The Last Dinner Party speak out on “privilege”, respond to “cost of living” comments being “taken out of context”

Aprilia Rine

The Last Dinner Party speak out on “privilege”, respond to “cost of living” comments being “taken out of context”

The Last Dinner Party have spoken about their “privilege” in response to an “out of context” quote regarding the cost of living crisis that went viral.

Yesterday (February 29), a section from a recent article by The Times – titled ‘Is there a future for bands? Why I fear for rock’n’roll…’ – started making the rounds on social media.

  • READ MORE: The Last Dinner Party: the newly-coronated monarchs of baroque-pop

It read: “How to explain, then, the success of The Last Dinner Party, who have roared out of nowhere to a No 1 album, in the process winning the BBC Sound of 2024 and a rising star award at the Brits this weekend? Their theatrical escapism may be part of it.”

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The outlet went on to quote frontwoman Abigail Morris, who said: “People don’t want to listen to post-punk and hear about the cost of living crisis any more.”

Music critic Will Hodgkinson then noted in the article that the singer attended “the liberal boarding school Bedales” in Hampshire “where fees can be £43,000 a year”. He added: “The cost of living crisis probably isn’t a huge issue for Morris.”

In response, many X/Twitter users accused Morris of being “tone-deaf”, “out of touch” and showing her privilege while many working-class artists struggle to tour and make an income from music.

The quote also fuelled ongoing claims that The Last Dinner Party are “industry plants” who come from wealth and had prior connections to the industry.

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Today (March 1) TLDP bassist Georgia Davies addressed the backlash in a statement, revealing that the quote had actually come from her. “I can say with confidence that Abigail never said the quote that has been attributed to her in the article that’s going around,” she began.

“The comment was lifted from an interview we did six months ago, removed of context, tone and intention, and it’s now been shoehorned into a new article about something totally different.”

She continued: “The context in which I originally mentioned the cost of living crisis is extremely important, and it’s disappointing to us 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 added: “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 it is of course something we feel extraordinarily passionate about. It is becoming impossible for artists from working class and other marginalised backgrounds to be heard.”

The musician explained that The Last Dinner Party had been working on a project with the Music Venue Trust (MVT) in recent months, “to call for protection for independent venues and artists, but more on that another time”.

She concluded: “I completely understand why people are upset. 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. Love Georgia and the rest of TLDP.”

The post was shared shortly after Hodgkinson issued an apology. “Yesterday I wrote a piece about the crisis hitting bands that – unfairly – used a quote from The Last Dinner Party from an interview I did with them late last year,” he wrote.

“Now they’re getting a load of grief about it. They don’t deserve it and I’m extremely sorry.” See that post below.

Additionally, Morris has responded to the controversy on her Instagram Stories. “Firstly, the comment is a misquote from Georgia in the context of a conversation on post-punk and the way it approaches politics through sprechgesang,” she began.

“We were discussing our music in contrast to this style as a more theatrical, escapist approach to the social climate.”

The frontwoman went on to say that the cost of living crisis “is a national emergency”, adding: “We’re living in incredibly frightening times where it’s getting harder and harder for artists from marginalised backgrounds to make it in this industry.

“The critical under-funding of music and arts in schools across this country as well as the threat of small independent music venues being closed are topics incredibly important to TLDP and we want to take on the responsibility of using our position and the privileges that have been afforded to us to make a tangible difference.”

The Last Dinner Party. CREDIT: Phoebe Fox for NME

Morris continued: “I’ve never denied the privilege I have which comes from attending a school that has a well-funded arts program. I completely understand why this, coupled with the misattributed quote, has upset people but I just want to make it absolutely clear what my stance is on this.”

Responding to the “industry plant” claims during an interview for NME‘s ‘The Cover’ last December, Davies explained: “We take it as a compliment. If people think it’s too good to be true, then all we can say is thank you.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, the bassist said TLDP “knew [they] were different from other bands doing the post-punk thing”. Morris told NME: “We imagined the kind of joyful, exciting act we’d want to see when we go out, and created our own ‘dream band’ from that.”

The Last Dinner Party released their acclaimed debut album, ‘Prelude To Ecstacy’, last month via Island. They’ll embark on a UK and Ireland headline tour this September – you can buy any remaining tickets here.

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