I have to tell you honestly, over here at G Elect we are huge fans of The Faint. Although their latest album, Fascination, didn’t quite have the playlist staying-power as Danse Macabre (2001) or Wet From Birth (2004), we still love them. Given this little nugget of information to begin with, I now introduce you to the story of “Todd Fink and the elusive check.”
Back when all the buzz of The Faint’s latest release “Fascination,” was still in the rumor pipeline, so was the rumor of their current tour. Being fledgling promoters we were able to get wind of it before its days as a rumor came to an end. We were informed that the second or third date on the tour was definitely going to be Salt Lake City. At this point we are all about booking after-party’s. Booking an after-
party for us was almost like throwing a birthday party for ourselves every weekend. It was awesome, for a minute.
So it goes, we find the contact information for the The Faint’s booking. Thus, we hit them up asking if The Faint guys would be interested in doing a DJ set, at an after-
party for their show. SPOILER: We are informed that the band has formed a DJ duo between Todd Fink (singer) and Jacob Thiele (synths) called, Depressed Buttons. Apparently this little DJ/Production team is in the works to release some crazy album with Steve Aoki, and a few other nefarious characters. Also in the works is a complete remix album produced by Depressed Buttons. More details on that whenever we get them.
Anyway, there are several detail oriented emails, we send back and forth with their “booking agent.” We start to get the impression things are moving along and this thing is going to be booked in no time. It turned out like when you are a kid, and you ask for something for Christmas. The closer it gets to Christmas, you are almost positive that you are getting what you asked for. Then Christmas comes and your parents give you, “Shaq FU” for Sega, which comes with the complimentary “Shaq Diesel” on cd.
Ok, nevermind all that pain and anguish. Our communication with “booking agent” completely stops. We hit him up a couple more times, and nothing. After around two weeks of zero correspondence and only one month left before the show date, he finally gets back to us only to say, please contact “so and so” at Ground Control Touring. Luckily for us, the “booking agent” forwarded our interest to Ground Control already, minus any of the details we had already discussed.
Thus we start again. The conversation now shifts to more details regarding payment, capacity, set times, door cover, etc. So we say, we will pay them X amount of dollars, door cover is $5 bucks with a ticket stub and $10 bucks without, and their set will begin at 12:00am. Transportation won’t be necessary because it is in the same building, just a different room. They seem receptive and give us a partial agreement, which is comparable to a upbeat grunt had we been talking in person.
Now with our spirits high we wait for an email granting full confirmation. It doesn’t come. We wait a few days, and email them. Nothing. We wait a few days, and email them again. Nothing. We wait a couple more days, email them again, and finally we get a response. In this response I am entertained with questions like, how much will they get paid, what time will they go on, and how much will the after-party be. I would love to illustrate the emotions that I experienced at this moment. All I can really say is that I breathed fire for the first time, and several angels died following the stream of expletives that came after the fire.
Once I finally calmed down and the fire was out, I hit copy and paste on our last correspondence that detailed the information he needed, again. I made sure to include his name from the email, just so he knew he had already been a part of this conversation.
He responds fairly quickly telling me that their is a problem with the promoter who booked the actual show. They are uncomfortable with us booking another event with The Faint, and all is not well in hooville. So I tell him, “alright, I will talk to the owner (of the venue) and make sure he sorts it out.” The owner gets wind of the problem and kindly steps in as the mediator. Apparently the promoter, who we will call “schmostshmontaine,” was in a tizzy because he thought we were going to have The Faint perform another show. I understand the confusion, even though it is retarded, and of course the furthest thing from logic. So I relay the information back to so and so and he’s says “ok.” But not like confirmation “ok”, more like, I get it “ok”. Then a couple days pass leaving us in a state of, “so is it booked or what?”
The next day, which is now two days before the show, I am contacted by a person in the contracts department asking if we can peruse the contract, sign it, and fax it back. So I peruse it, it looks good, I sign it, and send it back. Thus, we are on.
I am then contacted by their tour manager to agree upon a set time. She says the show is at 8:00 pm with two openers, and they plan to be done by 11:30 pm, as scheduled. I tell her that we want them to go on at 12:00 am if that is enough of a break, and she says “yes.”
Day of the show, I get a call from the tour manager. She tells me they have arrived in Salt Lake, and they were just given an “updated itinerary.” She says she will find out about it, and get back to me. She calls be back around 5:30 pm and says the shmostshmontaine rearranged the set times and The Faint will not begin their performance until 11:00pm, and they will be done at 12:15am. Keep in mind that this is the same promoter that didn’t want us to do it at all. Instead of just saying, “no, don’t book the after-party,” they let us do it, and throw a wrench in everything we planned. We now know for a fact, this was no coincidence.
So at this point, the after-party has to begin before the show is even over. The Faint finish at 12:20am, and there is about 200 people waiting in the other room for them to DJ. Our contract was for one hour, and they arrive to do their set at 1:15 am and finish at 1:50 am. Granted, none of this is really their fault. There were demons setting up this sabotage as soon as we had the idea to put it together.
So the show is over, I cut checks for Todd and Jacob regardless of the all the crap that went on. They leave telling us how much they love us, hate the other promoter, and they’ll be in contact with us next time for the main show. So with that on top of losing $600 bucks on the after-party, the sting wasn’t quite as painful.
I bet you forgot this story was about a check. Well here is the fun part. The show took place on July 30th, 2008. Jacob was kind enough to cash his check promptly, two days after the show. Thanks Jacob! Todd on the other hand, who I absolutely admire, was not so quick. Keep in mind here, we are not some huge promoting powerhouse. We are a relatively new booking company that made its bones in May of 2008. Granted we have represented plenty of shows, booked some tours, and released some records, but that was all our own stuff.
After about two weeks, we just saw that money sitting in the account, knowing that any moment it could be snatched up. I knew that once it was gone, I was going to feel so robbed. Had he just cashed his check within a week it wouldn’t feel so horrible. But, he didn’t. After three weeks, their was an unfortunate death in the family, and we had to hit our reserve money, and make the trip to Texas for the funeral. Of course we were now drifting dangerously close to the money that would cover Todd’s check.
We get back from the funeral and Todd still didn’t cash his check. There is a glimmer of hope, and we start thinking, maybe he isn’t going to cash it. Perhaps, they new they didn’t play the full hour, and decided that half the money was good enough. It’s funny how you rationalize situations when you become irrational. Four weeks to the day, which was Wednesday, August 27th, Todd Fink cashed his check. Thus, the hammer was dropped and we were officially effed into the depths of financial purgatory.
The now-not-so-elusive check:
I know it kind of takes away the effect with all the black blocks, but that is just not stuff you need to know.
So…Thank You Todd Fink, Thank You shmostsmontaine. The latter gave us a bleak look into the world of concert promotion. May your assholes bleed, and your children be born with webbed feet. We hope you die.
Besides all that, we still love The Faint, and cannot wait until the Depressed Buttons stuff comes out. For now, pick up their new album “Fascination”, and catch them on tour when they hit your town.
Love and monkey’s,