Al Jourgensen, the frontman of Grammy-nominated American band Ministry, announced this week that the group is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Patreon to raise the $203,000 they are owed for performing at the AJ Maddah’s 2015 Soundwave Festival last February.
“Now I know there’s douchebags in every industry and all walks of life but this particular one has got under my skin like a deer tic… his name is AJ Maddah and he was, until recently the promoter of the Soundwave Festival in Australia.
“In my 35 years of touring, I’ve been fortunate enough to have never encountered such a lying scumbag… not only did he blatantly rip us off but ripped off damn near every band in the festival lineup. He worked soundwave fest like a bernie madoff ponzi scheme… (he would pay last years bands off of the next year’s ticket sales… and apparently this has been going on for years with this guy…) he has been living the “high life” of a jet setting playboy on the hard work of thousands of musicians and crew over the years, but this year, it all came crashing down.
“This scheme apparently worked well for a while as bands had to twist in the wind and wait for months to get paid, but eventually they did… until this year… which is why there were grumblings, but no real red flags before I agreed to do this show. Putting together flights, gear rentals, and crew is daunting enough, let alone making it happen 8,000 miles across the globe. this of course came out of my pocket to make these shows happen…I guess I can take solace in knowing this fuckhead, AJ, will probably got to jail, but that alone will not feed the admirals cat as they say…
“We’ve been told on numerous occasions, both verbally and in writing, that we would be paid in full. AJ even set up a payment plan with me six months ago, which of course, was another promise he did not keep.”
He went on to reveal:
“It’s not my style to ask for money for doing nothing, that’s why I set up Patreon… I’d rather live in my car than beg.. but I really took a beating on this one folks… the $200,000 figure that is listed in the article includes moneys owed to promotion, management, travel agents and equipment rental fees. I personally paid my band and crew out of my pocket… $35,250 to make these shows happen. all I ask is that you tell some friends, and have them tell some friends to join us here.. it would be a big help in smoothing this crisis over…
“What it doesn’t smooth out however is the mistrust bands will have in the future over travelling long distances with high start up costs to imperil their careers over possibly, probably , and in the case definitely not getting paid.”
BrisbaneTimes reported that Maddah, who was voted the most powerful person in the Australian music industry in 2013 and briefly a part-owner of The Big Day Out, last week announced the cancellation of Soundwave 2016, planned for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in January, due to poor ticket sales. He shared that only 20,000 tickets had been sold despite a line-up that boasted The Prodigy, Bring Me The Horizon, Deftones, Public Enemy and L7. There is still no word on whether these acts will be playing any Australian shows, and Soundwave’s website and Facebook page have been pulled down. The company behind Soundwave is now almost certain to enter liquidation, leaving behind debts that the administrator has claimed tally around $18 million.
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