What "Exhaustion" & Other Cancellation Excuses REALLY Mean

Shit happens. It's a fact of life. We're willing to bet that every single person reading this blog has at one time taken a sick day or left work unexpectedly due to an emergency of some kind. And while we may see them as rock gods, musicians are people too, susceptible to the same health issues and complications as everyone else.

That being said, most of us don't have a frenzied crowd waiting for us to show up at the office every day, or thousands of dollars in ticket sales, promotion and advertising dollars riding on whether or not we make it to work. And just imagine what your boss would say if you stood up at your desk right now and said, "I'm gonna go outside for a second. I'm gonna vomit. I'm gonna drink a beer, and then I'll be back to finish those TPS reports you were waiting on."

That's essentially what Kings of Leon front man Caleb Followill told the audience in Dallas last Friday night, just prior to walking offstage for good. The next day, the band's postponement (and eventual cancellation) of its show that night at Cynthia Woods was chalked up to "heat exhaustion" and "dehydration" in a press release.

No one said being a musician was easy, especially in this new digital era where extensive touring has replaced record sales as the primary means of income. But the phrase "party like a rock star" didn't come about from eating healthy and getting plenty of rest. And those working behind the scenes locally can all attest to the dramatic increase in illness-related show cancellations when Houston is preceded by Austin on a tour schedule - or even worse, New Orleans, that magical land where the bars never close.

Cancelled shows are often explained with words like "exhaustion," "laryngitis" and "scheduling conflict," which are technically not untrue. Partying into the wee hours of the night for weeks on end will eventually wear a body down, and booking a show on a night where everyone but a few hundred/thousand people have somewhere more important to be than at your show is technically a conflict.

But sometimes they're just flat-out lies, and no one is more aware of this than booking agents.

Rocks Off reached out to our local network of talent buyers from venues large and small in search of the most common (and most absurd) excuses they'd been given by a band or their representatives for calling off a show - and what the actual real reason for flaking really was. The response was overwhelming. And now, for your enjoyment, we present:


(in alphabetical order, for easy referencing)

"Death in the Family"

Drummer has crippling diarrhea.

"Double Booked"

We saw how ratty your venue was and pussed out.

totallywasted aug 4.jpg
"Extreme Fatigue"

Band is completely trashed and refuses to come out of the tour bus.

"Family Obligations"

My girlfriend found out I banged this fat chick in Missouri and is making me come home immediately.

"Flu-like Symptoms"

We are so fucking hung over.

"Health Emergency"

The tour isn't going well. America hates us. We want to go home.

NOTE: This is a particularly common affliction among British bands that are used to playing big gigs every 30 kilometers down the road and can't handle driving all the way from San Diego to Austin.

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Adele slut
Adele slut

"Lost His Voice"Indie-rocker met some young, hip things from Houston at one of his 14 SXSW shows in Austin and would rather get a blow job at one of the aforementioned girls' houses than play a free show for 500 people.

So I guess Adele is getting mouth fucked too much and lost her voice, or she is getting butt fucked too much.....either way thats why she canceled her tour in the States don't you know


What ever happened to the show must go on? As a concert promoter in Houston during the 1980s and 1990s, I never had a band give me a bullshit excuse, like the ones in this article, to get out of playing a gig. The bands actually wanted to play for their fans and would go to extreme lengths, to make every show, even with broken bones, the flu, rushing to a gig after getting a band member out of jail, or from a doctors office. The Kings of Leon are fucking wimps. They cancel a show because a bird shits on one member, then they cancel shows in Europe because some of their equipment is ruined (there are many back line companies everywhere that would have supplied their exact equipment) and now they cancel a tour cause the asshole can't handle his liquor. What happened to rock and roll? If these guys are considered a great rock band, then rock is truly dead, or maybe the young rock fans have never actually seen a real rock band and a real rock show. If i was the promoter of the KOL Dallas show, or the manager of the band, I would have dragged the whiny wimp back on the stage and made him finish the show.

Lauren Marmaduke
Lauren Marmaduke

The bird shit fiasco in St. Louis still makes me laugh - I think Jared took two direct hits to the mouth. And the official reason for canceling went down as "Unsanitary Conditions"

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