Throwing Cold Water On Reverend Horton Heat’s Refusal To Cancel Shows

Reverend Horton Heat
Lisa Walker for the 9:30 Club
– Reverend Horton Heat
9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.

Rockabilly legend Reverend Horton Heat caused something of a “psychobilly freakout” over the weekend when he announced he would cancel no shows and encouraged fans to defy government guidance to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Rev, as he’s known by fans, wrote, “Reverend Horton Heat is NOT cancelling ANY gigs because of Covid-19. Any gigs that are cancelled will be because the promoters cancelled. I encourage everyone who lives in a jurisdiction where local governments are restricting rock and roll to push back. Write emails and call your local government agencies to remind them that we have the right to assembly. They can’t stop rock and roll!”

The comments caused a cascade of comments, both in support of and blasting the statement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given The Rev’s punk rock ethos, Reverend Horton Heat engaged many of them, pointing out that he also has band members and crews who need to be working. The initial post generated more than 4,400 comments – his typical post might draw 20-30.

Over the last three years, Reverend Horton Heat has averaged ticket sales of 644 for a gross of $16,205.

He has dates on the books through mid-April, not including festival appearances, mostly in states that have already declared emergencies in an effort to restrict mass gatherings of100-250 or more. So while he may intend to party on, Heat may have few, if any, venue options to perform in.

His agent, Atomic Music Group’s Scott Weiss stressed to Pollstar that he doesn’t endorse his client’s public statements in this specific case, but shows that are being canceled by venues and promoters will be rescheduled at a future date with The Rev’s blessing.

“First and foremost, my job is to connect the artist with his fans,” Weiss tells Pollstar. “In this case, I think it was a knee-jerk reaction to be told what to do by the government and, on reflection, he will be rescheduling shows.

“The agent, in this case me, gets caught in the middle,” Weiss said. “I didn’t agree with his public position but as it stands there is no place that he can play with all of the closures. I don’t want to be presumptive about when it will be OK to reschedule, but we will reschedule.”