Recently announced on Pitchfork, Wax Idols and King Woman have chosen not to perform on their final scheduled shows with metal institution Pentagram and walk away “due to an overload of bulls***”, according to the two groups. Initially, they had been “honored & excited” with the news that they will be touring with the band, however, Heather Fortune (Wax Idols) noted that both of the bands had been “treated really poorly & harassed in gross ways.” Both frontwomen to the bands, Fortune and Kristina Esfandian sat down in an interview with Noisey to discuss their problems with the metal band they were co-headlining with.
The two frontwomen revealed that there was a serious lack of communication with Pentagram and their road crew, commenting “Day after day, we were just disregarded, treated like we were silly girls who didn’t know what we were doing”. According to Fortune, Pentagram’s frontman Bobby Liebling had began making “inappropriate comments” at Wax Idols members, with notes of “touching and stuff” from the band leader – who missed the first show of the tour. While Fortune and Esfandiari were not watching one of the tour shows, Liebling was making rape jokes on stage, fans had quickly let the two ladies know.
Fortune had mentioned “We were also told that Bobby said the only reason he green-lighted the tour with us and King Woman was so that he could have ‘a lot of options with women'”, after promoters had revealed to her that both Wax Idols and King Woman were not being paid what they were owed, there was a huge falling out with Fortune and Pentagram’s tour manager. Giving nothing more than a laugh, the tour manager responded to Fortune’s detailed complaints “Well maybe you’re not cut out for this”, which is when both groups decided it was time to walk.
Both Fortune and Esfandiari had commented about the experience, Fortune starting off saying “I personally never felt unsafe or violated. I just felt grossed out and disrespected. My other bandmates, however, were often basically hiding from Pentagram. They wouldn’t go in the green room, they would hide in the van—they didn’t want to be around at all because they were that uncomfortable.” To which Esfandiari added “Basically, we all know people in Pentagram are insane, especially Bobby, but we didn’t expect anybody to invade our space the way that they did, or be so disrespectful to fellow musicians. I don’t care if people are fucking crazy. That’s their fucking prerogative. But I just felt like they were disrespectful and gross. We stayed on the tour as long as we could, but towards the end, the level of disrespect and the way we were being treated and ignored was just like, why are we doing this? We’re not desperate. We don’t have to do this.”
Pentagram responded to Noisey with a statement, ”
We’ve been professionally performing and recording music for close to 50 yrs and this is one of the most unfounded and grossly opportunistic situations that we’ve ever encountered. These bands didn’t communicate to Pentagram or the tour manager about wanting to leave the tour. A few nights into the tour, they simply disappeared, posted negatively about us on social media and then headed over to the show that was previously set up for them that very night.
Our mutual agent had set up a separate deal with the promoters for the opening acts. Pentagram’s contract and all inclusions / exclusions were between Pentagram and the promoter.
Bobby Liebling offended someone from one of the opening bands. He said something to the effect of, “I approve of you being on the tour because I want options”. Pentagram as a band sincerely apologized for Bobby’s comment. Bobby verbally hit on this girl, that’s as far as it got. It’s no secret that he’s attracted to women and that’s not a crime. He’s a single man. He may have been uncouth but there was no touching. We tried to be nice but these openers gave us no real chance to interact, avoided us at all costs and made us feel uncomfortable on our own tour.”
No response yet from the two women, but from what was explained, it does not seem like there will be any forgiving any time soon.