This past week, (June 26th, 2017) a Twitter user posted a video of lead vocalist Leonard Graves Phillips snapping on some heckling members of the audience during the Denver, Colorado leg of the Warped Tour. California punk legends The Dickies have since been removed from the tour.
The incident happened during their set on Sunday, June 25th, and features members of the band cursing out a woman in the audience. Frontman Leonard Grave Phillips let loose with a bevy of insults, calling her a “cunt” and encouraging an audience chant of “Blow me! Blow me! Blow me!” The full NSFW event was captured (as is everything in this day in age) on someone’s phone and has now made its way across social media. This, of course, led to the witch hunt that is known as Twitter to begin to publicly condemn the band.
— Netflix Origanal (@thechubbywubby) June 26, 2017
The outrage industry in full swing as Warped Tour’s main promoter, Kevin Lyman confirmed that the Dickies would no longer be involved with the tour, although they were never scheduled to appear after June 25 anyways.
It’s a crazy time when The Dickies in their 40th year, is the biggest thing being talked about in Punk Rock. If you consider how sensitive the social landscape has become. It begs to question if either party were truly right about anything. Phillips outburst could be considered what is to be expected from the old-school punk rock crowd: Those that would argue that punk rock is supposed to upset the status quo, to offend, to piss on anything that is politically correct. These are the same people who say things like “Punk Rock isn’t meant to be safe!”
This, of course, leads to the other side of that pendulum, the modern punk rocker, the militant feminists, millennial kids? It doesn’t matter what you call them, the new wave of punk rock fan wants to rid the scene of what has tainted it for so long. They want to be done with misogyny, bigotry, They want to make punk rock safe and they plan to do it by using the protest to their advantage.
I personally feel like everyone involved had their own hand in being “wrong”. Phillips was angry, he felt antagonized and after 35-minutes of it, he lashed out.
Last night, Phillips issued a response to the backlash on the band’s Facebook page. He explains that a group of people had been protesting the bands act, standing on the side of the stage holding signs that read “Our teenage girls don’t need to be subjected to derogatory jokes by a disgusting old man” and “Punk isn’t predatory,” in the midst of the Dickies performance, the woman in question, allegedly, threw things at the band.
The vocalist gave his side of the story and explained the context that the video seems to have left out, and did so in a fashion that only he could, and delivered up an apology that will surely be disputed. “I understand the word ‘cunt’ is inflammatory and that many women have been abused by this word. I should have called her an ‘asshole.'”
Read Phillips’ full message below.
The “Disgusting Old Man” Behind the Dick Puppet
It has come to my attention that a snippet from a recent incident during the Van’s Warped Tour is floating around the internet, indeed here in every comment section on The Dickies page.
This is the context: While doing our show a handful of people took it upon themselves to express their ire with my routine–a routine that includes apish antics, a penis puppet, and often ends with me saying, “You’re a great looking bunch of kids. We’d love to go down on each and every one of you but we just don’t have the time.”
Apparently this group thought I meant it literally as they were holding a sign on the side of the stage (which was then thrown at me) that read:
“Our teenage girls don’t need to be subjected to derogatory jokes by a disgusting old man”
“Punk isn’t predatory”
It appears the audience and myself were to be lectured about common decency as well as the very raison d’être of Punk Rock by this woman and her friends during the entire set.
I finally let my anger get the better of me. I let her know what I thought of her ageist, nasty, Leonard-hating behavior. I used very rude language. I understand the word “cunt” is inflammatory and that many women have been abused by this word. I should have called her an “asshole.”
It wasn’t my proudest moment … but neither was the time I urinated on the audience. I wasn’t there to “prey” on anyone’s child. In all honesty, as fine as most of my audiences are, I’ll pass on having oral sex with each and every one of them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to affix my groovy new “I *heart* Beaver” magnet (that I picked up in Beaver, Colorado) to the refrigerator and listen to “Beat On The Brat” by The Ramones. If some of you kids haven’t heard of them yet, check ’em out! They’re pretty cool.
Leonard Graves Phillips