According to 7Days.ae, British heavy metal legends SAXON will not be performing at this year's Dubai Desert Rock Festival — set to take place on March 16 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates — because one of their songs from the 1980s includes lyrics about freeing the Holy Land and spilling Muslim blood.
Concert organizers Centre Stage Management (CSM) said yesterday (March 12) that Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) had withdrawn permission for the band to perform on Thursday "without citing a specific reason."
However, CSM said that controversy created by the publication of the song's lyrics in local media had influenced the decision.
"Band members were immediately labelled in most Arabic newspapers as racists, Arab haters, who wanted to put all Muslims to the sword," Joann Shams, business development manager for CSM said.
No one from the DTCM was available for comment yesterday. Last week, a local Arab paper translated and published the lyrics to SAXON's 1984 song "Crusader" and said:
"The question here for the band and the organisers is what will SAXON do in Dubai's land and on Arabian sands? Are they going to make us, the Saracen heathens, taste their music just as if their guitars were swords made of steel."
"SAXON...calls for the mass extermination of Arabs," the article added. CSM said the band’s management was informed last night and that they expressed "shock" over the decision.
In a statement sent to BLABBERMOUTH.NET by SAXON's management, the band said, "We are very disappointed that we can’t play to our fans in the Middle East. We are not and never have been a racist band. The lyrics of the song 'Crusader' have been taken totally out of context. Many of the songs we write are based on historical events e.g. 'Dallas 1 PM' (Kennedy's assassination),'Conquistador' (The Conquest of South America),'Crusader' (The 12th Century) — the songs are not intended to be taken as any form of propaganda, the song is a snapshot of an event in history, the lyrics are intended to give a flavour of what it must have been like in the army at the time. Saladin, the leader of the Saracens, was also a mighty warrior and his battles would make a good vehicle for a great metal song as well.
"The journalist who wrote about 'Crusader' was obviously trying to cause as much trouble as possible. We don't write lyrics to inside hatred or racism, we have fans all over the world of every colour and religion and music should be used to break down barriers and not to build them."
SAXON had been scheduled to arrive on Thursday morning (March 16) and perform alongside five other bands, including MEGADETH, at Desert Rock. More than 4,000 tickets have been sold so far and organisers expect 8,000 to turn up, according to 7Days.ae.
(Thanks: Anthony Kaoteon)