In an open letter published by PunkNews.org yesterday (Mar. 23), Dan Schafer, Adam Cargin, Justin Perkins and Drew Fredrichsen say that they feel "extremely deflated following this public spectacle," and have left Foster to carry on Screeaching Weasel by himself.
"The un-calculated act put forth by Ben Foster leading up to and including the violence that erupted on stage is seen by the band as shameful and embarrassing," the four members write. "The sentiments and actions expressed were completely out of our control and in no way represent the band members' view points or moral compasses. As a result, the band has discussed at length and has come to the conclusion that as a group we will not likely be able to muster the dignity to attempt a live performance as 'Screeching Weasel' in the for-seeable future."
According to media reports and video footage of the band's SXSW performance at the Scoot Inn last Friday, Foster struck a woman after she apparently sprayed him with liquid or ice, while a female owner of the venue was hit while trying to break up the ensuing fight. The singer reportedly spent the band's performance complaining to the audience about the festival and calling music journalists "parasitic."
Screeching Weasel has enjoyed a revolving cast of musicians surrounding Foster since forming in 1986, and "First World Manifesto," the group's first album in 11 years out last week on Fat Wreck Chords, was the first album Foster recorded with the four departing members. "We are very proud of the effort we put forth in creating what we believe to be a fantastic new album in 'First World Manifesto,'" the band writes in the letter, "and it deeply saddens us that we will not be able to bring that excitement to audiences around the world in the form of a live show in the coming months."