Perhaps you noticed the shitstorm that rained down after the Phoenix revealed that Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents had withdrawn from the semi-finals of the Rock And Roll Rumble. Perhaps you noticed Jenny Dee herself accusing us of getting our facts wrong, and her fans following suit. For the record: the fact remains that JD&D blew off the Rumble for a one-off gig in Gloucester.
While that fact isn't in question, the band wanted to explain how, exactly, they came to bail on Boston's most hi-falutin' battle of the bands contest, just a few days out from what would have been their semifinals spot at T.T. the Bear's Place tonight. (While Jenny Dee will indeed play Gloucester tonight, they will be replaced at the Rumble by Old Jack, a Night 1 blues/Americana performer that seemed to have won the crowd but not the Night 1 judges. Last night Spirit Kid upset Rumble favorites Sidewalk Driver and Mellow Bravo during the first semifinal.)
And so it came to pass; after a couple 100-post Facebook threads and dozens of comments on the original blog post, I called Ed Valauskas of the Deelinquents to see what was up, and how a Friday night show at Captain Carlo’s up in Gloucester could become the biggest Rumble controversy since the Indefinite Article punk’d Harper's Ferry with a night-winning white-boyhip-hop show a few years ago.
Valauskas said that the band booked this Gloucester gig as long as six months ago, and knew of a potential conflict heading into the Rumble. But he also didn’t seem confident in his band’s chances of moving on in a rock competition while playing a retro-pop girl-group set. So they rolled the dice, hoping that on the off chance they made the semis, they wouldn't have to play the night of their already-booked gig.
“Don’t get me wrong, we fucked up,” Valauskas said. “But you [meaning the Rumble] can bend to make it work. The easy thing would be to make our show Thursday[instead of Friday]. We just figured, if it comes up as an issue, I’ll bring it up to [organizer] Anngelle Wood. I know it sucks, but we had this gig for six months and we hoped it would work out. My point is, there were ways to work around this stuff.”
After the preliminary round, Wood had the Deelinquents slated for Friday. Judging from the schedule, the groupings are obvious: Winners of Nights 1, 2 and 3 would play Friday, with the second wild card, and winners of Nights 4, 5 and 6 would play Thursday, with the first wild card. The wild cards were assigned their night as to not go up against any of the same bands as in the prelims. This is sort of how the Rumble works.
Wood said The Deelinquents only brought up the Gloucester gig after the Rumble began. When they asked to be moved to Thursday, instead of Friday, Wood declined, in part, so as not to show any one band preferential treatment in the 24-band competition. Had Wood moved the Deelinquents gig, and had Jenny Dee gone on to win it all, you can bet a year's worth of Noise Board posts that someone would have declared that they did so with an assist from the lead organizer.
"I wasn't going to be strongarmed," Wood said last night at TTs. "I wasn't going to give one band preferential treatment over the other seven."
As many bands have pointed out in the On The Download post comments section and online forums, all bands were told to essentially keep April clear of any conflicting gigs. And some bands have claimed they cancelled existing gigs in order to clear out the Rumble dates. "They got the same email, they agreed to the same terms [as everyone else]," Wood added. When it was clear the Deelinquents were not to be accommodated with a new night and were locked into the Friday slot, they bailed.
The second half of the semis continues tonight at TT The Bear’s with John Powhida International Airport, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, wild card Black Thai, and Dee’s replacement, Old Jack.
ALSO: If anyone happens to take photos or take notes at tonight's Captain Carlo's gig, please tweet us at @bostonmusicblog.