Screeching Weasel & Other Notable Onstage Flameouts
Screeching Weasel in happier times: Warehouse Live, August 2010
In the wake of lead singer Ben Weasel's bust-up with some female fans at Screeching Weasel's SXSW showcase last week at Austin's Scoot Inn, the other members of the band have agreed to go their separate ways, splintering what had been a triumphant past year that included a handful of well-received shows, here in Houston last August.
This didn't come as any surprise, with the rest of the guys running for cover as the war of words got almost unbearable for anyone, even a punk band like the Weasels, to endure with any dignity. Rocks Off brought you the story last week a few hours after the Scoot Inn incident, and the comments on that blog have become a veritable battleground between those who vehemently condemn Weasel's actions, to those who chalk it up to a punk-rock ethos and see Weasel hitting an unruly audience member and assaulting a Scoot Inn owner as the breaks of the genre.
You invite Count Dracula to your house, don't be surprised when he goes around biting people. Ben has ALWAYS been volatile, and clearly the audience loves it...until it gets too real. Ah well, really nothing new here for anyone that has followed his career.
You've outed yourself as men who approve of unbalanced violence toward women ("they had it coming"!? are you serious!? had she been wearing revealing clothing should he have raped her as well!?), and I wish you the best of luck ever getting laid ever again in your miserable lives
I love how, when the second woman comes to stop him, he checks first that it's not some big tall dude, then lays two fists to her neck and stomach. What a complete fuckhead.
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As you can see, the comments section is a hotbed of angry words and ideas, with this whole incident creating a whole dialog on what it means to be punk, the treatment and respect of of women in general, and hero worship.
SW isn't the first band to be brought down or at least jeopardized by onstage behavior. We covered Stone Temple Pilots at The Woodlands last fall (above), which saw a drunken Scott Weiland shamble his way through the band's set only to have the tour grounded for a few weeks after. The band has been awfully quiet since the incident, with minimal touring.
Canadian band Women broke up onstage last October onstage after five songs at a Victoria, B.C. show, but their reps still claim it was a temporary flare-up. Soundgarden first broke up in 1997 after bassist Ben Shepherd threw his instrument down due to tech problems and everyone but Chris Cornell scampered offstage, leaving the singer the task of doing a solo set to keep the peace.
If you caught Ondi Timoner's music documentary Dig!, you will remember it basically being a musical snuff film, with featured Brian Jonestown Massacre breaking up or imploding every few minutes due to lead singer Anton Newcombe's medicated ballistics.
Although it didn't happen onstage, the most recent example of a band walking away from a lead singer may be Live, who in late 2009 parted from singer Ed Kowalczyk to form their own band, the Gracious Few, claiming that Kowalczyk had "betrayed" them over money and publishing issues. The band that formed in high school in Pennsylvania, still seems to be open to reuniting, but Kowalczyk doesn't seem too thrilled about coming back yet.