Yesterday Upstate New York jam-rockers moe. announced the cancellation/postponement of 11 shows this month as drummer Vinnie Amico continues to recover from illness. Shortly thereafter the band revealed that the Denver shows originally scheduled for July 20 and 21 have been officially rescheduled for November 30 and December 1 respectively at the Ogden Theater.
There was much speculation on the PT moe. message board about why the performances were cancelled instead of having percussionist Jim Loughlin hop behind the kit as he did for other recent shows. Loughlin had enough of the speculation / conspiracy theories and decided to weigh in on the thread. Loughlin’s responses offer a rare candid look at the economics of being a musician in a road warrior band such as moe. He was also frank about his reasons for not wanting to fill the drum role at the now-postponed shows. Here’s a few of Jim’s posts from the thread…
Ah, speculation and rumor. Even the occasional conspiracy theory as to what goes on behind closed doors. The fuel of the internet.
Anyway, just so you know, this isn’t about ticket sales. It’s mostly about the fact that I truly don’t feel comfortable being the drummer for that many shows. I haven’t been a full time drummer in years. The shows that I just did is the most drumming I’ve done in at least 3 years. I really felt that the possibility of putting on shows that were not very good was high with me drumming. Too many unknowns and too many things to adjust to in too short a time for me to be able to say that I could do it with no problem. Also, to be honest, to me it just doesn’t feel right if Vinnie is not there. Personally I have a difficult time not thinking that we’re playing and he’s home sick and wanting to be playing. It’s tough for me.
In my mind it was more fair for the fans to be able to refund money now and try as hard as we can to reschedule all the shows then it was to put on the shows, have them not be great shows, and have disappointed people who can’t get there money back because they didn’t get to see the whole band. Not everyone knows that I used to be the drummer. Not everyone knows that I even play the drums at all.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have a great time drumming for the shows that I did. We all did. It was tons of fun as well as hilarious at some times. To those of you who for some reason think that Rob or Al didn’t enjoy playing with me on the drums because of some look you saw, all I can say is that you just don’t know Rob or Al. That being said, I really don’t think it would be fair to the fans to do a whole tour with me playing drums. I mean, people go to the shows with a certain expectation of performance, some with much higher expectations then others, I really don’t feel that we can reach those levels at a consistent enough basis with me behind the kit.
“But you’re playing the LI show?”. Well yeah, look at our upcoming schedule and look at which shows can be rescheduled and which can’t. Occam’s razor. I mean, yes we can speculate on ticket sales and how it affects which shows we do and which we don’t, but usually the simplest explanation is the correct one. To be honest the concept of advanced ticket sales is fading out. These days most people don’t want to pay the fees. Also, a lot of people don’t want to commit to what there doing this weekend let alone next month. It’s understandable these days.
Secondly, as far as the ticket sales thing goes, we lose money when we don’t play. It’s not like we get paid if we don’t do the show. It’s also not like we can just say “just cancel the shows, we don’t need the money.”. Remember, we do this for a living. This is our job. It’s how we make money. Cancelling shows due to ticket sales is not really an option.
As far as those who made plans and spent money on plane tickets and such. I’m sorry, I truly am. That sucks, flat out. Maybe you can get a travel voucher from the airline or talk to your credit card company and see if you can get a refund through them. It might be possible.
Anyway, Vin is sick. He needs rest. Please keep in mind that these guys have very busy lives outside of moe.. They have families and children. They really don’t get any downtime when they get home from tour. It’s tough. It wears on you. Eventually it wins out and makes you stop and rest. That’s what Vin is doing. He not only needs but deserves it. Believe me, after sitting in his seat for four shows I don’t know how he does it for an entire tour. He’ll be fine but right now he needs rest. That is all.
Finally, to me personally, hearing that we might be using Vin’s health issues to our benefit is a bit offensive. Vin is one of my closest friends and to imply that I would see anything at all good in his illness is a bit dark.
Well, I hope I shed some light on things as far as the cancellations go. At times I feel a need to step in here and straighten some things out. I hope my presence on this board remains welcomed from time to time. Although this board isn’t the biggest cross section of our fan base I feel it is an important one. This is a group of most of our biggest and most concerned and vocal fans. Although I sometimes find discouraging posts I mostly find good things here. Good opinions and ideas. It is also a great place to find shows that I want or need to hear. I find this board an invaluable resource so please keep it going.
Also, I mostly understand where certain ideas and opinions stem from. Sometimes I think it’s hard to separate moe. the band from moe. the individual people. It’s difficult to see the tour bus (leased), the light show (rented), and all our gear (mostly paid for through years of tremendous credit card debt), and think that we’re just normal people doing a job. Is it an awesome job? Yes it is, but it’s still a job. I feel tremendously lucky to do what I do. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world, well, mostly. However, there still is an element of jobiness to it. I do it for a living. It’s my only source of income and I am by no means independently wealthy. Not even close. I don’t have much and am lucky to have what I have. If it wasn’t for being part of an awesome family I’d be, well, I’m not sure but it probably wouldn’t be good. I’ve said it before on this board. All of us in the moe. work very hard to be able to do what we do. We all realize that we are lucky to be able to do this for a living but we all also know that it’s not easy at all. We work very hard for those 3 hours on the stage. Those 3 hours the 5 of us get to do what we do, to connect with each other and try to get to that place that makes everything else worth while, and to share all that with you.
Please just remember that aside from the lights and the bus and all the sound gear, there is also health insurance and mouths to feed and tuition and taxes to be paid not to mention gas for my truck.
Again I ramble on. Thanks for everything, all your continued support and even your critical words.
[Hat Tip – Jenn Ritchie]