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.
We saw how ratty your venue was and pussed out.
Band is completely trashed and refuses to come out of the tour bus.
My girlfriend found out I banged this fat chick in Missouri and is making me come home immediately.
We are so fucking hung over.
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.