In her interview yesterday with Torquil Campbell, Reverb's Erin Thompson danced around the idea that Stars' frontman might be a bit abrasive. He gets in Twitter fights with other bands he doesn't agree with. He writes angry blog posts in response to bad reviews. And while he was on the phone with Erin, he in so many words told his fellow vocalist Amy Millan to shut up.
Torquil Campbell: Meany who looks like Ben Linus from "Lost."
Erin is a nice person. She likes puppies and probably waits until pedestrians are all the way out of the crosswalk before turning. So it probably doesn't come naturally for her to say something mean about another person she doesn't know very well.
But after seeing Stars' mostly excellent show at the Triple Door last night, I'm thinking it's time to just come out and say it: Campbell is a douchebag.
Want a reason? Here's your reason.It's the start of the second set of the night. Stars' two-night, sold-out run at the Triple Door is split up thusly: a quick run-through of the new album The Five Ghosts, a short intermission, then an as-voted-on-by-fans set of greatest hits.
The new album sounds fantastic. Aside from the moments when Campbell the Canuck lets his Anglophile freak flag fly (I swear, on some registers he sounds like what you'd hear if Morrissey, Kermit the Frog and Julia Child all talked over each other on a conference call), things went smoothly, as Millan has the bulk of the vocals on Ghosts.
Right before intermission, Campbell takes the mic and tells the crowd -- a crowd, mind you, at the Triple Door, which is for all intents and purposes a really nice dinner theater -- that he wants all the standing room only fans in the back to fill in the gaps between the first-row seats and the booths up front.
This is all fine and good. Campbell is a rock star, he wants to play in front of a rock star audience. The only people who are going to get irritated are those who had the good sense to show up early and get a booth seat. But whatever, a little stretching never hurt anybody.
But then, oh then, Campbell decides that isn't enough.
When the band comes out for the second set, he sees that not everyone is standing. Some people halfway back in the room are still *GASP* seated in their booths, enjoying their meals!
So Campbell, petulant at the thought that his orders might not be observed, walks on top of the bar, over some booths and into another row, mic in hand. He tells the crowd to "get the fuck up." Then, when he sees one guy still sitting, throws the guy's doggy bag on the floor and returns to the stage.
Listen, I'm all for rock stars using the stage as a bully pulpit. You want to tell me you wrote this next song about how all your fans are scum-sucking wasteoids? Awesome! Where's your merch table?!
What isn't rock is ruining some guy's leftovers just because he wanted to rest his legs. Nor is it rock to obsess so much over what you just did -- after the doggy bag incident, Campbell's between-song banter was dominated by how he sort of felt guilty but mostly didn't -- that your fellow bandmates have to tell you to shut up about it, as Millan did in a pretty-sure-she's-not-joking tone.
You don't want people sitting during your show? Don't play a venue where that's exactly what's expected of them.
Last thought: Before playing "One More Night," Campbell said, "This is a song about fucking someone to death." Have to admit, that was pretty rock.