Such is the case concerning an incident (or non-incident, depending on who you talk to) at last weekend’s East Underground shindig at The East Room. During local neo-punkers Bad Cop’s set Saturday night, the band pulled a page from the Who/Nirvana playbook and smashed some gear onstage, pissing a couple people off in the process. Tipper Whore guitarist Kelly Bolick was not one of them, though.
“I thought [Bad Cop’s] set was great!” Bolick, who played Friday night at ENU and saw Bad Cop’s set Saturday, tells the Cream. “That was probably the best I’ve ever seen them play, and then they smashed all their guitars and I was like, ‘I guess that’s cool if they can afford that.’”
While the crowd in The East Room went wild for Bad Cop’s brash antics, on social media things got ugly. And in gloriously zeitgeisty fashion, band and audience status updates were all part of the show, as festival organizers had placed a screen directly above the stage. On it, they projected a live twitter feed of hashtags referencing the event. “I have a whole team that keeps Instagram and Vine and Twitter going for the whole weekend,” East Nashville Underground co-organizer Kristyn Corder tells the Cream.
“Smashing their guitars and kicking over my drum [kit], even though it’s not their drum kit, it’s rock ’n’ roll, and I get that,” Corder’s husband and fellow ENU organizer Jared Corder (who owns the house drum kit used for the gig) says of Bad Cop’s messy finale. “I was not offended or upset.”
But a tweet at Bad Cop dispatched — and presumably even displayed — for the crowd that was issued from the Corders’ band Repeat Repeat’s Twitter account doesn’t bear that out: “Hey, way to be rude. Guess what, fuck you. Good luck getting payed [sic] tonight." The tweet has since been deleted, and Jared Corder denied ever threatening Bad Cop’s bottom line. He has also since paid the band, who earlier in the evening, before taking the stage, poked fun at Corder’s longwinded, between-band stage announcements, introductions and speechifying.
“This guys [sic] speech is as long as the sets lol #Justsayin,” a
now-deleted Bad Cop tweet reads.
“I have a lot of sponsors that I have to mention and stuff,” Corder later explained.
Despite dispatches via social media, there weren’t any weird vibes between Bad Cop and Corder during their face-to-face personal interactions that night, which were limited. “I had not even said a word to the band that whole night besides just information on loading in,” Corder claims. “And I was not upset about the drum kit at all — I had not said anything.”
Nevertheless, Bad Cop got a different message. Inspired by the aforementioned Repeat Repeat tweet, the band then tweeted (then later deleted): “When 25-year-old men get upset you break a piece of shit drum kit and tweet at you instead of confront you, while in the same building #pussy.” Corder is 25 years old, and you can see his drum kit (post-guitar-smash) in the photo below (crowd-sourced via Instagram). You’ll notice that the floor tom is tipped over.
All pretty innocuous social-media beef so far, right? Now here’s where this gets ugly. Local Rock Scene Court Jester Brandon Jazz, who was DJing at Saturday’s event and is a longtime ENU supporter, was, like Kelly Bolick above, impressed by Bad Cop’s performance. But he wasn’t terribly stoked on their stage antics and status updates, and, naturally, made his views known via Twitter and Facebook.
“God damn, @badcopmusic,” Jazz tweeted. “Could you try harder to make yourselves unlikable? It’s a shame to see a band with good songs and idiot band members.”
That correspondence has since been scrubbed.
But in the aftermath, a Twitter, Facebook and text feud brewed between Jazz and Bad Cop singer Adam Moult ensued. Most of it’s not that interesting, but the cherry on top — a drunken, late-night voicemail to Jazz from Moult and some unnamed friends — is. In it, Moult & Co. barrage Jazz with a slew of misogynistic taunts, broken Spanish and musical comparisons to second-string teen-pop star Aaron Carter, with a touch of homophobia aimed at mocking and verbally emasculating the singer.
Jazz fired back by posting audio of the call on Facebook, where much to Moult and the rest of Bad Cop’s chagrin, it made rounds. That’s probably because, on the recording (which you can hear right here), Moult says to Jazz, “You’re like Aaron Carter on fucking crack, you faggot.”
Sorry to bury the lede. But yeah, the F word. The other F word. The actually offensive F word: faggot. Perhaps the audio brings back memories of when noted nincompoop Ann Coulter got in a bit of brouhaha for calling then Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards a faggot. Edwards is not a homosexual, as he would later go out of his way in proving. Brandon Jazz isn’t a homosexual either. And Moult says he doesn’t hold any ill will toward or hate for homosexuals and, like the rest of the civilized world, thinks there’s nothing wrong with being a homosexual. So why then would he call Brandon Jazz a faggot?
Talking to the Cream, here’s how he explains it:
When I said “faggot,” I meant it in a way like — if I said "motherfucker" or, like, "you’re a vagina" or something like that. I don’t literally mean, "you fuck moms" or literally mean you’re a vagina with a clit and stuff. Like, I just mean it in, like, a context of, like, "you’re a jerk."
I don’t think that justifies [using the word], I’ve just grown up in the South — I’ve lived here for 24 years — so, like, I don’t know, I’ve just heard that [word] my whole life as meaning more of, like, "you’re a jerk" or "you’re an asshole" or something … not like, "he actually sucks on penises" or something. You know, it’s not, like, literal. But I understand that we live in 2013 and it’s just a different time. … I did not mean [to be offensive]. … I’m not homophobic at all.
In offering up an apology for having offended any of Jazz’s Facebook friends or Twitter followers (or anybody else), Moult kind of cross-pollinates the ol’ Eminem defense with the more recent Paula Deen defense. Not unlike a celebrity making a mea culpa for a poor word choice, Moult seemed a little rattled when talking to the Cream about how an unsavory voice-mail message he left made its way to Facebook.
“I didn’t know that, like, insulting Brandon Jazz as a person — me and him having a personal beef was, like, a public matter,” he said. “If it was a band thing, I’d totally get it. Or if we were both in huge bands, but I don’t understand this, really.”
That’s understandable. It’s not like this social media beef rises to the level of Joan Rivers vs. Rihanna or something. But what’s significant is how, whether on a superstar level or on a regional club level, this is how bands and artists communicate now, even when they’re neighbors. The instant reaction to an event is displayed at that event, live. At CMA Festival this year, audience member tweets appeared on stage-flanking stories-high screens at LP Field between performances. The only real difference between that and ENU was the size and scope of the event.
In much the same way, local artists, like celebrities, have to watch what they say. The wrong tweet, leaked irate or ironic voice-mail message, embarrassing viral video, etc., could lead to criticism and scrutiny. Regardless of stature, the Internet never forgets.
Scary as that sounds, it might not be such a bad thing. Whether you’re a superstar or a starving artist, any time you put yourself on a stage, on a record, in a video, you’re putting yourself out there to be judged. You signed up for this! Bands that want to be rock stars, singers who want to be famous, tweeters who want to cultivate a following — if they really mean it, they should act like the world is watching and cares. Dress for the job you want, not job you have, as saying goes.
It’s really not all that different from smashing your guitars at a local festival and comparing it to a Who show.