Killer Mike counts his money pre-show to make sure his pay is both a) correct and b) not made up of counterfeit bills. Alex Weiss of OK Productions has had bands sneak in underage guests only to bitch about it when they get called out. Black Lips got "Duval County Florida" spray-painted on their van by a local opener. Patrick Hill of Word Productions perhaps puts it most succinctly, with a few words that can apply to either side: "Don't be a booger!"
For most concertgoers, the most stressful part of the experience is executing a well-timed arrival or, depending on the venue, the steep ticket price. But as the above anecdotes indicate, the consequences of decisions made behind the scenes and on the stage can get a little more intense. As artists and promoters nail down myriad details, sometimes months in advance, a whole host of difficulties can — and often do — emerge. So Creative Loafing asked a handful of Atlanta representatives from each camp for their pet peeves. Some were simple common sense, a few had to do with food or booze, and Peter Conlon's in particular left us fairly speechless.
OK Productions' Alex Weiss, on performers with zero punctuality
"Don't show up two hours late for your load in and then complain that you didn't get a proper soundcheck. Don't be that artist that shows up hungover for their show 30 minutes before the venue has to close and complain when you don't get paid your full guarantee. Also, don't try and get all your friends in on the guest list. Don't sneak underage kids in the back door and then complain when you get caught."
Rapper Killer Mike, on promoters who skimp on his backstage rider
"I always like for my rider to be as close to what I wanted as possible, without being a diva. Like, if I ask for Grey Goose, I don't wanna walk in and see fuckin' Glenmore. If I ask for Moet, like, I just drink dry champagne, I don't wanna walk in and see you've given me a bottle of Cristal yet you are trying to tell me you're $300 short on paying me. So, for me, as long as you've got my money on time and you've got the liquor — cool."
Brannon Boyle of Speakeasy Promotions, on acts that get drunk before their set
"One time I booked this 'conscious' rapper for a show a few years ago. Despite lyrics in his classic songs that denounce alcohol, he had a couple Hennessy doubles as early as sound check. When the second opener was about halfway done with his set, this guy was on stage trying to grab the mic from him. He was wasted. There was supposed to be a 15-minute DJ set in between their sets, but he wanted to go on now. I told him to get off the stage and let the opener finish his set, but he insisted that it was late (it wasn't even midnight), and it was time for him to go on. So, instead of the host introducing him, and the opener finishing his set, he drunkenly rambled through his set, forgetting lyrics to the classic songs that all the crowd knew the words to, left the show early, and stumbled out the door without collecting his payment."
Ruby Velle of the Soulphonics & Ruby Velle, on party promoters who sleep on the sound system
"We were hired for a private event where the planner got every detail of the decor and dining in order, and then forgot to get crucial sound equipment that was agreed upon beforehand and they insisted on providing. There was much scrambling in the eleventh hour to get us the equipment we needed [and] luckily we were still able to play. You know I love rolling with it as much as the next girl, but I think sound is something that should be carefully considered — always."
Patrick Hill of Word Productions (the Earl), on the importance of tying up loose ends with booked bands
"We really try to keep the lines of communication open with any band that we book. I don't want to book a band for a show three months from now and not hear from them again or talk to them until the night of the show. Whether [it's] checking in on show promo or just going over the details for the night, the more engaged I can be with the band the more opportunities we have to work together to promote the event."
Black Lips' Jared Swilley, on promoters who duck-and-hide with the dollars
"One of the worst things a promoter can do is stiff you on money or just not pay at all and disappear. We were playing a show in Sao Paulo with the Vaselines and we heard that the promoter had a shady reputation so our tour manager asked for the money before we went on stage. The promoter stalled for about an hour giving us excuses but finally rounded up the cash, and we went on stage. A few days later the Vaselines contacted us asking if we had gotten paid, because they hadn't been paid yet. I guess they went on without getting the money first and got stiffed."
Music Midtown/Live Nation promoter Peter Conlon, on annoying wannabe rockers
"People who pretend to be musicians who really aren't — especially local musicians. ... If you're working in a bar, and you're a bartender but you play in a band, you're a bartender. It's how you make your living. If you're making your living as a musician full time, you're a musician. This is a business of talent. People in this business seek talent out. If you're talented, someone's gonna find you and you're gonna get discovered. If you're still flailing around and you're in your late 20s or 40s, you probably don't have any talent and you should really look at plan B. A lot of people come to me and they're still waiting to get discovered, but look, it's hard to hide talent. In our business, people will find you and make you a star. When people claim to be musicians but they're working as bartenders or waiters, it's just not the same thing. It takes away from the people who really do have talent."
Gringo Star's Nick Furgiuele, on promoters who bounce checks
"We were on tour around the U.S. to promote our newest album, and we had been booked as one of the headliners to play a [major] festival. The show went great — we had a blast, it was crowded, everyone had fun — and at the end of the night they gave us a check for our guarantee. A few days later we deposited it [and] we found out the check bounced. Not only did we not have the money, but we got hit with a bunch of fees from our bank. This was a festival that also featured an international art prize for $250,000. As of today we haven't been paid back, but every few weeks they assure us it's getting sorted out. Two weeks ago they even asked for an address to mail the new check, but we still haven't gotten it."
Eddie Owen of Eddie Owen Presents and, formerly, Eddie's Attic, on clueless artists and managers
"I like it when they've done their homework up front and they know who they're calling. There are a ton of acts that wouldn't even call if they'd done their homework. While we do all genres, Eddie's Attic is a little bitty shithole. It's a listening room, not a raucous bar. Now, do we do some raucous music now and then? Yeah. And is it great? Yeah. But it's gotta be players that understand the room and can play to the room." [Editor's note: In between this interview and the publication of this piece, Owen and Eddie's Attic parted ways. We're pretty sure he meant "little bitty shithole" as a term of endearment.]
Zoroaster drummer Dan Scanlan, on promoters who ration out the drink tickets
"I think if you're a promoter, and you sign a contract to bring a touring band through town, or even a local band, for fuck's sake, don't give each band member two or three drink tickets to last the entire night! Nothing starts off the night on the wrong foot — after you've been on the road for six to 10 hours in a sweaty, smelly, beat-ass van, then loading in, sound-checking — [than] being told that you only get three complimentary shit house beers to last the next seven hours. You're supposed to be super stoked when you hit the stage? Do the bands a favor, splurge for a case of PBR and two pizzas, just to let them know you're actually glad they showed up."
Promoter Brannon Boyle, on rappers who bring surprise opening acts
"It is a common practice for rappers to show up on the day of show and tell a promoter that they brought more opening acts with them. These acts generally suck. Some of them definitely pay the headliner cash to be allowed to open for them. They always insist that they go on after the local support. This practice ruins shows very often. A lot of times the local support will be great, and the headliner will be great, but then all of a sudden we have to throw one, two, three, or even six additional acts in between the local and the headliner. It's a nightmare."
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