The Growlers concert venue in Memphis, Tennessee has cancelled shows by As I Lay Dying amidst backlash from locals.
As part of their upcoming U.S tour, As I Lay Dying had scheduled a stop at the venue on April 5. And while the date had sold some tickets, the venue said in a statement that they had been hearing from:
“several people in the local community that we have the utmost respect for, and we want them to know that their voices are heard.”
The issue stems from As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis’ incarceration. In 2014, Lambesis pled guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife, a crime for which he spent two years in prison. He was released in 2016 and the band recently reunited for European and US tours, both of which went off without a hitch.
Lambesis released a new statement in December concerning his past, saying
“I stand against who I became in my past and am pursuing a new purpose in the rebirth of AILD. We collectively are. • People who support AILD are not supporting the person I once was, because part of my life’s work now is to undo the hurt I’ve caused and to help others in addiction.” He continues, “I will never be able to undo my greatest mistake, but I believe it’s better to do something rather than give up. AILD collectively condemns all forms of domestic abuse and violence. Its aftermath is one of pervasive, long-lasting hurt and there is no acceptable excuse or defense for such behavior.”
Instead of the concert, Growlers will host a benefit that night for victims of domestic violence with performances from local artists.
The venue issued the following statement:
“After hearing the combined voice of disheartened friends, local bands, and patrons, locally owned concert venue and bar, Growlers, has cancelled their scheduled show with As I Lay Dying, previously set for April 5th, and will replace it with a local show to benefit victims of domestic violence. Growlers has also canceled a show with the band Pentagram, previously set for March 24th.
In 2014, Tim Lambesis, singer of metal band As I Lay Dying, was sentenced to up to six years in prison after being convicted of hiring someone to kill his wife. While the plot never unfolded, Lambesis spent the next two years of his life incarcerated. Just a couple of years later, and he’s back on stage, but with a remorseful attitude.
From Lambesis, “I stand against who I became in my past… People who support AILD are not supporting the person I once was, because part of my life’s work is to undo the hurt I’ve caused. I will never be able to undo my greatest mistake, but I believe it’s better to do something rather than give up. AILD collectively condemns all forms of domestic abuse and violence. Our mission is to continually seek and implement ways to facilitate positive, meaningful change in the world around us.
However, not everyone was ready to give Lambesis a second chance, and Growlers has created controversy in Memphis for booking his band in Memphis.
“While we believe in the justice system and the ability for rehabilitation, we are against domestic violence and will always listen to those that have gone through the pain that it has caused. Since As I Lay Dying returned to performing we’d had several requests to bring them to Memphis, despite the singer’s past. When the show was first announced, hundreds of people bought tickets right away. However, we’ve since heard the input of several people in the local community that we have the utmost respect for, and we want them to know that their voices are heard. Growler’s vehemently denounces all forms of physical and mental domestic abuse, and we’ll be replacing the As I Lay Dying show with a benefit show featuring all local bands. 100% of the proceeds will go to helping local victims of domestic abuse.
As a locally owned small business, supporting our community is the single most
important thing to us. In this instance, we’ve heard the community loud and clear, and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that we continue forward in providing an enjoyable entertaining environment that all of our patrons feel comfortable in. And to the people who’s comments were erased we sincerely apologize, just know we stand with you. ”
This isn’t the first show As I Lay Dying has been uninvited from. Back in October, the band was taken off the line-up for Spain’s 2019 Resurrection Fest due to similar outcry.
The venue has also cancelled a show from Pentagram following the incarceration of frontman Bobby Liebling in the “drug induced” assault of his elderly parent. That show was originally slated to take place March 24.
Much of As I Lay Dying’s U.S tour is still scheduled to happen this spring. The trek runs from March 15 in St. Louis, MO until April 6 in Springfield, MO.