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SXSW 2011: Screeching Weasel singer apologizes for Friday altercation

WEASEL_LA_2

Screeching Weasel
frontman Ben Weasel (real name: Ben Foster) has issued a statement apologizing for a Friday evening altercation with a fan in Austin, Texas. "I wish to say that I am sorry to the fan and any others who were involved," Weasel said in a statement posted on his official website. "As a husband, father, and a musician on the public stage, I understand that it is my duty to always take responsibility for my actions in a socially acceptable way, and most especially in the face of confrontation."

As previously reported, Screeching Weasel's performance as part of the South by Southwest conference and festival came to an abrupt end. Weasel had spent much of the night railing against the media, SXSW and even those in attendance. During a particularly long rant, Weasel was hit with either a cup of water or beer by a female fan, and moments later the same fan was believed to have been the one who threw an ice cube that hit Weasel near the eye.

In the days since the concert, numerous YouTube videos document what happened next, with Weasel lunging off the stage and throwing a punch at the offending female audience member. Police were called to the venue, Austin's Scoot Inn, but no action was taken Friday night as all parties involved in the fracas had left the scene.  

Related: SXSW 2011: The artists, quotes and fights that made an impression

"Whatever my feelings are about fans crossing the line like that, I wish I could have that moment back and deal with it in the same spirit as I did the preceding 60 minutes," Weasel said in the statement. "Since I can’t, an apology is all I’ve got, and I sincerely hope those people will accept it."

Earlier, this blog noted it had called Weasel and did not hear back. While an attempt to speak to Weasel was made by myself and WBEZ blogger/Sound Opinions co-host Jim DeRogatis, who also documented Friday's events, information was later relayed to the two of us that the cellphone number dialed to reach Weasel was one the artist was no longer using.

The band was to perform Saturday night in San Antonio, but the concert was canceled. In addition, DeRogatis noticed that "at least one band" has removed itself from Screeching Weasel's two-night event, dubbed Weaselfest, at the end of May in Chicago. The act, the Chinese Telepones, said in a statement on their site that "recent events in Austin" persuaded them to drop off the Weaselfest bill. 

What follows is the full statement from Weasel:

I want to apologize to both the club owner and audience member involved for my actions during our show at SXSW on Friday night. While their actions were outside of my control, my regretful reaction is wholly my responsibility. Whatever my feelings are about fans crossing the line like that, I wish I could have that moment back and deal with it in the same spirit as I did the preceding 60 minutes. Since I can’t, an apology is all I’ve got, and I sincerely hope those people will accept it. Up front, I wish to say that I am sorry to the fan and any others who were involved. As a husband, father, and a musician on the public stage, I understand that it is my duty to always take responsibility for my actions in a socially acceptable way, and most especially in the face of confrontation.

I want to apologize to the San Antonio fans, also, for having to cancel that show. I hope we can make it up down the road. I’ve obviously already talked to my band about it, but I also want to publicly apologize for putting them in a bad position, as well as my manager, booking agent, label, and the support bands. My actions were unprofessional and unfair to the people I work with.

Suburban Chicago's Screeching Weasel is currently on the comeback trail, having released its first album in 11 years. The much-adored act is lauded for taking the urban rush of the Ramones and bringing it to the 'burbs, ultimately paving the way for the likes of Green Day and Blink-182. The band appeared in Los Angeles in the latter half of 2010, a show that was reviewed by The Times

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Screeching Weasel in Los Angeles in late 2010. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Related:

SXSW 2011: Screeching Weasel reluctantly performs, show ends in a scuffle

Don't listen to me, I have Screeching Weasel tattooed on my arm, but ...

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

The Soviettes also cancelled their show with SW @ Reggies

Also Teenage Bottlerocket

Good for Weasel for apologizing. Now will the woman who threw ice and spit in his face apologize as well or does she not have to apologize because she's not a well-known musician and a woman?

Good for him for apologizing? Pretty weak apology in my opinion. What would the victim have to apologize for exactly? Being verbally berated throughout the bands set by a guy who thought he was too good to play the festival and did nothing but complain about being there? Looks like weaselfest is off seeing as most of the other bands have cancelled.

He was hit with one piece of ice ( there was no spitting) and brutally attacked a very small girl then when the female stage manager try to pull him off he punch her three times ( very O.C.) . He his only apologizing because of threats from his label, he is worthless and did this in front of his pregnant wife. Texas does not forget or forgive such acts.

Yeah, Texas does not forget or forgive. Like I will never forget how badass the Dallas SW show was! You're always welcome back here, Weasel.

I agree. This was a weak apology & surely only came about because of pressure from the label & the fact that bands are dropping from his little fest. I was completely appalled at what I witnessed Friday night. I've been a fan for a long time & was there with my teenage boys, who also loved the band. Following the altercation my kids want to sell their SW cds & say they have no interest in ever listening to or seeing them again. I can't say that I blame them. The incident was so uncalled for. Bands (especially punk bands) encounter things being thrown at them all the time. It's a hazard of the industry they choose to work in. And a little ice in the face hardly constitutes grabbing a girl by her throat & punching her in the face. Even before he did this, I already felt cheated out of my 20 bucks. I paid to hear him sing... not spend more than half the show on self-indulgent rants!

Gim him a break. She assaulted him not once, but twice.

Weasel, next time mace her. That is the proper self defense response to an attack.

"He was hit with one piece of ice ( there was no spitting) and brutally attacked a very small girl then when the female stage manager try to pull him off he punch her three times"

I'm sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. Try looking at the videos (hint: they can be easily found on a thing called the Internet - perhaps you've heard of it?).

Since you're basing your claims on second, third, or whatever hand reports, I'm surprised that you didn't see the reports that there was ice thrown and, after he berated the girl who threw ice and offered to pay another girl to beat her up since he couldn't hit girls, that another girl spit at him. That was what caused him (regrettably, but a bit understandably given being at SXSW) to lose it and swing out into the audience. (As for the claim that he grabbed her by the throat and punched her in the face, I'm curious how he was supposed to accomplish that with one arm in one swing).

If you look at the video that was shot closer to the stage, he pushes the woman who interceded, spazzes out, and delivers what looks like a kidney punch in the course of that spazzing. If you want to call the first push a punch, that's still just two.

Worth noting is that if it had been a male provoking him and getting swung at, people would have had no problem with it. Why's that?


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