it is a nice memory.