I want to start out by again thanking EVERYONE who was involved in making last weekend an overwhelming success. It’s always a pleasure to get to work with Rusted Root and their road crew so to Larry, Hammer, Dirk, and the rest of the band – Thank you. Special shout-out to my boy and Rusted Root drummer Preach Freedom who lost his father right before the show and still went out and put on an incredible performance. It’s guys like Preach who are a testament to what being a professional is all about.

There were a couple of minor speedbumps in the evening but thankfully they all seemed to be on the same road. I generally do not air dirty laundry in public, especially business laundry – but I really think there is an opportunity to teach good, young up and coming bands about how to conduct themselves so that they don’t end up as 55 year olds who never made it, never will, and possess a completely unrealistic and inflated sense of musical ability.

My band has accomplished a lot in four years. One of the biggest reasons for the success of Walk of Shame has to be attributed to my business experience and the way that I manage the band. It’s certainly not because I am an attractive lead singer with a voice like Fergie and Jesus – so I have to say it is largely because I work hard to establish relationships with venues that emphasize that regardless of personal feelings when you work with me, Walk of Shame, or SSS Promotions you can be assured that I am going to bust my ass to make sure that everyone makes money.

That is my disclaimer. Now to the brass tacks of this column.

I was the promoter for a show on Friday night in Conneaut Lake, PA featuring Rusted Root as the headlining band. As most promoters do, I reached out to a few local contacts to find a support act (opening band) to help sell tickets and advertise the show in a grass-roots effort to improve the likelihood that the show would be successful. Generally speaking, an opening or support band understands that their role in playing with a headliner is to gain exposure, maybe sell a few CD’s and t-shirts, get some experience, and put something credible on their resume. I’ve shared the stage with bands like Skid Row, Stone Temple Pilots, Vanilla Ice, Third Eye Blind, Rusted Root, Donnie Iris, and more – so I understand what is generally expected and asked of supporting acts.

The promoter sets forth clear expectations for what the support bands are supposed to do. These expectations usually involve an agreed upon amount of tickets that can reasonably be expected to be sold, compatible music, local promotion, flyers – You know: Help add to the show.

Now I’ve been on both sides of this coin as both a promoter and a performer.

I’m going to repost the message that Clyde from the band SAGE put on his facebook, SSS Promotions facebook, as well as my personal e-mail. Then I will go through there and offer what can only be described as a “reality check” for this local supporting act. My hope is that aspiring bands will look at the way that SAGE handled their opportunity, and why in 30+ years of being musicians they have never found even a slight bit of success.

The post is in original writing, and my responses are in bold:


{SAGE}I think I should take the time to let you know what I meant by thief in my text, cause knowing your mind set you probably think I was talking about money! Not at all!

{SEAN}Backstory – I got a text last night telling me that essentially I am a dishonest businessman and that I screwed the opening band.

You robbed us of a nice stage, back line and crowd! You stole from Sage fans the opportunity to see a good show by not allowing them to hear us through that nice pa and placed them on the other side of the room to watch the show across empty reserved tables!

As is very common when dealing with a national headlining act, Rusted Root has final say over their stage. Per the layout of the room and the size of their plot, it was impossible to put multiple backlines on the same stage in that room. Having a second stage right next to the “main” stage is common, allowed for quick line and sound check and kept the show running smoothly because opening bands were able to share backline.

As far as where the fans chose to watch/listen to your band – Maybe you should take it as a form of feedback that they stayed on the other side of the room. Conversely speaking the other opening band Backstabbing Good People seemed to have a pretty damn good crowd right in front of their little side stage. Here, I took a picture:

Seems like a good crowd to me!

Sidenote: Backstabbing was such a good, professional opening band that Rusted Root’s Road Manager came up to me halfway through their performance and said that they would love to extend their set. THAT is what you should want – The headliner sees you doing such a good job that they offer to give you even MORE exposure.

Some fans didn’t even get there in time to hear us play because you cut our set short! They weren’t happy about that! you should show every fan respect! Your room would have been empty for 2 hours if it weren’t for the sage fans!

The doors were advertised to open at 6pm. The doors actually opened closer to 6:45pm (because of some last-minute changes in Rusted Root’s setup due to the death of their drummer’s father.) and SAGE was scheduled to be the first band on stage at 7:50pm. The 7:50pm start time was communicated to the opening band. SAGE was scheduled to be OFF the stage at 8:45pm. As most people would tell you, a 55-minute opening set is VERY generous for a local band to get.

Yeah… Looks like the show would have been HORRID without SAGE, huh?

SAGE did not take the stage until 7:55pm despite being told that they were scheduled to be on at 7:50pm. SAGE finished their last song at 8:48pm – actually going a few minutes late for their scheduled time. It appears that SAGE does not understand how to properly construct a set within defined times.

You treated SAGE and our fans with total disrespect and all we and they did for you was help make your show a success! We had friends and fans drive all the way up from Richmond Virginia, they left and a few others right after our set discussed by the treatment of our band and I never complained to them, they did it on their own accord and I didn’t find out about that till the next day! Nice!

I’m sorry to hear that. Your fans should probably understand that it’s not your show, it’s Rusted Root’s show – but I guess I understand why they didn’t, since it appears as though YOU don’t understand that it wasn’t your show, either.

You know it’s kinda sad that we were excited to work with you, Sage is the best original regional band around and have never been treated this way by anyone till now!

It always strikes me as odd when a band who has never achieved any success refers to themselves as the best ANYTHING. You’ve never been treated this way by anyone because you’ve never played with any professional acts before, I’d guess. Hopefully other bands understand things like humility and gratitude when they get the opportunity to play with bands who have sold millions of records.

The funnest thing of all Sean is you called me the day you had to put up money whining and I had to personal talk you out of canceling the show! Then we turn around spend money on advertising, ticket give away’s on the radio out of our own pockets not to mention selling over $1200 dollars in tickets!

SAGE did a great job of selling tickets which quite frankly is the ONLY thing that kept them on the show. As part of their “professional” advertising for the show the band was thrown from Conneaut Lake Park several weeks before the show for such behavior as groping young girls, urinating off of the porch of the hotel, passing out drunk and high on the lawn, and generally creeping out the guests. In fact, the ownership of the hotel called to tell me that they were not welcome on the premises and it was only through my pleading that the band was even allowed to perform.

When I drove 90 minutes up to hand-deliver tickets for SAGE to sell, they were over an hour late in meeting me. That was my first impression of the band. Because of the incident where they were thrown off of the premises only a couple of weeks before the show, I had to make a special trip up a night early just to be assured that I could recover the tickets and money that SAGE had. SAGE, despite drinking heavily for most of the night did not pay for their draft beers, and did not offer a single dollar in tips to the waitresses or bartenders who served them.

In addition, when I generously offered to allow five people to be added from SAGE to the guest list for the show in addition to the four tickets that they “lost”, I was greeted with their “sound guy” who claimed that he didn’t have to pay to get in despite not being listen on the approved guest list prior to the show. Somehow, I’m the asshole because SAGE decided that it was more important for one of their friends to get in for free versus their help.

This really makes no sense, we’re a great band looking for exposure and you’d think you company would want to help us along in ways that you could make you money helping us get discovered!

Believe it or not, there aren’t a lot of people lining up to “discover” a bunch of burnouts who look like they haven’t showered in weeks who seem to have no understanding at all about how to establish and cultivate business relationships.

Walk of Shame, good band name cause what you did was Shameful! P.S. which ever band accidental took home our suit case of merchandise we would like it back!

What I think you mean is “Hey, we hung out and got drunk after the show, didn’t pay our tab because the promoter was nice enough to make sure that we were comped beers all night long, harassed the waitresses, and then since we were unprofessional and fucked up, we lost/left some of our gear.

Again, thank you to the great staff and management up at Conneaut Lake Park for giving me the opportunity to put on the show. Make sure you guys all come back July 14th to see The Clarks.

To any band out there who is young, hungry, talented and most importantly – has the right attitude: Keep working hard. You’ll get there!