Act Like You’ve Done This Before

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been in the live music business for quite a while. I’m definitely not new. I’ve experienced all kinds of idiots in this business, and played through all kinds of circumstances.

Then there was St Patty’s day last week….

I had two gigs booked. Nice little hustle day. The first was a duo with my guitar player, Harold Trucco, at Tobacco Road by Kush’s block party from 4-7pm. By the time we left it was getting crazy af, but Kush has their shit together, so it was well run. Good times.

Next, we were off to play with my full band, Juke, at the Auld Dubliner St Patty block party. It was just down the road by the courthouse. We weren’t supposed play until 10:30, so we had some time to kill. After all, there was a bunch of bands playing before us. We were supposed to close the show and stop by midnight.

The person who booked that event’s bands is Scott Cocalis. I’ve known Scott for over 15 years now. We’ve had our disagreements but we’ve always been cool.

So, we are killing time by the stage as the other bands play. Smoking weed and eating shit…. Very Miami.

The band that plays before us goes on and it’s packed. I generally am not a big cover band guy, but they’re doing a good job. Crowd super into it. Then it’s 10:15. We are supposed to play in 15 minutes and there is no backline ( fyi, backline is generally at least a drum kit and bass amp all the bands can use so the turnaround time between them isn’t so bad. Shitty festivals like this one, who get cheap, don’t have backline).

The band, The Molly Takedown, says they have three more songs. I go to Scott.

It’s Scott’s event to run. He’s effectively the stage manager. I tell him the problem and he goes “Aw, they’re almost done.” and blows me off. The three songs are now over. People want to hear more songs and they just…..keep….playing.
Now, to be clear, that shit was rude. But I really don’t blame the band. They were having fun, and it’s the stage manager’s job to tell them to wrap it up. I keep telling Scott to handle it, but he’s clearly too spineless to say anything.

Long story short, we didn’t go on till 12:30am and played for like 15 drunk people. All our friends had long since gone home.

It was embarrassing and exhausting.

To add insult to injury, Scott tells me he doesn’t have our check. That he will get with us Monday or Tuesday.

To be honest, I’ve been in situations like this before. It’s really nothing new. What happens next is really the reason for this story.

I hear nothing on Monday. On Tuesday, Scott texts me to tell me he can meet me to give me a check (who writes checks anymore???) on Friday.

On Thursday at 10am, I ask if I can just swing by for our check, or if he can just Zelle it. Just to make it easier if he can. My text is ignored. I reach out again at 1:30 and this exchange begins.

Some points here:
You don’t “Shhhh” a person who is asking for money that you owe them and should have paid already.
You don’t “Shhh” that person again and ask how many times you will have to do that again to them.
You don’t tell someone to be patient and “act like they’ve done this before” when you are paying late, and especially when the person you are talking to has literally done this before. Way too many times.
You don’t question the attitude of someone you are insulting while you have control of the money they really need.
Being a smartass to a musician who is asking for his money isn’t a way to do things.

Now, as an older man with much life experience, it truly surprised me how angry a measly text exchange got me. Sure, I needed the money. But it was the fact that I had to hold back because the  man insulting me has not only my money, but the money of the guys in my band who I love.

A younger Uncle Scotchy would have driven right to his charming, drug infested establishment and whupped his ass while I tell him to “Shhh”. But I’m not getting arrested over a text exchange. Not happening.

I’d rather just let the other musicians in town know about this.
Seriously. No musician deserves to be spoken to like that.
I’m curious to your thoughts, though.

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Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia is frontman of the Miami band Juke.