Dmonstrations have confirmed upcoming tour dates in Japan, thanks to their new overseas booking company. They would have toured Europe last year, were it not for a falling out with Germany-based Dial Booking, which had confirmed only around half the dates as the band prepared to depart.
“We couldn’t afford the gear and van rental for the whole month without shows booked every day,” blogs the band. They say they tried to reach their contact at the booking agency, “but it is obvious that he has more important or pressing issues in his life right now. We were waiting over two months to get a final response from him.”
“This is frustrating due to the fact that we had over eight months to plan this,” said the band when canceling the tour. “However, we aren’t willing to risk the potential to incur a substantial debt due to others’ lack of planning and professionalism.
“Our decision was also greatly influenced by the recent events with our friends Mika Miko, who happened to go through Dial Booking and ended up getting the runaround in Italy and losing $1500 of their own money on their recent trip. Our friends Die! Die! Die! have also been waiting to hear of dates, and as a result of this, they have canceled their [overseas] tour too.”
The Dmonstrations’ 2008 tour of Japan was arranged through a different booking agency. Dial Booking did not respond to email requests for comment.
— Jay Allen Sanford
Dead Scene? “I heard after last year’s [Street Scene] that they were going to pull the plug,” says one promoter about San Diego’s largest outdoor music event.
Rob Hagey founded Street Scene in 1984 and sold it last year to Los Angeles–based Live Nation, the country’s largest concert company. Last year’s event, originally planned to take place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, was moved to Coors Amphitheatre in Chula Vista due to slow ticket sales.
“I think Live Nation blew it by trying to run it from L.A.,” says a Los Angeles–based promoter who is familiar with the local concert market. “You need someone local who knows San Diego.”
Live Nation spokesman Greg Terlizzi says he had no information about when or if Street Scene would be back.
Street Scene was held in the streets of downtown through 2004. When it moved to the parking facilities in Petco Park (2004) and then Qualcomm Stadium (2005, 2006), those disheartened with the venue changes dubbed the event “Parking Lot Scene.”
The 2004 Street Scene drew an estimated 105,000. Insiders say last year’s event brought in about 10,000 paid customers.
— Ken Leighton
Meanwhile… The first concert at a new 13,000-capacity venue in Mission Valley will be held in April, according to Mike McSweeney, marketing manager for Qualcomm Stadium. The site of the former Chargers practice facility near Qualcomm Stadium — to be called AEG Live Concerts on the Green — will have temporary, portable structures. AEG has entered into a three-year deal with the stadium, which is owned and operated by the City of San Diego.
Headliners have not been announced, but insiders suggest that many of the acts that previously played the “Bayside” Embarcadero Marina Park South facility (Radiohead, Angels & Airwaves, Black Eyed Peas) are being sought to appear at the venue. Bayside’s viability as a concert venue was hurt due to noise complaints.
AEG, the country’s second-largest concert company, opened an office in San Diego last year and is attempting to draw business away from Live Nation. Live Nation controls Cox Arena, Open Air Theatre, and Coors Amphitheatre. An insider says that the Warped Tour, held at Coors last year, may take place at the AEG facility.
— Ken Leighton
Goodbye to Romance On January 28, bass-less indie-rock trio Buzzkill Romantics will split up after a CD-release show at the Casbah for their Aftermath of Love album. For at least the first half of 2008, guitarist Davida Milkes will be a guitar tech and backing musician on tours with Gene Loves Jezebel and ex–Catherine Wheel front man Rob Dickinson. (She’ll join Dickinson onstage for several songs.)
Later this spring, Milkes will tour North America in the Electric Mood Maidens, her new group that includes Marty Willson-Piper of ’80s hit-makers the Church.
“I’ve been friends with them for years, particularly Marty,” explains Milkes of her connection to the Australian rockers. It was through them that she became a roadie.
“The subject came up and — what do you know — I’m the guitar tech for the Church,” she laughs. “Of course, I had never [done that] before, so I had to learn quick.” She’s been with the band at every American show for almost two years, occasionally joining them onstage for the song “Providence.”
At an August 2006 show in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Milkes played part of a Church set after Willson-Piper came down with a migraine. Rather than cancel the performance, Church front man Steve Kilbey approached Milkes and asked her how many songs she knew.
Though the roadie biz is a male-dominated field, Milkes hasn’t had any problems, at least not with her employers.
“To be honest, I think bands welcome a woman on the crew; it changes the dynamics and gives traveling a different feel.… On the road, when we show up to gigs, I have had some men that work for the clubs make some comments, but they usually shut up pretty quickly when they see I actually know what I’m doing.”
— Bart Mendoza
Ferret Love Last week, EMI/Capitol Records announced it would fire 1500 employees — 25 percent of its workforce — and that it would become the first major label to eliminate large advances. (The company reportedly gave British singer Robbie Williams $150 million when he signed with the label in 2002.)
“There’s a lot less glamour in signing with a major if they’re cutting your funding,” says Valentino Arteaga, guitarist with Chula Vista–based Lower Definition. The big-label troubles make him feel even better about his band’s new deal with independent New Jersey label Ferret Music.