The wussification of rock 'n' roll continues

I believe God was trying to tell Kings of Leon something when he sent pigeons to wage scatological war on the band last week in St. Louis.

You hear about this?

The Kings were ready to rock St. Louis with their award-winning, impotent radio rock when nature stepped in to put them squarely in their place.

The band took the stage on a sweltering Midwest evening at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and raced through a handful of its banal corporate anthems before a heavenly army of pigeons nesting in the rafters passed judgment — and what witnesses described as a Battle-of-Midway-worthy arterial barrage of feces — on the Nashville-based pretty boys.

Direct hits were scored. Lots of them, according to the band's Twitter account.

Naturally, the thousands of Kings fans who braved grueling heat, opening bands vying to become the next Kings of Leon and heavily inebriated frat boy scum had every right to charge the stage with pitchforks and torches, demanding the pretty boys finish their set.

No doubt tickets ran close to 50 bones a pop, a hard-fought penance in this economy.

There was much grumbling and puzzlement among the 15,000 strong who attended the show, but, alas, no armed revolt.

The comedy didn't end there. The band, in some desperate attempt to justify its spoiled-brat behavior, posted several lame explanations on its Twitter account.

I read the members' pleas for sympathy with violent spasms of laughter, each sad plea for understanding sending me into convulsions of ecstasy.

Drummer Nathan Followill scored the choice update, posting on Twitter: "So sorry St Louis. We had to bail, pigeons ———— in Jared's mouth and it was too unsanitary to continue."


At first I thought Nathan's post was a joke, you know, an attempt to lighten the mood and bridge a gap between the band and 15,000 betrayed fans.

Nope. Kings of Leon thought this would patch things over with its fan base.

This, folks, is evidence that rock 'n' roll has further slid into the realm of wussification.

I realize the Kings aren't pulling Bill Gates money, but you have to believe they're doing OK for themselves, what with their last two albums going gold and platinum, respectively.

Whatever happened to gutting out a rock show, pigeon feces be damned?

I'd like to see a road crew worker or a McDonald's fry cook try to slip out of a shift for being crapped on by a few birds. They'd lose their jobs and in this climate be eligible for Social Security before they landed another one.

Rock 'n' roll is about suffering and overcoming adversity.

Imagine Iggy Pop taking the stage amid a downpour of pigeon crap. You think Iggy would run screaming for his mommy? Hell, he would dance around in it and be sure to stage dive a minimum of 14 times to spread the wealth.

Ozzy Osbourne, when he was coherent, would have welcomed such a disgusting development. Ozzy would've climbed into the rafters and bitten the head off one of those pigeons.

Ted Nugent would've taken a short set break before emerging with a Mossberg 12-gauge loaded with birdshot. The resulting massacre would only add to the Nuge experience.

For all the perils and problems of being a rock star, the lifestyle's rewards far outweigh any technical or biological problems you face on stage.

The whole affair smells of privileged laziness. You don't think the Kings could have ordered their army of roadies to erect an ad hoc awning to protect their ironically tussled hairdos from bird crap?

Part of the blame falls on the fans. We have become so accustomed to wussification that we accept this behavior from those who occupy tax brackets far above ours.

If the Rolling Stones pulled something like this circa 1969, the National Guard would've been called to the venue. The acid-fried legion surely would have burned the place to the ground.

Let's not forget the Stones attempted to play through the infamous Altamont show, after a fan was brutally murdered five feet in front of the stage by a Hell's Angel. Mick Jagger, clearly stunned by the violence churning before him, did his best to fight through the madness, which very easily could have reached the band.

But fight on he did through a threat more imminent than bird poop.

Those were the days.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail

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