Published Mar 19, 2011Fans excited during the one-off performance of pop punk heroes Screeching Weasel at SXSW on Friday (March 18) were met with shock and disappointment as frontman Ben Weasel lost his cool on stage toward the end of the set, punching an audience member in the face and attacking another.
Allegedly, a woman in the crowd threw ice at Weasel, and he responded by jumping into the crowd and, based on the video footage below, punching her in the face. Another woman on stage attempted to restrain Weasel, but he attacked her as well. He was quickly grabbed by security and forced off the stage.
Leading up to the event, Weasel was expressing his distaste for SXSW on his Twitter, writing things like, "Gearing up to play the most depressing show of my life in the most joyless, soulless, shameful excuse of a music event in modern history." In a video interview with AUX earlier that day, Weasel said, "I'm embarrassed to be playing it. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this debacle."
Beatroute editor Glenn Alderson was in the front row of the show, and recalled the event in a statement to Exclaim!:
I was standing right at the front of the stage watching the whole thing. From the second he walked on stage you could tell Ben Weasel had a stick up his ass. Calling out the media, apologizing to everyone who paid 20 bucks to get in. Apparently, Screeching Weasel was only getting paid $250 to play the show and he didn't seem to think that was very fair. A fan even threw $20 at him while he was complaining and you could tell it threw him off a bit, picking up the bill and saying he was going to give it to the bands that played before him because they were getting paid even less...
They played a really solid set, with new songs and old songs: "Cindy's On Methadone," "My Brain Hurts," "My Right," "Racist Society," "Supermarket Fantasy" and more. Instead of going off stage after their set because he said the green room they provided him with was disgusting, he just stayed on stage and talked bullshit on the mic. People were yelling for him to shut up. His band finally came back, they played a few songs and then a girl from the audience threw an ice cube at him and it hit him in the face.
He asked who did it and the girl came forward. He asked if any girls in the audience wanted to kick her ass for him. When asked to come on stage, she came closer to the front and spit beer on him. That's when he lost it and he lunged at her.
Ben Weasel has not been on Twitter since the event took place.
UPDATE: Weasel has now issued a statement regarding the SXSW incident on the band's website. It reads:
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.