Those who missed the mob at the Commodore last night (August 19) —when the Melvins show ended abruptly, short of a full set—got to participate in a vicarious lynching later that night on Facebook.
Neptoon Records' Ben Frith reported the incident that stopped the show: someone chucked a cup at guitarist King Buzzo, who took offense (see video below). The plot thickened when it was alleged that the cup-chucker in question was Shearing Pinx drummer, Fake Jazz co-founder, and Audiopile employee Jeremy van Wyck—a generally well-behaved and affable sort, not noted for drink-chucking behaviour.
By the time the Straight contacted van Wyck for comment, Frith had pulled his Facebook post, largely out of respect for Audiopile (whom he said he regarded as “friends rather than competition” in a private message to the author), but also because an unruly tenor was growing in the comments, which included contributions from local notables Chris Walter, Dave Bowes, and Bert Man.
Reached by phone at Audiopile, van Wyck was sheepish and apologetic, and eager to explain himself, telling the Straight he meant no disrespect for the Melvins whatsoever.
“I was playing Melvins cover songs in my junior high bands when half the crowd that was there last night was probably in diapers,” he said. “I’ve seen them over a dozen times, and that show was seriously one of the best shows I’ve seen, ever, in my life! And it could have been 15 minutes longer!”
Van Wyck, however, “was having an ecstatic, peak experience, tripping balls on mushrooms and drunk on whiskey. I had finished a highball with a buddy, and the right note came. Understand that the lines of reality were a little blurry at that moment, and maybe this is the ‘shrooms talking, but it was like a magnetic field: the cup had to go. It was, like, a moment of exultation. It wasn’t a calculated thing at all. It was a hiccup that resulted in a bummer.”
Van Wyck would like to emphasize that it was a “lightweight plastic mug” that he chucked. “It’s not something I normally do, I don’t really throw things often. I mean, I get things thrown at me because I play live shows all the time. I’ve been hit with actual bottles, I’ve had beer poured onto my head. You know, ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’—it was a small, tiny plastic cup! I would not mind if that came at me. I think to react like that, he [Buzzo] must have thought it was a glass… but it hit him in the leg, and the show stopped!”
“To be honest,” van Wyck continued, “I thought at that point, it was like, ‘Yeah, I threw a cup! C’mon—let’s rock 'n' roll, here!’ But, uh, no, that wasn’t the case. The show did not go on. Security totally threw down and dragged me out, I was handcuffed and put in a paddy wagon, which was so disgusting; it was covered in blood and grossness. And I wound up with a 15 dollar ticket for being drunk in public. And a ride home, I guess.” (Van Wyck, like the author, “didn’t even know they had fines that low.”)
Van Wyck may take some comfort in the reaction of punk scribe Chris Walter to the incident: “They quit because someone threw booze on them? In a plastic cup? What the fuck? That’s lame, I’m sorry! I was at a DOA show and some idiot threw a beer bottle that almost hit Joe. We all beat the shit of the guy and Joe broke a wine bottle over his head. Then DOA finished the set.”
That’s the punk rock way to do it, Buzzo!