If you've been anywhere near the internet over the last month then you're more than likely aware of Trapt singer Chris Brown's unhinged, right-wing Twitter tirades, which have seen the "Headstrong" singer picking fights with everyone from Captain America star Chris Evans over Trump's coronavirus response, to bands like Trivium, From Ashes to New, I Prevail, Silent Planet and others over Pandora streams and more. While the aforementioned groups have engaged with Brown to defend themselves and/or to call him out, other artists have gone even further, throwing down the gauntlet with actionable challenges to the singer. First up was Power Trip frontman Riley Gale, who proposed that his band and Trapt both play shows at the same day and time in the latter's hometown, Los Gatos, California, to see who can draw the most, with the loser agreeing to donate the proceeds of their concert to a charity of the winner's choice. Now, New York hardcore (NYHC) figurehead Danny Diablo, a.k.a. Lord Ezec of Skarhead and Crown of Thornz, has stepped into the ring — so to speak — challenging Brown to a charity boxing match.
"I felt the need to step in and say you're an idiot," Power Trip's singer tells us of why he issued his challenge of dueling concerts, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic's shutdown of the live music circuit, is unfortunately impossible right now. "I was bored cause of the quarantine, otherwise I would have never engaged. But I saw this guy saying all this hateful stuff. When I grew up, I was in an all-male high school and when someone was being bullied, there was always a group of people to step in and defend them and I was one of those people. I saw this dude putting people down for being poor [or] promoting socialism, calling people ugly, saying anti-Semitic stuff, and now he's climbed the ladder, saying [Trapt are] more successful than Body Count."
Gale adds, "He's clearly trolling cause he's irrelevant. A ton of people haven't even heard about the band until this beef popped off. What's funny is he talked about his one hit and people under 25 don't know his band and some people I know over 30 don't. He's trying to use this as a way to get supporters, say his band is relevant and get new supporters out of sheer curiosity, which is probably working cause some people are streaming his band like, 'Who the fuck is this guy?' I have a feeling this guy is just broke cause he's spent his days attacking everybody, strangers, celebrities for no rhyme or reason and looking for a reward for having blind loyalty to Trump."
How Brown got on Diablo's radar is a saga in its own right. It began when the Trapt singer turned his vitriol on the metalcore genre, garnering the attention of Born of Osiris drummer Cameron Losch. Amid the back and forth between the two musicians, Brown dropped unflattering words regarding Sumerian Records, the record label behind releases from Born of Osiris, Body Count and others. "Body Count doesn't sell a lot of records or get a lot of streams," Brown tweeted at one point. "Ice-T is a bad ass actor though." Ice raised an eyebrow, responding, "Dude. Keep talking, we'll bump into each other one day."
Enter Diablo, who chimed in to defend his friends — including Ice and Power Trip — and ended up taking things to a whole other level when Brown tweeted back inflammatory comments at him ("you are a massive loser who contributes nothing to this country! Get the fuck out... you damn freeloading POS"), likely not realizing he was talking trash at a NYC street icon with more fights to his name than you can count on two hands — maybe even your friends' hands.
The NYHC community as a whole has never been known to back down from a fight. The scene is often referred to as a family — one that stands up for their own. So when he saw Brown running his mouth, Gavin VanVlack — the guitarist of BURN and Absolution, as well as a Muay Thai and Ju-Jitsu instructor, former pro-fighter and the owner of Physical Culture Collective, a Brooklyn martial arts gym — took to Instagram with a proposal. "So, let's be productive with this Trapt vs Dany Diablo thing," he posted on Friday, April 17th. "Charity Boxing Match!! @TraptOfficial."
We caught up with VanVlack a few hours later and he proved to be totally serious about the idea. "There's shit talk and there's shit talk — I'm a firm believer that you don't ever let a good crisis go to waste," he told us. "What we have is a stalemate, a war of texts. It makes two people look like how we talk in the fight game, 'arm-chair champions.' Guys saying, 'I would've done this ... I would've done that.' In my opinion, I saw this and here's two guys with an extremely high amount of star power, how we do make something good out of this, like, how John Oliver, who is donating proceeds from fights to food banks. Violence by any means is not a great thing, but you have two consenting male adults. The 'shit talk,' back and forth is turning into 'mom jokes.' In my opinion, the scene that I come from is 'stand up or shut up.' What we need is action. Let's give you a venue to express this. Let's put it in front of people. How can we raise charity for something worthwhile, whether it's to stop domestic abuse, benefit first responders in the medical field, we can get something good out of this."
VanVlack later reported that he had spoken to representatives of NYC's "Friday Night Fights," for which he has acted as a commentator and coach to fighters from his gym, stating that they confirmed interest in hosting the match, if it were to happen.
No surprise, Diablo's game. "I'm not really into politics, even though I'm from the hardcore scene, which I know those guys were fighting about," he says. "Power Trip is a great band. Riley is a sweet dude. Then I saw the same dude was fucking with Ice-T, blatantly disrespecting him. How do you talk to Ice-T like that? I'm very influenced by him, how we came up, his music, how we changed his life, so I chimed in and he talked some shit. In my world, no one speaks to me this way."
"I'm stuck in this house, I'm thinking about smashing this guy's face," he continues. "Me and Ice-T were texting about it and how we don't know this guy, laughing about it. He did have one hit, he did have fans at one point, but it was when record labels were still able to pump lots of money into the band, the radio stations, etc. But the sad thing is not a single fan has written me to defend this dude."
Turning to the specific proposal of a charity fight, Diablo says, "Fighting is second nature to me my entire life. I've boxed. Everyone knows my reputation in the streets. All you have to say my name and people know what I can do, in and out of the ring. But look, I would never want to hurt this guy for real. Look, I would train with Gavin, and Craig Setari from Sick of it All, and fight for charity, donate money towards the children's tumor foundation. Diablo loves the kids. I want to help the kids. Most people talk, I've challenged people to fights and most people haven't showed up," the NYHC icon concludes. "If he shows up and accepts, I'd shake his hand and be cool, mad respect."
Gale, for one, would be there, too — as a spectator and, if possible, to play with his band. "I love the idea of a charity fight," he enthuses. "If they can sell tickets and do it, Power Trip will play the damn thing. It's time for this guy to stop talking numbers and say either I have money or I'm full of shit. Put your money where your mouth is. The loser should take their money and donate it to a charity. I think that guy is full of shit, though. Every time someone puts hard reality in his face, he turns his attention to something else. He won't directly tag me anymore because he knows I'll call him on his bullshit ..."
Gale continues, "He only wants to with me cause I'm a little guy. Anyone I've fought is bigger than me. I'm not scared of this guy whatsoever. You're afraid to fight two middle aged men and you want to fight me? I'm not going to step in a charity boxing ring. We'll step into an alley and do it the old way. I grew up learning from guys like Danny and Ice-T. If this person doesn't shut the fuck up and violence is what you want, violence is what you'll get, but you won't set the rules or circumstances. It will happen the way I feel like it. He bit off more than he could chew with us. Leave it to Danny, who would love to kick the shit out of this guy."
We reached out to Chris Brown for comment and have yet to hear back.