In a harrowing series of events, New York punk band GutterLIFE have had a loaded weapon pulled on them outside of “Shredsgiving”, an event in Pennsylvania. In an official statement given to Rock Nation by GutterLIFE, their tour manager, and merch personnel, it can be seen a situation born out of poor communication and assumptions has led to a potentially life threatening ordeal.
I will do my best to summarize the lead up to this situation. GutterLIFE were scheduled to play at Shredsgiving on the 11th of November, with a set time of 8:05pm. After and rough back-and-forth during the week leading up to the event, including miscommunication about set times, loading times, and radius clauses, the band were set to play the event and all seemed well. En route to the event, the band receives a Facebook message asking “Are you guys coming tonight?”, to which the band, frustrated at the already apparent poor organization of the event, replied with “yes we are almost there”.
The promoter, clearly angered by the band being late, reminded him he had mentioned in an earlier message about the load in time, and proceeded to say “Whatever man. This is a stupid conversation”. The band replied with “Don’t mouth off to me on Facebook. Say it to my face and see what happens, I’m on my way”. The promoter then eased off, and Matt (Gutterlife) ended the exchange with: “Talk to us in person. Let’s work this out. We’re all professionals. Just hate the internet keyboard barrier”.
The band has stated that they admit that during this time they were frustrated, a little angered, and spoke emotionally. What follows is a direct quote pulled from the band and crew’s statement to Rock Nation.
Myself, Jesus and Matt walked up to the stairs (Matt’s hands were literally in his jacket pockets) and we were met by a tall man who started “You guys GutterLIFE?????”
I said “Yes”- With a smile mind you…And that’s when things got stupid.
“Alright. Get back. Everybody get back,” he started waving at us down the steps like we were criminals. Apparently the promoter must have been afraid and told the security, manager or whoever this was. We stood and waited. The promoter showed himself and tried to shake Matt’s hand from BEHIND the man who made us back up and wouldn’t let us near the doors. At this point I noticed two more guys on our right that were not with our group. Matt said something along the lines of “don’t shake my hand dude”, and pulled his hand back. At this point we were ridiculed for being late. Hey, all things considered we WERE late. We can take responsibility for that. The tall man bickered with me when I told him that we were given no email about load in or back line. He said it was sent out to the promoter and I replied “Well, he didn’t send it to us. And that’s not OUR PROBLEM” I also asked him why we were being treated this way. No response but intimidation tactics. He (tall man) even stated we weren’t in the event page because we were at one point pulled from the show (news to us), because we violated their radius clause (… also news to us)
At this point it was myself, Matt VanRossem, Jesús Arancibia and Andrew Nicolae standing back. Matthew David left and went back to the van when the radius clause was brought up, because to him that was enough to leave. Adam, was very uncomfortable with the situation from the second we got told to move down the stairs so he hung back. The promoter (still hiding behind the tall man) then stared laughing or smiling at Matt. And this pissed him off, who wouldn’t be at this point? He took off his hat and said something along the lines of
“Don’t smile at me”.
Before he even had his hat off, the tall man had pulled a gun out of his holster, cocked it so we could see it was loaded and held it at his hips/waist area facing our way. To me, that’s a gun pointed at us. I’ve been ridiculed online for this wording. It doesn’t matter. You pulled a gun on 6 kids in a band. Adam had just walked up to see what was going on, saw a gun and like any smart human said to himself “Nope.” He went back to the van to tell Matthew David we should leave. Jesús our drummer started laughing to himself in disbelief and I just honestly stared in shock. At this point we OBVIOUSLY weren’t playing the show. And whatever was said afterwards was moreso me stuttering over my words like “this is not necessary, from where we play it’s normal to load in 2 hours before your set time. ” The promoter tried to combat us with “you guys should know, you play Pennsylvania all the time”. We’ve played there twice. I named them both to him. There was no point in even arguing anymore, and with the extra security around us like we were criminals we led ourselves out and to the van.
In their statement (which has since been deleted but I still have) they claimed we came with 10+ men. That we claimed we were going to “fuck this club up,” and that Matt shoved the promoter. They said we tried to force our way into the venue, I was one of the first people up the stairs….with a smile on my face like always. I guess that was pretty intimidating. None of this is true, and in all honestly it seems like something made to cover up a grave mistake on their part. They claim there is video, and to us this is amazing news. Our stories are all the same , and the video will tell the truth. We gladly invite them to release the footage. However, after lying and stating that 10+ people came out of the van, and that we tried to force our way in, in sure they won’t release it to save the embarrassment.
At the end of the day. There was a miscommunication, we were late. We were irritated. But we didn’t show up to fight, they assumed and they assumed WRONG. a gun was pulled and cocked in front of us. And there is nothing they can do to take back that mistake. The tall guy and the two other guards around us were really huge big dudes (not saying fat, just tall and big) could have EASILY held back Matt or restrained him if they really thought he was a threat… seriously. But there was no reason to. Instead one of them pulled out a life threatening weapon. Power move, much?
This is our statement, and we stick by it. The story will never change.
[end quoted statement from GutterLIFE]
Miscommunication and disorganization are common elements in the music industry; sometimes things just don’t go as planned. However, bands should never have to live in fear of having a weapon pulled on them due to a misunderstanding over Facebook. The situation between GutterLIFE and the venue/organizers of Shredsgiving is an extreme one, and we are just glad no one was hurt in the process.
You can check out GutterLIFE’s music video for ‘Awake’ below!
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