[NEW UPDATE, 12/21/2010: Badly Drawn Boy Finally Apologizes to LA Audience for Troubadour Meltdown.]
[UPDATE: Fans tried to get a refund from the Troubadour. This is the reply they got.]
[For a blow-by-blow, real-time account of Badly Drawn Boy's meltdown (including audience members' first-hand reports), see "Badly Drawn Boy Has Bizarre Meltdown During Troubadour Show, Leaves after C-Word Rant, Returns to Whine about Everything".]
Badly Drawn Boy
December 16, 2010
Just got home from the craziest show I've ever seen in my life.
As was reported earlier Badly Drawn Boy, otherwise known as Damon Gough, completely lost his mind on stage at the Troubadour. Performing in front of a packed house, the singer arrived on stage in his signature woolen hat with guitar in hand and began his first number. Almost immediately things began to go wrong.
He accused the sound of being "swampy" and being unable to hear his vocals. "I'm never playing here again!" he announced angrily. "If I'm playing in LA, it won't be at the Troubadour." It was around here that things began to spiral out of control.
I think the worst part was that the crowd was trying to be supportive. "We can hear you just fine, mate," yelled one fan. "Sure, it sounds good for you! You've got these speakers. All I've got are these fucking monitors and I can't hear myself." Gough answered.
Then he'd begin a song and stop and yell "I just can't do it! I can't even do it!" and then start again. He then began whining about the guitar, the monitors, the lighting, the crowd, and finally the sound guy, Steve. It got so bad that even a hardened security guard muttered "What a fucking asshole."
Whenever words of encouragement floated over the crowd Gough would yell, "Shut up! Otherwise I'll get off the stage all together! I'm going to ruin my career tonight! I don't give a fuck. I want to go home to my kids." As if playing songs for your adoring fans was some kind of terrible burden... One poor lady who screamed "You sound great!" and got a torrent of abuse in return. "Shut up, you stupid bitch!" Gough glowered. Every song would stop and then start again and then stop.
Four songs in it really started getting ugly. "You're not a Beatle!" a heckler called out. Gough got one verse through his hit "The Shining" threw the harmonica on the ground and announced, "You cunts can shut the fuck up! I'm going for a cigarette. I might be back." He offered to fight the crowd and then stomped off stage. Half the crowd marched out.
After fifteen minutes Gough returned still bitchy. He finally got the vocals the way he wanted them, but then he started having problems with his guitar. He demanded a fresh jack and coke from the audience and then continued to play through clenched teeth. The remaining fans continued to cheer him on like kicked puppies hungry for affection.
"After tonight I'm never playing live again." Gough declared.
"Seriously, do you think I want to be here? Why tour America when nobody's buying the record? I should just open a shop somewhere." One couldn't help thinking, "Yes, yes you should. If you think being paid to play music is so damn painful, you should become an accountant or a janitor or something."
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Then just when it looked like all was lost, the tide suddenly turned and he started apologizing for his behavior.
Maybe it's because he switched from guitar to piano or the lighting changed or it struck midnight, whatever it was Gough was suddenly full of remorse. "This night has been a complete disaster for me. I would like to dedicate this next song to you guys for being so wonderful and sticking around. I wish I could turn back the clock and start over." The song in question was a cover of "Like a Virgin" and all of a sudden we had all made it through the wilderness.
The rest of the show went on without a hitch. It was like survival of the fittest. Only the strongest audience members with the thickest skins got to see the rest of the set. The night closed with a bizarre karaoke version of "Thunder Road" and then Badly Behaved Boy left the stage with a cocktail in each hand.
How someone who writes such sweet songs could behave like such an asshole is hard to fathom. It was truly unforgivable behavior, but something tells me this will not be his last show.