In case you missed it yesterday, a scuffle broke out Wednesday during a Big D and the Kids Table show in Poughkeepsie, New York, that resulted in frontman David McWane getting choked out to the point of losing consciousness by security. It’s not uncommon to see rowdy fans headlocked and dragged around by beefy security guards at a punk show, but when it happens to the lead singer of the band you’re there to see, its a bit disturbing.
We caught up with McWane himself to get his personal account of what went down. Check it out below (well worth the read).
David McWane: Statement Letter
The first thing I would like to say about the unfortunate events that occurred the other day in Poughkeepsie is that it is unfair for me to publicly make a statement because my job allows me that platform, while the other gentlemen involved in this incident does not. So it’s only fair to entertain the thought that this gentleman may not agree with my accounts. And let’s also not demonize him; he must have friends and family that love him very much.
The other much grander picture to remember is that everything could have been much worse. An incident like this where someone went too far with excessive violence happened to a wonderful friend of mine in Boston named Tony Spaulding. However the outcome of his incident has now left us without him. Our country seems very tense right now. Random acts of violence are everywhere and we must realize that this may be subconsciously affecting us. I am just happy that a knife, gun or a snapped neck did not happen. It’s something great to remember that both people involved got to go home to a nice bed Wednesday night.
While I am being long winded with an introduction, please keep in mind that I have been playing small clubs all over this world for 17 years. So I have many past examples of unruly concertgoers, questionable security, and all around safety at a show to deduct proper conduct with.
While watching Red City Radio play (great band by the way), a young male adult rushed my way followed by large men. One of which I could recognize as ‘security’ by his shirt. I had met this young adult earlier in the night; he was a nice kid. I have no idea what happened but this young adult looked to be scared and was screaming in a very unsettling way as he was ejected from the club. I thought it a very unfortunate sight.
While playing our set I saw a young adult male grab the water pipes on the ceiling.
A club should paint – ‘Excessive Force Will Ensue If Found Swinging On Pipes’.
Or simply – ‘Please Keep Off The Pipes’.
I feel the order of operations of what happens next is similar to bringing a child to the playground and sicking a dog on him because he touched the swings.
Not practical communication.
The young man was swarmed with massive arms, shoulders, and bodies. I asked on the microphone from everyone to calm down. After waiting a bit in the hopes that security could calm the problem, I jumped down to better assess the chaos and put both of my legs and arms out and stuck my spindly butt in between the scuffling men. I was trying to end the violence. I was – being the “protective girlfriend” so to speak. However, the tides of angry men pushed everyone to the left. I was now off balance with my right leg and arm up. So I pushed my weight to the right to get both feet on the ground and to hold the angry men on my right away from the screaming men on my left. That’s when I heard from a man dressed in black, who I thought was a concert-goer, “Ah, you just kicked me– that was a kick.” He said it in a way a heated police officer might when moving to the next stage of force. The last thing I said to this gentleman was, “You know that I didn’t kick you.” Remember, this gentleman was not dressed in security colors like the two other security men at the show. He wore black. We were also told he did work there but wasn’t on duty that night. One of our band members even saw him taking shots before the show. To be fair, I heard it was stated that I was trying to kick the gentlemen in his private parts. I believe it is safe to assume, I didn’t jump off stage to kick an enormous man dressed in black in his privates. I’m a touch smarter than that.
From this point, I was choked in such a rage-ful way that left me having the post attitude of – ‘Well at least I am okay’ and ‘Hopefully this man will learn how to control his anger and strength, because if he had snapped my neck, he would possibly be arrested.’ So I believe we are both lucky. I hope this gentleman takes a moment to realize it for himself, because “learning is half the battle”.
The sight looked as if a UFC fighter was choking a scarecrow. Strong. No air. Then he’d flex, tighten, and squeeze more. I knew not to struggle or try to flee because I deducted it would only make things worse. Thank God I didn’t hit him, like any person being choked out may feel the need to do. I felt that if I did I would now have hamburger for a face. So, I tapped on his shoulder about four times. I felt with his build he knew the communication of tapping out – ‘You have me. This is too much. You can let go and the violence will stop.’ No such communication was understood and I slowly went limp to the sounds of screams.
Once let go I needed 6 full breaths to return to normal conciousness. I’m usually pretty good with recovering from pain so I was impressed about this.
As for what happened the rest of the night… Oh just anarchy. The promoter didn’t show up, so no one was in charge. When I came to I saw an angry crowd moving toward the gentleman that had choked me. I did the same thing. I got in between them and said, ‘Leave him be, leave him alone.’
We are there to play music. SKA music. Happy music. So, with the help of a frazzled tiny female bartender we clumsily got the show back on. I only asked if the gentlemen who choked me be ejected from the club and with showboating authority, that request was not honored.
So we played the show.
Our listeners come first. The innocent people working at the club come second. And my run in with what I feel is a product of the tension in the current state of our country – comes last.
A lot more happened. Good people acted as good as they could. It was messy. It was long. And after the show it was still anarchy. Something worse was always on the table.
In the end, don’t light a torch against anything or anyone. Like I said, this gentlemen and I are very lucky. Nothing is on CNN, is it? Let’s move on. The gentleman does not need any more flack than I assume he has already gotten. It’s a closed book.
I wasn’t going to write anything because I am not mad at anyone. I just want people to know that things are tense right now in America. There are a lot of shootings, stabbings and so much more. We need to calm down, stop fights, stand together, and get on with being prosperous. If you are physically, mentally, or financially strong, you must be aware of your strength and never accidentally use it in a way that squashes the little guy.
All was well,
Big D and the Kids Table’s latest release was the double album “Stomp” and “Stroll,” which came out on June 11th and can be streamed/downloaded on Bandcamp. Dates on their current east coast tour can be found here.
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