The Screeching Weasel SXSW Drama and how bands are fucking over their fans

By on Mar 24, 2011 in Music

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Adam and I were planning on heading out to Philly (after our super secret taping of a game show!) on April 7th to go see Screeching Weasel. Adam’s brother also got them tickets to WeaselFest in Chicago over Labor Day. (Yes, I’m jealous.)

Now the Philly show has been cancelled, because the entire band quit and other bands on the WeaselFest bill are dropping like flies.

In case you haven’t heard the drama, here’s what happened: Screeching Weasel played SXSW. Ben Weasel spent most of the show bitching about SXSW, rock journalists, the media, and the crowd. Apparently, a women in the front row threw ice (or a beer) at him. She then did it again, so he punched her and another women. You can see the altercation here.

I guess everyone was appalled by this, which lead to Ben Weasel issuing an apology and then the band quitting and bands dropping out of WeaselFest.

First, let’s talk about the “violent outburst.”

  1. While I don’t condone violence at shows, I have noticed a huge upswing in complete douchenozzlery at shows. Frankly, Adam and I get into almost-fights at almost every show we go to in New York. I always thought it was, because New York show attendees were douches, but I could see how that could translate to self-important rock journalists at SXSW.
  2. Throwing shit at bands is not only asshole-ish, it’s dangerous. Seriously, ice could really fuck up someone’s eye.
  3. I really think a lot of this has to do with the fact that he swung (pretty wussily, frankly) at women. If he had done the same to male audience members, would there be such an outburst? I highly doubt it. Women don’t get to be assholes and not be treated like assholes.
  4. There is nothing about this that is the same as beating women or other forms of violence against women. Punching a women who is endangering you, egging you on, or just being a jerk is not even kind of the same as beating your wife, rape, or sexual assault. Frankly, equating the two trivializes the reality of violence against women. It’s a knee jerk reaction that has sexism written all over it.
  5. Yes, Ben Weasel is kind of an asshole. Yes, he shouldn’t have ranted about the show he was playing and the audience. But you know what? LOTS of bands are assholes. Get over it.

Now let’s talk about the quitting/dropping out of shows.

  1. The only people the bands are hurting are fans. Fans who paid money and made plans (and in Adam’s case bought a plane ticket) to see you play. As a fan, I think you’re way more of asshole for canceling than for taking some sort of “stand” against Ben Weasel.
  2. It bares repeating: YOU ARE HURTING THE FANS.
  3. How many of the bands have played (or were going to play) Warped Tours (cough, Teenage Bottlerocket, cough). I don’t see how the blood and tears of 4 year Indonesian girls who make Van’s (owned by Nike) is OK, but Ben Weasel reacting badly to someone being a total dick isn’t. The point is: we could debate the murky waters of being a successful band. You make compromises and giving someone who has done a lot for the “scene” and punk music in general a little ley way when they, admittedly, acted badly isn’t the worst you could do.

In good news, Joe Queer issues a statement about why they are staying on WeaselFest and how this is blown out of proportion.

And after all Ben has done for the scene out there everyone jumps ship on him and all of a sudden he’s persona non grata. I’m ashamed at all you people who could at least show him some support instead of acting all high and mighty and bailing out acting like you’re some saint. Playing Weaselfest doesn’t mean you condone hitting chicks for crying out loud. Talk about adding 2+2 and getting 5. Christ if Ben didn’t start SW half you fuckers wouldn’t even have a band. Ben’s been around the scene for years-has he ever hit a chick before-no. Is he a guy who hates girls and beats
on them-no.

What do you think about the drama?

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