Drummer Josh Olmos played music with singer Caleb Wilborn when the two attended Rancho Buena Vista High. In 2004, four years after high school, they formed the pop/reggae band Free to Burn, which played regularly at Squid Joe's and other local nightspots.
Olmos says things were going well for the band before they decided to record a demo in August of last year.
"We had over $4500 in the band fund," says Olmos. "That was money from all our band gigs over two years.... Just before we start to record, Caleb sets us down and tells us there is no more money in the band fund. He told us he needed the money...that it was gone."
Olmos says keyboard player Matt Brown came up with the $850 to pay for the session.
"I had recorded at Proxy [Music studios in Oceanside] before," says Olmos. "We didn't want to back away from our commitment to them. We ended up with a real nice demo."
But that "real nice demo" was never used.
"This year was supposed to be the year that [Free to Burn] would take off," says Olmos. "When we would all quit our day jobs and just do music." He says the depleted band fund killed the band. Olmos now plays with singer/songwriter/guitarist Matt Sundstedt in an all-original Oasis-like trio.
When contacted, Wilborn and Brown said they did not want to comment on the episode.
"When you mix music and business, sometimes it works and sometimes it falls flat on its face," says Olmos, who suggests bands get a checking account that requires two signatures; the Free to Burn account was set up so that each member could sign checks. "Or better yet, get an accountant or band manager that has no relationship with anyone in the band to handle the money."