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Published: 2012/08/13

Patterson Hood Speaks Out Regarding Drive-By Truckers at the Republican National Convention

Drive-By Truckers were recently booked to play a private event that coincides with the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. After certain conditions were not met, the group recently cancelled their scheduled performance. In order to clear any misunderstandings, Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood has issued the following statement:

_Just want to set the record straight. DBT is not playing for the RNC this year or any other year. I generally never say never, but there, I said it.+

We had been offered a show, a well paying show for a private entity that is having an event that is in Tampa and coincides with the RNC. It is an entity that we have played for before. We played our usual show (yes, we did play Puttin’ People on the Moon with the original Reagan lyric intact) and although I wouldn’t say we were beloved, were well received and we felt appreciated. We were never asked to ‘tone it down’ and certainly would have refused if otherwise.

Frankly, we’ve always been proud of the diversity of our audience and are thankful for the many Republicans (Independents, Libertarians, Socialists and Democrats) that appreciate our band. Cooley and I say what we want, no matter who’s there, and folks can like us or not. We are thankful for all of the ones who do (unless they’re getting into a fight or being a rude asshole, in which case I’d rather you stay home). We are certainly a very political band but try hard to never grandstand about it. The characters in our songs have all kinds of beliefs, many that are different from our own and we always try to treat our characters and our audience with respect. We are entertainers and take entertaining seriously.

When approached for this current show, we made sure it was understood that we would be playing our show exactly the way we want to play it. (Puttin’ People on the Moon would be played with whatever name in the Reagan verse we felt like).

We asked if it were to be publicized or open to the public and were told it would not be. We have recently played Tampa and aren’t looking for another local play this soon (we love Tampa and don’t want to burn it out). We also didn’t want to be viewed as endorsing the Republican Party or their views. Fine for folks who feel that way, but we don’t and don’t want it to be assumed otherwise.

We were emphatically told that it was a private function, not open to the public and there would be no press coverage. We’re not being sneaky, but playing a private function is not the same as having a public face shown hanging out at the RNC. That’s not who we are.

Let me put that another way:

We are entertainers and we get paid to entertain people. Sometimes there might be people paying us to entertain that we might not necessarily agree with; but you can entertain people without being perceived as sharing their views. Playing a show during an election cycle for a party we don’t endorse and being publicly linked to it implies a sort of endorsement (or possibly worse; indifference). Everyone has lines they draw and that was our thinking in the line we drew.

It has come to my attention that these pre-conditions have not been honored and so we will not be playing this event. We are on hiatus and have payrolls to meet and insurance and rent and babies always need new pairs of shoes, but we will make it work. Our feelings about these things are way too important to us sell it out for the quick buck. Perhaps it’s a wakeup call that we were getting too close to that line in the first place.

Anyway, hopefully this clears up where we stand on these things. Life is full of compromises and we try our best to balance between our ideals and the necessary evils of supporting so many families in this economy. I’ll try harder next time.

Drive-By Truckers will perform at Asheville NC’s Orange Peel on August 17 and 18.


There are 16 comments associated with this post

J.D. August 14, 2012, 10:55:01

You are not that important.

dingo August 13, 2012, 14:59:58

clearing it up because you got caught?
this reeks dude….
what would Levon do?

Zimmy August 13, 2012, 15:29:21

Dingo- the only that reeks is your attitude. And leave Levon out of it. Drive-By Truckers are one of the best live bands out there. Why would they want to limit their audience? So what if they play for the Republicans? I say go for it, as long as their doing it on their terms. Maybe they would have knocked some sense into them.

Mountain Trout August 13, 2012, 16:29:10

Thank you Truckers for standing up against what you feel is not right. I will definitely support you by going to your live shows as well as purchasing your merch. LONG LIVE SOUTHERN ROCK !

Mcgrupp August 13, 2012, 18:48:30

Each to their own but if I avoided every band that didn’t share may views just to avoid the appearance that I endorse their views in the way they are avoiding this particular audience there would be a lot of bands I love that I would never see play. But I’ve been seeing the DBT since they started and I’ll continue even if we don’t always agree.

sean August 13, 2012, 20:00:29

Repulicans suck and your hipster cred is shot.
You hipsters are the next generation of yuppies dont deny your destiny. I dont care how many beards,scarfs and fedoras you wear.

dingo August 13, 2012, 20:26:15

leave Levon out of it? he and I… would call a sell out a sell out….

JW August 14, 2012, 01:13:17

You guys know Stevie Ray Vaughan played the George HW Bush Inaugural Ball in ’89? Kick ass show.

sean August 14, 2012, 19:44:47

I blame all the cocaine laced whiskey SRV was drinking for that mistake.

dingo August 15, 2012, 11:41:44

private entity
pay the bills anyway you choose
i choose not to buy tix to your shows
we all have to stand for something…..

Roger August 17, 2012, 07:03:10

It sounds like they realize that they didn’t build their band, and they do not deserve to keep any of their profits!

smitty August 26, 2012, 15:47:59

I’m sure Patterson is devastated that his “hipster cred” is shot. I’m also not sure what a Repulican is.

RevMatt August 28, 2012, 12:34:16

A whole bunch of bands are playing the private parties at the GOP convention. Rumors are that the gigs pay between 80 and 100k. A band like Drive By Truckers probably makes between 15 and 25k a gig. They almost took it but in the end turned it down because it didn’t jibe with who they are as a band. I don’t understand Dingo hating on DBT because they “almost” took this gig but cancelled.

canuspellak47 September 12, 2012, 21:45:32

me thinks my favorite band has dranketh too much kool aid

Suzie September 13, 2012, 17:22:48

I hold the people I love accountable because if I don’t, I can’t respect them and if I can’t respect them, I can’t really love them. As a result of this, DBT and I almost had an unfortunate and sad parting of the ways. Because I love this band. And if they had played this gig I would have lost all respect for them. To be clear, they didn’t “almost” take the gig, they took the gig and then cancelled once it became public knowledge. So either way my respect for them definitely dwindled a bit. But they did cancel after all, so I will continue to go to their shows and buy their music. DBT fans are very loyal, cultishly so I would say, and many of them have jumped on the band wagon of, “Hey they just want to have a diverse fan base, relax!” Well diversifying your audience is not what playing this kind of show is about. It demonstrates a passive endorsement of Republican policy and entertaining at an exclusive party for people who have very generously donated to the Republican cause is tantamount to playing a Republican fund-raiser, which for me, as a lower, middle class woman, is actually offensive and unacceptable. It also goes against everything DBT stands for and they are not quiet about their politics. They did the right thing in the end, but that is all. For some reason Patterson always wants major congratulations for doing what others do on a daily basis. To him I say this: Hey Patterson, almost everyone who has small children is struggling with extreme fatigue and financial strain and is worried that they don’t have enough quality time with their kids. You are one of many, but unlike many, you are also partially living your dream of being able to live and work as a rock musician. You are not a hero for walking away from this gig. You are one talented dude and I love your stage presence, but I really wish you would quit it with all the public whining…

GG December 29, 2012, 09:39:16

The DBT are no longer relevant, their time has passed and they very early “made it,” but didn’t. They should’ve taken that 80k and run because in a few years they’ll be playing county fairs for peanuts…I’ve seen them a bunch and used to love them but, accept it or not, the train hath left the station.

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