The Opening Band
As some of you may know, claims have been made that Alter Bridge band members and crew attacked an opening band on stage during their set in Zurich, Switzerland the night of June 14, 2006. That is simply not true. Anyone who knows or has worked with the Alter Bridge band members or crew members knows that these allegations are preposterous. Alter Bridge regrets that we have to give this matter any attention at all since we view this as an obvious attempt to gain publicity by a band trying to manipulate headlines for their own gain. Therefore, we will not mention the name of said band but will instead call them “The Opening Band.”
On that night, the fine line between artistic freedom and misdirected ignorance was crossed and as Americans and musicians, the members of Alter Bridge are both offended and embarrassed. Alter Bridge fully supports every American’s right to free speech. We are not happy that this band chose to spew such unintelligent drivel to our fans, but we do support their right to freedom of speech. If any band chooses the stage to address their political views and to take shots at the current U.S. Government that is their right. However, it is not their right to slander our country and its people in the process. With freedom also comes responsibility – to the truth and to freedom itself. We believe that if you choose to make a political statement, at the very least you have an obligation to be intelligent and informed. When a person speaks from ignorance, that person diminishes the very message he or she is trying to convey and tarnishes the very freedom he or she supposedly supports. We believe The Opening Band spoke from ignorance that night, and has subsequently lied and embellished the events in support of that ignorance while doing interviews about this incident.
We apologize that we must explain further, but we feel it is necessary in order to properly put this whole ordeal in context. During this so-called “political statement” The Opening Band repeatedly yelled “Fuck America! Fuck America! I Hate America!” and their singer eventually digressed further to shouting “America can suck my cock!” Regardless of anyone’s political views this is simply ignorant, offensive, and unacceptable. Alter Bridge stood up for America that night, and we will stick up for ourselves now in explaining this situation.
A fight did happen on stage that night, though no Alter Bridge band members were involved. The band members were in their dressing room, thankful to have a few feet of concrete between their ears and The Opening Band’s music. For many years, Mark Tremonti has draped his guitar rig prior to shows with an American flag cover. When The Opening Band went into their anti-American diatribe that night, one of Alter Bridge’s technicians pointed at that cover with pride. Upon seeing this, members of The Opening Band immediately charged him. To be clear on this, our crew member was attacked for pointing at a symbol of the very freedom that allows free speech! It is ironic and sad that a band who claims to be making statements against war while hiding behind freedom of speech is so quick to commit violence against someone else simply exercising that same right. It is tragic that war exists, but we believe that activism is about trying to motivate change in order to better whatever cause you support. Are we to believe that The Opening Band actually expects to change the world for the better by demanding that an entire nation perform fellatio on them?
After The Opening Band members charged, our crew member was forced to defend himself. Another member of our crew was forced to protect Alter Bridge’s equipment, as one of the Opening Band members went straight for Mark’s guitar rig in attempt to pull out cables and render the equipment incapable of playing the show that night. Classy move, did they ever stop to think of the audience? Obviously not, as we can also see from their singer’s statement that when the melee ensued, “I was still unaware at this point that these weren’t crowd people [on stage], so I started screaming for security.” Even the singer could not claim that anyone in the audience was a fan of The Opening Band, but “crowd people?” We believe that quote speaks volumes about who this band is. We also dispute his claim that, “The Swiss were all behind us and the crowd was cheering me on.” The crowd could not have cared less when The Opening Band took the stage, nor did they care when they left the stage early. What is true is that a member of The Opening Band was screaming backstage “I guess now we’ll have to sue you,” leading us to wonder if this whole sordid stunt was pre-meditated. It is also true that during the incident, a member of The Opening Band was heard on stage shrieking, “My hair!!! Oh no, not my hair!!!” Last, we have read that the drummer for The Opening Band has a black eye and a sore hand that effected his playing at the next day’s show. That is simply not true, but then very little of what The Opening Band has reported is true. We know it is not true because we saw him at the festival the next day. From the accounts we have heard, the drummer was not even involved in the incident. Don’t just take our word for it though. If anyone would like to see first-hand accounts of the incident, please visit the message boards at www.alterbridgeband.net
The Opening Band’s singer was quoted in an article as saying, “Some goon from that Creed Band came out swinging an American flag and threw it at our drummer,” which begs the questions: Are you so arrogant, ignorant, and self-absorbed that you do not even know what band you are opening for? Creed broke up nearly 3 years ago. Or have you already figured out, so early in your career, that you have no hope of becoming successful without these type of antics? How long did it take you to work the word “Creed” into your draft as an attention-getting technique before you repeatedly called MTV News in attempt to create controversy for your own gain? Are you that desperate to be a rock star? Alter Bridge has some news for you - that’s not “Rock & Roll.” That’s a cheap parlor trick you can learn in any remedial marketing class. It has become obvious to us that almost every article written about The Opening Band discusses controversial incidents yet very few actually mention their music.
In closing, we ask that no one try to take any of this too seriously, as it only plays to The Opening Band’s desire to manipulate the facts and the press to create controversy and we would hate to see such cheap attempts actually succeed in getting them any ink. Alter Bridge has always chosen to conduct our business in a somewhat private manner, in a way that is unobtrusive to our fans and to our music. To us, music is about the emotions it inspires and its ability to bring people together not the negativity it can spread or the ways it can drive people apart. And we try to remind ourselves that every band is entitled to a few Spinal Tap moments. We do find humor and irony in the fact that “The Opening Band” chose Switzerland, the most neutral country on Earth, to spout international political rhetoric as a segue into starting a fist-fight!!!!
- Alter Bridge