Who Is Doing a Better Job at Pissing People Off: Billie Joe Armstrong vs. Jack White

10/01/2012 12:25 PM |

Discontent
  • Discontent

With all going relatively smoothly over at Barclays, this weekend’s Major Music Controversy revolved around a stunted set from White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather/solo showman Jack White at the renowned Radio City Music Hall. As the tale goes, White, noticeably disgruntled throughout the show (at one point, he accused the crowd of acting like an “NPR convention,” oh snap) cut the night short after just 12 songs spread across some 40-50 minutes. People still waiting for an encore 20 minutes later were met with the curtain closing and an announcement that the show was indeed finished. As expected, Twitter handled it well. “Jack White does NOT DESERVE to play in NEW YORK. EVER again,” is one of my favorite reactions, as you’re able to really feel the anger via @JKush28‘s intense capitalization.

In last weekend’s music industry upheaval, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong went off on an onstage rant during the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas when one of the band’s songs was cut short, alerting them they had a shorter set time than apparently expected. A display of Armstrong’s favorite expletive and guitar-smashing skills ensued, lovingly captured on YouTube.

Facts and reasonable explanations for the incidents aside, we here at The L, as your public servants, aim to get to the heart of the matter: Who just pulled the bigger rock star move, Jack or Billie Joe? Let’s break it down.

While Armstrong’s self-important embitterment towards festival promoters that very likely paid him big bucks to perform was certainly a diva move, we gotta give the upper hand to silent assassin White. Not saying much of anything at all is so much more bitter, so much more controlled, so much cooler than throwing a temper tantrum. While Armstrong’s anger sprung from wanting to play more for the audience—those essentially bankrolling his career—White’s prerogative was to play less. So rock star. There are rumors that his intention was to punish the large number of scalpers allegedly in the audience, and while that’s an acceptable goal in indie-rock circles, it also punishes the fans who shelled out $90 for a ticket, a fact White seemingly forgot or didn’t care enough about to rethink the strategy. Again, so rock star.

In the aftermath, Armstrong headed to rehab, one of the highest forms of apology in a TMZ’ed world. White, meanwhile, returned to Radio City for Sunday’s scheduled show as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened, playing an hour and 15 minutes without saying more than a few words to the audience.

Upsetting the crowd is far more entitled than upsetting the guy flashing an one-minute warning from across the stage. Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a winner.

2 Comment

  • Thanks for bringing a smile to my disgruntled face — I enjoyed the light-hearted take on an event I will be bitter about for some time. But answer me this: how exactly is it “punishing scalpers” to fuck with the audience? I had no choice but to buy from Stubhub, because when the defective fucking Third Man Records website (which I joined so that I could buy a pre-sale ticket for my wife and I) put up the tickets, they were gone to scalpers literally within 3 minutes. Same true of the regular sale through Ticketmaster. Although there is NO excuse for the kind of shit JW pulled last Saturday, this reason, if it is true, is so backasswards that I have to wonder how White has managed to get so far in life, possessing so little grey matter.

  • Hey Jesso, I totally agree with you. I like to think that messing with scalpers was White’s intent, only because I think the guy has been responsible for some pretty perfect rock songs and that explanation at least helps rationalize his behavior in my mind. But in reality, of course he’s also punishing the actual fans who bought tickets, which I assume was the majority of the audience. And that sucks. If I had paid anywhere near $60-$90 for a ticket, I would be pretty bummed about the show, too. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck next time!