Local Bands: Read This Story About a Band Scammer and Let it Serve as a Warning to You
A few days ago, MetalSucks was contacted by the band Scylla, from Arizona. They wanted to share a very sad story about being taken by a con man who claimed he could help their career by getting them on national tours with big name bands. Said con man took a bunch of money from the band, encouraged them to make some really lousy life choices, and then disappeared on them without delivering upon any of his promises.
Now, let’s be honest: the members of Scylla behaved naively (as the victims of con men always do — these kinds of thieves prey on people’s honorable nature and optimism). That doesn’t mean they deserved to be ripped off. There are assholes like the one described by Scylla in every town, taking advantage of young, inexperienced musicians who don’t know better.
So while we have to block out the name of this particular scammer for legal reasons, we think it’s a worthy read for all local bands with stars in their eyes. DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO SOMEONE LIKE THIS. If someone claims they can help you, no matter how nice that person seems, do some homework before agreeing to anything; be especially suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true. Learn from Scylla’s misfortune.
Here’s the band’s e-mail:
We have been friends for the last few years with a man named [xxxxxx]. He goes by [xxxxxx] on his Facebook account, which is now inactive due to recent events. He has come out to Arizona on multiple occasions to see us perform and has had us out to El Paso to play. He’s never given a reason for us to not trust him.
Back in January we were contacted by [xxxxxx]. He mentioned tours with bands like Trivium and Periphery and wanting to invest in our group and also expressed wanting to manage us. Not long after he contacted us about several more tour offers and also mentioned there being a $1500 buy in for said tours. This time he was offering us dates on the last Suicide Silence tour, the Carry The Flame Tour, and more tours to include Warped Tour. He said the money we gave was refundable and he was going to cover the rest of the buy in costs as his good faith investment with us. We were excited about the offers and felt there was no reason not to trust him considering our relationship thus far. We agreed and quickly got him the money he requested.
Weeks later [xxxxxx] sent us a contract from his alleged company [xxxxxx] claiming to be working with the Circle Talent Agency as well as Victory Records to book us on these tours. We signed the contract and were all in agreement for these tours which included promises of a minimum of $1500/day guarantee.
Because of this, we all quit our jobs and started restocking on merch, making van repairs, and basically spending a lot of money and draining our savings to prepare to be on tour for a majority of the year, as was promised to us. We made [xxxxxx] very aware of all of this and he only encouraged us and motivated us for the upcoming tours.
In said contract we were advised we would be announcing our tours on February 13th. That date came and he had no promotional material. First red flag. He kept advising us it was underway, and after another week, still nothing. Mind you, the tour was supposed to start the following week now. That week comes, and still nothing and then [xxxxxx] claims the agency he was working with wanted to change our agreement, leading to us being dropped.
He assured us more dates for the same timeframe were being booked though so not to worry. So we trusted him. March starts to pass by with less and less contact from [xxxxxx] and still nothing. (Mind you by now, we have all been unemployed for about a month now.)
March starts coming to an end and then [xxxxxx] starts mentioning a comedy tour that he wants to put us on. We tell him we’ll agree to it if he gives us back our $1500 buy in since he didn’t uphold his end of things initially. He agreed to that and told us he’d transfer us back the money soon. Well, weeks go by with nothing and we start questioning him about when he’s going to transfer our money back since we all are now very short on funds and also need that money to fund our next release. He then claims he is waiting on The Circle Talent Agency to refund all of his money so he can refund us, so we continue to wait. In the meantime, he tells us he will pay us a living stipend due to the tours falling through and has us send him itemized monthly expense lists for each of us. Of course, we never saw a dime that he promised us.
So, he then sends us another contract about the comedy tour, same guarantee, for over two months which includes an agreement from him that he will transfer our money back to us by April 17th.
April 17th comes and there is no word from [xxxxxx], no money transferred, no anything. Another week goes by and there is no word from him. Then, this Monday comes and he posts about how he will not be reachable by phone, social media, etc and is under pending investigation.
Lastly, today we decided to reach out to both Victory Records and The Circle Talent Agency and they both confirmed that they have never made any contact with [xxxxxx] before, thus proving that [xxxxxx] lied to us from the beginning. Which led to this.
All of the members of Scylla have been unemployed now for over 2 months all because [xxxxxx] promised us we’d basically be working for him now by touring consistently. In addition, we didn’t make any money he promised, he basically STOLE our own money, we lost all the money unnecessarily spent to prepare for the tours, and now has left the group in a state of disarray and currently we do not have an estimation on when our next release will happen due to these events.
We debated going public with all of this, but feel it is in everyone’s best interest that this come out to the public in order to hopefully stop it from happening to other groups/artists in the future. After going public we have learned we are not the only ones he has taken advantage of and created havoc throughout the scene.