The Wu-Tang Clan's sudden exit from its tour with Rage Against the Machine
has taken yet another mysterious turn, as four members of the popular rap
group have come under investigation for allegedly beating an employee of
their record company backstage after their last tour stop outside of Chicago
Investigator Steve Vaccaro of Tinley Park Police Department said today that a
Loud Records marketing and promotions manager filed a complaint against four
members of the Staten Island, N.Y.-based rap group and at least three of the
band's associates for an alleged
battering following the group's Saturday performance at the New World Music
Theatre in Tinley Park.
Exactly which members of the nine-member Clan were allegedly involved remains
unclear. "At this time we have an idea, but we're going to wait until we get
positive identifications on the subjects before we release any of that,"
Vaccaro said. "We're also looking to contact them personally and give them
an opportunity to come into our department here for an interview." Vaccaro added
he hopes that the band members, based in New York, will fly to
Chicago for personal interviews.
The Chicago-area victim, whose name is being withheld by the police,
sustained bruises, abrasions and scrapes to his head and both hands, Vaccaro
said. The Loud employee told police he believes he was beaten for releasing
information about the locations of the Wu-Tang's after-concert parties during
a live radio interview on the afternoon of the show. Vaccaro said he did not
know which radio station featured the broadcast.
"We have no comment until we get further information," Loud Records
representative Dana Mullen said on Thursday. Neither the Famous Artists
booking agency nor the PB&J touring company, both of which handle the Wu-Tang
Clan, returned calls Thursday morning.
Until police can talk with members of the band, the allegation lodged
against the Wu-Tang Clan remains a complaint, not a formal charge.
The Chicago-area concert was the last show performed
by the Wu-Tang Clan on its successful, genre-blending
tour with Rage and Atari Teenage Riot. News of the
investigation comes on the heels of the announcement
that the Wu-Tang have quit the tour and will be replaced
for most of the remaining dates by the Roots; the final two shows will
feature the Foo Fighters in Wu-Tang's slot.
The precise impetus for the band's departure, however, remains murky.
"Wu-Tang is not finishing the rest of the tour," a source close to Rage
Against the Machine who preferred to remain anonymous said Wednesday.
"Basically it's due to internal conflicts. I believe Wu-Tang is telling
people that they never committed to finish the second half, but they always
did. It was always clear that they
were doing the whole tour. They have now decided to do other activities."
After missing a pair of shows this past weekend with little advance notice to
either the venues or headliners Rage, the rap crew out of Staten Island, N.Y.
have apparently decided to skip the rest of the well-received tour. The first
no-show, still unexplained, was in St. Louis, Mo., on Aug. 31, and was
followed by another in Kansas City, Mo. on Sept. 1, which the band bowed out
to play the third-annual Park Hill Day festival in New York.
The rap crew also took itself off the bill for Wednesday night's show at the
Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., so that its members could travel to New
York to act as presenters at MTV's '97 Video Music Awards show held this
When asked Wednesday to verify the Clan's flight from the bill, Erin Burke,
of the group's label, Loud Records, said, "At this moment their
participation is canceled due to some personal things." Typical of the
hard-to-pin-down nature of the multi-platinum band, another source at Loud
verified that the group was off the tour, but intimated that they "were
trying to get them back on."
The tour was doing "surprisingly well," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the
concert trade magazine Pollstar -- citing sellouts and near sellouts
at a majority of the scheduled dates -- "considering you wouldn't think of
either of these bands as headlining in 15-20,000 seat venues."
Sandy Sweetser, a spokeswoman for the Target Center, said her venue was told
of the Wu-Tang cancellation the day of the show, just a few hours before the
performance was scheduled to begin. "We're not being given any statement on
it," Sweetser said of the last-minute change, other than the "personal
reasons" statement received from Wu management. No additional opening act
will join Rage and ATR for that show. Like the Riverport Amphitheater in St.
Louis, the Target Center is offering refunds to concert-goers who request
them. Over 800 fans reportedly requested refunds for the St. Louis show.
Philadelphia hip-hoppers the Roots will fill the Wu-Tang's space for eight dates
beginning Sept. 5 in Dallas, Texas. Foo Fighters will then take over as
openers on the tour's final two nights in Irvine, Calif. (Sept. 19) and
Phoenix, Ariz. (Sept. 21). ATN Senior Writer
Gil Kaufman contributed to this story.