Barnes Vs. Ryan: Battle of Fists Turns Into a Battle of Words
Earlier this week, Cattle Decapitation dropped off of their barely-just-started tour with Six Feet Under and Wretched after Cattle Decap frontman Travis Ryan alleged that Barnes “sucker punched” him and then “immediately RAN out the door and fled to his bus.” Barnes, for his part, said only that “If you eat tofu you’ll get you’re [sic] ass kicked in a fight.”
Now both men have further elaborated upon their own version of what exactly happened, which… well, it doesn’t really settle who’s telling the truth, but it’s still interesting to read.
“I think it’s kind of funny that he even brought it up, but, the straight up story is that basically, here is a guy who 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. I made a funny comment onstage last night about veggie burgers, you know, ‘Go have a veggie burger.’ I was just trying to lighten the mood.
“But let’s back it up a little bit. There were some problems at the beginning of the tour with some contracts having to do with merchandise. All that was settled. The night after we had that problem, I believe it was in Fredrick, VA, we were on stage, and at the end of the set I said ‘I’m glad we all got our things figured out and got that behind us. I really want to just have a great tour and enjoy the tour. I want to thank all the opening bands on the tour and let’s move on and have some fun.’
“Two days later, I find out this kid [Ryan] is calling me an asshole around the tour and to everybody involved with the tour. So I made a little snide comment about ‘eat a veggie burger’ and [Ryan] got all bent out of shape 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. He had his finger pointing at my face, yelling at me, calling me an asshole, and, to me those are fighting words. I just reacted and, uh, I did not sucker punch him, number one, I didn’t even punch him. He did not get punched, he did not get sucker punched.
“I did not run out of the room. I walked out of the room because I did not feel it was necessary to pursue violence anymore, while the guy wa 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 do a Rocky dance. I walked off my tour bus probably 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, he find 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.
“That’s really the facts of it and I don’t want to bad mouth anyone. He chose it upon himself to bad mouth me. I just wanted the facts to be known. I didn’t confront this person, I didn’t go out of my way to confront this person. He chose to do that and I had no ill feelings toward him, like I said, it’s unfortunate for all the fans of both bands that that happened. All I did was defend myself, and really, that’s all I can say about it.”
Travis Ryan then took to his Facebook page to elaborate himself:
“Over the last 8 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 emails 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 4 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 3 bad ass CC 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 didnt have the foresight to properly order merch, but thats got nothing to do with us. We NEVER wanted to do a tour with Chris Barnes/SFU. 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 thats 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 asap. Since the final stipulation was we were told there were no merch restrictions, we OK’d it. How Chris Barnes didnt 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 dont 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. Im 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 didnt 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 im hearing that Barnes deleted his bragging tweet from last night and is now saying he didnt even hit me? Haha… Its 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 thats 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. Im a filter for 4 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.”
I don’t suspect we’ll ever know which one of these guys is really telling the truth, but you’re free to speculate in the comments section below if you like (as though you need an invitation).
Meanwhile, in addition to appearing on the upcoming MetalSucks-sponsored Blood of Power Tour with Dying Fetus, Malignancy, and Cerebral Bore (dates here), Cattle Decap have announced a string of headlining dates, ostensibly to make up for the SFU shows they’ll now be missing. Here are those dates, via Lambgoat:
11/10 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Mr. Roboto Project w/ Vektor
11/11 Reading, PA @ Reverb
11/13 Burlington, VT @ Nectar’s
11/14 Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Pickwick Pub
11/15 Keene, NH @ The Railroad Tavern
11/16 Danbury, CT @ Heirloom Arts
11/17 Middletown, NY @ Sounds Asylum
11/20 Trenton, NJ @ Backstage at Champs
11/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar