The Godsmack Incident
Guys, I just want to write about anything other than current events, so please don't read too much into this. Just enjoy the story.
I have a history of getting crosswise with band management. Keep in mind that I've dealt with hundreds of bands and can only remember about three incidents, so I don't go out of my way looking for trouble.
The problem almost always is with the road manager. You have a guy who has been tasked with the health and safety of his band. He also has to make sure everything is set up to their specifications and keep them out of trouble. Just getting them on stage can be a problem because all it takes is something shiny (groupies are very shiny) to distract a guy and off he goes.
In addition, road managers are usually ex-musicians who are experiencing a little power after not much training.
What you need to know about me is, I will not allow anyone to disrespect my listeners. I've fought too hard for them over the years, and if the radio station has promised them a special experience, I'm not going to let a road manager or rock star having a bad day get in the way of that.
Now, onto Godsmack. We used to use the Voodoo Lounge at the Lonestar Amphitheater quite regularly. It allowed people a slightly more chill space than upfront, artists and VIPs frequently dropped by, and you were able to see bands from an up-close and different perspective.
FMX gave out 50-60 Voodoo Lounge passes for that show and listeners were already filing in when Godsmack (and/or their road manager) decided they wanted to use the space.
The road manager then started kicking my winners out of the space. Word got to me and I went after the guy. You have to remember that place is so huge that any of a hundred places would have been good for that guy to do his stuff.
Anyway, I went after the guy as he was trying to get the last few people to leave and told him, "sorry, that space belongs to the radio station," at which point things escalated until he was threatening to pull the show and, in the interim, not allow any radio station winners in on the meet and greet. I was just not having it.
I offered for our winners to segregate to the side of the area, and that wasn't enough. I really couldn't back down, because I had 50 people coming to that area and no way to tell them they had to wait. Things nearly came to blows because I was not backing down. He wanted the "secure space," and I didn't want my listeners to be told that they had to leave. He was also trying to indicate to me that he wanted to use that space for the duration of the show.
I refused to back down. Things got really, really tense to the point where they called other crew over to back him up, and some of my motorcycle enthusiast friends were ready to back me up.
Eventually, someone stepped in with a compromise and we staged our winners about five feet inside the venue (hey, we had a keg of beer stashed there, anyway). When the band finally came in, they did their fan club meet and greet for about five minutes and then came to exactly where we were standing...meaning all of this was for nothing.
This has a punchline that makes the story worth it.
The next day, this road manager had the balls to call my general manager. He asked him, 'do you have Program Director, uh...big guy with a lot of tattoos?' My GM said, 'yeah.' And the road manager said, 'well, he was all getting up in our face and keeping us from our fan club activities and he was very confrontational and aggressive and acting like he wanted to fight about it.' And my General Manager, who knows me well said, 'So why didn't you tell HIM that?'
Click. Dial tone. The End.
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