Difficulties in understanding the concept of punk rock – a letter to Adam

Adam (from the Czech band Gnu/Aran Epochal, co-founder of Silver Rocket Records and the promoter of Obits‘ European tour 2010) asked me how the Obits show was in Szeged. “Was it good?”- he inquired.

Here’s what I answered:

no, it was wonderful actually! :)
‘good’ doesn’t cover it. they really are a damn great live band! they were supernice and friendly, they loved the food we made for them, a lot of people came to the show and I was able to give them quite a good doordeal money too.

so it was close to a perfect night but a minor disturbance occurred in the form of an opening band that wasn’t even supposed to play that night. this is why the Obits guys wrote what they did (amongst others) on their twitter under Szeged. in case you have checked.

the story is as follows:
there was this crustpunk duo from Norway, la casa fantom, who were to play the night before but since nobody showed up, or just a very few people, they decided to cancel the gig. (Mistake #1) it wasn’t their fault entirely, the promotion was very poor and the promoter guy didn’t even come to meet them either that night nor the Obits’ night. he’s a friend of mine but I have never seen him do such thing… I only know that he’s very busy with his work right now but that doesn’t justify his deeds, he could have made a phone call or anything that shows he still cares.
anyway, the club manager was friendly with the Norwegians and they asked him if they can stay for the next night to play before Obits. (Mistake # 2) however, the manager guy didn’t ask my permission to put them on the bill but agreed with them (that they can stay and play for free!) without me knowing this until the Obits’ day 2pm when he called me on the phone and told me in cold facts that fantom is also playing that night, I have to deal with it. yeah, thanks. correct me here if I’m wrong, but I think I was the only one who was legitimate to make any decisions about that night, I put the whole program together from beginning to end.
so what else could I do, we greed that they are going to start and after them everything goes according to the original plan (2 local bands + Obits + indie DJs).

Obits arrived around 5:30pm, food was prepared by 6:30pm, we served them the meal, the same dish with vegetarian and meat version, Obits guys finished the meal and what was left was for the Norwegians (two musician guys + a girlfriend). unfortunately the meatless was less and they were all vegetarians, of course, so the girl came to me and started complaining that they have the feeling they’re neglected, nobody asks them anything, they don’t get enough food, etc. (Mistake #3) it’s true that I didn’t have time to deal with them too much but, for christ’s sake, my guests were Obits that night and I thought the club manager was there to serve them, since he invited them. maybe we misunderstood each other regarding that.
okay, they started playing around 9:30pm (one hour later than planned!) and relentlessly played a whole fucking set of their crustpunk, at least 45 minutes instead of maximum 25. man, they didn’t care even a tiny bit that they are an extra act that night who basically begged themselves into the lineup and that they are taking away time from all the others. (Mistake #4) I should have been stricter with them, but I didn’t want trouble, tension was in the air from the beginning.

from then on we were behind time, I had to rush the 2 local bands and around 12:30am finally Obits hit the stage and played an incredible set of rock’n’roll for about an hour. thankfully the audience (100-130 people, very good number in Szeged!) was willing to wait for them even at that late hour on Thursday (Friday’s working day!). so everyone was supportive and it was obvious all these people laid down their money to see the band from Brooklyn.

jumping to 3am. I paid Obits, ready to leave the club to my apartment. I went to say goodbye to the fantoms and thank them for the show but they’re all sitting very sullenly, looking at me quite coldly. it turns out the night was okay for them but they’re waiting for somebody to pay them! WTF??! I couldn’t believe it. not even a polite question if maybe it was possible to get something little from the doordeal – that obviously didn’t belong to them – but they are WAITING for me to pay them (like it was my duty)! it was too much by then. I started discussing the issue with them and renewed their memory about the deal they had with the manager but they kept insisting that it’s not okay to leave this “problem” unsolved and spitting the question into my face from a few centimeters: “What am I gonna do about it?” I’m not a guy who likes arguing, so I figured it has to end now. I told them they put me in an embarrassing situation but still I’m going to walk to Obits, discuss it with them and ask back some money for these shitheads. so I did. Obits understood the stance right away, said it’s just money, let’s give them about 20 Euros and leave to have showers. so I did. I put the paper money into the drummer’s hand and was saying goodbye. However, Sohrab came with me to tell them what they did was not cool, but nothing more. it still launched an argument between them which ended with the drummer fantom throwing back the 5000 Forints bill to Sohrab’s shirt. He thanked him and said he was gonna take it indeed since they earned it. and we walked away on the back door. end of story. at least for a while…

question: how can you ask for equal treatment and feel like the stars of the night when you asked us a favor to play on another night that wasn’t booked for you?

I understand how they must have been feeling the previous night when no one came but they were given food and offered a place to sleep in the club (they chose their van instead) and drank all night with the club manager for free so they weren’t treated like shit at all, far from it! but the real problem was with their style: it was demanding. like they were touring together with the main act and it was their night too. they should have been happy that they were given an opportunity to show their music to so many people, that doesn’t happen everyday to a crustpunk band. no offense. so how about some modesty, guys, rings the bell maybe? taking advantage of the situation and then demanding like it was your success… it’s sick in the head. they had no right to ask even a penny!

anyway, we’re back in the club at 6:30am with Obits to load the van but couldn’t find the switch to put the lights on so we’re taking out the equipment relying on the dim light our phones are able to emit. kind of funny and we’re having good time until the guys realize their merchandise has been pissed all over and soaked in beer… now, what else can I say. sweet smell of revenge? no evidence to prove it but not too many people stayed after we left the club and it’s very improbable that some drunk guy just happened to pour his drink on that very box…

and the worst thing: according to the club manager, they were anarchists, they were just provoking me to see what they can achieve with it. they didn’t need that money so badly but only having fun. nice. just what the world needs today, another bunch of aggressive retards.

as Rick Froberg drew the conclusion: “They don’t understand what punk rock is about. This is just simply being assholes.”

end of story. (truly)