Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah, who joined the Big Day Out last year, has rubbished comments by Damon Albarn during an interview with the New Zealand Herald, in which the Blur frontman alleged that the band’s cancellation was due to the unsupportive attitudes of festival organisers.
While promoting his upcoming solo record, Albarn said that Blur’s BDO shows were to be their last ever. “I didn’t want it to finish on anything other than a very positive note… But I was genuinely concerned that the whole thing wouldn’t be quite as spiritually conclusive as we hoped it would be, because we weren’t sure if the organisation was quite right, or supportive of our ambitions.”
“I didn’t want what we’d done throughout the year, with Blur, to be undermined or tarnished in any way, by a show that wasn’t going to be what we wanted to do,” he added. Albarn claimed that before the cancellation, the band had been “playing for six months solidly, around the world.”
However, Maddah, in a forthcoming interview with The Vine, has dismissed Albarn’s explanation. “Blur pulling out wasn’t for financial reasons,” he said. “The band were grossly overpaid. Like massively overpaid. At their height of heights they played the Palace in Melbourne and the Horden in Sydney. So the fact that they were getting paid $5 million [for BDO] or whatever was ridiculous.”
Maddah continued, insisting that the Britpop legends were simply in no state to deliver a “communal event” as Albarn claimed, saying, “The fact [is] that the band [were] having fisticuffs on tour in South America. And that’s why they cancelled the tour because they don’t want to see each other.”
Maddah then explained that ultimately, it was Albarn who sealed the tour’s fate. “Damon has a solo record coming out. The other three members were desperate to come out. You know, Graham [Coxon, guitarist] and the other guys wanted to do it. Essentially Damon cancelled the tour.”