A bubbling feud between Alexisonfire, one of Canada’s biggest rock bands, and the hosts of Toronto modern rock radio station 102.1 The Edge’s The Dean Blundell Show morning show has resulted in something that ranks as rare as spotting a unicorn: a shock jock apology.
Now, sure, that apology mostly completely ignored the actual reasons why said jocks had to perform such an act of contrition in the first place, but it’s a small victory nonetheless for anyone who considers shock jocks to radio broadcasting what Dane Cook is to comedy.
So what happened? Here’s what we’ve pieced together…
To start, you’d have to go back to the height of summer and head to Ontario cottage country, specifically Wakestock. Alexisonfire performed as part of the Wakeboard World Series in Collingwood, Ont. in early August.
Something happened that day that resulted in Dallas Green, Alexisonfire’s co-lead singer and figurehead for the band City And Colour, getting into an altercation with Todd Shapiro, the Blundell Show sidekick who’s job it is to Von Dutch it up at events.
The end result was apparently Shapiro pulling a rager on a port-a-potty. With a woman trapped inside it.
Fast-forward to Sept. 30 and The Edge’s annual listener-voted awards show, the CASBYs.
Alexisonfire were there to perform and pick up an award. Their song “The Northern” was voted favourite single by the station’s listenership.
When band members George Pettit and Wade MacNeil went onstage to accept the award from Shapiro, who was a host that night, Shapiro started asking where Dallas was — who we’re sure had no intention of receiving an award from him — and prompted the crowd to start a “We want Dallas” chant. Pettit’s response to this seeming act of provocation was to open a celebratory bottle of seltzer water and spray it on Shapiro’s pants.
When Shapiro and Dean Blundell got to The Edge offices the next morning, they were livid about the water attack and used their Friday morning show to bury Alexisonfire.
During the broadcast, whose customary companion podcast has since been taken down from The Edge site, but which is still circulating amongst Alexisonfire fan circles, Blundell and Shapiro teed off.
Along the way Blundell and Shapiro referred to Alexisonfire as “dicks,” “pricks,” “douchebags,” dickbags,” “dick hammers” and “douche-hammers” on top of making fun of Green’s teeth, suggesting the band should “suck me sideways” and encouraged listeners to “do yourself a favour and burn your Alexisonfire records, too. They’re just not nice people… Throw away your Alexisonfire records and don’t buy another one. They’re a cheesy band anyway… Upload their records.”
Such a vicious attack on one of that station’s most popular bands was particularly weird not just from a professional standpoint, but from a personal one as well. Edge radio host Josie Dye is married to Alexisonfire manager Joel Carriere, and the Blundell guys would’ve probably been socials with both Carriere and the whole Alexisonfire gang.
So it was even more surprising when the Blundell guys next-stepped it and started laying into Leah Miller, Green’s wife and current host of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
They went into an extended explanation comparing her to a poorly constructed go-kart before taking “listener emails” (sly) where audience members made statements like “that guy’s wife looks like seven miles of bad road,” as read by Blundell.
Blundell ended his rant with a vow to never play Alexisonfire’s music on his show again and to get their music banned station-wide before dropping this contextual gem:
“The Trews are awesome. Unbelievable.”
The ban never happened, and the station continued to play Alexisonfire songs as normal for the next four days after the rant. Then, on Tuesday morning, Blundell addressed the feud on-air once again:
“It was wholly unfair of me… I should have just let two men work it out, but I got mad at an entire band that did nothing but play a terrific show,” he said.
“It’s not like I’m not going to say sorry. [Note: He didn't actually.] As a matter of fact, I’m going to be brutally honest. I talked to the band’s manager, who’s a friend of mine, he’s a nice man, and he was pretty bummed out.
“And I said I’ll go back and listen to the audio of the tape and see what I think. Cuz to be fair I had about 10 minutes sleep and I didn’t remember what I said, or what we said. And I went back and listened to it and was unfair for me to say the whole band stinks.
“Don’t burn the CDs. Keep listening to the band; they’re a terrific band. And whatever issues Todd had with one of the guys with the band will be worked out personally.
“And I really like the band. And I wouldn’t mind playing them from time to time.”
For his part, Shapiro, who was silent throughout Blundell’s speech, added only at the end, “I don’t know what I could or couldn’t say because I don’t want to look like I’m kissing ass.”
That hubris is cute. But you know who hasn’t had to apology in any way for their conduct? Alexisonfire. So we’re scoring this one AOF 1, shock jocks 0.
This is what made the Blundell Show guys lose it: