Every time I talk about how much I love Dallas Green from City and Colour–his hair, his glasses, his soothing voice, his passion for music, the way his lyrics speak to me–I’m told, “Dallas Green is an asshole.” I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful man, but one time I came close.
I was walking down Queen Street West, right near MuchMusic, in Toronto. I was with an old friend and we were talking about relationships. Naturally, as a huge Green fan and also a female, I am not exactly thrilled that he is married to former MuchMusic VJ Leah Miller. I may have made an unnecessary comment about Miller in an attempt to make my friend laugh about relationships instead of feel stressed by them, when I looked to my left and saw not only her but also Green himself walking by me, giving me cut eye. I deserved that one. And to this day, I regret it.
I guess if Green and Miller, who call themselves “a Canadian weak couple,” are happy as can be, then I should be happy too. It’s just the fangirl in me that wants Green all to myself (like that would ever happen).
I’ve been to endless City and Colour concerts, my favourites being at the historic Toronto venue Massey Hall, where I’ve seen Green sing beautiful lyrics, test out new songs and tell fans to put their phones away for just one song and appreciate the art.
I have also seen Green as grouch on three occasions that I’ve yet to forget.
Green at The (Free) Juno Block Party Telling Off an Audience Member:
I was standing to the right of where the above video was taken. Laughing, of course, that Green had literally shunned one of his fans for being disrespectful and fighting at a free concert a few days before Toronto hosted the Juno Awards in 2011. I was proud to be a City and Colour fan with this Green as grouch experience, because he made a point to not only perform well but also ensure his audience was enjoying the show, too.
Hats off to you, sir!
Green says, “I’m trying to run a business here. No encore:”
The night before Green’s album, Little Hell, was released, my girlfriends and I trekked down to Toronto’s Sugar Beach to see City and Colour perform live at The Edge Studios. On this beautiful June evening, I attempted to meet Green again, but a comment he made during his free concert stung me a little too deep.
Towards the end of his performance, Green said he wouldn’t be doing an encore because he wasn’t getting paid to do the show and was trying to run a business. I understand that time is money, but mostly everyone who came out to that free party was going to either purchase his album the next day or find other ways to support him by attending paid shows, buying merchandise and spreading new City and Colour music on social media, encouraging others to listen, buy and support.
Would an encore have really been that detrimental? I remember crossing my fingers thinking, “Maybe he’s lying and will come back out to sing Against the Grain or Coming Home.” Negative. That did not happen (I do give Green credit, though, because he has surprised me with several renditions of Coming Home, my favourite song, at other shows, each meaning more to me than I thought possible).
I forgave the singer/songwriter quickly because I understand that as much as music might be Green’s passion, he also has to make smart business decisions. Sometimes, though, I think my wound is still healing.
I remember standing at Sugar Beach for over an hour after the free show, waiting anxiously for the strong-minded musician to emerge from backstage and greet his fans. My friends and I asked the security guards at the event whether Green had left. They laughed and said, “Yes.” Then we tried to get a copy of the set list but the security guards denied our wish and ended up giving the sheet of paper with a handful of songs handwritten on one side to a group of girls who copied their outfits from Tumblr.
Before we could lose any more hope, the drummer performing that night made an appearance. We got a photo quickly and left brokenhearted, for Green had not come out to say hello. Once we got into the car and made our way home, I received a text message from a classmate who was also at the concert saying Green had finally come out to meet his fans.
Just my luck.
Green at Maple Leaf Square Before Toronto Played First NHL Playoff Game, 2013:
CBC kicked off Hockey Night In Canada‘s broadcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first playoff game since I was in elementary school with a live streaming of City and Colour performing again for free at Maple Leaf Square, just outside of the Air Canada Centre.
The vibe out in the Square was beautiful: Everyone was excited for the hockey game, people from as young as a month old were representing their Leafs with merchandise and most were interested to hear what Green had in store.
The show, which was under 20-minutes, sounded beautiful. I loved that Green opened with As Much as I Ever Could from album Bring Me Your Love. My friend and I, though leaving after the performance, were proud City and Colour supporters who sang along and cheered for our favourite artist.
At the end of the concert, though, Green shouted an unenthusiastic, “Go Leafs Go,” and walked off the stage without even a thank you.
Am I being too judgmental? Probably, but even though I’ve been left a little stung, I still went out to buy my copy of The Hurry and the Harm, City and Colour’s new album. I’m extremely impressed by this 2013 release and have to say it is almost better than Bring Me Your Love and has come close to making me love it more than Sometimes.
Why I Still Love Him:
- Everyone has bad days. Maybe Green just gets ticked off easily when irritating fans cause a scene at his shows for no reason or when he has to take a few hours out of his day to perform without getting paid. No one likes working for free, even if it means wonders for your future career
- His music doesn’t suck. Ever. Whether it’s on a CD or live. Green can write music. Green can sing songs. Green is a great musician
- Green’s music is relatable and speaks to the heart. His songs aren’t cheesy, even when they’re about love
- He’s handsome…
- I remember the first time I heard a song by City and Colour. I was in grade 12 and was encouraged to listen to Missing. From that point forward, anytime I listen to this iconic Canadian band, I’m taken back to that moment of pure bliss: When I fell in love with Mr. Dallas Green.
Who’s your favourite artist? Why?
While I like his music enough to want to agree with your reasons why he might not be an asshole, I think it might just be true. Saw him at a show in Louisville, KY tonight and he was a complete dick on like 4 different occasions throughout the show. It kind of ruined him for me I think. The guy could stand for a strong dose of humility, especially when playing in a place like Louisville where his fanbase is rather limited.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate that you’ve read my post and shared your opinion.
I’ve had the same bitter taste in my mouth as you after a City and Colour show, multiple times! It’s hard to digest a concert with positivity after having experienced rude remarks and a “snub” attitude from the performer towards his fans, whether the base is large or small.
Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and talk to Dallas Green and understand what his attitude is all about? Has fame gotten to his head?
Loved him when he was in Alexisonfire but loved him more when he started his then side project now main project. I kinda akin him on the same page as Matthew Good. They are both fantastic songwriters and both are artist’s artists and Matthew Good a few years back was diagnosed with bi polar disorder which explains his fits on stage with fans causing trouble and personal problems. I would suspect Dallas Green maybe the same way though his personal life is never public.
Liberal thinkers will stand back and try to understand where others don’t even care to understand.
Thanks for your input Cris! Hope you have a great day.
I feel for you and your desire to know the real Dallas Green. I don’t know him personally but I did have a few words with him last night which didn’t end pleasantly
I’m a local busker in Halifax NS. I have two pastime jobs and am recently married. One the weekends that I don’t work I take my guitar and play for tips outside one of the busiest bars in town. I’ve been doing it for some time and have quite a few fans of my own.
Last night he and his band were in town performing a show, but I couldn’t afford to go see it.
I like his music and admire him for all of the success he’s gained here in Canada after AOF, but noticed the one time I saw him in concert there was definite tension in the air with him and his band.. I wondered if maybe he was a jerk, as many great musicians are at times.
Well last night I’m convinced that he just doesn’t get it and is blind by his own success and may have some baggage.
During my night, while busking,he walked by. I didn’t notice him at first. He had no beard, a big hat and his tats all covered. But I did notice his glasses.
I stopped playing, and asked “Is your name Dallas?” He and his friends denied it and kept walking. They were convincing and I thought maybe he just looked like him. But in the corner of my eye I saw a back stage pass.. I knew then that it was him.. So I gave my guitar to a friend and approached him again . “and said it is you.Cool! Dallas can I have a picture?” He then told me I didn’t need one and started to avoid the camera. I was polite, not causing a scene and keep my voice low so other fans wouldn’t gather around.
He then said “Your busking and you have a digital camera?” Now not everyone will understand this but that comment really pissed me off. Since I could tell by his tone of voice that he was being judgmental Implying that if I had a digital camera that I shouldn’t be busking. I said ” Dude that was rude man… F#$K you! Fuck you Dallas Green” His friends said it’s been a long night, but I didn’t care how long his night was.. He was being an asshole. I scream F you one more time as I walked away..
I was insulted. I couldn’t believe that this guy who I felt would understand what it’s like to be a struggling artist wouldn’t take the time for a fan especially another singer/guitarist and imply that I should have a digital camera. One that you can buy used for $20.
I keep that camera on me for the times that I meet inspiring artists and people that I look up to that give my the inspiration to follow my dreams. So to be shut down like I didn’t matter matter and be insulted like that, makes me think that he just doesn’t get it and is blind by his own success.
The odd thing about that night was after the clubs closed he passed me twice by himself and hiding his head. Walking around like he was lost. Some one told me that he sometimes likes to wonder around to jam with buskers.. ha… well I was the only busker out that night and he pissed me off. No jamming going on that night with out a apology ha ha ….
Many musicians and celebrities are jerks, which makes it hard to enjoy their art. I feel sorry for them and I feel sorry for Dallas Green.When he turns fans away and doesn’t make time for a picture or a few kind words.. he’s missing out on a real connection with those who love his music.
Now I’ll continue to listen to his songs and go to the odd show. but I will forever feel sorry for him and other fans who just want a picture with him. One that will take all of 30 seconds of his time.
So to answer your question. Yeah I think he’s an asshole.. ha.. but like most assholes, he doesn’t know any better.
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Hi! Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to tell your story. Funny thing – I just got your comment as I was turning on “Two Coins” by City and Colour to listen to.
I am so sorry that Dallas Green gave you such a hard time. I obviously can’t speak on his behalf, but I do wish that he took a second to notice that, just like him, you’re doing something you’re passionate about because you love doing it. Who cares if you have a point and shoot? I have one and if I could sing, I’d probably try busking on for size, too, and bring my camera to take memorable photos – just as was your intention.
Regardless of that unpleasant experience with Dallas, I am applauding you for continuing to perform on the street and for continuing to share your love of music. We need more people like you.
In this life, we’re often blinded by life’s busy-ness so much so that we forget to stop and enjoy the little things – like jamming out on the street and building up a local fan base.
I wish you all the best in your future! Keep reading and commenting. We love to hear from our followers at all times.
thank you for letting me vent and thank you for the words of encouragement. I love what I do and that experience last night made me want to give more to people wanting to hear some live music.
I used to tell people that wanted me to play them a tune, after I was done,while I was walking home that I either didn’t have time or that I was done for the night. But from now on even if I’m tired I’m gonna give them at least one song. Whats a few minutes out of my night.
If your Chili Peppers fan check out this video of one of my side projects.. A Chili Peppers tribute band called The Red Hot Chili Peckers. lol Cheers!
You’re most welcome and thanks for sharing your story and that great video. Wishing you all the best 🙂
People have always told me that they’ve heard stories about how Dallas was an asshole to them, or have had not-too-pleasant experiences in their personal encounters with him. And, honestly, I’ve always been somewhat baffled by these comments since I have met him personally. He was one of the sweetest musicians that I have ever met and seemed like a genuinely kind soul.
It was back in December of 2008, when Alexisonfire were still together and were playing a show at the Hamilton Convention centre. This was the same year that “Bring Me Your Love” came out, in February. I was 16 years old at the time. My friend’s mom happened to work at the convention centre, so we scored free tickets to the Alexisonfire concert. And since her mom worked there, that meant we went with her to work and got to hang around the upstairs employee area / musician “green room” before and after the concert was going on. So after enjoying the actual show, we went back upstairs to wait for my friend’s mom to finish her work. And, as luck would have it, that area was also where the band was hanging out after the show. We managed to get pictures with both Wade and George first, but we were a bit nervous to ask Dallas because he was our favourite (I had only recently started listening to his work in City and Colour, and was an avid Alexisonfire fan). My friend, thankfully, mustered up the courage to ask him politely if we could have our pictures taken with him. He was so sweet about it and agreed, but apologized, as he said that it would be a little while as he had a friend there who just came back home from South Korea and wanted to chat with her first. He said that he would be with us in a bit. So we patiently waited on the couches upstairs for him while he spoke to his friend. After waiting for about ten minutes, he noticed us sitting there and came over while apologizing profusely, saying, “Hey girls, I’m SO sorry that I took so long, I didn’t forget about you!” We told him it was alright and both took pictures with him while chatting a bit. I had the pleasure of telling him that his voice “sounded so amazing live,” and he thanked me for it. After talking about the show and his music for a bit, he apologized again, saying that he wanted to get back to his friends waiting in the corner for him. We understood, of course, and parted to the other side of the hallway.
At the time, I had just remembered that I had my video camera with me; because I worked with the morning announcements crew at my high school, I brought it in the event that I could get a morning announcements video intro by one of the Alexisonfire musicians (I had previously been able to get one with LIGHTS before she was extremely popular, so I thought that I had a chance). Unfortunately, I was WAY too shy to ask him for another favour, but my friend was fortunately very bold in her actions. She walked over to Dallas where he was chatting with his friends in the corner, grabbed him by the wrist, and pulled him away (he probably found it endearing, since my friend was a five-foot-zero sixteen-year-old). He just responded, “Oh, oh… okay…” and my friend explained our wanting to record an intro once we were alone with him. Even after that, he agreed and was so pleasant about it! I explained how other people who did the intro were very short about it (someone else from our high school got George Stroumboulopoulos to do it; him & LIGHTS were very to-the point), so I asked if he could say something to make it longer. He obliged and, while recording, said, “Hi there everybody at (high school), I’m Dallas Green, and, uh… here we are in Hamilton! Christmas… Pan! (at this point he gestured over to a Christmas tree, asking me to pan footage of it) …Christmas. and I just wanted to wish everyone a happy school day… Because I know I didn’t like it! Everybody get their iPods… get their mixed tapes going… that’s what I used to do, with a Walkman, mixed tape… You guys are a lot younger, it’s okay…. You’re watching CNN (our school’s broadcast name)!” He was amazing about it. He did his best to make it funny and rambled on for as long as he could (even though my school still cut out the ramblings because he talked about Christmas, which didn’t pertain to all seasons). After that, we thanked him profusely and went on our way.
I will never forget how kind of a person he was during my meeting with him. Even my other friend randomly met him while walking around Downtown Hamilton (since Dallas used a recording studio there for “Little Hell” around that time). My friend is a guitar player and recognized him, noticed the case on his back, and they started chatting about guitar stuff. Even my friend acknowledged that he was one of the friendliest musicians that he has ever met.
After that encounter with him, it actually provoked me to delve into his music completely, and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. That experience actually helped me to see how his kindness influences his music. I therefore agree with your point that he’s only human in those instances in which people call him an “asshole.” He may have just been having a bad day like the rest of us. Hope you enjoyed my story and I hope that others take from it as well. Beautiful article, Leviana.
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Natalie – I am so sorry it took me so long to reply to this. I am away in Australia on business and wanted to make sure I could devote some time to a proper response.
It brings me happiness to know you had a good experience with Dallas Green. My friend went to school in northern Ontario and met Dallas when he was performing with Alexisonfire during one of the university’s frosh/orientation events. She was really excited to meet him, of course, so she introduced herself and chatted with Dallas about her dreams of becoming a nurse. He encouraged her to work hard and pursue school. Then, after the show, my friend saw Dallas again. Dallas stopped, called my friend by name and wished her well.
The music he and City and Colour produce is absolutely beautiful and I could never get sick of it. I appreciate you sharing your story and your memories of encounters with Dallas. I especially love the bit about your experience interviewing him – the “PAN” bit shows his charm and true character.
As celebrities are always in the spotlight, we often only get to know who they are on camera or who we think they are when off-camera. It’s endearing to know you have had a good experience with this particular celebrity, who means so much to many dedicated fans.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Hey there! I stumbled across this entry and I know it’s a little late, but I saw Dallas Green perform a solo show last night and he said something that I think is quite relevant. He said he’s very fortunate to be able to do what he loves for a living, but sometimes he’ll get out to do a show and he “just fucking hates the whole thing.” He doesn’t really know why, and he feels really bad about it; he feels ungrateful, or like he’s letting the fans down. And other times he’ll have a show that reminds him of why he’s worked so hard for so many years.
I thought it was a beautiful thing to be so honest with us in that way. Like you said, everyone has bad days, and he’s only human.
This is completely my interpretation, but a lot of times, listening to his lyrics, he sounds a little tortured. I think he just wants to write songs, and maybe he wrestles with the whole music business. I don’t think he writes for the fans, I think he writes primarily for himself, and it comes through in every note that he’s baring his soul. It’s probably exhausting sometimes to bare your soul to thousands night after night. So I know it’s disappointing to a lot of fans, and I’d probably be disappointed too if it happened to me, but I think I’d forgive him.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write this and share your experience. It’s really interesting to know that sometimes Dallas is not really feelin’ it when he’s up there…and I guess that makes complete sense. We do all have bad days and for those of us who love our jobs, sometimes we really hate them (for a few moments, hours, weeks) before things start to look up again.
Definitely wish I could have been there to experience that truly priceless moment.
I have to agree – he certainly writes his songs for his fans and his music is always beautiful and reflective.
Thanks for taking the time to write. Talk soon!
I wouldn’t take any bad experience personally. We’re all human at the end of the day and sometimes stress just takes over us and we find it hard to not react to it. Dallas is a self confessed control freak, so assuming if he doesn’t meet fans after a gig or isn’t in a great mood he’s probably having a bad night due to a show or whatever. Dallas and the guys from AOF were always touring hard and dallas always fits a lot of shows in and has great work ethic, which undoubtedly comes with a collosal amount of stress. I’ve had he pleasure to meet him twice and the second time I actually spoke to him for a good half hour. Luckily both occasions he was really pleasent and easy going. Very loquacious and easy to talk to. (I also don’t believe the busking story). Atleast not the way it was told.
Thanks, James! We appreciate your feedback. Glad that you had a pleasant experience with Dallas Green and the fellows from AOF! I agree with you that these artists put a lot of pressure on themselves and in turn are under a lot of pressure from outside sources. Hope you have a great day!
I have paid to see him play/sing live three times now (twice at Massey hall, once at the Molson amphitheatre) He also lives near me and I’ve seen him around the neighbourhood running errands at the pharmacy. He has always come off as gracious and thoughtful in concert in my opinion. In public he seems like a normal guy with zero airs or pretensions about him.
Thanks for your feedback, Ashley! Glad to hear you’ve had positive experiences.
I have had the opportunity to meet Dallas Green two times. He graciously allowed me to take a picture with him 3 times. And and two autographs. I have never see him be rude to anyone.
That’s great to hear. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope you continue to have ones such as these! 🙂 Happy Sunday!
I got the opportunity to meet him some years ago after a show. He took the time to chat with fans and take pictures and sign autographs. He seemed genuinely nice, and not rushed to get done with everyone. I’ve also been to shows where given the way certain audience members acted, it clearly pissed him off and affected the show. We’re all human. We all have bad days. I know I couldn’t do what he does.
Thanks for your comment and feedback! I agree. I would not be able to do what he does! We are all human, for sure. Have you heard City and Colour’s new album? I’m in love.
Yes! It’s so good! I look forward to seeing it live in December!
Lucky you! Enjoy! 🙂
I went to a leafs game and we were sitting beside him and we are big fans of his work and we said hello and that were were fans and he just said cool and ignored is throught the rest of the game
Thanks, Samuel, for your comment. I hope you have a great night.
What Makes A Man? (Be An Asshole)
Thank you for writing this, and empowering other fans to share their experiences. I know a few years have passed since you first posted this, but I would like to share my impressions and experiences as well. I basically wrote an essay, so thank you in advance for reading.
Firstly, I truly understand how torn you must have felt (and possibly still feel) about Dallas being unpleasant. I am still bitter myself. Unfortunately, based on my own experiences and my impression from other people’s experiences (which are apparently part of a pattern of poor fan treatment), Dallas is indeed an asshole.
There’s even a recent video a fan took of Dallas blatantly ignoring an autograph request: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id2Wc3i3OyU
The only reason any of us cares so much about Dallas being an asshole is because we are deeply emotionally invested in his music. We cannot reconcile the man with the voice of an angel who composes beautiful, deeply moving songs, with the man who is an asshole. But facts are facts, and should not be ignored.
My first disappointing instance was on May 12, 2014; I think it is nearly identical to the one you had in 2011 at Sugar Beach. This was my very first City and Colour concert. I took my parents with me, and they enjoyed the show immensely. We were all enthusiastic and happy to have experienced such a treat. We were leaving the auditorium and took a wrong exit that lead us to the parking lot of the City and Colour tour buses. Now, I want to say here that I wasn’t raised to idolize anyone-I will respect and appreciate their work, yes. But aside from their art, I’m largely ambivalent to their personal lives. Dallas Green is certainly one of my big musical influences, and I would have liked to meet him, shake his hand, perhaps get him to sign my ticket, and thank him for the wonderful night and his art.
So I decided to hang around and wait to see if he would possibly show up. A few other people had also decided to do the same; there were about fifteen of us and we kindly asked the security guard if Dallas would be coming. He replied curtly “He may or may not be coming. He’s eating now.” We decided to take the chance and wait, excited at the prospect of seeing Dallas. My parents were with me and saw everything for themselves, then when I got home I wrote down my impressions so I wouldn’t forget.
While we were all Waiting…for Dallas, we eventually huddled together at the parking lot railing because it started to pour rain. That downed our spirits a bit. My first sting of disappointment came when Jack Lawrence (the bassist) and Dante Schwebel (the guitarist) appeared; we all collectively gasped and were hoping again that Dallas wouldn’t be too far behind. A girl beside me said “Thank you for the concert, we had fun!” and neither Jack nor Dante gave any of us even a glace as they boarded the bus. While the rain intensified, we could see them get comfortable through the tour bus window, watching a basketball game-while we were soaking outside like fools and gradually realizing that Dallas probably wouldn’t come.
Throughout the entire hour and forty five minutes of waiting, the security guards were repeatedly escorting VIP people in and out, and conversing into their walkie-talkies, informing Dallas that we were “still here.” He clearly knew the whole time we were outside waiting for him. We all took the chance that he “may or may not” show up, we understood and obviously respected his natural need to eat, but after the meal for example, it would have literally taken Dallas less than ten minutes to say hi to everyone, shake a few hands, sign a few tickets, and let everyone go home happy.
Instead, once the rain was thoroughly coming down and people were quite honestly fed up with waiting, a security guard swaggered up to us and said rudely that “I told you all Dallas may or may not be coming. It’s gonna be at least until 1:30 or even 2 AM, if he even comes out.” After groans of disappointment, I tried reasoning with the guard. I told him, “Look, we would just like to thank Dallas, and it would mean a lot to us to do this because he inspires us. There’s only a few of us so it wouldn’t take that long and we know that he knows we’re out here getting rained on, so could he please find a moment to say hi?”
The guard just shrugged walked away. At that point, everyone gave up and left as well, soaking wet and miserable. I’d obviously hoped for a chance to see Dallas and was disappointed that I didn’t, but what hurts me most is the disdainful manner that fans were simply dismissed when Dallas was clearly aware we were waiting.
Then in June 17, 2016, I saw Dallas live at the Molson Canadian Amphitheater. I also purchased the VIP Soundcheck experience, which came with a poster, the special laminate, and a 7″ record of an acoustic version of Lover Come Back. I was excited to see him again despite my previous experience because I absolutely loved If I Should Go Before You.
The guy that escorted us to soundcheck was Dallas’ guitar tech (I think his name is Stu), along with dozens of security guards. Before we were let into the actual audience area, we were kept waiting for half an hour in the blazing hot sun. Stu told us not to take pictures (although I still sneakily did), not to make any noise, and not to approach the stage or talk to Dallas because that would throw off his songs. We were informed that Dallas didn’t like to be disturbed and all I could think was that charging fans extra for a sound check without engaging with them was a pointless, greedy cash grab.
Eventually, we were permitted to be in Dallas’ presence. He did not acknowledge that we were there, and neither did the band. Dallas did not so much as wave hi, or even look in our direction. He acted like a complete attention seeking asshole, stopped songs for the slightest “mistake” and changed guitars every other song. He did finish off practice with a beautiful acoustic rendition of Sensible Heart, then we were promptly rushed out.
In contrast to these experiences, I saw and met Billy Talent on February 26, 2017. They went out of their way to do a meet and greet for fans (which was honestly very reasonably priced). For their sound check, they were enthusiastic and invited us right up to the stage! They took song requests! And they joked around and thanked everyone for coming. When they met fans, they took the time to spend at least fifteen minutes with each individual person. There were a few dozen of us, and every member of Billy Talent shook our hands, listened to our stories, encouraged us, and signed our albums and shirts. They clearly cared about us. They were grateful, humble, and kind.
Just to be clear, Bring Me Your Love is my favourite record of all time (followed closely by Little Hell and If I Should Go Before You). I have seen City and Colour live three times, most recently on July 2, 2017 at Niagara on the Lake. Each event was more incredible than the last.
But this is exactly why I am so bitter and disappointed that Dallas is an asshole. Oh certainly, he may say how he cares about fans, and how grateful he is, and that he is humbled, but actions will always, absolutely always, speak much louder than words.
Look, honestly no public figure who wants to keep their fanbase (and consequently keep the money coming) is going to openly declare “I don’t care about my fans and they’re all just suckers!” But that is precisely why seemingly nice and polite statements and actions need to be distinguished from what is purely PR nonsense. Anyone who still believes there is not a discrepancy between how celebrities act and speak in public versus how they are in private should please stop deluding themselves.
And I want to also point out here some common defenses I notice brought up every time a celebrity acts outright rude and disrespectful towards fans.
1) You don’t know them personally.
This is true. But we “know” them to the extent that they are a public figure, and conduct themselves in a certain way. When it comes to music, especially singer/songwriter confessional and emotional music, Dallas is choosing to share himself to the world in that particular way. So in that sense, we know him. We also know his behaviour is unpleasant, and it’s hurtful. These are undeniable facts.
2) They’re only human, they just had a bad day!
Everyone is only human. That’s the point; arrogance and massive egos should not be factoring into music and treatment of fans. That’s why people are bitter about Dallas. As for a “bad day” this is completely a matter of perspective. Is Dallas a police officer or firefighter risking his life daily? Is he a veteran? Is he struggling financially to feed his family or keep a roof over his head? Nope. He plays the guitar and sings.
Apparently, a “bad day” for a multi-platinum, successful indie musician absolves their awful behaviour. And what is a bad day? As a musician myself, a “bad day” might involve like, at minimum, a broken string or instrument, or at worst, exhaustion from playing a couple of gigs in a row, y’know? This is never an excuse to be an asshole.
Of course touring is brutal. Of course there are sacrifices in romantic relationships, family, and work in order to make music for a living. But no celebrity, Dallas included, got where they are without the support of fans (and a hell of a lot of clever marketing). No “bad day” justifies him behaving like greeting fans and taking 30 seconds or less to autograph something meaningful is a torturous ordeal.
If Dallas’ day has gone so badly that he somehow cannot manage to play music for thousands of people, or take a minuscule fraction of his time to thank the people who directly enable him to live a musical lifestyle, he’s totally an asshole, period. He should either cancel the show and be honest about his mental and physical health, or he should get some damn perspective.
3) My experience was good, therefore all the bad experiences are the exception.
I’m very glad someone’s experience was good! I hope it was genuine, and not influenced by the amount of PR/press and/or fans around. I say this because I’ve noticed that in almost every unpleasant situation towards fans, they were isolated, which undermines their experience of the situation unless there is a platform for everyone to share, just like this.
In addition, just because someone’s experience was good, this doesn’t diminish the experiences of other fans who have clearly been hurt by Dallas’ unpleasant behaviour. It has happened way too often for it not to be true that he’s an asshole and characteristic of him. That’s why it’s so painful and disheartening to see his blatant disregard for people who love his music.
4) They make more money than you/are more well-known than you, so you should just shut up!”
I absolutely loathe this “defense.” You cannot put a monetary value on someone’s life, in my opinion. Fame is not a measure of quality, integrity, compassion, or talent. Yes, Dallas is famous. Yes, Dallas is incredibly talented, and works hard to hone his craft. But this is all the more reason for him to be humble and thankful, not an asshole.
Now I totally get the urge to defend Dallas because we like his music so much. We desperately want our emotional investment to pay off. But as I’ve matured, I’ve realized that defending a celebrity, specifically Dallas, is not only useless, but it’s silly too: he doesn’t even know we exist. And he apparently does not care, even when we want to introduce ourselves.
So why should I defend someone I have never had the pleasure of meeting? Why should I defend Dallas who is apparently arrogant, greedy, disdainful, and dismissive towards his fans, especially when he pretends to be humble and caring? The answer is, I shouldn’t, and I won’t.
In the long run, none of this probably matters. I’m sure Dallas is simply laughing all the way to the bank; it certainly won’t bother him. It bothered me deeply for quite a while on a personal level (and because I’m musician myself). I continue to respect Dallas as a musician and for the emotional impact his art has had in my life. But I have to separate the music from the man in order to get rid of the sour taste of disappointment and bitterness.
Once again, thank you so much for writing your post, and for reading about my experiences. I hope this was somehow thought provoking for you!
Take good care, and keep it together.
Thank you so much for your response! I also loved your use of City and Colour song titles throughout your comment. You brought your A Game, 100%!
I think your perspective is very important and interesting to read. It’s true that as fans, we just want to thank artists or say hello – to see them up close, as they are heroes for so many! Dallas’ songs got me, and get me, through a lot of bad and good times. There’s nothing like listening to “Sleeping Sickness” on a road trip, while singing along so loudly that the cars beside you on the highway can hear! There’s also nothing like hearing, “So shine a light, guide me back home,” when you’re feeling lost, helpless and in need of confirmation. Nothing else quite compares to how full I feel after a day of listening to “Bring Me Your Love,” or having “Sam Malone Live” on repeat.
I too was at the Niagara on the Lake show in July 2017. I’ve probably been to 10 City and Colour shows and that was by far my favourite. For the first time in a long time, I heard Dallas say something that really clicked. He said that he’s not very good at being thankful and that he will get better at it, or write a song about it one day, but that he was grateful for our “hometown” support. Normally, Dallas’ engagement at shows is low – he’s all about the art, not the talk. In July, my dad was with me, listening to Dallas for the first time ever, and he screamed, “That’s what feeling good feels like!!” after Dallas’ big reveal. This was a) embarrassing because like you, I know Dallas isn’t a fan of certain extrovert activities like public interaction, and it was b) mind blowing, because Dallas stayed silent. My dad has a loud voice – so loud that at the Air Canada Centre, when he screams, “Go Leafs Go,” people across the stadium can hear him. I knew Dallas heard my dad, as we were just feet from the stage, and I know that Dallas is also one to react to unnecessary occurrences in the crowd that cause ruckus. I thought my dad was going to get a Dallas throw down like no other. Instead, there was silence. Complete silence!
I recently started writing poetry and sharing it with the world. The scariest thing about it is that I’ve opened my literal soul up, along with all my insecurities, for others to digest and dissect. Dallas’ songs and lyrics come from heartache and sadness and anger and love and all of the feelings – and I can empathize with him and how hard it is to let that go into the universe for people to consume and analyze (and then have the guts to write blog posts like mine!).
While I agree that he isn’t always pleasant, and while I wish one day to encounter him, take a selfie and explain to the world how I met this superhuman, I respect that Dallas creates music to share himself with the world and to cope with the journey he’s on, and I see that this creative process can be exhausting and emotional. I can only imagine the memories that surface when Dallas performs, and while I’ll likely never get to ask him what this experience has been like, I will still listen to “Comin’ Home” when I miss someone I love like it’s the last thing I’ll ever do.
Thanks again for reading and sharing! It was so great to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I wrote, and I really appreciate you sharing your own thoughts. And I just have to say, your name is wonderful!
I think your perspective emphasizes the importance and value of vulnerability. Of course whenever you are vulnerable, you run the risk of being savaged. But also in return, there is the beautiful opportunity for new experiences and deep emotional connection.
Sometimes, I can get so bitter and cynical and disappointed that I simply forget to cherish the good things. It’s bittersweet. The foundemental reason I listen to City and Colour is because the music moves my soul. The feeling of awe, bliss, and breathtaking beauty I felt when I first listened to As Much As I Ever Could is unforgettable. I felt so completely understood, and peaceful, and like a deep well of emotion had suddenly overflowed within me. No other musician has made me feel that way ever since.
The Niagara On The Lake show was certainly one for the books! I actually feel like that’s the case after every City and Colour concert, but this one was truly special for many reasons. I was also very close to the front row (on the left side of the stage); I’m glad your dad got to experience the wonder of that night.
It’s been really lovely to exchange perspectives with you! I will definitely be keeping an eye on your blog for future poetry; if you ever feel comfortable chatting about creative writing or music (or City and Colour tunes) it’d be nice to keep in touch.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write me back!
I really love what you’ve written here and agree that there are so many ways City and Colour music brings joy, understanding, comfort, etc. to its listeners. It can sometimes feel like my thoughts or previous experiences are being sung back to me by someone I’ve never met. Of course, the beauty with art is that the creator has one intention and perhaps multiple meanings and then shares it all with the world, which leads to different levels of relatedness, as various people ingest the art and develop “relationships” with what’s been created. It can be quite the complicated, but also liberating, process, for sure.
Let’s for sure keep in touch! To follow along on the poetry I’ve been writing, visit https://feelslikereign.wordpress.com/.
Many thanks and have a wonderful Friday!! Happy almost weekend.
I first encountered Dallas Green in 2011 whilst driving. An acoustic version of Fragile Bird came on the radio and I was galvanized. I pulled over and Shazam’d the song. Over the next few months I bought everything he’d done with City and Colour. I’ve drifted away from music since I was young, mainly because I don’t listen to the radio very much or watch TV anymore, and I don’t live in a big city anymore so there’s not the opportunity to go out to see bands as I could during my younger life. Dallas Green was a renaissance for me, though. I was mesmerized by his music and in 2013 when he toured Australia, he announced a date in my city, Hobart, in Tasmania. I got a seat in the third or fourth row and was very excited to see him play. I had seen a clip of a show he did somewhere, where he admonished somebody in the crowd, and I hadn’t really thought anything of it. The gig I attended, though, really took the wind out of my sails. Nothing dramatic happened. But his interactions with the audience throughout the show were patronizing and paternalistic. He never targeted anybody specifically, but he admonished the audience as a whole more than once and seemed intent on dictating how the audience should respond to the show. I’ve seen many hundreds of shows in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where a performer behaved like that. I’ve only ever walked out of one show before, when I saw Cat Power at the Metro in Sydney (I think in 2005) and she was drunk and pilled and the entire set was a disaster. I never walked out of the City & Colour show but I wanted to by the end. It was such a let down and I probably didn’t listen to his music at all for the next two or three years. I’ve listed to a couple of his albums tonight as I cooked dinner and I enjoyed it. I definitely think I’m guilty of wanting to have positive feelings towards the person whose music I’m listening to. I’m not really sure Dallas Green is such a nice guy, although I do believe his music is exceptional.
Phil, thank you for taking the time to read our post and for sharing your experience. I’m glad you’ve found enjoyment in Dallas Green/City and Colour music recently. Despite my experiences, I continue to remain enamoured with his creative abilities and the wonderful sounds and songs he creates. We’re all different, but I do agree that Dallas’ stage presence can be worrisome and patronizing, at times. I hope he comes to visit Hobart soon and that you have a more positive experience at his next show in your neck of the woods. The last time I saw City and Colour perform was in his hometown in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Dallas was humble, open and connected with the crowd on many levels. It blew me away and I always think about the positivity that ran through me after the set ended. Cheers to better memories and great music, Phil. Be well!
Thanks for sharing! By no means making excuses for bad behaviour, but I think that it’s important to acknowledge that artists and celebrities are human. If I heard someone slamming my wife on the street, or had someone came running up to me after work I could see myself not being the most open (and possibly short). I’m naturally introverted and usually am emotionally/mentally spent as I really open myself up in my work. I mention this not to diminish your experience or the experiences of others, just thought others may relate to that the feeling of needing space or time alone; Dallas strikes me as a guy that leans emotionally into his performances, so coming off stage I’m sure he’s pretty raw and vulnerable.
Also being isolated and cut off during COVID is probably the closest experience I can think of being on the road. I couldn’t imagine being away from my family, they really help balance that raw aspect of my work (I work in mental health).
Hi Blaine, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate your perspectives and I can relate to your experiences as someone who is naturally introverted and usually emotionally spent. I am in a similar boat. I agree with all you’ve written here and am glad you commented.
As I’ve shared in a reply to another recent comment, it has been a decade since this blog post was written. I am now in my 30s – and completely different from the version of me who wrote this blog post in her early 20s. I am definitely EXTREMELY grateful to have the chance to experience the art of City and Colour, and tune into my favourite albums over and over and over again. Transparently, I do not think I properly conveyed that message in this blog post 10 years ago.
All the best!
I just randomly found this blog post and I’m fascinated since I o lay learned of this guys existence maybe 20min ago from a random song recommendation. Please understand that life isn’t personal, it’s not about you. This man owes nothing to a fan anymore than he owes a stranger on the street. You’re getting a “sense” of him thru his gift of writing and music. Enjoy it and have gratitude it’s available for your consumption. Who cares if he’s an asshole or not… that’s his business.
Hi and thank you for this! A decade since this blog post was written and I (the author! Hi!) totally agree with much of what you’ve written here, especially, “This man owes nothing to a fan any more than he owes a stranger on the street” and “You’re getting a ‘sense’ of him thru his gift of writing and music.” I still love Dallas and everything City and Colour creates – more than words can describe. I am now in my 30s – and completely different from the version of me who wrote this blog post in her early 20s. I am definitely EXTREMELY grateful to have the chance to experience the art of City and Colour, and tune into my favourite albums over and over and over again. I would not be me if it weren’t for his music! I do not think I properly conveyed that message in this blog post 10 years ago. Thanks for reading and commenting.