Two weeks after announcing a spring 2019 U.S. tour, As I Lay Dying will be crossing off at least one show from their itinerary. The venue Growlers in Memphis, Tennessee, has nixed the band’s April 5th gig after hearing widespread outcry for booking the metalcore act.
By now, the controversy surrounding As I Lay Dying is well known. Singer Tim Lambesis was given a six-year prison sentence in 2014 after pleading guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife. Lambesis served two-and-a-half years of that sentence, and was released in late 2016. After laying low in 2017, he and the band announced last year that they were reuniting with their classic lineup, including Lambesis.
The initial reunion announcement was met with mixed reaction, with a contingent of fans welcoming As I Lay Dying back and others expressing outrage that the band would exist with Lambesis again. Despite the dissension, the band embarked on successful tours of North American and Europe this past fall, even upgrading to larger venues due to high demand in some European cities.
A Facebook post from the venue Growlers explained the decision to cancel the show, and also included Lambesis’ own message he posted toward the end of 2018:
After hearing the combined voice of disheartened friends, local bands, and patrons, locally owned concert venue and bar, Growlers, has cancelled their scheduled show with As I Lay Dying, previously set for April 5th, and will replace it with a local show to benefit victims of domestic violence. Growlers has also canceled a show with the band Pentagram, previously set for March 24th.
In 2014, Tim Lambesis, singer of metal band As I Lay Dying, was sentenced to up to six years in prison after being convicted of hiring someone to kill his wife. While the plot never unfolded, Lambesis spent the next two years of his life incarcerated. Just a couple of years later, and he’s back on stage, but with a remorseful attitude.
From Lambesis, “I stand against who I became in my past… People who support AILD are not supporting the person I once was, because part of my life’s work is to undo the hurt I’ve caused. I will never be able to undo my greatest mistake, but I believe it’s better to do something rather than give up. AILD collectively condemns all forms of domestic abuse and violence. Our mission is to continually seek and implement ways to facilitate positive, meaningful change in the world around us.”
However, not everyone was ready to give Lambesis a second chance, and Growlers has created controversy in Memphis for booking his band in Memphis.
“While we believe in the justice system and the ability for rehabilitation, we are against domestic violence and will always listen to those that have gone through the pain that it has caused. Since As I Lay Dying returned to performing we’d had several requests to bring them to Memphis, despite the singer’s past. When the show was first announced, hundreds of people bought tickets right away. However, we’ve since heard the input of several people in the local community that we have the utmost respect for, and we want them to know that their voices are heard. Growler’s vehemently denounces all forms of physical and mental domestic abuse, and we’ll be replacing the As I Lay Dying show with a benefit show featuring all local bands. 100% of the proceeds will go to helping local victims of domestic abuse.”
“As a locally owned small business, supporting our community is the single most important thing to us. In this instance, we’ve heard the community loud and clear, and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that we continue forward in providing an enjoyable entertaining environment that all of our patrons feel comfortable in. And to the people who’s comments were erased we sincerely apologize, just know we stand with you.”
As the statement reveals, the venue will be staging a show with local bands that night, with proceeds going toward victims of domestic abuse.
The Memphis gig was slated to be the second to last show on As I Lay Dying’s U.S. tour, which kicks off March 15th in St. Louis. This is not the first time the band has seen one of its shows canceled. They were slated to perform at Spain’s 2019 Resurrection Fest this July, but were removed from the bill due to similar backlash.
Meanwhile, in his efforts to turn around his life, Lambesis is pursuing a Masters degree in social work.