In 2014, Barry Johnson, lead singer of Joyce Manor, asked fans to stop stage diving at their shows. Johnson was sick of seeing (mostly) larger hardcore dudes crushing (mostly) smaller, younger women and had seen enough people get hurt to begin calling out stage divers. He wasn’t the first to discourage this type of behavior at shows (Fugazi would occasionally bring moshers on stage to apologize to the crowd) but Joyce Manor’s stance ignited a whole precious punk controversy with one side arguing “[caveman voice] Me want stage dive” and the other saying, “I just want to see my favorite band and not get hurt by a guy stage diving feet first into my head and neck.”
Anyway, here are 25 great Joyce Manor songs, in no particular order, that I absolutely won’t be stage diving to.
25. “Christmas Card”
The opening track of Never Hungover Again and a certifiable bop, “Christmas Card” reminds me of the holiday season and Santa Claus. If there is one person who hates stage diving more than Barry Johnson, it’s Santa. If he catches you stage diving (and he will), you’ll be permanently added to the naughty list and never get that Jeff Rosenstock record you wanted.
24. “Constant Headache”
If you know a Joyce Manor song, it’s probably this one. The verse and the chorus of “Constant Headache” use the same three chords. This simplicity makes for a great song and also allows Barry to dedicate more cognitive capacity to scanning the crowd for potential stage dive bogeys. No way I’m going to stage dive when I know the singer of the band is watching extra closely. I don’t want to get yelled at.
A lot of people think the second song off Joyce Manor’s most recent record, 40 oz. to Fresno, stands for “Never Be The Same Again.” You’re wrong though. It stands for “Never Be The Stage Diving Asshole.” Fine. I won’t.
22. “Big Lie”
“Big Lie” is a very good song off 2018’s Million Dollars to Kill Me. It’s so good that when I listen to it I forget to breathe. How am I supposed to summon the will to stage dive if my brain and respiratory system aren’t even communicating with one another? I should probably see a doctor.
21. “Beach Community”
I’m sorry but I might actually have to stage dive to this one. Ban me from all future shows if you have to.
20. “Catalina Fight Song”
The penultimate track on Never Hungover Again, “Catalina Fight Song” begins with the lyrics, “Suckin’ titties by the ocean.” Wait…it doesn’t? The lyrics are actually “sunken city by the ocean”? Fuck. I was so confused that I forgot to stage dive. Oops.
19. “If I Needed You There”
I’m sorry but I might actually have to stage dive to this one too. Who could possibly stop me?
18. “Do You Really Want To Not Get Better?”
This song is too short and it sounds like it’s about something sad. For those reasons, I will be refraining from stage diving. Thank you.
This track, originally off an early demo and then rereleased on Songs From Northern Torrance, fucking rips. That being said, on my “salty, stoned nights,” I’ll be at home diving into a bag of Trader Joe’s Almonds, Chocolate, and Cashews Trail Mix instead of diving into a crowd at a Joyce Manor show.
16. “The Jerk”
You might think this song off Never Hungover Again is referencing the 1979 Steve Martin movie, The Jerk. But what if you, dear stage diver, were the Jerk being referenced all along? Hmmm? Bet you never thought of it that way.
15. “Last You Heard of Me”
In this very good song off Cody, the narrator is at a karaoke bar. The last time I was at a karaoke bar I drank too much, sang “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” got kicked out for trying to stage dive off a small table, and was arrested for public urination. Hearing this song brings to mind painful memories of that night so I can’t stage dive to it.
14. “Friends We Met Online”
I spent A LOT of time on r/emo in 2014 fighting over whether or not Joyce Manor’s stage diving stance was “punk” or “not punk.” Some of these Redditors became good internet friends and some became worse internet enemies. In honor of these friendships and rivalries, and in the spirit of a stage diving “third way,” I will be neither stage diving nor not stage diving to this song.
13. “Fake I.D.”
The lead track off 2016’s Cody, “Fake I.D.” might also be one of the best songs on this album (and it’s a really good album). Unfortunately, the lyrics in this song assert that Kanye West is “great,” “the best,” “better than John Steinbeck,” and also “better than Phil Hartman.” Since this song was written, Mr. West has said a lot of bad things. Bad, bad things. I wouldn’t stage dive to this song because it’d feel weird and bad. Also, according to Setlist.fm, it doesn’t seem like Joyce Manor plays this song anymore and that’s probably because of all the bad things.
Maybe Ye will redeem himself sometime in the future and I can not stage dive to this song for my usual reason: fear of being humiliated by Barry Johnson.
12. “Leather Jacket”
Another classic Joyce Manor song from their 2013 self-titled album, “Leather Jacket” details how the titular item of clothing changed a person and then a relationship. I bought a leather jacket once because I thought I could pull it off. My co-workers at Dick’s Sporting Goods laughed at me and I was humiliated. Stage diving to this song would force me to relive the sting of that degradation so I’ll just hang out in the back and scream the lyrics with everyone else.
11. “Call Out”
It’s right in the title. If you stage dive, you’re going to get called out by Barry. I don’t want that to happen to me.
10. “I’m Always Tired”
A recent study from Oxford University found that the number one reason stage divers don’t stage dive is sleepiness. It’s a real study and definitely not made up. The narrator of “I’m Always Tired” off Joyce Manor’s sophomore release, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, might not be referring to stage diving but he could be!
9. “Think I’m Still In Love With You”
I don’t stage dive to this song because I pogo to this song.
8. “You’re Not Famous Anymore”
This track reminds me too much of my past life as a child actor: the long days on set, the pain of lost childhood, being thrown into an inconsolable rage because someone put the wrong type of M&M’s in my dressing room. The weight of it all bears down on me so heavily I can barely move, never mind stage dive. Good song though.
7. “Orange Julius”
When I was five my mom took me to Orange Julius and then we went to the park. While on the merry-go-round, I puked it all up. Now whenever I even think of Orange Julius, I puke. If I’m at a Joyce Manor show, I need to put my fingers in my ears when they play this song otherwise I’ll get sick on everyone in my immediate vicinity. So yeah…no stage diving.
In the state in which I reside, it is illegal to stage dive if you’re over 18. State Code 17432.1, Section B reads: “No person over the age of 18 shall stage dive at public events where live music is being played. Those in violation of this law shall face penalties not to exceed $200.” It’s a real law and definitely not made up.
Normally, I’m all like “Fuck the government and authority bro. I’m going to stage dive if I want.” However, this song makes me very self-conscious and nervous that I’m going to get a ticket. I can’t afford a $200 stage dive ticket right now because all my liquid assets are tied up in NFTs.
5. “House Warning Party”
This song has an acoustic guitar in it and no one has ever stage dived to a song with an acoustic guitar in it. That’s just a fact. Maybe you can be the first?
4. “Heart Tattoo”
Let’s entertain a few purely hypothetical questions that have no relation to my lived experience AT ALL:
When you were young and dumb, did you ever get a tattoo for a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Was it a heart tattoo with a ribbon bearing their name?
Did you get it after only one date at the Cheesecake Factory?
When they saw what you had done, did they immediately break up with you?
I bet if you answered “yes” to all those questions, it might be hard to stage dive to this song. I definitely wouldn’t know though because none of those things has ever happened to me.
3. “See How Tame I Can Be?”
I can be a tame, good boy. I can nicely listen to the band play and not have a sudden urge to push my body through tens of strangers in an effort to climb onto a stage and jump on those very same strangers. I can be nice and not cause too much trouble.
2. “Silly Games”
Dude, there is no way I’m pitting or stage diving to a song with a glockenspiel in it. I’ve got a rep (as an insufferable and obnoxious person) to protect!
1. “Constant Nothing”
This version of “Constant Nothing,” from Songs From Northern Torrance, was originally on the Constant Headache EP and then re-recorded for S/T. When Joyce Manor plays this song, it would make sense that they’re playing the re-recorded version, right? If so, it would be impossible to stage dive to the original “Constant Nothing.” Really makes you think.