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The Last Dinner Party Push Back on Elitism Charges

Bassist Georgia Davies has responded to a quote from frontwoman Abigail Morris that went viral this week.

The Last Dinner Party
Source: MEGA

A viral quote allegedly from Last Dinner Party frontwoman Abigail Morris opened the band up to charges of elitism.

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The past year has truly been a charmed one for Britain's the Last Dinner Party. Only three years after the band's founding, the London-based quintet has managed to snatch a clutch of industry awards (including the BRIT Rising Star Award) and notch a series of high-profile gigs (including a Glastonbury berth and a stint with the Rolling Stones), all before the release of their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy. When that debut finally did hit earlier this year, it went straight to No. 1 on the U.K album chart.

So it was perhaps overdue that the group would run into a bit of turbulence, which came earlier this week via an article in the Times, which quoted Last Dinner Party frontwoman Abigail Morris as saying: "people don't want to listen to postpunk and hear about the cost of living crisis anymore." The author then added a pointed follow-up, noting: “Having attended the liberal boarding school Bedales, where fees can be £43,000 a year, the cost of living crisis probably isn’t a huge issue for Morris.”

After screenshots of the quote went viral, the band responded with a statement on March 1, in which bassist Georgia Davies claimed: "I can say with confidence that Abigail never said the quote that has been attributed to her in the article that’s going around."

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last dinner party georgia
Source: MEGA

Last Dinner Party bassist Georgia Davies issued a statement on the viral quote.

"The comment was lifted from an interview we did six months ago," Davies continued, implying that she was the one who had actually uttered the statement, "removed of context, tone, and intention, and now it’s been shoehorned into a new article about something totally different. The context in which I originally mentioned the cost of living crisis is extremely important, and it’s disappointing that it’s been presented in this way. What was said was in relation to people connecting with theatrical music as a form of escapism from the brutality of our current political climate, which is in a state of national emergency.

Davies went on to address the charges of elitism that the article sparked, acknowledging the band's rapid rise and saying: "The speed of our journey as a band and the privilege we have (personally and as a result of being signed to a major label) has not been lost on us. The venues that gave us our careers in this industry are closing at terrifying rates because of rising cost of living and corporate greed. Without these venues there would be no TLDP, so of course it is something we feel extraordinarily passionate about. It is becoming impossible for artists from working class and other marginalized backgrounds to be heard. For the past few months we’ve been working on something with the Music Venues Trust to call for protection for independent venues and artists, but more on that another time.

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last dinner party
Source: MEGA

The Last Dinner Party have experienced a rapid rise over the past year, with the band's debut hitting No. 1 in the U.K.

"I completely understand why people are upset," Davies wrote. "It would upset me to read that. But I just wanted to clarify that Abi did not ever say that, and it is entirely out of line with what we believe."

Such eruptions over the role of class in rock music are far from new, of course. Back in the 2000s and 2010s, acts like the Strokes, Lana Del Rey and (especially) Vampire Weekend all faced blowback due to their levels of privilege, real or perceived. As indie labels, indie venues, and indie bands alike continue to feel the squeeze of economic pressures and ever-shrinking streaming service payouts, hard questions over who still has the ability to pursue a career in music are likely to only grow more urgent...as will the impulse to find convenient scapegoats for larger macroeconomic trends. One can sense a bit of both at play in this week's dustup.

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last dinner party abi
Source: MEGA

Morris and company will spend most of this summer on tour in North America.

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In happier news, the Last Dinner Party recently announced its first major North American tour, starting in Mexico City on March 19, and wrapping up in Salt Lake City in August.

Writing on Instagram, they said: “North America Dinner Guests!!! We are thrilled to unveil that we will be gracing your beauteous towns and charming cities from March, with support from @miss_grit. Chime the bells, flare the beacons, and signal the alarms to secure thy tickets swiftly!”

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