Rancid Eddie have issued a statement defending their right to lyrics widely criticised as misogynistic and calling the blowback by “little social media gestapo” – which has included gig cancellations – ”the most repulsive form of punching down we’ve seen”.
In the week since the release of their new single ‘Dry’, the Mount Waverley band have faced online criticism of the lyrics of that song as well as other unreleased material Rancid Eddie have aired on TikTok. One of those songs featured lyrics referring to a woman as a “cum rag”. Earlier this week, several shows on their 2022 tour in support of ‘Dry’ were cancelled, one by a booking agency who cited the band’s “unacceptable behaviour”.
Yesterday (October 8), the band defended their lyrics, saying that they “do not accept the notion that we need to explain or justify” them. Rancid Eddie say they believe “that music and lyricism cannot itself be harmful, because it is diffusive in its expression” and that “the public sphere should be a vent for all forms of expression… as opposed to only being an echo chamber for speech and views that ‘higher-society’ are comfortable acknowledging”.
“… We believe in absolute free speech, and detest any attempt to silence another person even if we find them and their views to be morally repugnant,” the band wrote. “Especially not another artist.”
Rancid Eddie then characterised the social media blowback they’ve received as “the most repulsive form of punching down we’ve seen”. “We’re an independent band made up of 5 working class blokes from outside Melbourne,” they wrote, claiming that “an attack was launched against us by mostly young, privileged, university-educated, inner city champagne socialists (many of em artists themselves who are signed to the music divisions of multinational conglomerates) that are out of touch with the way normal everyday working class Australians think and talk.”
After acknowledging those who “expressed their genuine concerns in an articulate manner, and engaged with our fans in a respectful way”, the band turned to address “those of you who made up lies about us, tried to deplatform us, were rude to our fans and who slandered us as misogynistic women haters”, claiming that “the only real misogyny we’ve seen so far has been towards our female fans who defend us”.
After decrying “these ideologically mangled sooks” whom they say are only trying to “affirm their own sense of self-righteousness” while “their actual concern for finding solutions to social problems is shallow at best”, Rancid Eddie said that “this little social media gestapo have fucked us pretty good”. The band said they have been removed from festival line-ups and, as previously reported, had sold-out shows for 2022 cancelled.
Rancid Eddie also “[said] strongly that we support female artists and detest sexism in the industry”, declaring that “every female artist and fan will be safe and welcome at our gigs”. “We are against misogyny and bigotry of every kind. If that’s what you’re about, fuck off, we don’t want no one on the other end of the political horseshoe thinking that we support their views just because we’re sick of these PC babies.”
The band also apologised for a homophobic word that member Jess Kelly used “when he went on a drunken Insta spree… trying to provoke the PC mob”, and said that they are pursuing “full legal remedies” to “a completely false ‘anonymous’ assault allegation that is being spread around”. Read the full statement by Rancid Eddie at the bottom of this story.
So far, public response to the Rancid Eddie statement has varied: fans have left supportive comments on Facebook and Instagram while other replies on Instagram and Twitter have remained critical. Some artists who’d previously spoken out against the band, including Camp Cope bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and Kira Puru, have hit back at Rancid Eddie’s statement, including their characterisation of their critics as “mostly young, privileged, university-educated, inner city champagne socialists”.
Before the week’s charts were announced yesterday, ARIA itself briefly acknowledged the controversy could have a bearing on the song’s chart performance: “Showing how the Streisand Effect works, Rancid Eddie could hit this week’s Top 50 with ‘Dry’,” read a now-deleted line on this chart news post by ARIA (still viewable via Google’s cache).