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What would you do? (Thievery, Lies, and Drunkenness inside)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jswigal, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. jswigal


    Mar 20, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I've been working with this group for more than two years now. We have gone from a sloppy, unknown, low-paid cover-band to a high-energy, decently-paid, and constantly booked (well over 100 shows a year now) group with a decent following.

    The front-man (singer/acoustic guitar) has a good voice, and when he's 'on' it's fantastic...but...he also tends to get drunk by the last set at most gigs, has his monitors at levels that cause physical pain to the rest of the band, forgets lyrics, sings bad notes, and has a 'I can do whatever I want and get away with it because you all depend on me attitude.'

    The biggest issue took place recently: We played a gig on May 30th through a well-known local agent/promoter, who then mailed the cheque to the front-man. We were told that the funds hadn't cleared and that there was a hold on the cheque for ten business days (fishy...but, benefit of doubt and whatnot). That was nearly two months ago. We have since contacted the promoter and discovered that the cheque was cashed on June 10th. The band has still not been paid, and the front-man gets defensive if we bring it up.

    We made plans to find a replacement and deal with the ensuing drama, but that was a couple weeks ago now, and I'm fed up with all of it. The rest of the group enjoys playing together, but gigs aren't fun when all you can think about is how your singer has stolen your pay and is happily getting away with it. Some members have signed on for our summer schedule and are counting on the income, so simply letting it dissolve is difficult for us...I'm not sure if I'll even make it through the two gigs today/tonight before having an unpleasant confrontation about all of this though (self control on a timer?).

    Jimmy4string, jfh2112, r931 and 2 others like this.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Stockholm Syndrome?
    You're being held hostage, but you like it too much to quit...

    IMO it calls for a full-band meeting, centering around:
    These Are The Facts:
    1) We know the check was cashed
    2) We haven't seen it
    3) You need to fix this (cash - no checks...)

    It doesn't matter if the front guy is defensive, and it shouldn't come as a surprise.
    At this point, 'why' funds were embezzled is not important. That's for the DA to determine if it gets that far.
    RSBBass, Haroldo, TH63 and 34 others like this.
  3. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    Anything is better than continuing with this vocalist, including destroying the band.

    But there are alternatives. First and foremost, you have to fire the vocalist immediately. Even without a replacement, even without any idea of how to proceed, it has to be done. You cannot wait. Do it now.

    You made replacement plans 2 weeks ago. I assume there was no follow-up. So follow up, right away.

    I don't care if you have to turn your band into Karaoke night, fire that SOB. There are plenty of good vocalists in Columbus. You will find him / her.

    Worst case scenario is, the band is destroyed by this alcoholic thief. You will rebuild. And next time you will all know better than to let those warning signs go - he was drunk onstage many times before the theft occurred.

    Good luck!
    RSBBass, TH63, Phud and 25 others like this.
  4. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    If you still want to play with someone who steals gig money (I wouldn't), then it's simple. Pay me for the past gig or the next one doesn't happen. Or, put someone else in charge of the money so sticky fingers doesn't have a chance to steal.
    SoCal80s, design, fdeck and 8 others like this.
  5. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA


  6. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    He pays up or he’s fired. And maybe he’s just fired anyway.

    To some extent, I can work with mediocre talent. I can work even with drinking and drugs. But I cannot work with people who steal from me.
  7. Chango Malo

    Chango Malo

    Apr 8, 2017
    untenable situation. Dude pays up immediately. As in he goes to his financial institution, makes a withdrawal, and goes to everyone's house to deliver the cash in person. Then the rest of the band tells him he's gone.
  8. Redaxes


    Aug 8, 2015
    How many red flags do you need ?

    I see two options, one is have him pay the rest of the band and then he is no longer in the band.

    The other is to give him one and ONLY one chance to pay everybody money owed. He can not drink on gigs. Someone else takes over the financial responsibilities for the band.

    Given the other issues with this guy that you mentioned, I’d get my money and be done with him.

    Good luck, you will likely need it.
    jfh2112, vvvmmm, retslock and 5 others like this.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i would get my money from him (the best, smoothest way) and let the others deal with him in their own way. i'd let him know that he can't do this again with me, that i've got his number, and that "i'll be watching you." and then i'd rock on. maybe your posture/style will be a model for the whole band. if the others don't appreciate your 'position' = at least you'll know where everyone stands on the issue/singer.
    00 images2b3.
    the others are acting out their 'co-dependence'. don't act out yours! good luck with your loser! :thumbsup:
  10. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Take how good the frontman is as a showman, subtract all the things he does that annoy the hell out you and if the result is still better than -1, keep him.

    That's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but that's kinda the catch-22 of frontmen. If they don't have larger-than-life, prima-donna swagger, both on and off stage they are probably not very good frontmen. This is all rock n' roll and its many and varied sub-genres I'm talking about by the way which I consider to be just a very loud version of vaudeville or the circus. For other types of music there is room for insisting everyone including frontmen act civilized...but not by that much. :)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  11. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi jswigal :)

    Convince him to pay! Then get rid of him ASAP!


    That said, he deserves a fair trial! :D


  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I think there's more of a back-story on this guy than what's been presented. Furthermore, if you're annoyed by the aberrant behavior, so is the venue...start kissing return engagements good-bye.

    Is it safe to assume the $$ has already been spent on things other than your cut?

    BooDoggie, tr4252 and DanAleks like this.
  13. Rogatien


    Mar 18, 2019
    Don't care about how good he is. He needs to give all band member's cut and then he's out.

    Cemeteries are full of dependable people.
    getrhythm and Sixgunn like this.
  14. sqlb3rn


    Apr 6, 2016
    Don't work with thief alcoholic losers. Good luck trying to get any money out of him.
  15. Try this, because once you fire him, forget about getting your money. If he flat out refuses, fire his sorry ass.
  16. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    First finish the gig tonight. Whoever booked you doesn't care: they hired a band, not a soap opera.

    I'd ask the promoter for a copy of the cashed check, then confront him together with the proof. Try to get the money first before you fire him, but I wouldn't count on it. Regardless if you get the money or not, he needs to be fired. Period. I don't care about any other factor, if you let this go he will steal again from both you and from others and make you look bad. If he tries to badmouth you, you have the proof.

    He thinks you depend on him, but he's wrong. Find subs and bill gigs as "Band Name featuring special guest Singer Name!" and make it sound like an exciting new event until you find a permanent lead.
  17. jblock

    jblock Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Get the money and the. Fire him. Or just fire him. You all as a unit need to confront and deal with it now. He thinks he can get away with it, and at this point has. I’m actually surprised there is not one of you who hasn’t gone nuts on this guy yet.
  18. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    The band must solve this problem together. Unite and force him together to pay for that gig and that will never happen again, also should stop that alco problem or the result will be that him will be kicked of the band.
  19. Acoop


    Feb 21, 2012
    He's owes you so, punch him out. ... Even if you threaten you'll be surprised how quick he starts crying and saying he's sorry once the whole band confronts him. ... If you don't, he'll do it again the next changes he gets, because he can.
    ezra1 likes this.
  20. Yup. Whole band shows up to his doorstep and escorts him to the nearest ATM. Everyone gets their money, and his ass is fired on the spot. Situations like these cannot be allowed to drag.

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