Okay, so I'll admit I never really read this thread in the first place, at least not past the initial post. A lot of people know me as being stubbornly DIY and I believe that being 'nice' and reasonable (rather than a cunt) has served me well over the years I've been involved in doing DIY things (where it be putting on gigs or touring) I've met a lot of like-minded people and seriously, I thought I was as stubborn as it gets but I think I might be wrong..
Graeme/Kingmob has got in touch with me re: the upcoming tour one of my bands, Hammers, is due to do in November with a US band called Black Elk - a tour that is booked by Mike Persil. Obviously his views on Mike are well documented within this thread and whereas I initially responded to Graeme through the medium in which he messaged me, now that he has been in touch with the promoter of the Glasgow gig on the Black Elk/Hammers tour - who is now considering dropping the gig - I felt that I should re-read the entire thread and see if all of this makes sense or justifies the backlash.
And here's the thing, I don't really think it does. I can understand it and I can appreciate the process behind the anger - Mike made a very naive post in what turned out to be crazily hostile territory (and he knows it) but I don't believe it makes Mike a cunt, or a parasite or that the bands he booked/books deserve to be boycotted because of y'know, the internet.
I met Mike on the Git Some tour. He got in touch with The Cost Of Living about playing the ill-fated Stockport matinée gig. I advised against it, he just wanted to hang out and play another show. Yeah, that show was pretty much us just playing to each other but everyone was nice, it was a most pleasant way to spend an afternoon and yeah, Mike was shocker.. a totally affable guy. I don't know how much of his posts in this thread have been edited (if at all..) but reading back, including the first post just comes across as being poorly put, rather than deliberately trying to say the UK is shit. I think a lot of the statements he made are.. well, true. He also listed a fairly extensive list of UK gig-putter-onners who we all know/respect and said they did a great job, but the general concensus seems to be to crucify the guy for, whether it be passive-aggressively or completely ignorantly, asking why the differences he experienced on his first tour of the UK were as they are.
When Hammers toured the mainland in June, we had a fucking ball. It's true, the smaller venues are comparably way better, you do get fed/watered more freely and some of the complexes in which we were lucky enough to sleep were full on mindblowing. I don't think he ever set out to say "UK DIY promoters are shit" and I think it's proper reactionary and to be honest, a bit embarassing to witness such hostility as if that is what he had said, but more "UK DIY promoters don't have the facilities to be like the mainland, any reason?" I can get behind the uneducated thought that we are not as giving, but when you look into it as he has done, he now knows/it is plain to see why things are different and how hard the genuinely DIY gig organisers in the UK work. He has a few bad gigs? Okay, shit happens and he'll have learned not to use those people again (DIY or not. I suspect not) and in future he'll book/he has booked his tours more carefully and considerately. As far as money goes.. well, it’s always a touchy subject but the bottom line is a booking agent, whether DIY or not, has a responsibility to the bands they are booking for. There is a DIY tour coming through the UK next month where the daily costs are 300 euros. That is a LOT for a DIY band but if that’s what the costs are and they are noted up front, then people know what to expect and to aim for. The 300 euro tour is booked by someone everyone knows and respects as being full on DIY, and I booked the UK dates. No guarantees but a financial understanding. I can see why some people booking tours ask for guarantees, but even when faced with a guarantee.. we have the choice whether or not to say yes or no to it. I tend to explain why I do things the way I do them and then explain how I’d run the gig and how the costs would be covered/exceeded through DIY means. If the agent is cool with it – sweet! I get to put on bands I want to! And if not, then.. well shit, some other fucking fool will do it. The booking agent is everyones favourite martyr, but as someone pointed out earlier in this thread I think, nobody is forcing anyone to work with people they don’t like or under condition they are not comfortable with. As NickC pointed out, communication and honesty are the way forward. If you don’t want to do a show for a band Mike has booked, okay cool. If you do, I’m sure you’ll meet a nice guy just trying to do the best for the bands he’s booking. I don’t even think that Nanouk or Marco at Avocado are cunts, I think they’re just dudes doing their jobs. Sure, I don’t agree with everything they do, but if I can deal with them on my own terms and I think it will benefit my town/’scene’/venue/people who go to gigs, then I won’t hesitate to work with them. They haven’t taken advantage of me, they’ve worked on a DIY level because that’s the only platform I wanted to deal on.
I've always believed in DIY to be a way of proving the corporate alternative wrong. A big fuck you in the face of 'business'. I do things the way I do because I know they are the better, more respectful way of doing things. If someone doesn't know the answer to a question or doesn't know the difference between a DIY method and a non-DIY method then I will explain the difference. If they change their mind/ways then that to me, is DIY in effect. The most poignant form of rebellion/protest in a creative environment. I don't see how any of the shit dished out in Mike's direction in this thread has been constructive or respectful and I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd just brushed off the UK as 'full of holier than thou DIY dickheads' but no, he's learned, he's read this thread I bet dozens of times and from the more recent conversations I had with him when he was booking the Black Elk/Hammers tour, he took on board my reservations about routes/costs and was more than keen for things to be done right. He approached Hammers about doing a few gigs (and then the tour) because he dug the band and I think if people are going to boycott Black Elk (or Hammers for that fact) then moreso for the former, it's their loss. Your hostility has contributed to another band, another tour booker and whoever they tell the story to, thinking that the UK DIY scene is an unbreakable, unwelcoming clique.
I realise that all of this will probably alienate me/my bands from certain people and I think that’d be a shame. I’ve always loved coming to Glasgow/Edinburgh especially, not just because they are both lovely cities, but moreso you guys are all people I consider close and selfless friends and I enjoy being around. You have never been anything but incredible in every encounter, be it on tour or with a band or just socially. But, and this is depending on if Hammers are even together come November, I don’t want to not play a bunch of gigs because of a disagreement on the internet with someone I’ve met and found to be a perfectly nice guy or not to play with a great US band who, by all e-mails accounts, seem to be nice guys and who are excited about coming to the UK, or even further-so to not tour and spend time with my band. I’d rather be involved in the process and spend more time understanding what the issues are/if they are really things I should take offence to, than to put my hands over my ears and be defiant against an issue that I don’t think is deserving of such anger or resistance.
This made sense kind-of, right? Am I a parasitic cunt?