Ben Weasel's Band Exit Screeching Weasel in the Wake of SXSW Violence

Ben Weasel's Band Exit Screeching Weasel in the Wake of SXSW Violence
There's no question it's been a rocky few days for Screeching Weasel. Last weekend, frontman Ben Weasel got into a nasty dust-up with two female festivalgoers at SXSW. In the wake of the incident, Weasel offered an apology, but that wasn't enough for several bands to drop out of Screeching Weasel's Weasel Fest, an event celebrating the pop punk group's 25th anniversary. Well, now Weasel's bandmates are following suit, announcing that they may be leaving the group.

In a statement to Punknews, Screeching Weasel's Dan Schafer, Adam Cargin, Justin Perkins and Drew Fredrichsen announced that they will no longer play in Screeching Weasel, at least not in a live capacity and not in the near future.

"The un-calculated act put forth by Ben 'Weasel' Foster leading up to and including the violence that erupted on stage is seen by the band as shameful and embarrassing," the statement reads. "The sentiments and actions expressed were completely out of our control and in no way represent the band members' view points or moral compasses. As a result, the band has discussed at length and has come to the conclusion that as a group we will not likely be able to muster the dignity to attempt a live performance as 'Screeching Weasel' in the for-seeable future. We each look forward to re-evaluating our involvement in the band as we move forward if we are given the opportunity."

It must be noted, however, that during the band's 25 years, Ben Weasel has been the group's only constant member, with Screeching Weasel going through numerous lineup changes over the years. So while the current backing band may be bowing out for now, there is no word if Screeching Weasel are through, as Weasel could simply hire another batch of players. At this point, though, the frontman has yet to respond to his group's departure.

Frustratingly enough, Schafer, Cargin, Perkins and Fredrichsen are also painfully vague in their statement, never outright saying that they are quitting the band.

The entire unedited statement given to Punknews is below:

The members of Screeching Weasel (Dan Schafer, Adam Cargin, Justin Perkins, and Drew Fredrichsen) would like to offer a sincere apology to our fans, our management (Ben Perlstein @ Motivation Management), Chad and Vanessa @ Fat Wreck Chords, Deborah Toscano @ Devil Dolls Booking, The Scoot Inn and it's employees, all the support bands, and anyone else negatively impacted by the scene that developed in Austin last Friday night, March 18th.

The un-calculated act put forth by Ben Foster leading up to and including the violence that erupted on stage is seen by the band as shameful and embarrassing. The sentiments and actions expressed were completely out of our control and in no way represent the band members' view points or moral compasses. As a result, the band has discussed at length and has come to the conclusion that as a group we will not likely be able to muster the dignity to attempt a live performance as "Screeching Weasel" in the for-seeable future. We each look forward to re-evaluating our involvement in the band as we move forward if we are given the opportunity.

Collectively, as musicians, we feel that it is imperative that the music do the talking. We have made every effort as a group to ignore the gossip, Internet feuds, and general negativity that has (at times) overshadowed what we believe being in a band is really about. It is pointless to try to place the blame where those actions are concerned and we don't care to get involved other than to say we don't condone or support any of it. We are very proud of the effort we put forth in creating what we believe to be a fantastic new album in "First World Manifesto" and it deeply saddens us that we will not be able to bring that excitement to audiences around the world in the form of a live show in the coming months.

We all feel extremely deflated following this public spectacle and would no doubt be doing the music an injustice if we were to force a performance. As friends and band mates, we are absolutely positive that Ben regrets his actions last Friday night. We have no doubt that his apology is sincere and that if he could take it all back, he would. We don't wish to place any more hardship upon him with our decision to discontinue our involvement at this time, but it is something that can not be avoided.

In the future we would love to see these wounds heal and for the opportunity to play together in a positive light materialize. If Ben feels the need to immediately carry on with a new cast of characters--we support his right to do so. Again, we would like to thank our fans for all of their past support and hope that they will continue to support us should the opportunity to perform as "Screeching Weasel" present itself again in the future.

Thanks for everything,

Dan, Adam, Justin, & Drew


In case you missed it, a video of the SXSW incident is below.