Killer Mike counts his money pre-show to make sure his pay is both a) correct and b) not made up of counterfeit bills. Alex Weiss of OK Productions has had bands sneak in underage guests only to bitch about it when they get called out. Black Lips got "Duval County Florida" spray-painted on their van by a local opener. Patrick Hill of Word Productions perhaps puts it most succinctly, with a few words that can apply to either side: "Don't be a booger!"
For most concertgoers, the most stressful part of the experience is executing a well-timed arrival or, depending on the venue, the steep ticket price. But as the above anecdotes indicate, the consequences of decisions made behind the scenes and on the stage can get a little more intense. As artists and promoters nail down myriad details, sometimes months in advance, a whole host of difficulties can — and often do — emerge. So Creative Loafing asked a handful of Atlanta representatives from each camp for their pet peeves. Some were simple common sense, a few had to do with food or booze, and Peter Conlon's in particular left us fairly speechless.
OK Productions' Alex Weiss, on performers with zero punctuality
"Don't show up two hours late for your load in and then complain that you didn't get a proper soundcheck. Don't be that artist that shows up hungover for their show 30 minutes before the venue has to close and complain when you don't get paid your full guarantee. Also, don't try and get all your friends in on the guest list. Don't sneak underage kids in the back door and then complain when you get caught."
Rapper Killer Mike, on promoters who skimp on his backstage rider
"I always like for my rider to be as close to what I wanted as possible, without being a diva. Like, if I ask for Grey Goose, I don't wanna walk in and see fuckin' Glenmore. If I ask for Moet, like, I just drink dry champagne, I don't wanna walk in and see you've given me a bottle of Cristal yet you are trying to tell me you're $300 short on paying me. So, for me, as long as you've got my money on time and you've got the liquor — cool."
Brannon Boyle of Speakeasy Promotions, on acts that get drunk before their set
"One time I booked this 'conscious' rapper for a show a few years ago. Despite lyrics in his classic songs that denounce alcohol, he had a couple Hennessy doubles as early as sound check. When the second opener was about halfway done with his set, this guy was on stage trying to grab the mic from him. He was wasted. There was supposed to be a 15-minute DJ set in between their sets, but he wanted to go on now. I told him to get off the stage and let the opener finish his set, but he insisted that it was late (it wasn't even midnight), and it was time for him to go on. So, instead of the host introducing him, and the opener finishing his set, he drunkenly rambled through his set, forgetting lyrics to the classic songs that all the crowd knew the words to, left the show early, and stumbled out the door without collecting his payment."
- BRANDON ENGLISH
- SOUND ADVICE: Ruby Velle just wants to be heard.
Ruby Velle of the Soulphonics & Ruby Velle, on party promoters who sleep on the sound system
"We were hired for a private event where the planner got every detail of the decor and dining in order, and then forgot to get crucial sound equipment that was agreed upon beforehand and they insisted on providing. There was much scrambling in the eleventh hour to get us the equipment we needed [and] luckily we were still able to play. You know I love rolling with it as much as the next girl, but I think sound is something that should be carefully considered — always."
Patrick Hill of Word Productions (the Earl), on the importance of tying up loose ends with booked bands
"We really try to keep the lines of communication open with any band that we book. I don't want to book a band for a show three months from now and not hear from them again or talk to them until the night of the show. Whether [it's] checking in on show promo or just going over the details for the night, the more engaged I can be with the band the more opportunities we have to work together to promote the event."
Black Lips' Jared Swilley, on promoters who duck-and-hide with the dollars
"One of the worst things a promoter can do is stiff you on money or just not pay at all and disappear. We were playing a show in Sao Paulo with the Vaselines and we heard that the promoter had a shady reputation so our tour manager asked for the money before we went on stage. The promoter stalled for about an hour giving us excuses but finally rounded up the cash, and we went on stage. A few days later the Vaselines contacted us asking if we had gotten paid, because they hadn't been paid yet. I guess they went on without getting the money first and got stiffed."