I remarked yesterday that, “scene drama fuels my blood.” I wasn’t lying. For those that don’t know me, I have an educational background in Public Relations and I fully believe in the idiom, “all publicity is good publicity.” So it’s pretty easy for me to make the emotional connection that whatever gets people talking is good for the goose and its subsequent gander. I love people talking about our scene because it means people are listening to our scene and that gives me lots of endorphins like exercise and Elle Woods.
An physical and emotional connection that I cannot explain is the love I have for Sam Riggs’ song, “Hold on and Let Go.” I do know if it’s the fact that every Friday night during my senior year of high school was spent spinning on the hardwood at Neon Moon. Or rooted in the nights in my twenties that were spent in a drunken stupor shutting down every bar on the North side. I simply can’t explain it, but I’ve probably spun that song 500 times since I downloaded it last year. Even more inexplicable is the love I have for every single one of Sam Riggs’ songs. There is literally not one I do not like on the EP or either record. By all accounts he is the embodiment of everything I do not like about the TCU douche bags running around my Panther City. Ruggedly handsome, perfect pearly whites and no fucking manners…but I love him. Maybe it’s my bad girl phase (shout out to Miss Sunny), but everything about Sam Riggs and his tunes is enthralling to me.
I don’t get it.
So, when the news broke over the weekend that ole Riggsy had pissed off Papa Bear, Larry Joe Taylor, at his namesake’s festival (and arguably the single biggest Texas music festival in existence) my ears immediately perked up. I first heard the story straight from the horse’s mouth on Texas Red Dirt Roads:
Sam Riggs on TXRDR 4/30/17 (fast-forward to about the 8 minute mark)
Upon first listen from Sam I was on his side. Okay, so he burned some shit, big deal, but in the last two days more and more information has emerged about Gasoline Guitar Gate 2017. Apparently, Mr. Taylor was asked his permission before this incident and the Riggs camp was told in no uncertain terms, “absolutely not.” With brass balls and the bravado of a second grader with his name already written under “DETENTION” on the blackboard, Riggs did it anyway…that is where the problem lies for many industry professionals whose opinions I’ve read on various social medias this week and myself.
Plain and simple, Sam should not have done it. This “scandal” all boils down to respect. You don’t spit in Waylon Jennings’ face at the Waylon Jennings’ festival, you don’t smoke Willie’s stash without permission and you don’t ignore a no from Larry Joe. I liken this to last year’s LJT fest when William Clark Green brought a full circus on stage. Larry was less than happy about his antics, in particular his fire breather. Armed with this information alone Sam should’ve known better.
I must admit, I can see both sides, as the old people basically think music should be pure without a stage spectacle and while I don’t completely agree with that, I get their point. Furthermore, Taylor’s name is ON the festival and he is responsible for thousands of people’s safety (which the masses do a great job of making difficult enough on their own accord.) I’d be losing my shit about fire too.
This morning, roughly 72 hours after the original incident, both camps (Riggs and Taylor) came together and released a formal statement. You can read it here:
What a bunch of bullshit. I guess, I’m glad they hugged it out, but damn it Sam, learn some fucking manners. To me this statement reads about as well as when Wade Bowen and Granger Smith made up after Granger shit all over Texas music.
ICYMI, the original story: http://www.wideopencountry.com/granger-smith-calls-texas-country-minor-leagues-wade-bowen-responds/
No one buys it, Wade was not sorry and neither is Sam. And you know what? I’m still not even mad at Sam. My love is unwavering and I do not understand these feelings inside of my body in the slightest. I think most of his fans feel the exact same way.
Sam, you are an enigma of love, music and arrow forearm tattoos, but after almost four days of he said, she said and one formal release I would not expect to see Sam Riggs on a Larry Joe Taylor stage ever again. Like, never ever ever.
- “Can’t Say No to Larry Joe”–Deryl Dodd
- “Bad Girl Phase”–Sunny Sweeny
- “Gravity”–Sam Riggs
- “Secondhand Smoke”–Sam Riggs