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Do We or Don't We? Mexico? Too Dangerous???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FriscoBassAce, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Alright...so we are an established band whose demand is ever-increasing. We just got word last week from a promoter we worked with last year (and who came through for us big-time) wants us to play a show in Mexico. Trouble is, it's in Monterrey. The promoter says it's $5k guaranteed, including backline, all production, flights, hotels, the works. All we do is bring our instruments and play for two hours. He pays half up front, and half before we hit the stage. It's totally beautiful!

    Now, everyone in the band was excited when I first gave them the news. Then, one of the guys started emailing articles where it highlighted the violence that has been going on between the drug cartels, the police, politicians, and the military. Unfortunately, some innocent people, including a few Americans, have been hurt or killed. However, I have other independent confirmation from Mexican-Americans that I know who say that as long as we don't drive in from Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey, or put ourselves in a bad part of town, we should be okay. I figure we fly in, play the show, then go to the airport and wait for our plane.

    So I get an email today from our drummer, and he says, "You should tell the promoter to stop working on this gig, because me, the guitarist, and the keyboardist are out." No warning, no discussion besides the few emails at first and the articles.

    I think we at least need to find out more details before we just say "Screw it!" We don't know the venue or hotel yet as the promoter is still nailing these down. Our namesake band (who we pay tribute to) will be playing in town that night to tens of thousands of people. We would probably either be a warm-up, or more likely, an after-party.

    What do you guys think? I know the details seem a little sketchy, but I trust the promoter and he did us right last time when we played in Laredo. Anyone from or visit Monterrey?

    Any musicians play there recently?

    I'm a reasonable guy and I won't play a show if we're not safe. But I don't think we should have said no before even finding out all the details. Seems like paranoia and ignorance (and FEAR) have superseded common sense!!!

    So Do we or don't we go to Mexico and make good money???

  2. bwest9

    bwest9 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    As a matter of fact, the US Consulate in Monterrey recently issued a travel advisory due to ongoing drug-related violence, specifically after organized crime gangs blocked numerous highways entering and leaving Monterrey. Ten students ages 8-21 were killed this spring at a roadblock set up by criminals near Pueblo Nuevo, Durango. Innocent bystanders are continually wounded and killed in confrontations between criminals and Mexican authorities.

    To be concerned about this doesnt seem like paranoia or ignorance at all.
  3. bwest9

    bwest9 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Taken from that article:

    "Mr. Patrick played down the violence: “How different is that than hearing about protesters rioting in other cities? It’s terrifying but isolated.”

    I fail to see how roadblocks set up by criminals that kill students and innocent bystanders is equivilent to rioting and is "isolated".
  4. A question of utmost relevance:
    Are you guys gringos or tejanos?
  5. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
  6. I wouldn't go. I heard some real bad stories albeit 2nd and 3rd hand about the festival..rape, robbery, violence, and extortion...lawlessness on an unimaginable scale that went unreported. A lot of gear got stolen.
  7. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    Frisco, would you take your family there? If the answer is no, then the band probably should not go.

    I've been to Mexico a few times in the past, in happier, less dangerous times. I would not go now.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Three members of your band have already said they're not going. Unless you're going to replace them with subs, I don't see why you're pursuing this further. :confused:
  9. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    It sounds to me like you have 3 smart guys in your band.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I wouldn't do it, personally. And anyway it sounds like the rest of your band has made the decision for you.
  11. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Pay attention to your other bandmates (all but you?) who heeding a voice in their heads that say this is NOT a good idea. And also keep in mind that they are turning down $5K plus all the rock-star trimmings too. That's $5K worth of thank you, but no thank you. Why is that? This should at least give pause. Clearly, based on articles and other items they were passing around, there ARE issues with being in that part of the world, which your dissenting band mates have not "made up."

    Sketchy details, trusting the promoter, all fine and good for you, perhaps. But you personally can't guarantee your bandmate's safety, nor can they guarantee their own, particularly when: "we don't drive in... ...or put ourselves in a bad part of town, we should be okay." ...should...
  12. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Assuming that you have a 5 piece band, that would mean you get a thousand bucks.

    Is it good money? It is pretty good money. But I play with guys who do weddings all the time for about the same - or sometimes more. And they don't even leave their state.

    Is a thousand bucks worth risking your life? Probably not.

    Also, if your band is doing all originals, you need to ask yourself this: Is the exposure in Mexico really going to "break" the band? I just find it hard to believe that gigging in Mexico is going to be any more beneficial than gigging in the states.

    Personally, I'd look at Europe before Mexico.
  13. crijan

    crijan Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    Endorsing: JH Audio IEMs
    I know an American that just recently moved out of Monterrey. I'll contact him and get his feel for the situation.

    I played in Mexico (not Monterrey) last Fall, and it was awesome. One thing we did was make sure we brought a friend with us that was a native Spanish speaker to act as our tour manager. The promoters also assigned us a driver / bodyguard 24hrs a day, which wasn't really needed but did provide some level of comfort.
  14. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Don't do it. You will be gringos with gear subject to robbery, kidnapping, random violence and/or death.

    This is coming from someone who travels to inland off the tourist map Mexico.
  15. Tampabass

    Tampabass Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    1)Border areas are the most dangerous, in terms of the drug-related violence - kidnappings, murders, muggings, rapes, more. Monterrey is 150 miles from the Texas border. I don't know if that's too close or too far to the bad areas.

    2)How "guaranteed" is the "guaranteed 5k"? Does "upfront" mean before you leave the U.S.? Do you have an attorney friend, or someone you can hire, to check out the contract and maybe negotiate some advance pay? Can you find out where, exactly, you will be staying before you sign on the dotted line?

    3)My friend and his wife just went to Mexico City and some nearby towns, and a huge festival was taking place there. They had a good, safe time at the fest and in their travels. But that's Mexico City, not the border area.
  16. Eater_of_Birds

    Eater_of_Birds UK Extreme User

    May 4, 2010
    its kindof a shame, but drug related violence is just at insane levels these days. cant remember the figures but the death toll is ridiculous in mexico just now.
  17. Tampabass

    Tampabass Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    below is from the San Antonio paper - in March.
    I wouldn't do it - risks are just too great, and way too great for a single $1k payday for you. There will be other, better opportunities that won't involve unnecessarily risking your life.

    "MONTERREY, Mexico -- More than 7,000 people have gathered in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey to protest a wave of violence that has affected the country's third largest city in recent weeks.

    Most of the protesters wore white at a rally in Monterrey's main park and some released white balloons and a white dove as signs of peace.

    Nuevo Leon state Gov. Rodrigo Medina led the protesters on a brief walk through Fundidora Park. His border state has seen a surge in violence that authorities blame on a turf war between the Gulf drug cartel and the Zetas, the cartel's former hit men.

    Hours before the rally Sunday, two soldiers and a civilian were wounded in a shootout between troops and gunmen in Monterrey."
  18. jdwinva

    jdwinva Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2005
    Leesburg, VA
    It's not worth your life to make a few $$. If it is at a beach resort with security - maybe. If it is anywhere near the border or in an area where there is drug violence then no way.
  19. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I'd rather risk Saudi Arabia or Iraq at this point.