Chicago King 810 Show Cancelled Due to Neighborhood Complaints Regarding “Excessive Use of Guns and Violent Imagery”

  • Axl Rosenberg

Update, 3:53 p.m.: As promised, Gunn has released a statement via video. Watch that statement here.

I really, really hate guns. Even standing near an armed police officer makes me nervous. I fired a gun once and I hated it and I can’t imagine I’ll ever do it again.

I also really, really hate King 810. I think their music is abysmal and their image is clownish and crass.

All of that being said… this is silly.

The band had a show scheduled for December 18 at Thalia Hall in Chicago. That show has now been cancelled. The reason? Read this e-mail from Thalia’s booker:


King 810 vocalist David Gunn will be making a statement regarding the cancellation later today. In the meantime, let’s talk amongst ourselves, shall we?

I know people think that MetalSucks has attempted to stifle freedom of speech. This is the same ridiculous argument the right constantly makes about the left whenever the left calls something the right said “offensive.” The right’s argument is, of course, completely contradictory: they think they should be allowed to say whatever they like, but the left shouldn’t be allowed to comment on those statements. In effect, it is actually the right, and not the left, that are against freedom of speech. The left’s position is really just, “Yeah, you can say whatever you want, but we can say whatever we want about what you said, too.” If you want to follow that logic, the right can, naturally, say whatever they want about what the left said about what the right said, and then the left can… well, you get it. No one at MetalSucks is trying to end freedom of speech. Tim “Ripper” Owens and Phil Labonte and Dave Mustaine can all say whatever the hell they like — they just can’t expect us not to call them assholes for saying it.

To that end, I’d argue that what’s happening here with King 810 is still not censorship in its most dastardly form. It’s a community’s prerogative to say, “Hey, we don’t want this here.” Much as MetalSucks would never argue that Varg Vikernes can’t assert that Jews have horns and tails, King 810 aren’t being told they can’t continue to have dudes on stage holding guns while they recite violent lyrics… they’re just being told they can’t do it at the Thalia.

Okay, now, ready for this story’s big twist surprise ending? If I had my druthers, the show would go on. Like I said, I think King 810’s whole macho-gangsta-thug thing is ri-goddamn-diculous. But it’s considerably less ridiculous than, say, advocating the registration of all Muslims living in the United States. Ultimately, it’s theater, and it’s no more dangerous than action movies or violent video games. Anyone who watches a King 810 show and decides to go buy a firearm and murder someone was definitely a stupid crackpot before they saw King 810; King 810 didn’t brainwash them or whatever. I don’t think shutting this show down actually accomplishes anything…

…other than to give a major publicity boost to King 810, that is. Much as sales of Body Count’s debut album increased when police protests led to the label’s removal of the song “Cop Killer” from the record, I suspect this news will only make new fans for King 810. Metal fans are nothing if not a testament to the power of reverse psychology. When shit gets labeled “dangerous,” that’s when we all come running.

We’ll update this post with Gunn’s statement when it’s released. In the meantime, I wonder how the Thalia would feel about King 810 performing with priests holding babies in place of men holding guns?

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