If you’ve had the misfortune of being on the internet within the last day or so, you’ve probably been inundated by the well-thought out posts about the election and a feeling of pride that 85% of your social media friends graduated with political science degrees this year. Beyond this, you might have also seen that there’s been an incident regarding the Pentagram tour and subsequent abandoning of by Wax Idols and King Woman. The details as to why this occurred were well documented but for those of you not up on current events the CliffsNotes version is that both bands were subjected to both sexual harassment from Pentagram, their crew and notorious walking catastrophe Bobby Liebling. Allegedly, amongst other things, Bobby said he invited both bands on the tour so he could “have options,” which is grossly insulting not only to both band’s musical talents and validity but also that they would be interested in necrophilia. I spent at least 10 minutes trying to tie this into Fig Newtons somehow but couldn’t but there’s that reference for those of you who’ve seen the excellent and depressing documentary Last Days Here.
We could sit and debate the absolute creepiness and basic shittiness of such a statement amongst other alleged behavior but I’m sure several other sites will have that up a few hours after this piece so I’d like to skip ahead to what I took the most contention with, which was the statement from Pentagram’s management team who apparently left their PR class with a D- because the teacher didn’t want to fail them and have them waste oxygen in their classroom next semester. The poorly conceived statement is as follows:
We’ve been professionally performing and recording music for close to 50 yrs [sic] and this is one of the most unfounded and grossly opportunistic situations that we’ve ever encountered. These bands didn’t communicate to Pentagram or the tour manager about wanting to leave the tour. A few nights into the tour, they simply disappeared, posted negatively about us on social media and then headed over to the show that was previously set up for them that very night.
Our mutual agent had set up a separate deal with the promoters for the opening acts. Pentagram’s contract and all inclusions/exclusions were between Pentagram and the promoter.
Bobby Liebling offended someone from one of the opening bands. He said something to the effect of, “I approve of you being on the tour because I want options.” Pentagram as a band sincerely apologized for Bobby’s comment. Bobby verbally hit on this girl, that’s as far as it got. It’s no secret that he’s attracted to women and that’s not a crime. He’s a single man. He may have been uncouth but there was no touching. We tried to be nice but these openers gave us no real chance to interact, avoided us at all costs and made us feel uncomfortable on our own tour.
Let’s take this one apart piece by piece so that we can see exactly how and why it’s a fucking train wreck and whoever wrote it shouldn’t be allowed near a computer for a sentence of no less than six months while they consider how fucking stupid it is.
First off, calling Pentagram “professional” is a bit of a stretch since Liebling is an infamous fuckup who doesn’t even make it to some of his shows. Pentagram tickets aren’t cheap and if I went to a show that he just decided to skip for whatever reason I’d be fucking furious. But these first two paragraphs aren’t the true issue here, they just show an absolutely poor showing of management and even flimsier excuses. The issue is the last part.
“It’s no secret he’s attracted to women and that’s not a crime.” What a crock of boys’ club “it’s only rock ‘n’ roll” fucking dreck. Excusing scummy behavior because he’s into women is the sort of defense that if this team were on the OJ trial the jury would’ve deliberated for 15 minutes before sentencing him and his legal team to the chair. This completely invalidates both Wax Idols and King Woman musically, basically saying they’re only on the tour, not because their music is good or they have something to say, but because Bobby was coherent enough to think he wanted to fuck them but delusional enough to think that fucking him was a reason to get on the tour in the first place. It sends a message that separates musicians by gender instead of passion and achievement. It’s not a new concept and it’s not going away anytime soon. But that doesn’t make it correct. It makes whoever is saying it an asshole. It discourages women to take any kind of independent role in their artistic career because it reinforces the cliché of rock ‘n’ roll being a “man’s world” and that women should be submissive towards them. It’s a backwards idea that is counter-productive to creative freedom and adds to the growing list of why women feel unsafe or unwelcome in these scenes.
“It may have been uncouth but there was no touching.” Holy. Shit. Really? Fucking really? Did an 8th grader write this? Were there no tag backs, too? Fuck, I can’t even begin to grasp the thought process that went into this one but that’s understandable considering there obviously wasn’t one. Just because you didn’t put your hands on them doesn’t excuse your verbal and paralinguistic (BUT NOT TOUCHY FEELY) actions. If the perceived threshold that we dare not cross is “no touching” then we need to reevaluate our lives. Words exist to express how utterly asinine this sentiment is but I’m only allowed to use the word “fuck” and its variations about three dozen times per column. Moving on.
“He’s a single man”. Yeah, I was shocked, too.
The last sentence about the two bands avoiding the Pentagram crew thus making them feel uncomfortable on their own tour deserves a standing ovation and probably a Kickstarter to help them pay for therapy to cope with their hurt feelings. What fucking balls whoever wrote this has. THEY felt uncomfortable? What about the openers who were subjected to a group of elderly men dripping at them while being sexually aggressive and managed the tour with all the grace of a handjob from someone with the DTs? What about their feelings of discomfort? Or their feelings of safety? Touring sucks anyway without having to worry that someone is going to sniff your seat when you’re gone. This environment could have only added stress and turned something that was supposed to be a great opportunity into a nightmare. Fuck you for having the nerve to turn this on them and talk about your hurt feelings, you fucking pussy.
I’m with a lot of you when talk about safe spaces and other ridiculous tumblr language concepts are brought up. Metal and punk are extreme scenes and express extreme views. We’re not well adjusted people and a lot of us really take issue with society at large. I’m not here to spread some SJW nonsense about inclusion to other kin or whatever you kids are doing these days while I’m racing towards an aneurysm induced death. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think people deserve to be treated with respect. Excusing someone’s behavior because that’s “what they do” or “they don’t know any better” or “Alzheimer’s mixed with heroin” is some weak, boys’ club bullshit. It seems we keep having the same conversation about not treating women like they’re places for you to disappointingly cum on quickly rather instead treating them like human beings. We’re still having the conversation about women musicians being treated like musicians and not fetish objects and not “quaint” because of their gender. When is this going to be something that can be moved on from so we can go back to talking about each other’s musical tastes being dogshit? I don’t know, I can’t imagine a woman’s perspective. But I can tell you that shit like that press statement aren’t helping and the sooner we stop excusing bands we love from behavior like this the sooner we could make some kind of progress.