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The PunkLawyer Blog July 2010 - The PunkLawyer Blog

Archive for July, 2010

Pigeongate Update

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

So after the first post about what is now being called “Pigeongate” by some reporters, more has come out about the Kings of Leon show.  Among my favorite quotes associated from the flap about this show comes from the band’s publicist, who pointed out that “at least no fans were pooped on, as far as we know.”  Oh good, what a relief.  I must say that I would bet the band’s next gig in Saint Louis will be at an indoor venue like the Pageant or the Scottrade Center rather than the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.  I’ve always liked the Pageant for shows, caught a lot of great ones in my time up there.  CNN ran a pretty amusing video with live footage of the show in question, check it out.

The Postelles, one of the opening acts, have released a statement about the fateful evening, where they allege that there was more than pigeon poop falling from the rafters:

“It was truly an honor to open up for the Kings of Leon on Friday night in St. Louis. Unfortunately, it was a (expletive)-storm for everyone involved. Amongst other things, a bird fell from the rafters and died while our drummer was setting up (services to be held next week), very fine clothing was ruined throughout the entire night (the laundry bill was rough!), and our equipment was completely covered with…well, you get the point. On a positive note, our bassist John developed some really excellent/awkward dance moves while trying to avoid the falling onslaught from the flock in the sky. We look forward to coming back to St. Louis — hopefully indoors this time.” — The Postelles

Eek, dead birds falling from the rafters, not sure what is grosser.  Certainly makes me think of the hilarious Monty Python dead parrot sketch, it could be one given all the strange factors in this story.

New Rider Request- No Pigeon Droppings on the Band

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

As the touring musicians out there know, almost anything can happen at a show, from crowd surfing guys in dinosaur suits to pyrotechnical mishaps to crazy weather.  I learned of another while reading the Riverfront Times A to Z blog coverage of the Kings of Leon show in Saint Louis last night, which was apparently cancelled due to problems with pigeon droppings hitting the band during their performance.   The tweets by drummer Nathan Followill give you an idea of how bad things were for the band:

@doctorfollowill So sorry St. Louis. We had to bail, pigeons shitting in jareds mouth. Too unsanitary to continue.

@doctorfollowill Don’t take it out on Jared, it’s the fucking venues fault. You may enjoy being shit on but we don’t. Sorry for all              who traveled many miles.

What a gross situation for the band.  Apparently the fans were not too happy when the band cancelled their performance after only 3 songs.  Livenation is providing fans with refunds, and the band is promising to return and make up the show.  Kings of Leon released the following press release today through their publicist:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PIGEON INFESTATION FORCES KINGS OF LEON OFFSTAGE EARLY IN ST. LOUIS

An infestation of pigeons living in the rafters of the Verizon Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO, forced the Kings of Leon to walk           offstage after three songs last night. Even though opening bands The Postelles and The Stills came offstage complaining of getting riddled with large amounts of pigeon excrement, the Kings of Leon decided to carry on regardless. The band felt it would be unfair to the fans to cancel the show at that late moment.

“I’m surprised they stayed on for as many songs as they did,” said Andy Mendelsohn of Vector Management. “Jared was hit several times during the first two songs. On the third song, when he was hit in the cheek and some of it landed near his mouth, they couldn’t deal any longer. It’s not only disgusting — it’s a toxic health hazard. They really tried to hang in there. We want to apologize to our fans in St. Louis and will come back as soon as we can.”

When the band arrived earlier in the day, the venue warned management that there had been a significant pigeon infestation problem with summer shows over the years, but they were doing all they could to fix it.

“We couldn’t believe what The Postelles and The Stills looked like after their sets,” said Jared Followill. “We didn’t want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play. It was ridiculous.”

Kings of Leon are headed to Chicago tonight to perform at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre as scheduled.

Sounds like there might be a problem with pigeons at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, but dealing with pigeons can be frustrating, as I learned when they would crap on my apartment balcony when I lived in Saint Louis.  When I asked at Home Depot how to best get rid of them, the guy honestly told me the only thing you could do was shoot them.  Just putting it out there, Livenation, you might have a tough time.

This begs the question, how can you try to avoid such problems if you’re touring?  One way you can try to ensure that things go smoothly is by specifying certain needs, from food to insurance, in the contract with the venue or promoter if you have one (which you ideally should).  This includes the rider, which I suspect Kings of Leon’s management is currently updating to include that the performers not be exposed to bird droppings while performing.  For those of you unfamiliar with a rider, it is the provision in the contract that the act has with the venue or promoter containing the act’s requests for particular food, drinks, furniture, power, phone lines, etc to be provided to the band or performer.  There are legendary stories of different artists’ rider requests, such as Van Halen’s request that no brown M&M’s be  placed in their dressing room, which I have on good authority to be true.  Riders are also said to be included in the contract to make sure that the promoter or venue has actually read the contract and abides by it.  For a good read, check out the rider and catering requests from Metallica’s 2004 tour over at the Smoking Gun.  I love that they have to have bacon at every meal, cracks me up.  I also enjoy the Little Red Riders Book, it’s a quick and funny read.  Of course, you can put all kinds of requests in your rider, and crazy things will still happen sometimes out there.  I think being prepared to deal with unexpected events, and having a good team around you to help you if they do occur are essential to surviving a tour.  I’d love to hear your favorite stories of crazy happenings at shows, out there rider requests, and tips on dealing with tour craziness.

ccTLDs, gTLDS, and Making Sense of ICANN’s Alphabet Soup

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

A new Internet land rush started this week, as the .co extension became available.  This extension is what is called a ccTLD, or a country code top level domain, for the country of Colombia.  It has become popular with businesses and corporations, as well as with trademark owners with .co in their names.  Other popular ccTLDs that have had a similar mainstream appeal have been .tv for the country of Tuvalu, and .me for Montegnegro.  The .co domains went on sale Tuesday through registrars such as GoDaddy, and many of them have been snapped up.  This is only the beginning, as the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the organization charged with regulating domain names and other addresses on the Internet, is preparing to make available generic top level domains, or gTLDs in the near future.   ICANN also approved the top level domain .xxx earlier this year for adult web sites, which will go on sale next year.

So how does this affect you and your entertainment enterprise?  You’re probably familiar with the existing domain name extensions, such as .com, .net, and the need to register the domain name of your band or project to protect your space on the Internet.  So let’s say you registered the domain yourbandname.com, and have set up your web page on that domain.  You may have registered the misspellings of the domain, or other top level domains to cover the bases.  Well when the new gTLDs become available, you could wake up and find someone has registered the domain dot.yourbandname, or even yourbandname.sucks.  It is a real possibility that trademark owners and brand managers are concerned about, and several rounds of rules and dispute procedures have been released for public comment and revised by ICANN.  For now, the best approach to this is to keep an eye on what domains are made available and register domains relevant to your brand.

The .sucks and related domains are a real concern for trademark owners and brand managers, as well as free speech advocates.  Look for a future post on these gripe sites and how they interact with new gTLDs, I’m actually fascinated by the intersection of this area of the Internet and the law after looking into it.  In some instances, when trademark owners have gone after operators of domains disparaging their company, such as verizonsucks.com, it has only served to generate more gripe sites and attention to them.  It’s a similar problem for companies who end up with parody accounts on Twitter, such as  @BPGlobalPR that have popped up and certainly not operated by the actual company.  It’s not an immediate concern, as the process of applying to operate a top level domain to sell registrations with the extension .sucks has to be approved by ICANN and costs $45,000, but stranger things have happened on the Internet.  And if it was approved, there are people out there who would find the relatively low cost of registering a .sucks domain to be worth it to express their distaste for a company or product.  Just as an example, I love my Oakley eyeglass frames, but there’s a guy with a page out there devoted to getting Oakley to change how the end of the earpiece is shaped because he poked himself in the eye with the end of his one day.

Managing your brand online is important, and requires constant monitoring, including the opening of the new top level domains, as well as social media sites.  Setting up a Google alert for your brand name isn’t a bad idea to help with this process.  The decision of how to proceed if someone is using your name, or mark is one that differs depending on the strength of the mark and how vigorously you want to be in protecting it.  Look for more tips in the future.  I’d be interested in hearing from you on these issues as well.

Protagonist Update

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

People have been asking me how the guys in melodic hardcore band Protagonist are doing, and I wanted to post this update from guitarist Brian Forst.  Luckily, the guys were able to record with Stephen Egerton, and have posted some video up on PunkNews.  Unfortunately, the guys have not been able to recover their gear, and his update sheds some light on why:

For an update on the trailer situation, we’re just doing what we can to get back on our feet. Nothing turned up and everyone in         Oklahoma was very clear in saying nothing will turn up. It’s stupid but in the state of Oklahoma trailers don’t need titles, license   plates, or to be registered SO trailer stealing is one of their biggest crimes.  The people that steal them are professionals, quick and no exactly what they’re doing. Apparently they don’t want anything to do with what is inside the trailer, just the trailer itself they sell and they toss the rest of it. The police and locals know all of this because they caught a few trailer thieves a few years ago, found a hidden lot with dozens of trailers, and got them to talk. The people are “smart” and know that selling a bunch of equipment with serial numbers all over them will get them caught. Our trailer was parked right outside our room, on a decline with 3-locks attaching it to the van…these people were definitely professionals. Cop suggested that if they couldn’t remove the trailer they may have stole the whole van too and we’re lucky no one was inside of it.

Lucky indeed that no one was hurt, good to know if you’re going to be traveling through Oklahoma with gear.  There’s not much you can do if you’re in an area with determined thieves, especially in this economy.  It can’t hurt sharing information like this with other bands, at least so you can be prepared or try to avoid trouble spots if you can.  Try to figure out where is good to stay in an area

Here’s another issue that the guys learned from their experience that they were willing to share in regard to insurance:

The van was insured with full coverage and we were under the impression the trailer was covered but we overlooked the part that said the van and trailer both have to be in the same name. So the van being in Peters name, and the trailer being in mine, voided out the coverage. Expensive lesson learned.

Big bummer was we were financing that trailer and still owe money on it. Last summer our old trailer go totaled in the middle of nowhere and we had no money to buy a used one so we had no choice but to finance one with no money down. Fortunately through our paypal donations and a benefit show we put on, we almost made enough to pay for the trailer, but as for equipment we still got nothing. Vinnie from LTJ was awesome and gave our drummer one of his old drum sets to help us get back on our feet and the rest of us just have to start saving and borrow gear when we can. A few companies are offering us awesome deals but everything is still super expensive.

Sucks so much that this happened and we’re still insanely bummed, BUT it’s amazing the positive attention and messages we’ve been getting.  A bunch of bands offered to loan us stuff, a band called The Snips offered to print a free run of shirts for us, Hurley sent us a giant box of free clothes, and other cool things like that. So we really want to complain but it could have been much worse. It definitely makes for a good story for when the EP we recorded in Tulsa is released. There is definitely a lot of rage behind those new songs.

Glad to hear the community is helping them out, I’m not surprised.  I know I can’t wait to hear the new raging tracks, and wishing Protagonist great things for the future.  Thanks for the update Brian, and if you want to donate to help them replace their gear, go to Paypal at PROTAGONISTSTOLENGEAR@GMAIL.COM.  Also check out my original post for the list of gear that was stolen, just in case you might see it somewhere out there.  I know it’s tough out there for touring bands, hang in there all of you and be safe, it’s a crazy world these days.