New Developments In Disney Censorship
Anaheim’s House Of Blues cancellation of the Machine Head show earlier this month was just the beginning in Disney’s slow and steady elimination of all things metal.
Immediately after the cancellation, Machine Head released a statement citing the venue’s reasons for canceling the show (with just a 48 hour notice) as “undesirable fans” and “offensive lyrics”. Within days, Orlando’s House Of Blues, also on Disney property, dropped the band’s Sept. 17 date.
Rumors started to swirl that Disney had heavily pressured and even threatened Live Nation (the promoter who owns the House Of Blues chain) to eliminate the show even though it meant the venue would be dark that night.
Disgruntled Anaheim HOB employees blamed new Talent Buyer Todd Miller, who handles all of the in-house booking, as the cause of the first cancellation. However, once the 2nd cancellation occurred across the country, it was obvious the decision came from higher up.
Miller, who had only started 2 weeks earlier, had no comment and suggested statements be obtained from Live Nation VP of Communications John Vlautin.
Vlautin had (surprise, surprise) no comment either.
“Most Machine Head fans are in their mid-40s,” says one HOB employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, “To call them undesirable is ridiculous. Most of them are sitting down for concerts nowadays.”
As for the so-called ‘offensive lyrics’? “The hypocrisy is that Snoop Dogg just played [at Anaheim’s HOB]. They cited offensive lyrics, but looking at Snoop’s lyrics? Boy, there’s no comparison.” He says, “It’s censorship in the worst way. Disney has this God complex. Not even Anaheim Police are allowed to drive through the parking lot unless they’re called.”
But Machine Head wasn’t the only one in Disney’s cross hairs.
Other bands whose shows were then moved or canceled include Cannibal Corpse, Avenged Sevenfold, Hank III, Nashville Pussy, Cradle Of Filth and Amon Amarth.
Interestingly, the concerts of Against Me, Underoath, Soasin and other more fashionable, emo-tinged bands are still scheduled as planned.
“It was probably done arbitrarily,” guesses Dave Brooks of Venues Today magazine, “like an executive sitting in an office somewhere looking at the names of these bands, you have to wonder if they even listened to the music.”
In the past, House Of Blues has always been a friend to up and coming bands looking for a place to start out. “It’s no secret the way House Of Blues works,” says Brooks, “New bands start here and develop, then go on to play bigger Live Nation venues.” Other Live nation venues include Verizon Amphitheater and Universal Amphitheater. “By telling these metal bands they cant play House Of Blues, basically they’re cutting off the development of these bands. [Live Nation] is letting Disney not only cancel these shows but have a voice in the overall growth of the bands.”
“However, we don’t really know what Disney’s contract is with Live Nation and House Of Blues. There might be something in there saying [Disney] can yank shows,” Brooks suggests, “but it’s kind of sad that Live Nation is letting another company censor their artists.”