Sturgill Simpson Goes Badass & Breaks Up Fight at Ryman Auditorium
This story has been updated.
Sturgill Simpson just wrapped up a stint of three sold-out nights at the Mother Church of Country Music in Nashville, also known as The Ryman Auditorium, and the word from the concerts was a good time was had and great music was made. But at one point during the Halloween show, stuff got a little rowdy. How someone could think of starting a fight in the confines of the Mother Church is crazy enough, but as Sturgill pointed out, it was especially uncalled for as he was singing an extra sentimental and stripped down version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.”
“How the fuck could you guys possibly be thinking about fighting when we’re singing this song?” Sturgill said as the and kept playing and the crowd cheered. Sturgill then rested his arms on top of his guitar, refusing to sing until the fisticuffs stopped. And then when the fighters didn’t, he said, “Hey, fuck that. Now you’re fucking with my time. Get ’em all out!”
But that’s not what makes him a badass. As security rushed in, Sturgill continued the song without losing the vibe he’d captured at the beginning of the song.
Then later apparently things got testy in the crowd again. “You guys want the fuckin’ mic or what?” said Simpson. “I can’t wait ’til all these flannel shirt/beard motherfuckers figure out I ain’t like them.”
The warring parties can be seen getting led out of the Mother Church spitting and whining in the second video as Sturgill continues on with the concert.
This isn’t the first time Sturgill has stood up to stupid patrons trading blows. In the semi-famous “One asshole at a time” incident at the Madison Theater in Covington, KY, Sturgill broke up another fight, saying to the combatants, “It doesn’t matter who started it, all that matters is that it’s over ”¦ One asshole at a time and right now it’s my turn.”
READ: After Voice Issues, Sturgill Simpson Turns Atlanta Show into Karaoke Night
November 2, 2015 @ 1:28 pm
I was there and it was awesome. I’m still waiting for video to pop up on You Tube of him saying the following after the fights:
“Kenny Chesney’ll play here soon enough.”
November 2, 2015 @ 3:10 pm
Great cover of “When the Levee Breaks” in these sets also. Pretty badass all the way around.
November 2, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
I am anxiously waiting for another release from him.
On a side note, the Yawpers may have just released 2015’s best album.
November 2, 2015 @ 5:02 pm
“Crying” has always been one of those songs that stops me dead in my tracks. Really cool to hear his version and quite ballsy because that is a hard song to sing.
November 2, 2015 @ 6:18 pm
Jeez. Get a few craft beers in some of these fuckin hipsters and they can get real uppity in a hurry.
November 2, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
Unfortunately, nearly every man with masculinity issues flocks to authentic sounding country or bro country. Can’t they all just stick with bro country?
November 2, 2015 @ 6:45 pm
See? There is a place for “fuck” in country music.
November 2, 2015 @ 9:36 pm
I’ve seen some folks saying that Sturgill was in the wrong to be using swear words on the Ryman Stage. Though I agree to some extent, folks have to understand how the adrenaline gets pumping when you’re on stage. That’s why so many times we see performers act out-of-character on stage when a fight goes down. They are up there in a high energy situation with hundreds of eyeballs on them, and then they see something they feel is wrong and have a real gut reaction. We’ve seen it from Sturgill, we’ve seen it from Jason Isbell, and I’ve seen it a dozen other times live. Sturgill felt he needed to take control of the situation, and he did.
November 3, 2015 @ 6:09 am
Act out of Character? Using swear words? Lol
November 3, 2015 @ 9:34 am
The character people normally present on stage is what I’m saying. Sturgill Simpson is usually quite reserved on the mic at concerts. He rarely says anything, and usually shyly mumbles whatever he does say. If people have a problem with Sturgill saying the ‘F’ word in the Mother Church, I think they have a right. If I had a beard and wore flannel shirts, I would have been insulted, because he pretty much insulted me. At the same time, something bad was happening, he took control of it, and a lot of people saw it as a cool moment.
November 3, 2015 @ 7:38 am
I don’t know, when a place is called the “Mother Church”…seems like the profanity should be stifled. But huge respect to him for his handling of the situation, overall.
November 3, 2015 @ 7:38 am
Well, if you think about it, 99% of the bro country “songs” are saying “fuck” without actually saying the word itself.
November 3, 2015 @ 9:22 am
I’m saying “fuck” every time I have to hear that garbage.
November 5, 2015 @ 7:42 am
That’s probably true, I wouldn’t know because I quit listening to “country” radio decades ago, and it seems that we’ve even lost the little AM classic country station I listened to in the car.
November 3, 2015 @ 7:46 am
To once again quote The Big Lebowski…
“I like your style, Sturgill. But there’s just one thing… do you have to use so many cuss words?”
November 2, 2015 @ 6:47 pm
I miss the good ole days when the only violence at the Mother Church was Johnny Cash smashing out the footlights…
November 2, 2015 @ 9:33 pm
What’s even worse is in the second video, not only did some drunk whip their cup up on that sainted stage towards Sturgill, you could tell it was one of the unruly adult’s sons trailing the security detail escorting them out. What a great example for that kid. I feel sorry for him.
November 2, 2015 @ 11:13 pm
A fight breaks out a live country music show. Singer calls out the dickheads. News worthy? Really???
November 2, 2015 @ 11:49 pm
Well since this is a blog written by one person then whatever he deems worth writing about is newsworthy. Start your own blog and write whatever you want.
November 3, 2015 @ 12:21 am
This has been the most popular post on the site in the last month, and it hasn’t even been up for 12 hours. So whether it is “newsworthy” in your opinion or not, it was obviously something people wanted to read. In my opinion the death of David Rodriguez was a much more important story, and for every person who read it, there will be 300 people who will read this one. Its that my fault? How about the story about the new movie Dale Watson is working on, or the cool tribute Brennen Leigh did for Lefty Frizzell? I put way more love into those stories than I did slapping together a few paragraphs and posting some YouTube videos, but barely anybody read them. That pisses me off way more than it does you, trust me.
Folks need to understand that the internet as we know it is at a serious precipice. Pitchfork just got sold. Grantland just got shut down. With the widespread use of Ad Blockers, there’s no money in web publishing anymore. In the last six months, the revenue I get from this site has been slashed by 2/3’rds, and it was anemic to begin with, all while the traffic has increased. The solvency of SCM is being measure in weeks at this point, not months.
People are going to have to start interacting with substantive content on the internet, or it is going to go away and be replaced by one big Buzzfeed article. The reason I covered this topic is because when Sturgill Simpson was in a band called Sunday Valley and put out a badass album, I was the only motherfucker willing to listen to him and write about it. Nobody knew who he was. No label, no formal representation. But I heard something and I put my ass on the line by telling people to mark my words when I said he’d be the next big thing in country music. Back then he was too nervous to talk to me. Now I’m too nervous to talk to him. He’s flying high and I’m sucking wind. But I’ve covered every major and minor event in his career from the beginning and I’m not stopping now. Because even if the sands of time blow over Saving Country Music and cover it over, if I can claim I helped one worthy artist at one point get his music to a slightly larger audience then it had before, and that somehow improved the lot of country music in the long run, it would have been all worth it.
if drinkin dont kill me, er Lil Dale will
November 3, 2015 @ 5:56 am
yur like the sturgall of country music jurnos.
November 3, 2015 @ 11:27 am
November 3, 2015 @ 4:39 pm
Worked for me. Based on your articles I bought his albums. Didn’t get too into them at first, and I put them out of my mind never to be heard again. …but based on your repeated support, gave them a second shot a few months later and must have been in a better mood as I loved them. So, mission accomplished with me at least! Thanks for sturgil, whiskey Meyers, blackberry smoke, lee bains and several others I can’t think of at the moment. Thanks for opening my ears to good music, opening my eyes to bad music and making me laugh with your rants. You have my support, love to send you a check if it would stave off financial difficulties.
November 4, 2015 @ 5:06 pm
Well put, Trigger. So much work goes into posts like these. Gang, let’s all try to click through a bit more than we do, it does make a difference. And really it’s win-win because Trigger’s writing is stellar, the stories well-researched, the music tips excellent.
November 3, 2015 @ 12:47 am
well, it is that precise “dichotomy” of covering and reviewing worthy country/Americana sounding music (as well as the ridiculous stuff that is fed through commercial channels) and then writing about a stoush at a Sturgill Simpson concert that it absolutely trivial that led me to comment. I just found it a strange post, is all. Considering the overall high quality of your blog it is akin to a dude at a gig posting a bad quality phone video online for no one in particular to watch and leave a “thumbs up”. Regarding site hits and changing environment etc – I understand.
November 3, 2015 @ 5:22 am
Trigger, I had the honor of being at all three of these shows. Each night was a memorable, moving experience. I saw something on Friday night I don’t think I’ve ever seen in that Hallowed Room. I never found it more fitting that the Ryman was built as a church. Because Friday night nearly looked like an old-time Pentecostal church service! Folks on their feet, dancing in the aisles and pews, hands thrown in the air, raucous shouts and whoops and hollers of agreement and approval. It was all there. Hell, I even had one person tell me, “That’s as close as I EVER saw you to actually dancing!” It was incredible and a privilege to experience. You could tell he was still a little pissed about the fight that occurred on Saturday, because he mentioned it Sunday night. He got to the line in “I’d Have To Be Crazy” that says, “I’d have to be weird, to grow me a beard…” and in true Sturgill fashion, he finished the line with a slight alteration: “…just to see what them East Nashville hipsters would do…” The place went nuts! All that aside, they were great shows, and I couldn’t be more proud of the success he has deservedly obtained, and can’t wait to hear the new record, and see what he’ll do next. Thanks for bringing this boy to my attention!!
November 3, 2015 @ 6:35 am
I was there for the Friday & Saturday shows. I know Sturgill is sick of the Waylon comparisons but in terms of whipping a crowd into a frenzy, he’s very Waylon-esque.
If you’ve ever listened to Waylon Live: The Expanded Edition, the raucous crowds captured on that record mirrored the crowds at the Ryman this past weekend. It was a great thing to be a part of.
November 3, 2015 @ 9:44 am
Thanks for the report Jaimito.
November 3, 2015 @ 6:12 am
Slow news day?
I mean a fight breaking out at a country show is about as news worthy as a preacher talking about Jesus at church on Sunday.
November 3, 2015 @ 9:43 am
No, it’s not a slow news day. The CMA’s are coming up and my white board is full of topics. Maybe you should ask yourself that question, and wonder why you put the effort out to interact with this article and leave a comment when you find it so disinteresting and I’ve offered you plenty of other choices? I do the best job I can. I always appreciate feedback from readers. But I don’t understand why people feel the need to be pissed off at me for this article. I’m sorry for writing something people want to read. I promise to only write boring articles from here on out that everyone ignores, but nobody can complain about being click bait. That sounds like a winning plan.
November 3, 2015 @ 2:44 pm
I asked myself that question, why interact on a post about a bar fight. Well, the answer is…
You said Sturgell goes bad ass, well obviously that was ment to entice readers. People who agree or disagree alike will look at it. Personally, I do not think he went all badass, having been in more of my share of bar fights, I wouldn’t call that a brawl or a badass move, I’d call it a hey don’t fight at my show move. If that’s a bar fight now adays y’all are a bunch of pussies. No blood, no windows broken and he’ll the cops didn’t even show up. Come hang with me one night, you’ll see some bar fights, have to duck some bottles thrown around and maybe Dodge a knife or two. and guess what the band keeps on playing.
I would figure the reason people want to read this is because it’s safe to sit at home and read about a tiff in a bar than to actually be involved or in a place where shit hits the fan.
November 3, 2015 @ 5:01 pm
The Ryman’s not a bar, it’s a music venue.
November 3, 2015 @ 6:50 am
Anybody can be a ‘badass’ behind a microphone beard or no beard. But when you go callin out bearded rednecks in flannel you better have a T. W. on the floor or shit can get real real fast. I see it every night. Don’t throw the baby out with the wash. Not all beards in flannel wanna be like S. S.
November 3, 2015 @ 9:11 am
Disagree. Not many people can be a badass behind a microphone.
November 4, 2015 @ 6:14 am
Waylon could’ve, lol. He’s probably have taken one of those old-style microphones with the cord, swung it a few times, and starting cracking heads. Just Kidding! But he probably would’ve liked to do that a few times!
November 3, 2015 @ 9:29 am
I think Sturgill said a whole lot with those few words. I think he gave us reams of information and insight into what makes him tick in that very short moment. And it’s probably something worth delving into in the future.
November 3, 2015 @ 9:56 am
I just don’t get the comment. Is he saying that Sturgill should not insult bro’s as there are legions of bro’s in the crowds at his shows who actually don not care for him and are ready to whip his ass? Seems unlikely.
November 3, 2015 @ 11:31 am
One problem I think is that Sturgill got his archetypes mixed up, and I think some other folks are getting them mixed up too. I can’t speak for whomever was fighting, but the folks that are getting thrown out in the second video are definitely not “bros,” and they’re not “East Nashville hipsters” either, who Sturgill seemed to be alluding to in his “beard and flannel shirt” comment and the next night when referencing “East Nashville hipsters” by name. First off, those two demographics are on completely opposite sides of the culture spectrum. But second, the guy that whipped his beer at Sturgill and is cursing in the second video as security is leading him out looks to be about 58-years-old, wearing a button down collared shirt with a glasses protector in his shirt pocket. That dude’s just a drunk old redneck, and nowhere near a “bro” or a “hipster.” My guess is that guy was bragging the next day about how he had such a good time he got kicked out of the concert and is listening to “You Can Have The Crown” on repeat at his machine shop job.
Like I said, Sturgill’s comment probably deserves a whole article to dissect (which I’m sure Sturgill would love), but I’m not sure the right demo got criticized.
November 5, 2015 @ 3:48 pm
Sturgill isn’t a redneck and he isn’t a hipster. He’s an intellectual and all you have to do is listen to a few minutes of the Rogan podcast to understand that. Country music is what he sings and his most authentic to him; but he states he doesn’t listen to country any more then he listens to other genres. I think he could be calling out hipsters and rednecks at the same time as both wear flannel and beards and he has little in common with either.
He mentions that he’s simple and never partied much. He doesn’t have anything in common with trend-chasers or trend-bashers. He loves music and he loves learning. He’s progressive but not for social capital. In the Rogan podcast he even says that although people try to bait him into bashing pop-country he refuses to do it. He won’t be associated with rednecks or hipsters so either interpretation is valid in my opinion.
November 5, 2015 @ 7:52 pm
I totally understand all of that. My concern is that Sturgill may have created a little collateral damage with his words to folks who do get he’s an intellectual and not a trend chaser, who happen to also have a beard or wear flannel.
November 7, 2015 @ 12:20 pm
Completely valid. Referring to clothes can be dangerous when categorizing people.
November 3, 2015 @ 7:38 am
I also had the privilege of attending one of the three shows, and I would categorize it as a mind-blowing musical experience.
There’s so much I could say about it, but one thing I’ll mention is that I’m really impressed by both the length and variety of Sturgill’s shows. On the night I saw him (most recently), he performed at least 25 songs by my count, not including all the jamming. The set list included all of Metamodern (save for the bonus track), most of High Top Mountain, one Sunday Valley cut, and a whole slew of covers comprising multiple styles of country music and beyond. I know none of this is new information, but it’s just really impressive to witness. I was also impressed by the strength of Sturgill’s voice, especially after hearing about him being sick just recently.
He also mentioned from the stage how humbled he was to headline at the Ryman (of course), especially following right after “Jason” and “Chris.” Pretty cool to hear those guys get shout-outs.
The buzz just keeps building…
November 3, 2015 @ 7:39 am
Why people feel the need to get pissed out of their heads at a gig is beyond me.A few beers fine but surely you want to remember what you paid good money for and I assume were looking forward to when buying the ticket.Looks like the drink was more important than the gig to these morons.
Stapleton and Timberlake Team Up; John Marks Moves to Spotify; Trisha Yearwood Quiz | Country California
November 3, 2015 @ 11:14 am
[…] Sturgill Simpson can”™t wait until all you flannel shirt and beard motherf**kers figure out he ain”™t like you. […]
November 3, 2015 @ 8:50 pm
I was there Sunday, wondered why he kept saying we were such a laid back crowd. The show was awesome. Anyone that thinks he just tries to be Waylon reincarnate has never been to one of his shows. At times I thought I was at a Creme concert, at times church and other times a Rolling stones show. But it was all pure. The irony of him selling out 3 shows the weekend before the CMA farce was awesome.
November 5, 2015 @ 8:15 pm
I think its cool youre pulling together all the big events of everything. Sturgill, ‘Jason Isbell and Christ Stapleton have a lot of the same people behind them like David Cobb the producer Robby Turner from Waylons band and managers and lawyers. Same for Jamey Johnson. Sturgill works with all of Shooters team and he works with them. Maybe its about time to realize this is all something Shooter is making happen.
It might not be good to bring him into all this but its news and deserves to be reported. He couldnt be up there doing what Sturgill is doing.
Eric Church will probably put out an album about it soon. Sturgill is the man and its happening.