Touring promoter Michael Chugg, and his Sydney-based company Chugg Entertainment, who most recently ensnared Weezer to our shores for the first time in 16 years, were recently crowned in an international poll as Australia’s most successful promoter; after Pollstar ranked the company #23 in their Top 100 poll after they sold an amassed 394,202 tickets in the last financial period.
But did you know they were also ‘the meanest promoter in Australia’?
That’s the words of Melbourne band Teenage Mothers, who – as FasterLouder point out – have penned an open letter on their Facebook page have personally criticised ‘Chuggy’ and his touring company for “pursuing a vicious vendetta” against them, accusing the promoter of blackballing them from Mystery Jets’ newly announced Australian tour… before it has even begun; as well of hypocricsy that “betrays everything that you supposedly value about rock n’ roll.”
The punk four piece are best known as the band that were the support act for M83’s Laneway sideshow tour earlier this year, only to be unceremoniously booted and subsequently got into a war of words with the French electro act’s frontman, Anthony Gonzales; who said Teenage Mothers’ singer James ‘JK’ Kennedy ‘looked like a junkie’ after inhaling nitrous oxide onstage – or as the band call it: “a nang.”
Teenage Mothers continued their contentious track record (and headline count) by starting a bar brawl at St. Kilda’s The Espy that let do a riot squad arrest a few short months later. Now, they’re going back for the ‘controversy magnet’ card in what may be a very clever piece of publicity.
The band refer to the M83 incident in their three-part open letter, in which they describe how Gonzales bought marijuana from the eccentric singer and “shared a few friendly beers” with the band before he had “a crazy tantrum” and kicked Teenage Mothers from the tour. A move backed by touring promoters, Chugg Entertainment, who – the band say – then, “kicked us (and our friends) onto the street. They dumped our fragile equipment in a stairwell. Anthony Gonzalez is the nastiest musician we’ve ever met. Your staff backed him up.”
The band now claim Chugg are “taking petty revenge” on them with an incident involving London’s indie rock troupe, Mystery Jets, who are visiting Australia this September as part of the Fat As Butter music festival and had allegedly contacted Teenage Mothers to ask for the to warm up for their additional sideshows in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
As the band write in their open letter: “Last month, we received a Facebook message from Blaine Harrison, the singer from the UK band Mystery Jets. Blaine asked Teenage Mothers to play main support on Mystery Jets’ national tour this September. We thanked Blaine for his invitation.” Not long after “on the 8th of July, Mystery Jets’ booking agent emailed us, indicating that we would indeed do the tour. So we started booking shows around the dates.”
When it came time to announce the headline tour to the public however, plans had changed significantly. Teenage Mothers noting they received a note of apology from Mystery Jets: “They informed us that somebody at Chugg Entertainment has effectively kicked us off the entire national tour (before it was even announced). Mystery Jets specifically requested Teenage Mothers as their national support, but your employees bullied them into dropping us.”
The band then personally call out ‘Chuggy’, writing, “you ignored the established right of the headliner to choose their guest bands. Instead your employees chose a bunch of support bands whom the Mystery Jets (and us) have never heard of.” Before moving into a full-blown tirade at the Australian concert promoter over the Mystery Jets fallout:
“Chuggy, you know it was revenge! Don’t pretend that Chugg Entertainment kicked us off the Mystery Jets tour to ‘save costs’. On the M83 tour, you were paying us peanuts ($250 a gig). We would have willingly lost money doing the national tour with Mystery Jets, because they’re old friends and an excellent band. And don’t plead ignorance. You are ultimately responsible for the actions of your employees.”
Chuggy, you like telling tales of rock n’ roll excess. But your company repeatedly punishes a young band for the most insignificant ‘crime’ (ie. inhaling a cream bulb onstage).
You don’t give a fuck what we think of you, because we’re not your buddies Elton John or Coldplay. To you guys, we’re just a bunch of shitkickers.”
Is it a case of ‘young punk band’ David versus ‘rich and hypocritical’ Golitah? Or a bunch of ‘shit-kickers’ not used to dealing with a professional touring company?
We’ll let you make up your own mind as the sparks fly.