You can read the official word on why Asking Alexandria was banned from performing at Rocketown in the story — essentially, they were in direct defiance of Rocketown’s stated mission — but the venue didn’t go into specifics on why this particular band was moved from the premises when I spoke with them for this story. I (and several others who spoke with me off the record) have some theories on that front.
The Rocketown volunteer quoted in the piece cites objectionable lyrical content as the major reason for why Asking Alexandria was moved to Cannery, which seems plausible when you consider that they’ve written songs with lines like these:
I knew when I first saw you / You’d fuck like a whore
We'll drink you under / The fucking table / Rack 'em up / Put 'em down / Rack 'em up / Put 'em down
Get off your knees / Nothing changes when you pray / I'm the closest thing to a God you'll ever know
So, yeah. Asking Alexandria’s songs come off like bad poetry written by surly teenage goth misogynists. But I don’t completely buy the lyrical content line. For one thing, the venue’s staff (particularly its executive director, ReGina Newkirk) defended their decision to book Black Dahlia Murder when Rocketown came under fire from parents decrying the band as satanic. And, indeed, if the lyrical or musical content was the sole reason for pushing the band out, then the people calling the move censorship would have a point.
Newkirk was pointed about the fact that Rocketown uses its venue to reach troubled kids who otherwise might not come to the community center/ministry side of the organization and part of that includes booking bands those kids would want to see. That gives me the impression that, speaking in terms of content, Rocketown is willing to bend a little for bands that its constituency wants.
Lyrically speaking, Asking Alexandria isn’t terribly different from other “scene kid” hardcore and metal acts. If it was just vaguely violent, vaguely angry songs about dudes spurned, they might have passed under the radar (though their t-shirts, reading “you’re not a fucking god of mine” across the front, likely would have raised some eyebrows). But then they go and do things like this:
The first video shows AA singer Danny Worsnop refusing to play an encore unless ten bras are thrown on stage (something that he apparently does at every show, including their Nashville date), and the second shows Worsnop encouraging the crowd to pull down the low ceiling at Zydeco in Birmingham (sister venue to Exit/In).
I don’t think I need to elaborate on why that kind of egregiously scumbaggy behavior shouldn’t be encouraged. However, just to keep things in perspective, it’s worth pointing out that Rocketown’s crowds skew young. I felt like an old creep at Asking Alexandria’s show, where the average age couldn’t have been much higher than 16. It’s bad enough that Worsnop is objectifying women at all, but objectifying teenage girls? That’s pretty awful, even by awful people's standards.
But still, the Zydeco incident didn’t happen until after AA’s Cannery show and, conceivably, they could have been persuaded to not demand the undergarments of minors if they did play Rocketown. But it doesn’t stop there. Shortly before it was announced that the show would be moved to Cannery (which, I feel like I must add, was an action taken by and paid for by Rocketown itself), this happened in Seattle [sic]:
…fans were greeted with a high and drunken danny worsnop. He was so intoxicated he couldnt stand and kept falling all over the place, couldnt remember his lyrics and was booed off the stage. He went in the back returned agin still intoxicated and and was booed away and several items were thrown at him once agin. He allegedly punched a fan in the face. Sexually assualted female fans, exposed him self to crowd and was disrespectful to the audience and then apparently passed out on stage. The band nicely appoligized and asked for all fans to go home show is canceled because of there singer.
It was bad enough that the band apologized. Twice. I can’t find any evidence supporting the assault claims, but this YouTube video clearly shows that that dude was hammered.
When you look hard at Asking Alexandria, it’s amazing that they were ever booked at Rocketown. Or any other music venue, for that matter. The question isn’t so much if AA deserved to be banned or if Rocketown is in the right or wrong. Instead, it’s more a question of if the venue will become more conservative towards less extreme bands. After all, if the relatively harmless Pink Spiders (especially the older and, we can only hope, wiser 2011 vintage) can’t get through the door, who can?