Quaker City Night Hawks Drummer Apologizes for Onstage Meltdown and Berating Venue Staff

Drummer Aaron Hayes (left) from Quaker City Night Hawks has issued a formal apology following an incident in which he berated a venue's staff.
Drummer Aaron Hayes (left) from Quaker City Night Hawks has issued a formal apology following an incident in which he berated a venue's staff.
Jacob Blickenstaff
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Quaker City Night Hawks drummer Aaron Haynes exploded onstage last week at the Big Velvet Revue showcase at the Basement East in Nashville.

Well, exploding may be too strong of an image. His Fort Worth bandmates, David Matsler and Sam Anderson, weren’t actually finding pieces of their drummer strewn about the stage, though Haynes was picking up pieces of his dignity after word and video of his onstage meltdown began circulating on social media.

It’s not unusual for drummers to appear onstage disgruntled and fuming similarly to guitar slingers, who’ve been known to release their aggression behind the drum kit, but Haynes wasn’t behind the drum kit. He was standing behind the center-stage microphone.

“Yeah you!” he shouted at the sound guy. “You’ve been looking down the whole goddamn time! We’re trying to play a fucking show up here, and wish you’d turn some goddamn monitors on! Yeah you, shithead! Stop looking at your fucking phone and turn some goddamn monitors on. You got a problem with that? Shut the fuck up and turn the monitors on.”

Haynes is also said to have punched and shoved venue employees before getting kicked out, as reported by savingcountrymusic.com.

Haynes apologized Tuesday afternoon in a prepared statement:

“I am embarrassed and disgusted by my actions last week at Basement East. I want to apologize to the staff, production team, management and ownership of the venue for my actions — and to AmericanaFest for allowing this to happen during an event they bring us every year. I conducted myself entirely inappropriately, and acted out in the absolute worst way possible. I also feel an apology is due to the music community I am a part of in Nashville, and to my brothers in Quaker City Night Hawks — this in no way represents how we handle ourselves in any capacity.”

Drummers have been known to use excessive language and drop a few F-bombs behind closed doors, unless they’re making their drums sing for a thrash metal band like Slayer.

Yet, Quaker City Night Hawks isn’t known for playing thrash metal. For the past decade, they’ve been carving out a niche in the “fuzzed-out blues-rock” genre, as the Observer’s former music editor Jeff Gage pointed out in one of a few articles about the band for Rolling Stone.

They’re the kind of band whose members started out playing open-mic nights in West Texas and got paid with soup and coffee instead of cash. They’ve released a couple of albums, most recently QCNH, which Rolling Stone called a mixture of “the boogie of ZZ Top with the dread of Black Sabbath.”

Haynes is a fairly new band member, though he was there when the band first started. “It’s fun to play drums in a slightly more primal way,” he told Rolling Stone in a Feb. 28 article.

That primal way seemed to extend beyond the drums last week at the Big Velvet Revue show.

Quaker City Night Hawks didn’t respond to a request for comment. But Haynes did continue his apology in the prepared statement:

“I am taking this event as a learning experience, and to seek professional counseling and treatment for my mental and physical health. I realize I need to conduct myself in a more professional manner, and have taken the steps with the ownership and management at Basement East, personally, to make this right.”

The band is presently touring in Germany.

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