After Ben Weasel's immature and negative attention-seeking
haven't been listening to Screeching Weasel nonstop since 1993, here's what
happened: after 25 years of influencing bands that would become chart toppers
(Green Day, Blink-182, All-American Rejects, etc.) and numerous break-ups and reformations,
the band released their first album in 11 years last Tuesday.
The record itself is pretty solid. The production is great,
the songs are catchy, there's a little too much nit-picking and bitterness
towards the punk scene. It's a little off-putting, kind of unnerving. But, you
know, one doesn't have to agree with someone's views to enjoy the music.
Last Friday, Weasel spent most of the day tweeting about how
upset and disgusted he was that they were going to play the Fat Wreck Chords
showcase at SXSW. It's hard to imagine anyone at the label forcing him to do
this, nor can I understand why someone would put themselves in that spot. Also,
if regretting playing was an afterthought, Weasel should've just shut up,
played his set, and gone home.
But, nah, he didn't just get up there and go through the
motions. God, I wish that's what he did. I've been a fan of this band for way
too long, and much to the confusion of many of my peers who have outgrown the
Weasel, I'm pretty sure that from the moment I first heard 1988's Boogada Boogada Boogada, a day didn't
pass where I heard at least one Screeching Weasel related song. That is until I
read about what happened on Friday.
He bitched and insulted everyone watching them, in between
and during songs. At one point he exchanged heated misogynistic comments with
lady in the crowd; she spat on him and threw ice at his face. He punched her, and
then he punched another woman who tried to pull him back. Check the video
The news of this scene made me sick, sad and disappointed. I'd
already purchased tickets and flight to their 25th anniversary show
in Chicago this May. I didn't really feel like hearing Screeching Weasel that
day, or the next day, or the next day. He issued kind of an apology, but it didn't
make me feel better about the whole situation. I have non-refundable airfare and
tickets to a show whose headliner I don't wanna see. Well, I did wanna see
Teenage Bottlerocket, but they dropped off the show "for obvious reasons."
I started thinking about Italian pop punk band the Manges,
maybe they'll still come. I can check them out and eat lots of hot dogs and
deep dish pizza, right? Chicago's supposed to be really cool, maybe me and my
girlfriend can go to Pawnee and meet Lil Sebastian? Whatever, I'll make the
best of it.
I had also planned on covering Boogada Boogada Boogada with Beings' Mike Alen and my buddy Slim
Biscayne at a show a few months from now. Now, I do not want to do this. I
spent so many years listening to this guy's well-written, poorly played and
terribly sung songs, and kept following his career. The Riverdales, the shitty
solo albums, I even like all the albums that other diehard fans hate. I guess
it was easy to look up to Ben Weasel 'the musician;' I also don't sing that
great, I don't play guitar that well, either, maybe it's just about writing
good songs, catchy hooks and cute guitar leads. I can do that!
I've been onstage, I've been heckled, I've had bottles
thrown at me, I've had an entire venue in West Palm Beach watch as a guy on
pills try to fight me because I was wearing a fancy gold jacket with my bare
chest exposed. In all of those cases something inside of me told me, the show
must go on, there may be one person here who likes what I am doing, and there
is no need for me to act bitter on stage. Suck it in. Make a joke and
move on. As much as I've wanted to give someone a punch for knocking the mic into
my teeth, I didn't. And I'm less trained at this than Ben Weasel. I'm not
better than him, I just don't understand anything he did that day. I cannot
relate to him anymore, I don't think he cares that a fan like me has been
alienated. I think he likes it. And I hate that.
Yesterday, everyone in Screeching Weasel quit the band, except Ben. I felt a surge
of relief. A lot of people have been saying that what he did isn't that bad, and
that it is an isolated incident. I guess it's the first time he's ever punched
two girls at a show, but, that's really bad. Plus, read the guy's lyrics. Read
his interviews. He seems to really enjoy upsetting those who support his music.
And his literal supporters, his band, left his mom-jeans-wearing bitter ass
He'll probably get some ringers to join him, the band has
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given him their blessing to do so. Fine
with me, I'll never see it.