Sunday, 16 June 2013

Chris Saunders / Earthmass

Name: Chris Saunders

Band: Earthmass (

Where: ?

I've been in a few bands over the years, currently I find myself in 3 (sometimes 4) and this wee story involves a band I was in until last year called Another Dead Hero. We were a Prog Rock type band, not that it's really relevant but oh well!

One time we randomly got an email from a promoter, saying they wanted us for a Mogwai after show party. We were all well up for it as we were all massive Mogwai fans, and they were a massive influence on what we were doing. 

So we said we would do it. 

A few days later we got sent a contract stating it was actually a pay-to-play gig. We were instantly dubious as I am very anti P2P. The deal was we were to pay £100 for a set of tickets, which we would sell for a certain percentage of the money blah blah blah. After a heavy debate on the situation we decided, to hell with it, lets do it and at least we could play a Mogwai after show, plus we'd already said yes [to the promoter] so we just went with it. 

We received our tickets in the post, which had Mogwai written on them, plus the name of what we assumed must be the main support band. In with the tickets was the rest of the info that was left out of the contract. That info being that we would have to pay the £100 in a week, then 2 weeks later we would have to pay another £150 and then two weeks later another £150, totalling £400 for the tickets, then we would take a percentage of that £400 for ourselves. Take into account that this was back in 2009, so my memory of all the figures is a little hazy but I remember thinking it was total BS.

We decided to call them and let them know we were unavailable, say that one of us had an operation or some crap like that. Yeah, dishonest but we thought they didn’t really deserve to be treated with any level of respect. 

The show was a couple of months down the line and I had totally forgotten about it when one morning I got a phone call from this promoter. And he was not happy. He started to shout at me about how we sold our tickets for gig without paying for them. I assured him we hadn't sold a single one and I had an envelope full of tickets on my mantelpiece that I hadn't touched since the day we cancelled the gig. He didn't believe me. I got very defensive, and read the two band names and all the information off the ticket back to him. He suddenly went quiet, said we needed to sort this mess out and hung up, but not before ensuring me I hadn't heard the last of this.

I went online to find out what had gone down on the night of the gig. Turns out that the band name on the ticket (the one which wasn't Mogwai) was not the main support band as I assumed but just one of the bands playing the after show (there was around 5 or 6 on the bill). Basically it should have been our name on the tickets. He had sent us the wrong ones and sent the other band ours, who had obviously sold them thinking the same thing as us.

Not only that but because I assume Mogwai had got in touch with the promoter and said they wanted no part of it, the after show was changed to being a Basement Jaxx after show party... Where a load of Rock and Prog bands played.

This was apparently changed at the last minute without informing anyone playing. There were a lot of unhappy bands who had been stiffed out of money and ended up playing a show for a band they didn’t even like. Now there is nothing wrong with Basement Jaxx, but they do appeal to a different crowd than Mogwai and it didn’t seem right. I tried to contact the promoter, leaving messages demanding an apology for him speaking to me like a piece of shit for a mistake that he had made but I got nothing. 

I then googled the Mogwai after show just to see if there was anything online about it. It took me too a forum on the Mogwai site. It was a thread started by a band that had been sent the same email as us asking if it was legit. One of the responses was from Mogwai's guitarist saying they knew nothing of the gig and recommended not doing it. He also said they were going to look into it themselves. This set off instant alarm bells.

I tried repeatedly to call this promoter but could not get through, I ended up leaving a voicemail message stating we couldn't do the gig for whatever reason and we were very sorry. I took a deep breath and got on with my life. 

In an interesting twist, about 2 years later the same promoter emailed me asking if we wanted to do a Bloc Party after show. They had split up about a year before this (I think they have reformed now but hadn't at the time).

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