The Southwest Spring Tour has been canceled. What started out with high hopes was seriously damaged by unnecessary aggravation, but that would turn out to be the least of it. There was more to it than I could know at the time. After flying half-way around the world and driving half-way across the country it all came to a head. My plans to offset the cost of moving my stuff back to Texas and establishing my name locally were seriously undermined. An oportunist was hustling me.
The bassist on the tour had offered to help with the bookings after seeing the CA date I had. He recommended a drummer who later backed out after I bought my plane ticket. We started looking for another drummer the day I was leaving for the airport, Friday March 5th. When I posted on Facebook, expecting all my musician friends to see it and respond, he went off. 24 hours in transit from Tokyo to Detroit by plane and on to Cleveland by bus, then less than another 24 hours before I could get online and check my messages. One lady we knew, that he didn't like, was recommending someone and he e-mailed me to say "as of right now Im am seriously considering stepping back from this Bozo show!" I called him and he hung up on me after screaming about how he was going to blow his top. Normally I dump the person right then and there but knowing there were other factors in his personal life and how I had recently lost my cool under the 'pressure cooker' and went off on some folks I tried to keep it under wraps. Besides, this was the guy that put me up and let me use his car for a week when I was last in town to renew my driver's license. Still it hung over my head as I drove from Ohio to Texas.
A week after I arrived in the States I drove into Houston, Friday the 12th. He invited me to play on a session Saturday morning and things seemed OK but when I went to his house on Sunday afternoon something didn't feel right. Though he rolled out the red carpet the usual camaraderie was missing and the air felt heavy with tension.
The gigs he had booked either paid very little or were for the door. That was OK since I wasn't depending on it for income, just to offset the cost of gas. The deal was to take care of the drummer first. Common sense interprets that as paying him first if the take at the door is small. No details indicating otherwise were ever discussed. While rehearsing at his house the day before we hit the road he now tells me I have to pay the drummer a garaunteed minimum because he got a sub for his other gigs. A little late to breaking this news. I grab pen and paper and go over the numbers; flat fees are a 3-way split; take at the door is a 3-way split unless it's really small, in which case the rhythm section gets all of it; all overhead comes out of my pocket. I consider that a fair deal but he didn't like it. The worst was coming up fast.
He had offered to let me store my stuff including my van at his girlfriend's property which I declined. I prefer to leave my stuff in a storage unit or with relatives. He also offered to let me store my van there but again I declined. He said take a look at the place when I got there and that was the end of it. I never agreed to it and had no intention to. He assumed that I did agree to it and as soon as the subject came up he disappeared to talk to her. After that it was really tense. The subject came up again and when I didn't give in he stewed and pulled the plug on everything. He claims that I agreed to keep all my stuff there and help them on their rent as well as keep my van there and let him use it. That's when I knew I was being hustled- keep my stuff on someone's private property, he does whatever he wants with the van and my stuff is held as ransom if there's a dispute. And who knows what else.
I wanted out right then and there but wasn't sure how to discreetly leave, especially since they have a chained gate in front of the property. Before he totally blew his cool he said "I think you should pack your stuff and go". It was
hard to look mad! I was got the escape route I wanted. Later that night he messaged me saying, "I can't hate you but you screwed over me and the drummer. I hope you know what you did." Yeah, right. Then ReverbNation sent an automatic update about the upcoming gig and he assumed I was doing all the gigs he booked without him. Where he thinks I was going to get a rhythm section and PA on 1-2 days notice is anybody's guess. Maybe he thinks I'm very resourceful. Since then I've received several race/hate e-mails reprinted below (still have the originals in my Inbox should I need them). First it was don't play the same venues, then I'll never work in Houston (which is funny because he's already burned bridges with the top local guys) and finally if I do any of the other dates he's got friends coming to visit me, all reprinted below.
Glad I found all this out before we hit the road.
Subject: hey you prick
From: "kenny palyola" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, March 15, 2010 3:53 pm
I suggest you keep your Dan Electros booking
but anything else I book I may go do
and if your there you can bet your gonna be a bloody fucking mess
instead of PLAYING.
Juan and I are taking another guitar player and honoring
the Midland gigs- my club, my friends and thats that. NOW FUCK OFF~
I dare ya to show up in Midland asshole.
Midland, Tucson and the 2nd chance gig are mine fuckwad so go play LA and
Vegas if you want. Your notes are here for me to show folks
what a jew prick you really are- your fate is sealed in Houston
as a jew prick taletless desrespectful asshole
Subject: good luck JEW JERK VICARS
From: "kenny palyola" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, March 16, 2010 12:02 am
Im good at promotion-
and damn good at "anti" promotion...
Im gonna spend a few hours undoing what good
I did FOR FREE, you ungrateful prick ya- and taking it further
and doing the opposite of promoting your ass....
My apologies but the guy "JJ" gets into town
and changed all the terms for having myself
and top notch Houston blues drummer Juan Abair on board. These things happen...
I have my own band- Ill book in your area at a future time!