If you’ve been following the metal interwebs over the past few days you’ve probably seen some rumblings of controversy surrounding this past summer’s Death To All Tour. Accusations have been flying in a very public fashion between the Chuck Schuldiner / Death camp and Sick Drummer Magazine — one of the tour’s main organizers — involving money; specifically, that the musicians and crew involved have not been paid, that refunds have not been issued for merch items that were never delivered, and that money for VIP packages purchased for the two canceled show dates is still being held. MetalSucks has not reported on the controversy until now for two reasons: 1) We wanted to give Sick Drummer Magazine, friends of ours and fellow members of the Blast Beat Network, a chance to issue a public response explaining their side of things, and 2) We honestly had no idea what the hell was going on or who, if anyone, was in the right.

We still don’t really feel like we have a clear picture of everything in play, but now that Sick Drummer has broken their silence with a statement and Death’s manager Eric Greif has posted a response, at least one thing seems abundantly clear: this tour lost a shitload of money and lots of folks are in a huge financial hole because of it.

That Death To All lost money is not very surprising when you step back and take a look at the scope of it: the whole project was incredibly ambitious. With so much of the proceeds going directly to charity (Sweet Relief) the organizers already had a limited budget to work with to put the show on, and flying all the musicians back and forth between the tour’s five cities, putting them up in hotels, paying them, renting gear, hiring crew, etc etc etc had to be incredibly expensive. This was no standard tour where everyone just piles into a tour bus with a trailer [UPDATE: Apparently they did all pile into two buses! Apologies for the error. -Ed.]

MetalSucks is not close enough to the tour and too many facts remain unknown for us to really know what’s going on. Ultimately, it’s a shame that such a momentous and good-natured occasion — a celebration of metal, Death, and Chuck Schuldiner’s life — has now been marred not only by monetary in-fighting but by seeing those squabbles play out publicly. The New York City show was an absolutely incredible night — broken A/C and 100+ degree heat aside — and by all accounts so was the Hollywood show. Now we have to look back on those nights with a proverbial asterisk.

Meanwhile, everyone involved is pointing the finger at someone else and it really isn’t clear who, if anyone, is to blame; maybe Sick Drummer bit off more than they could chew, maybe the other parties involved should’ve assessed the situation and come to that conclusion before things blew up, maybe some combination of both, or maybe other factors were involved we know nothing about. At this point the best we can hope for is that everyone gets what’s due to them and that the the legacies of Chuck, Death and their music live on without all this bullshit getting in the way.


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