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The PunkLawyer Blog Touring Archives - The PunkLawyer Blog

Archive for the ‘Touring’ Category

New Books, Stage Collapses and Milestones, Oh My!

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Howdy folks, sorry to have fallen off the blogging wagon for a while there.  The last few months have been pretty hectic with a move to an in-house position with a technology company in Orlando and all the fun that comes with moving and getting settled.  But things are settling down, and I’m hoping to get back to posting on a more regular basis.

To start, I am proud to announce the publication of a book that I contributed a chapter to, The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Video Game Development.The American Bar Association's Legal Guide to Video Game Development

I contributed chapter 2, which is about business and finance issues to consider when starting a video game company.  I am really excited that it is out, and want to thank my colleague Ross Dannenberg, who edited the book, for the opportunity to take part in the project.  Ross also is one of the principal authors of the blog Patent Arcade, which covers video game IP law, I encourage you to check it out.

Also, in the midst of all that has been going on, I missed celebrating the two year birthaversary of my firm, can’t believe how fast the time has gone.  I’m looking forward to another year of working with creative and interesting clients.

Next, in light of all the scary stage collapse stories in the news in recent months, I wanted to take some time to talk about stage riders.  @catherinereach had inquired about them in response to a tweet I had posted about the unfortunate stage collapse and resulting deaths at the Pukkelpop festival earlier this month, and whether safety requirements are typically part of the contracts bands sign.  The answer is typically yes, though it depends on the level of festival or event involved, as well as the sophistication of the parties.  As you can see in Metallica’s rider for their 2004 tour, there is a provision on page 9 giving the band the right to cancel their performance in the event that they feel the band or fans would be subject to bodily injury.  It also calls for the party booking the band to provide general liability insurance, and abide by applicable health and safety regulations.   Now a bigger band like Metallica will have a crew traveling with them to handle matters like the rigging of lights and sound, which provides them with some means of protecting against disaster, but as Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman noted in a recent interview with Alternative Press, there is nothing you can do to completely safeguard a festival.  It’s an interesting read, as is this article published by The Hollywood Reporter on the recent festival disasters.  It provides an interesting perspective on the infamous Van Halen rider request that no brown M&Ms be placed in their dressing room.  This request was included, as many rider requests are, to ensure that the promoter had read the contract and complied with its requirements, including following the safety requirements for setting up the stage.  The best bet for a band is to ensure that stage safety requirements are set out in its rider, and that the contract calls for the promoter to have adequate insurance in the event of an accident.  But even with a contract in place, don’t forget to trust your instincts as well.  It has been reported that a last minute decision by Sugarland’s tour manager to keep the band from going on stage may have made the difference in preventing the band from being harmed in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.  So, to sum it up, get your requirements in writing and trust your instincts when it comes to stage safety.

And finally, speaking of festivals, do check out Fest 10 via the ad in the sidebar.  Looks like it will be another amazing 3 days of music invading Gainesville this year.  Check out the free comps and all the other Fest goodness over at their site.

Kids in Virtual Worlds, Vinyl and the Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

So I was out most of last week in San Francisco at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting. It was great meeting, I do a lot of work for the Section of Intellectual Property Law, so having the opportunity to meet face to face with my colleagues to plan for the year was really helpful. I also got to catch some great programs on current issues in virtual worlds, licensing issues in entertainment law, and potential pitfalls for clients in social media. I also got to see the city a bit, and hang out with Lisa from Amp Magazine. It was so rad to hang with another punk rock girl, there certainly aren’t a ton of us in the scene. I had such a great time out there I almost didn’t want to come back, thank you San Fran.  I feel more alive than I have in a while, can’t wait to go back.

So speaking of virtual worlds and social media, for those of you here in Florida, I encourage you to come to Social Media Club Southwest Florida’s event Monday night. I will be speaking about tips for parents to help keep their kids safe in virtual worlds and social gaming, and a Sergeant from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will be speaking on online safety for kids and parents. Here is a link with more information, please check it out and register if you can make it: http://www.smcswfl.org/events/august-16th-2010-kids-and-cyber-safety/. I know even some of you punk rockers have kids now, and keeping them safe online is important. Look for more on these and other issues here at the blog.

And also to follow up on the guys in Protagonist, Vinnie Fiorello and the Paper and Plastick gang are putting on a vinyl auction to help the guys try to recover the $22,000 in gear they lost. Please check it out and if you can, bid on some test pressings for a good cause. Here’s more from the Paper and Plastick crew on the auction:

A major ethos in the punk rock community is to rally around causes and help each other in one’s time of need. One instance of the scene supporting itself is when fans help their favorite bands get back on their feet by donating money after suffering the all-too-common gear theft. Boca Raton’s PROTAGONIST suffered a similar fate in June when $22,000 worth of gear was stolen from their trailer just outside of their hotel room, as they were about to enter the studio with Stephen Egerton(Descendents, ALL) to record a new album. In order to help one of its own, PAPER + PLASTICK RECORDS has established an eBayauction of 43 rare Paper + Plastick vinyl test-pressings, and will donate all proceeds to the band.
“When you’re a young band, you are scraping for everything. Any roadblocks, large or small, seem like they might be, and in some cases, can be the end of the road,” confides Paper + Plastick founder Vinnie Fiorello, who has experienced it all with his band Less Than Jake. “Having all of your gear and trailer stolen would fit in the “Uh oh we’re fucked” category of problems a band has to deal with, but in the face of that, Protagonist goes on. With no bitching, they just move forward, not defeated. This auction is my way of helping them keep moving forward.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT SO PLACE YOUR BIDS AND SPREAD THE WORD Check it out here.

See below for full listing of test-pressings:
• A Wilhelm Scream – s/t
• Anti-Flag – Queens and Kings 7″
• Blacklist Royals – Semper Liberi
• Coffee Project – Moved On
• The Dopamines – Expect The Worst
• Farewell Continental – s/t
• Flatliners/Snips – split 7″
• Foundation – Chimborazo
• Frank Turner – The First Three Years
• fun – Aim and Ignite
• Greenland Is Melting – Our Hearts Are Gold, Our Hearts Are Blue
• Saint Alvia – Joxner
• Slackers – Lost and Found
• Spanish Gamble – It’s All Coming Down
• The Have Nots – Serf City USA
• The Riot Before – Rebellion
• The Swellers – Ups and Downsizing
• Tumbledown – s/t
• We Are The Union – Great Leaps Forward
• West Bound Train – Come and Get It

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.

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.

Drunken Bus Drivers and Stolen Trailers, Oh My!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

So summer is here in full force, and with summer comes Warped Tour, which kicked off this weekend in Ventura, California.  Apparently it has been a bit of a wild ride for some of the artists so far.  Dying Scene reported that Sum 41 had a scary trip back from the show after discovering that their bus driver apparently was drunk.  In a series of tweets, the band described the experience:

“We are alive. In ventura. Ready to rock out.” 3:18 PM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“What an idiot! We could have been killed! Fuck this guy. Never working for us again!” 10:00 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“No doubt we like to drink. Its well documented. But this fucking idiot did it while driving!” 9:58 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“New bus driver came and met us at the side of the road…. He seems more sober.” 9:55 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“Recap. Our bus driver ran off the road. He was drunk. Deryck tried to fight him” 9:50 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“So our bus driver was drunk. We are at the side of the road. This tweet is not a joke. Trying to get to Ventura for warped tour”  9:32 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

The band has obviously fired the driver, glad no one was hurt in the incident.  This incident not only illustrates how dangerous drinking and driving is, but also how important it is to make sure whoever is driving you and your gear around is safe to do so.  This includes not only being sober, but also rested.  If you’re hiring someone to drive a tour bus, make sure they are properly licensed, and a background check might not be a bad idea.  This goes for whether you have a driver or not.  If you have a tour manager, he or she is responsible for making sure your transportation on the road goes smoothly, and should be held accountable for those duties.  Of course, flights get delayed, vehicles get stuck in traffic, sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do.  But it’s a good idea to discuss with a tour manager what your expectations are of him or her for the tour, and then put it in writing so everyone is clear from the start.  This will help matters if problems do occur down the road, pardon the pun.  And they can happen, like when King Khan and BBQ were arrested in Kentucky on drug charges, and their tour manager was charged with driving with a suspended license in addition to possession.  The arrest not only resulted in cancelled shows, but reportedly also put their work visas in jeopardy.   So be careful out there.

In other Warped news, it was tweeted today that the Bouncing Souls would not be playing today’s date in New Mexico as their trailer may have been stolen:

“Also please note: BMTH is not playing because Oli is in LA and The Bouncing Souls will also not be playing because their trailer is          missing.”  about 1 hour ago via Twittelator Jun 30

Old Shoe Records was advising via Twitter for people in Phoenix to look out for Bouncing Souls merchandise to hopefully catch the culprit:

“The Bouncing Souls trailer was stolen yesterday in Phoenix! Watch for excess Souls Cd’s and Vinyl lets catch these bastards.” @vanswarpedtourabout 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

I think it’s getting scary out there for touring bands.  As I previously posted, Protagonist recently had their gear stolen, and Alternative Press has reported on the seeming rash of thefts of gear and trailers from bands.   I discussed in a previous post some tips for keeping your gear safe on the road, but it seems to be getting harder to outsmart the crooks.  Above all, keep records of your gear with the make, model, serial numbers, and any identifying features.  Take pictures of it, as well as your vehicle.  Get insurance for both, and understand what is and is not covered in your policy. Keep a copy of your policy with you, as well as the number of your agent or company.  Make sure to always lock the vehicle/trailer.  Unfortunately, it seems lately that even if you do everything you can think of, it still won’t stop a determined thief with tools to cut through chains or locks.  If something does happen to your gear, get a police report, and if you have insurance call the company to start the claims process.  This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, and I’d like to hear from bands, venues, etc that have dealt with theft and may have tips.  Look for more on this topic in the future, as well as an update from Protagonist.  Check out their videos from their recording session with Stephen Egerton over at Punknews.

It’s the What Amphitheater Now?

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The sale of naming rights for venues has resulted in some interesting names for amphitheaters and other venues around the country.  Perhaps the most interesting so far was the announcement yesterday was the new name of what has been known as the Ford Amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, which will now be known as the 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater.  For those of you unfamiliar with 1-800-Ask Gary, it’s a medical and lawyer referral service for people injured in car accidents known for its advertisements featuring actors encouraging people to call, which have been pretty heavily parodied on YouTube and other sites.  In these type of deals, a company pays a fee to put its name on the venue for a certain period of time.  The potential exposure can be huge for a company and its brand, as it is featured not only on the venue, but also mentioned by announcers, featured on scoreboards during televised games, you get the picture.   The uses of the brand name would be spelled out in specific terms.  The fees for naming rights can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to hundreds of millions depending on the market.   But it’s not always as simple for companies as just cutting a check and signing a contract– there can be public relations issues that can prevent a naming rights deal from going through.  For example, a proposed deal between the Mosaic phosphate company and the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays fell through after community backlash erupted over the company’s environmental record.  In another instance a while back, the University of Missouri announced that its new arena would be named the Paige Arena, after the Wal-Mart heiress, only to change the name a few weeks later after Paige Laurie was accused of paying a classmate to write her papers in college.  As of late, the state of the economy has impacted naming rights deals, and it is getting tougher for some venues to find takers for naming rights.   Reportedly, in the 1-800-Ask Gary deal, the rights were sold for half of the $775,000 a year that Ford was paying under its deal.  A rep for Live Nation admits that there might be jokes made about the amphitheater’s new name, but does not think there will be a negative impact.  What do you think, does the name of a venue matter, or do you just want to know where the show is?  What are your favorite odd or quirky venue names?  Here are some of Business Week’s favorites.

Fun Content Ahead

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

So I have lots of fun content coming from the recent  Harvest of Hope festival.  Technical issues and overall craziness have put me a bit behind, but I am planning on getting it up pronto.  I took some great pictures and did some interviews on what goes into putting on a festival like Harvest of Hope.  For now, enjoy this of Mucca Pazza from Sunday.  This band is a hoot live!  Look for highlights from an interview with members of Mucca Pazza too!