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Taking Back Sunday Drummer Bummed Concerts Were Canceled in Hometown

Mark O'Connell expected Long Beach would let the shows go on after the hurricane.

Long Beach resident Mark O'Connell, drummer for the world-renowned alternative rock band Taking Back Sunday, had been looking forward to playing a show in his hometown for quite sometime.

But all that changed Tuesday when Long Beach city officials and Quiksilver organizers agreed to cancel the festivities surrounding the first-ever professional surf competition to hit the East Coast.

City officials said that, in the wake of Hurricane Irene, it was best to cancel events that were not part of the core surf contest, including skateboarding, motocross, BMX and live music that included such bands as Flaming Lips, Interpol and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

"I was in the UK when my wife called me to tell me she heard a rumor that the festival components were canceled," O'Connell said. "We were informed shortly after. Quiksilver did a great job letting us know what was happening, but it would have been really great to do this for them and the city."

According to city officials, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene raised questions about whether the town was prepared to host such an event. With thousands of residents left powerless or flooded, and parts of Long Beach left damaged, the festival could not carry on.

"When Hurricane Irene came through, all eyes were on us," said O'Connell, who is on tour in Europe. "When I think Long Beach, I think resilient and strong. I think everyone just assumed that the festivities were going on as planned because that is just what we do.

"The city endured such a major storm and we got through it," he added. "Wouldn't it have been great to add some cheer and festivity to the area?"

When first approached by Quiksilver to play at the festival, Taking Back Sunday was thrilled and even cut their tour short overseas to make it back to their Long Island home.

"We were so excited to play this show, being a band from Long Island," O'Connell said. "Only Shaun [Cooper] and I still live here, the others have moved, but we originated in Long Island."

O'Connell noted that many artists worked their schedules around the show in Long Beach. Badfish, a Rhode Island-based Sublime tribute band, was also set to headline a night at the Quiksilver festival. The band was unaware of the cancellation until late Wednesday, and its members thought it was unfortunate they couldn't play for a Long Beach crowd.

"Badfish regrets that we won't be able to perform due to cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irene," drummer Scott Bergin said. "While we're aware that the cancellation of the arts and entertainment portions have caused some anger among potential attendees, we're happy to comply with their wishes.”

Even though O’Connell is upset at the money the bands will lose with the loss of the concerts, he’s more upset that the small local businesses won't be able to cash in on the many people who were expected to attend the festival.

“I plan on living here for years to come and raising kids. I would love this town to prosper more than it already has,” O’Connell said.

Though they feel the town will miss out, O'Connell said he and his bandmates are proud to see residents band together to make sure their voices are heard.

"I think it's great that so many people pulled together and petitioned for bringing the festival back," O'Connell said. "It's great to see that there are so many people who want great things for Long Beach."

elliot September 02, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Sad that these government officials have that power. Busines s lost money some will go out off business. they all should be fired & Quicksilver did a great job putting in up & taking it down...These city official are paid & should be fired.
elliot September 02, 2011 at 11:33 AM
PS Thank G-d for the workers of the city that did a great job..
Shlomo_Jackson September 02, 2011 at 11:41 AM
. Speaking as a Musician, I hate to see a “Bummed Drummer” especially an alternative one. Perhaps there are “alternative” neighborhoods that would better appreciate your “alternative” music. . Have you considered Williamsburg Brooklyn; I hear it’s really Hip and Happening. .
anna September 02, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Based on most comments posted on these forums most Long Beach residents wanted these bands to play here, so maybe YOU should find another community Shlomo. That this band cut their tour short to play here, underscores the point that has been made that people relied on the city honoring it's commitment and the city simply did not act honorably in this situation. An opportunity like this will never be offered here again based on how the city flaked out.
paul.d.spellman September 02, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Hillary, What negative publicity has this town received?
Shlomo_Jackson September 02, 2011 at 12:34 PM
. Hey Chill dude. . I’m an alternative-alternative musician myself, who plays alternative-alternative guitar in an alternative-alternative rock band called “No More Alternatives”. We’re Twice (Twice) as alternative as your regular alternate band. .
Joel Scott September 02, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Perhaps you can move to Florida and play shuffleboard and go to early bird dinners instead.
Serafine September 02, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Unfortunately some of these comments are pretty ignorant when it comes to talking about music, but luckily they seem to be from one person. Seems like the comment was right up there with Theofan's pathetic one of 'teenagers coming for free concerts'..it really made me sick to read that. I was looking forward to seeing this band as well as Max Weinberg and the Flaming Lips, these were all great acts. Long Beach is such an awesome town with people who would have loved these acts to come, not to mention it would have been awesome to have the BMX and skateboarding aspects of the festival as well. I am a storeowner here who was really looking forward to this, and it really is unfortunate to have a city manager with such shallow thinking.
LBSurf September 02, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Agreed. I just had my basement cleaned up and my power restored yesterday..now what? Such poor planning, what makes me more enraged is that my taxes go to this city manager responsible for this whole fiasco.
Shlomo_Jackson September 02, 2011 at 12:54 PM
. Some Good New for a change. Yes it’s true that the Free Concert events have been cancelled. (.....So Sad) . But the Quicksilver Merchandise Tent is almost completed!..Yeah! . Now, we Long Beach Residents can dutifully march right in and purchase our Quicksilver merchandise to proudly wear. . I’m looking for a Quicksilver Truckers Cap in Beige, to match my Tan Quicksilver Boardshorts…It’ll be Fabulous! .
joe September 02, 2011 at 12:55 PM
long beach does indeed have some very aggressive and frankly bad cops in its town. being a city unto itself, they feel they have free reign over people who are in long beach. when this concert does happen, which it should they may be a negative factor somehow with it. great that people may soon realize that long beach and long island in general is a lot cooler then any brooklyn music scene! long beach needs to keep maintaining and frankly raising the quality level of the people on its beaches. these contest and the concerts just canceled are a amazing method to do just that. cause many people want to be on the boardwalk including some that well are better off other places......
Joe September 02, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Shlomo, maybe you want to be in Celebration, Florida, where creativity, individuality, and sanity go to die. Move there, please. I'll help you pack your plastic-covered furniture and Thomas Kinkade "artwork".
Joe September 02, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Have YOU considered Hoffman Manor? I hear the grannies crochet some pretty hot stuff and bingo night is practically a bacchanal. Coot.
Joe September 02, 2011 at 01:22 PM
I bet your rendition of the theme song from "The Magic Garden" rocks and requires multiple amps, Shmucko.
Joe September 02, 2011 at 01:23 PM
You couldn't be fabulous if you rode down Beech Street on a unicorn that farted glitter.
anna September 02, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Yeah there was no negative pr from the storm. Just slot of dramatic ocean footage.
Jeanie September 02, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Why are you so miserable?
Joel Scott September 02, 2011 at 03:53 PM
The storm damage has been horribly blown out proportion. Given the available facts, it is my judgement, that LB Gov cancelled the festival because they ver unprepared and Irene was an excuse!
Goingplaces September 02, 2011 at 03:58 PM
not cool
Carly September 02, 2011 at 06:14 PM
With all due apologies to Schlomo, I was laughing out loud at Joe's remarks.
Frankie Caputo September 02, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Mr Theofan, at the meeting that we had with him yesterday in his office (while delivering the signatures of 750+ long beach residents, and 70 or so local businesses in opposition to the festival cancellations) had no problem admitting that he personally wanted to cancel the music/festivities. We told him that we are aware that there are many (or maybe not so many? wink*) other people who have directly influenced his decision to cancel, which he did not directly respond to. We requested someone from Quiksilver to be present during the meeting so there would be no absent parties, and this did not happen. We were essentially trying to reach a compromise, perhaps a scaled down version of what the event once was. When we proposed this idea, Theofan responded several times with the fact that Quiksilver is not capable of building their stage again, since they have received their event insurance and sent home their crew. He also said that he thought Quiksilver was quite happy about this, but we have nothing to confirm. I would like to say that while I feel Theofan is nice man, taking the time to sit us down and talk to us in his office, he is 100% out of touch with the ideas and wants of the people surrounding an event of this caliber. For example, when we mentioned the local businesses loosing money he responded with a statement something to the likes of "the young people coming for the music aren't likely to visit the fancy hand bag store to spend $200 dollars on a bag" (continued)
Frankie Caputo September 02, 2011 at 07:43 PM
to which I responded that I don't believe ones interest in music determines their financial status in society. What I do understand is that NOBODY this out of touch with the music scene should be involved in running an event of this caliber. The Flaming Lips for example have been around since 1983, and in no way draw a strictly teenage crowd. Mr Theofan seems to think that the only people coming from out of town to see the musical performances were teenagers. We have gathered a lot of inside information in regards to the way this town in run, and its very unsettling to say the lease. The one thing I will say is that Theofan did give me one reason to be hopeful regarding music during this event, not in the way it was originally planned, but a chance at something, which will take a lot of work and effort on my part. I will elaborate on once I gather more information which I am currently doing. *If SHLOMO or any of you other racist, ageist, intolerant bigots who have posted here want to say I have twisted the words of Mr. Theofan in any way, or anything of the sort, be aware that the entire meeting was recorded on a digital audio recorder and I will and can prove you wrong in a heartbeat. Suckas.
Joe September 02, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Frankie - thank you for sticking to your principles and pointing out with logic and precision why cancelling the festival was an extremely poor decision on Theofan's part. But I disagree with one small point. Nice people are accountable for the decisions they make and don't try to blame others for them.. Nice people don't lie to the public about things like, say, LIRR availability and a few downed trees being obstacles to a planned public event. Nice people don't make snotty comments about musical tastes being an indicator of spending power. So... Mr. Theofan is NOT a nice man, because he did all those things. He may have let you into his office for a chat, but it seems like it was merely for show. He's just another pasty white bloated political hack, and I give it about 2 months before he's found to have accepted some sort of payoff or kickback. It's practically a City Hall tradition. If you need volunteer help to move your music project along, ask for it on the Facebook page and I will gladly sign up to assist.
Marshall September 02, 2011 at 08:58 PM
The guy is a local and wants to support the area. Why would you say that? Totally uncool.
Baghdad Bob September 02, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Joe is correct. Theofan is not a nice man. He is not very intelligent, either. Nor is he honest. And he looks funny. He does provide occasional comic relief, however.
Ken Moran September 02, 2011 at 10:28 PM
good job frankie...if theres anything i can do to help facilitate the process let me know
Frankie Caputo September 02, 2011 at 11:18 PM
I understand your point. But did in fact say "nice", which does not mean sincere, truthful, or admirable. I've always said that if all you can say about a person is that they are nice, there is not much to them. One SHOULD be nice, it is their other characteristics that will define them as a human being.
SMC September 03, 2011 at 02:50 AM
I'm sure Long Beach would love to have festival, vendors and at least some bands to make them feel like someone cares for their community! We could all use a little break right now!
ingenue September 03, 2011 at 03:25 AM
williamsburg brooklyn is nice, but it's filled with a lot of hipster duffus people... young people who try to be edgy -- they dress weird and they think they look good... not a lot of discernment there... less professional, more creative types.
Gloria G September 03, 2011 at 04:02 AM
How about a surprise visit and just show up! Long Beach would love to hear your music. Quicksilver did build a stage on the beach. It would be a blast!

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