Shit happens. It's a fact of life. We're willing to bet that every single person reading this blog has at one time taken a sick day or left work unexpectedly due to an emergency of some kind. And while we may see them as rock gods, musicians are people too, susceptible to the same health issues and complications as everyone else.
That being said, most of us don't have a frenzied crowd waiting for us to show up at the office every day, or thousands of dollars in ticket sales, promotion and advertising dollars riding on whether or not we make it to work. And just imagine what your boss would say if you stood up at your desk right now and said, "I'm gonna go outside for a second. I'm gonna vomit. I'm gonna drink a beer, and then I'll be back to finish those TPS reports you were waiting on."
That's essentially what Kings of Leon front man Caleb Followill told the audience in Dallas last Friday night, just prior to walking offstage for good. The next day, the band's postponement (and eventual cancellation) of its show that night at Cynthia Woods was chalked up to "heat exhaustion" and "dehydration" in a press release.
No one said being a musician was easy, especially in this new digital era where extensive touring has replaced record sales as the primary means of income. But the phrase "party like a rock star" didn't come about from eating healthy and getting plenty of rest. And those working behind the scenes locally can all attest to the dramatic increase in illness-related show cancellations when Houston is preceded by Austin on a tour schedule - or even worse, New Orleans, that magical land where the bars never close.
Cancelled shows are often explained with words like "exhaustion," "laryngitis" and "scheduling conflict," which are technically not untrue. Partying into the wee hours of the night for weeks on end will eventually wear a body down, and booking a show on a night where everyone but a few hundred/thousand people have somewhere more important to be than at your show is technically a conflict.
But sometimes they're just flat-out lies, and no one is more aware of this than booking agents.
Rocks Off reached out to our local network of talent buyers from venues large and small in search of the most common (and most absurd) excuses they'd been given by a band or their representatives for calling off a show - and what the actual real reason for flaking really was. The response was overwhelming. And now, for your enjoyment, we present:
(in alphabetical order, for easy referencing)
"Death in the Family"
Drummer has crippling diarrhea.
We saw how ratty your venue was and pussed out.
Band is completely trashed and refuses to come out of the tour bus.
My girlfriend found out I banged this fat chick in Missouri and is making me come home immediately.
We are so fucking hung over.
The tour isn't going well. America hates us. We want to go home.
NOTE: This is a particularly common affliction among British bands that are used to playing big gigs every 30 kilometers down the road and can't handle driving all the way from San Diego to Austin.
"I forgot my grandmother was turning 90 that day"
I don't actually have my shit together and I lied when I said I had a full band that was ready to perform.
"It's raining and I hear Houston floods easily"
I'm not getting any comments about the show on my Facebook page.
The lead singer is a dick.
"Issues with Transportation"
We were drunk and wrecked the van into a pole.
"Lost His Voice"
Indie-rocker met some young, hip things from Houston at one of his 14 SXSW shows in Austin and would rather get a blow job at one of the aforementioned girls' houses than play a free show for 500 people.
"My van was overheating between Lubbock and Houston, so I had to turn back around"
I realized the Longhorns were in town to play the Red Raiders.
1. The singer just made bail in Austin, where he was arrested for pissing on the street in front of Emo's the night before.
2. I need more money than what I originally asked for and I have ten extra people who need to roll with me, so pony up or I ain't coming.
"Received Racially Motivated Death Threats"
Checked into rehab.
1. Shitty ticket sales.
2. Somebody done fucked up real good.
"Show? What Show?"
Drummer has crippling diarrhea.
"Singer is Feeling Rough Today"
The Texas-based country music singer popular among frat boys got his ass kicked in Corpus the night before, and now has a broken jaw.
"Strung Out and MIA"
Seriously. Lead singer has been doing drugs for days on end and no one knows where the fuck he is.
"Suffering from Exhaustion"
We are still drunk from last night.
I violated parole and have been thrown back in jail, therefore can't make the flight/bus.
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We'd much rather have a day off in New Orleans or Austin than play in Houston.