I am not a happy man this week. On Tuesday I got the word that the show we (GALLEON) were scheduled to play on August 16 at About The Music/Famous Pub had been cancelled. It seems the man who was booking shows at the bar/club was dismissed, and as a final insult, the bar's management cancelled the remaining shows he had booked there. I had not gotten the booking through this man; rather, my friend Anne-Marie Perry and her band Green Bracelet had gotten the booking and Anne-Marie graciously brought us in on her coattails. But now both Green Bracelet and Galleon, along with other acts booked by the old booker, have lost their shows there, all because of petty club politicking! I thank Anne-Marie for taking a chance on us and I consider her a great friend. Hopefully Galleon and Green Bracelet can do some other double-bill shows in the near future. But in the meantime I am looking for other shows and venues for us to play. This could have been a great opportunity for us, but now it's gone. At least it got cancelled over two weeks in advance, rather than at the last minute, so we didn't have to start aggressively hustling to promote the show. But I'm still very disappointed and — feeling angry.
Rock on, Elliott Michaels for GALLEON!
I am Elliott Michaels, guitarist-vocalist and founder of the Atlanta-based musical group GALLEON, onto whose ReverbNation web page you are currently logged. I think we are a very good band, and once you listen to our music you may be inclined to confirm my opinion. But like most local bands today, GALLEON is struggling to find work in clubs and bars, and we need all the help we can get to promote and expose our music. Accordingly, I have created pages for GALLEON on over two dozen websites. One of these websites is Air Play Direct, a web service which claims to give bands a chance to expose their songs and get them played on the radio. Also, Air Play Direct occasionally has "contests" which offer musicians various "rewards." One of their contests in 2009 offered the chance to showcase at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. According to the e-mail release I received, two bands or artists would be selected to perform in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville during the CMA festivities. Well, that sounds great, if the winning bands/artists are treated with the respect ... and paid the money ... winners deserve. So I used the link provided on the release to write to Robert Weingartz, the CEO of Air Play Direct, to ask whether the winning artists would be paid for performing at the CMA, or at least be reimbursed for travel and lodging expenses incurred. At least he responded the same day with an honest reply and not a form-letter type reply. But read Mr. Weingartz's reply below and then I'll continue: Hello Elliott, This is a FREE to play opportunity. Most venues are charging for performance slots. There are a lot of TRUE professionals, big stars that are paying for travel and lodging to play at this event. They are paying for booth rentals to sign autographs. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how much we do to keep things FREE for artists with AirPlay Direct that people are still ungrateful for the opportunities that we create. Regards, Robert Weingartz, CEO AirPlay Direct 678-318-1900 With all respect, I believe Mr. Weingartz is assuming way too much. I am always grateful for any opportunities granted to aspiring and struggling local musicians. But I submit that one musician's opportunity may well be another musician's waste of time and effort. Perhaps a 17-year-old high-school senior playing in his/her first band, as I was in 1973-74, might consider an unpaid showcase slot at a major festival a grand and glorious chance to expose his/her band and their music. But this was 2009 and now it is 2014 and I am a 57-year-old professional musician with 40 years in the music industry. Even if we had won this competition, against which the chances were thousands to two, I and my band were/are in no position to spend a lot of time and money traveling to Nashville and sleeping in our cars just so we can play a 40-minute set at some festival. After all, there are no guarantees it would lead to anything concrete. Besides, everyone else at the festival is making money, the promoters, the venues, the concessionaires, everyone except the people who should be making the most money, that is, we musicians, we singers, players, and writers. We are being exploited - used, if you will - so others can make money off our backs! Unpaid labor to make money for someone else is called SLAVERY, and as I recall in my history studies, slavery was abolished in this nation 150 years ago! Is it right to re-establish slavery again, just to say you're giving aspiring new artists a "chance"? I surely don't think so! If you agree with me, e-mail Robert Weingartz at Air Play Direct at email@example.com, or call Mr. Weingartz at (678) 318-1900. Let's stop these unfair and wrong practices once and for all, and let's remember the old saying, "If you dance, you've gotta pay the fiddler!" Thanks, and rock on, Elliott Michaels for GALLEON!