Smooth Moves.

- Evan Wansbrough // // @evanwansbrough

Punk Politics, 2009. [Originally posted Sept. 28, 2009]

Okay, so it all started this passed Saturday afternoon; Shaun fromthe Old Wives came on facebook chat and told me that my favourite band of all time, Screeching Weasel is playing Edmonton on December 11th, and that the Old Wives landed a supporting slot. I was excited as hell - this meant I was finally going to see Screeching Weasel. Immediately, I called up Justin Banal, who loves Screeching Weasel as much as me, to tell him we’re going to see Screeching Weasel. Banal was on the internet buying his concert tickets before I had even finished my sentence. And when I finished my sentence, he asked “Why aren’t we opening?”. We being the band we’re in together, the Isotopes. I said, “Good Question! I’ll e-mail the promoter”. Banal said he’d drop a line toBen Weasel himself, since he talks back and forth with him on facebook and twitter and other things I don’t even know about yet, as well as runs the Riverdales myspace page for Ben in return for cooking tips.

So I hung up the phone, looked up the promoter in Edmonton and sent him an e-mail telling him my band the Isotopes would love to play the show if he needs an opener still and is willing to deal with an 8-minute set. The promoter e-mailed me back inside two minutes saying he was really into it, and that we’re 95% confirmed, he just needs to run it by the artist and booking agent. Banal knows the artist from the above-listed social media websites, and I know the booking agent ‘cause I deal with her all the time for booking the Queers and Teenage Bottlerocket here, so, 95% is looking a lot more like 99%, and I call Banal back to tell him.

Then a couple minutes later, I get another e-mail from the Edmonton promoter explaining that the booking agent has declined us, which is weird he thinks, and suggests maybe we have bad history with her. But we don’t, and I’m sure of that, so I e-mail her to ask what is up, as well as call Banal back. Banal didn’t need to remind me, when he did, that Ben Weasel and Toby Jeg, the owner of Red Scare Records, do not get along, and we of course are signed to a digital distribution deal with Red Scare for our Heatseeker EP, get it here from iTunes! I knew about the Weasel-Red Scare rift from my days scouring the pop punk message boardfor scoops and gossip, and I also knew that when I agreed to the Red Scare deal, it may jeopardize any future involvement with Ben Weasel but it seemed stupid to let anyone but myself decide who I’ll be enemies with, and also it seemed rather unlikely that we’d ever get the chance to work with Ben Weasel for any reason, anyway. If I had to do it again, I would still go with Red Scare, as Toby’s never been less than a gentleman with me, he loves baseball, and a lot more people know about the Isotopes because of that, and it would be pathetic to pass that up for the off-chance Screeching Weasel or the Riverdales would ever play Western Canada - Last time Ben Weasel played Canada was when the Riverdales played here 1995 with Green Day at the Pacific Colleseum; and Screeching Weasel has never played anywhere west of Toronto to my vast SW knowledge.

So anyway, Ben won’t do any favours for Red Scare and unfortunately, that includes having the Isotopes open for Screeching Weasel. But I completely respect the rationale and general concept of holding a stupid grudge - I do it lots myself - and don’t feel jilted by any of it; if somehow us playing the show resulted in us making a million dollars, Toby and Red Scare would be entitled to some of that, and that is just not business that old Ben wants any part of, as I understand it.

The gist of what Ben Weasel’s message back to Justin is that he doesn’t work with Red Scare bands, ever. But we shouldn’t take it personally. I have no idea what the cause of their disagreement is, and it’s not my business.

That pretty much says it all. The Isotopes franchise is blacklisted but in the time it’s taken to write this, Banal has managed to secure the opening spot for his own band, the Spinoffs, who have no Red Scare affiliation, so that is great for those guys.