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UPDATE: Screeching Weasel Frontman Apologizes For Acting Like A Weasel

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 22, 2011 5:40PM

Pop-punk pioneer Ben Weasel hasn't exactly been known for his warm, cuddly demeanor -- indeed, a confrontational spirit is somewhat essential if you're in a punk band -- but the Screeching Weasel frontman really outdid himself this past weekend at the SXSW music conference.

Weasel reportedly socked a female heckler while performing at a showcase for the band's label, Fat Wreck Chords. The subsequent melee resulted in Weasel being thrown out of the venue where Screeching Weasel were playing, and the cancellation of the band's next show in San Antonio.

The ironic thing about this incident was that, commonplace rants about SXSW commercialization aside, the show had been a pretty successful one. As Jim DeRogatis pointed out, Weasel's surly demeanor is par for the course, and the show would have been "another highlight of the festival" had the group hit it and quit it after Weasel classic "Cool Kids."

But it was not to be. Weasel began a long rant before a promised encore, which caused the crowd to boo. Beer-throwing, ice cube-throwing, and spitting followed, which then turned into this:

Through Saturday, Weasel had no comment on the matter. But on Sunday, the Chicago-based rocker issued this statement apologizing for his behavior on his web site, calling his behavior "unprofessional and unfair to the people I work with."

The whole statement can be found at Jim DeRogatis's Vocolo blog, but here's a key excerpt:

Up front, I wish to say that I am sorry to the fan and any others who were involved. As a husband, father, and a musician on the public stage, I understand that it is my duty to always take responsibility for my actions in a socially acceptable way, and most especially in the face of confrontation.

I want to apologize to the San Antonio fans, also, for having to cancel that show. I hope we can make it up down the road.

Obviously, Weasel could've taken a page from the Fugazi book of dealing with hecklers. (Perhaps this whole fracas could've been avoided if Weasel saw certain members of the crowd eating ice cream beforehand).

One thing's for certain, though: As regrettable as Weasel's actions were, he's at least light years ahead of, say, Chris Brown.

UPDATE: Looks like Ben Weaseled his way out of a Screeching Weasel comeback. The rest of the Screeching Weasel band members released a statement to Punk News saying they're all leaving the band. In it, they call Weasel's actions "shameful and embarrassing." Read the full statement here