SIX FEET UNDER vocalist Chris Barnes and CATTLE DECAPITATION frontman Travis Ryan have commented further on the alleged altercation that occurred between them at the Boston, Massachusetts stop of the SIX FEET UNDER-headlined "The Autumn Apocalypse" tour, causing CATTLE DECAPITATION to drop off the trek.
Speaking to Jo Schüftan of Horns Up Rocks! on November 6 in New York City, Barnes had the following to say about the incident (audio available below): "The straight-up story is, basically, here's a guy that was antagonizing me, calling me an asshole for days amongst the crew and musicians of this tour behind my back, and I heard about that. And I made a funny comment on stage last night about veggie burgers — you know, 'Go have a veggie burger.' [Editor's note: At least two members of CATTLE DECAPITATION are said to be ardent vegetarians.] I was just trying to lighten the mood. But let's back it up a bit.
"There were some problems at the beginning of the tour with some questions about the contracts having to do with merchandise… All that was settled. The night after we had that problem, I believe it was in Frederick, Virginia, we were on stage and at the end of the set I said, you know, 'I'm glad we all got our things figured out and got that behind us, you know I really just want to have a great tour and the enjoy the tour you know. I want to thank the opening bands on the tour and let's move on and have some fun.' Two days later, I find out that this kid's calling me an asshole around the tour and to everybody involved with the tour. And, you know, so I made a little snide comment about 'eat a veggie burger' and the guy got all bent out of shape supposedly, and waited for me to get off stage, and broke into my backstage room, got in my face, stepped up to me, three inches from my face, had his finger pointing in my face, yelling at me, calling me an asshole. And, you know, to me, those are fighting words. And I just, I reacted, and, you know, I did not suckerpunch him, number 1. I didn't even punch him, okay?! He did not get punched. He did not get suckerpunched. I did not run out of the room. I walked out of the room, because I did not feel that it was necessary to pursue violence anymore while the guy was laying on the floor. My crew guy was with me — he didn't run out of the room with me; he walked out of the room with me. I walked up the stairs, I did not hide in my tour bus, I did not to a 'Rocky dance.' I walked off my tour bus approximately a half an hour later and walked right past their crew and van on my way to the hotel with my girlfriend. They didn't say one word to me. Now, you know, he finds it necessary to attack me in the press and to use my reputation against me for his own benefit. It's sad and it seems like an unnecessary thing to do and I feel bad for him."
He added, "I don't wanna badmouth anyone, but he chose it upon himself to badmouth me. I just want the facts to be known. I didn't confront this person, I did not go out of my way to confront someone — he chose to do that. I had no ill feelings toward him. I just, like I said… You know, it's unfortunate for all the fans of both bands that that happened, but all I did was defend myself, and really, that's all I can say about it."
In a new posting on his personal Facebook page, Ryan described the incident in greater detail, writing: "Over the last eight or so years, we've been asked many times to do a SIX FEET UNDER tour. Because of all the horror stories we heard about Chris Barnes from friends who toured with him, we just were never interested in taking part of that. Recently, when we agreed to do the tour, it was only on the basis that we didnt have any merch restrictions. No price matching, no limits on designs. Because of the Shockwave tour we were forced to miss, we were fully stocked and had a ton of stuff and now have a huge bill for it.
"After the first night of the tour, Chris freaked out because of all the merch we had. They tried limiting our designs, but we had in many e-mails to and from booking agents and documents, that there were to be no merch restrictions. Period. After a bunch of back-and-forth with their tour manager, the label and between ourselves, we finally agreed to do four designs in hopes to just eliminate any drama. We have minded our own business with limited drama ever since. Well, according to our merch guy, we did better than them again and this is where it gets lame...
"Since Chris mostly hides in his tour bus, they set up a meet-and-greet at their merch booth, we figure, to help generate merch sales. Chris came in and did it right as we hit the stage. Fine — do what you need to do, dude. Twice while they were on stage, Chris made some typical veggie wisecracks. One was a commentary on the crowd walkout, and one was just dumb and it was apparent to all of us standing there that they were jabs against us, the band following his ass, supporting his band nightly. Ridiculous. So, I confronted him after he left the stage about it. Just words (I will admit i was speaking loudly and with an amount of anger and cursing), just asking if that was really necessary to do to his support band but according to some 'industry' peeps that know him well, nobody stands up to Barnes. He basically just says, 'Well, then how about just having some respect then?' I assume, because he's Chris Barnes from CANNIBAL CORPSE or something, that he felt he deserved a mountain of respect and that I should just lay down and take it. I proceed to explain that he lost my respect years ago simply from the kinds of things he did to our friends' bands just trying to tour and SUPPORT his band and the way he treats his fans first and foremost. THESE actions over the years have forced me to see him as unrespectable, even with those first three badass CANNIBAL CORPSE albums under his belt. He got up off the sofa, approaches me, hit the side edge of my jaw right in the middle of my words and I spilled my beer all over their drum tech (sorry, Dave). He immediately quickly left the scene and out to his bus. In fact, he was in motion on his way out as he hit me. The only people in the room as far as I could tell was his band members and/or road crew.
"I get it. Hes got a big bus to pay for, roadies (one even told one of us he was Chris' bodyguard?), the rest of the band, the whole nine yards.
"Sorry someone didn't have the foresight to properly order merch, but that's got nothing to do with us.
"We NEVER wanted to do a tour with Chris Barnes/SIX FEET UNDER. We just wanted to get back out and play for our fans who missed us on the previously cancelled tour and this was the only thing around. People kept telling us, 'Chris really wants you guys,' and that's cool and all, we just didnt see it being a tour that we needed to be on. But, like I said... it was something to do and we felt we needed to get in front of our fans [as soon as possible]. Since the final stipulation was we were told there were no merch restrictions, we OK'd it. How Chris Barnes didn't get that memo has nothing to do with us. We budged against our personal wishes and we still sold more merch and there were some walkouts. We don't control the fans of any band and what they decide to do with their money and time.
"I made it clear to their camp that I have to watch out for our band and they totally understood that we were right, since, after all, it was all in writing. I'm not totally innocent — I went in there and called him out to his face, but from across the room (not literally in his face). I was pissed and just didn't give a shit anymore.
"I woke up pissed that we now have to figure something else out and I ranted about it on my personal Facebook (which was screen shot and then posted on every metal site there is) and now I'm hearing that Barnes deleted his bragging tweet from last night and is now saying he didn't even hit me? Haha... It's a weird world we live in, for sure.
"Point blank, I believe the fact that Chris would never have agreed to no merch restrictions, and that's fine. We never would have done the tour if there were, and here we are. In the exact same scenario we saw coming over many, many years, but since we took people on their word (and had it in writing), we took the tour.
"Let it be known that I did not call the cops, file a police report or press charges even though management and literally everyone else around me was telling me I should. But that would just be lame.
"At the end of the day, i was only looking out for US = my friends — our band. Even if it meant standing up to a dude I once had a lot of respect for and are on the same label as. I'm a filter for four dudes, as this band is a democracy, and we all know what went down and watched this unfold. We are all on the same page."
Graphic below courtesy of Metal Injection