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The Burger Records Allegations and the Toxic Masculinity in the Music Industry

I have been re-listening to The Regrettes album ‘How Do You Love?’ a lot recently. It’s an album that follows a relationship from start to end including the eventual ending of that relationship. It was released in the summer of 2019 and seemed like it was just another album about a failed relationship with some absolutely amazing songs. However, it hits a bit differently now knowing about the context of the album and the hardships that Lydia Night has faced.

Last July there were a lot of allegations posted on Instagram of sexual misconduct that was happening around the West Coast rock scene, especially within Burger Records. One of which came from Night herself accusing SWMRS’ Joey Armstrong of emotional abuse and sexual misconduct. This came as a surprise to everyone outside of the bands involved as their relationship, which started when Night was 16 and Armstrong was 22, wasn’t public.

This is the allegation that brought my attention to everything else that was happening over in the west coast. SWMRS were a band that I really liked, I loved their music, especially the album ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ and they seemed like a band who had their morals in the right place and were a band that could start to make the change needed within the industry. They prided themselves on being ‘woke’ and feminists and making sure their shows were safe spaces for everyone. It’s no secret that the music industry is riddled with misogyny but over the last few years we have finally started to see some change, especially within younger bands, and I think that’s why the SWMRS allegation and all of the allegations within the Burger Records scene came as a massive shock to everyone outside of it. We thought these were the bands that would be the change. I was devastated, along with many others, when I heard the news and read Night’s statement. Of course, it goes without saying that I believe Lydia Night and stand with the victims of abuse in these cases.

I won’t go into all of the details of that allegation here as there are other things I wanted to cover in this post today, but if you do want to read Lydia Night’s statement I will link it at the end of the post.

As I said before, this was the statement that brought all of the others to my radar. I was only just getting into the west coast indie and punk scenes around this time so wasn’t yet aware of everything but just listening to some of the music, as I was a fan of bands such as Destroy Boys, The Regrettes and SWMRS. After doing some more research into the scene I came across a disappointingly long list of bands or members of bands who have been accused of sexual misconduct during their time at Burger Records and performing in the venues associated with it.

Many of the allegations against Burger Records claimed the label and its bands put young girls in situations where they were consuming drugs and alcohol around older band members, which allowed for sexual assault and misconduct to happen. Just to name some of the bands with allegations against them, The Buttertones, The Growlers, Cosmonauts, The Freights, The Aquadolls, The Abigails, The Black Lips, Part Time, Gap Dream, Dead Ghosts, The Orwells, Pity Party, No Parents, Love Cop, Together Pangea, Banes World, Cuco, and probably many others.

Clem Creevy of Cherry Glazerr also accused Sean Redman who used to be in Cherry Glazerr and then joined The Buttertones, of statutory rape. I will leave a link to her full statement below as well, as it’s what started a lot of these allegations being posted on social media.

So, why am I writing this today? Well because this is becoming normal. Seeing a band post an apology on social media is something we’re all used to seeing now, and that’s sad. The problem is rooted deep in the culture of indie and rock music and how its’ expected for male musicians in bands to be offhandedly misogynistic and to get away with it. The cliche of sex, drugs and rock and roll that is still for some reason a part of some people’s dreams, it’s not the music they are interested in but the persona that comes with being in a rock band. I’m not saying all bands or musicians are like this, but there are some, and it’s frustrating.

More needs to be done as this is more than a matter of just Burger Records, it’s about our society and the music industry as a whole. I’m not sure why the music industry is so against moving forward and set in its’ ways when it’s one of the only truly creative industries. As a female who is studying music production and working in the music industry, I don’t want my gender to be the reason I am not taken seriously or end up in situations like the ones these brave women who have come forward and the many others who feel like they can’t, have experienced. I shouldn’t be scared of being in the music industry and being a woman shouldn’t push me away. Unfortunately it’s something that does happen though and we really need to start seeing change.

As El Hunt wrote in NME “If the DIY and independent music scene is to truly reckon with its rampant misogyny problem, it must go much further than quietly dropping abusers from label rosters and issuing apology statements when allegations are made public. People must be supported and listened to from the very first moment that they raise concerns internally. It should not take being exposed on social media for an organisation to take its duty of care seriously. Male musicians particularly should be calling out sexism wherever they see it. Gross displays of macho swaggering should be questioned, not rewarded. Toxicity must not be tolerated in any form.”

So there’s no question that things need to change, toxic masculinity in the music industry is everywhere and sometimes some of the bands we thought were fighting against it are a part of it. There are some amazing organisations that are working towards the change or encouraging more women to be a part of the music industry such as Amplify Her Voice, Safe Gigs 4 Women, Women In CTRL, Women That Rock, and the impending Women Don’t Make Bangers created by Lucy McCourt.

We need to promote feminism within the music industry, we need to support women and non-binary individuals in music and make sure that this out-dated notion of the rock musician persona is finally executed.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Lydia Night Statement -

NME Article -

Clem Creevy Statement -

Some YouTube videos about the situation that I found interesting and helpful:

All After Midnight Blog links:


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