Video: Aaron Lewis curses out crowd, storms off stage at OKC show
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW INCLUDES GRAPHIC LANGUAGE.
Country-rock performer Aaron Lewis cut short his Oklahoma City acoustic show Saturday night at The Criterion, cursing out the audience for being too loud before dropping his guitar, throwing a cup into the crowd and then striding off the stage.
Best known as the frontman for the rock band Staind, Lewis also has a second music career as a country artist for The Valory Music Co., which is part of Big Machine Records. He stopped in Oklahoma City over the weekend to play a date on his "The State I'm In Tour: Acoustic Songs & Stories." He is making the trek in advance of his upcoming album "The State I'm In," due out April 12.
Lewis had unplugged his guitar and made his way to the front of the stage to play his ballad "Thank You" when he lost his cool with the audience, shouting at the crowd to "Shut the f--k up. Listen, I’m f-----g good. I don’t have to do this.”
He walked back to the microphone to drop a few more f-bombs and ask the crowd to be quiet for the song, adding "You can’t even hear the guitar. I’ve got three more minutes. Three. ... You guys have talked all f-----g night. Shut the f--k up, or I’m done.”
Several audience members can be heard on a YouTube video of the incident responding with their own profanity, with seemingly several people shouting for their fellow concertgoers to quiet down and let Lewis play.
Attempting to start the unplugged song again, Lewis strummed briefly, then dropped a few more f-bombs while calling it "ironic" that the song was called "Thank You" and that he couldn't get the audience to listen to it. He then marched off the stage without completing the song or show, to moans, boos and grumbles from the crowd.
A publicist for Lewis did not respond to an emailed request for comment, while a representative for The Criterion said the venue's management would not be issuing a statement on the incident.
The blog Saving Country Music noted that the OKC turn of events is similar to an incident Feb. 2 at the Pharr Events Center in the Texas border town of Pharr. Lewis also walked off the stage, complaining the crowd was too loud. The entertainer was accused by some of racial insensitivity after one fan told Lewis he needed to tell people to be quiet “en Español.” Lewis responded, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to speak Spanish, I’m American.”
No incidents were reported at Lewis' Sunday show at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa. He continues his tour through April 6 at various theaters, casinos and ballrooms around the country.
The OKC incident has provided a jumping off point for a discussion on my Facebook about local concert crowds, if they're too loud and how musicians should handle such scenarios. I'll post a summary of the discussion in the coming days.