Jason Koerner

Louisville Rock Lowdown

Jason & the Security Guards: Part II

By Jason Koerner

There is such a thing as excessive force and trust me, this was excessive...

I was a participant in the WLRS Band Battle with Fill Dirt a few weeks ago and I had a really bad experience with the security guards at O'Malley's after performing that night. This had nothing to do with WLRS, in fact, I am pretty sure they never heard about it. This is a story focusing on the security guards that the club has in place to prevent fights and other negative things from happening.

I broke a rule, I admit it, but I did not know I was breaking a rule. As I approached the bar in Vinnie's (since there is no bar and no restrooms inside the LRS Garage) a guard approached me and said that I needed to turn my hat (NAPA auto parts!) around straight. I questioned him about the policy, stating that I had it like that all night without a problem from any other guard and it was obviously not gang-related. He persisted and I turned it around. My friend and I got a beer and started to walk back to the Garage and being the rebellious rock star I am, I tilted the hat again once I was near my destination.

Photo of Jason's Injured Elbow
Jason's Injured Elbow

It would seem that by doing so, I broke all of the 10 Commandments at once, because the guard came up behind me and put me in a chokehold and started to drag me to the door. Apparently, he needed the backup of two other guards to handle a non-resisting, 155-pound, 5"7 giant of a man that I am, so they jumped in, too. About four seconds later I was slammed against the door in which they were trying to throw me through, scraping my forearm pretty badly and finally pushed into the outside world. My neck hurt, my arm bleeding... I was dumbfounded.

How could this happen to someone who NEVER threw a punch, threatened anyone, pulled a weapon out, harassed a woman there, etc.?

Photo of LRS Fest Crowd
LRS Fest Crowd

I had my back turned and was walking away when it happened. I had about 2-3 lines of dialogue with my assailant and I did not put up a huge fight about turning the hat around. I never cursed the guy out over it or anything; I just made a point that I thought it was a stupid rule (which I still do).

The guard had no right to put his hands on me at all, let alone with the amount of force he used. A chokehold? Come on... save that one for the bar fights.

So back to the story- I am outside now after being tossed out. I went to the Garage entrance where we played and told the bouncer there what had happened. My girlfriend, friends and band mate Sailor came to the door and tried to make a case about what happened, but it was a no-go. Pissed off, we left.

Photo of Jason K<BR>with Fill Dirt<BR> at LRS Fest
Jason K
with Fill Dirt
at LRS Fest

When I got home, I called the manager on duty. I told him what happened, but he was very dismissive about it all. He told me that he would talk to his guys about it, but they would probably tell him that I was being "belligerent." I gave him my phone numbers but was never contacted for a follow-up. In a nutshell, it was of no help. The guy did not seem to give a damn. My guess is that he probably gets a lot of those calls, if the behavior of the mentioned guards is any reflection of their regular use of force.

I posted the brief version on the Factor IX Internet message board and surprise, surprise... this kind of thing has happened to other people! One other place mentioned was 4th Street Live! I am sure it takes place anywhere you go, to some extent, but the experience I had was unique to me. It should NOT go on- period. Security should not abuse their power, just as police are often criticized for. I am sure the guard(s) who did this to me frequents the gym and am just dying for an opportunity to appear where they can use their big muscles and little brains, but this was not the right opportunity.

There were better ways to handle the situation, such as asking me to leave because I was defiant about the hat rule. Walk me out of the club if you want to, out your hand on my arm or shoulder if you think I am going to freak out on you, but do not put your arm around my throat. That is out of line for anything short of breaking up a fight.

In closing on this situation, I would like to repeat V-P Cheney's recent Senatorial remark to whoever did that to me, I hope everyone around you knows what an a** you are. You will continue to get away with it, I am sure, because people let you. Guys like me can't stop you. Hopefully, someone will.

Security is a good thing; abuse of power is a bad thing. Simple, isn't it? Learn to keep your hands off people until they give you a real reason not to. Your job is to protect the patrons of the club, not pose a threat to them.

So, I found out later that Fill Dirt advanced to fill a slot on the 2nd stage at LRS Fest, which was very cool! We did have a large number of obstacles that day to overcome, but it all worked out in the end. My biggest test of patience for me was the fact that the bass amp provided to me to play through not working for the first song-and-a-half of our set. That sucked. They got something going eventually and we rocked out. We introduced our new metal act Surviving Thalia to the audience at the end of our set by performing a new song of ours called "Sheep to the Slaughter." Maybe you will hear on local radio soon! It seemed to please the crowd, so you may dig it too. Thanks to LRS for the opportunity...

On a personal sad note for me regarding WLRS, Mudd is no longer with the station. I've heard that he was let go for low ratings. I really liked his work and his dedication to supporting local music and wish him well wherever he goes. I truly hope LRS continues their support for local music in his absence.

That's all for this month, hopefully November's LRL will be less negative!

Rock on, Louisville!