Popular Rock Band Bullies Their Own Fans:
A Shocking True Story
[This article is based on true events,
the names of people have been changed in order to protect the innocent.]
I recently conducted an interview with a very well known secular metal band — let’s just say their pseudo name is Rainstorm. And something happened that was shocking and outrageous, and I believe the truth needs to be known.
Now, I have a person in my life whom I call my friend. We are not best of friends, but he associates me with music, so when he and I talk, music comes up. This is the story of Devin. Devin is a mid-forties man whom a lot of people have, unfortunately, written off in society because of a terrible accident that he endured in his twenties. Devin was working underneath a truck. He is a mechanic by trade and a phenomenal one, I might add, and as he was working the truck broke loose from its suspension and landed on him, crushing the front of his skull. He had to be life-flighted by helicopter to the most prestigious hospital in Nashville; and after several surgeries and after receiving a special mesh covering his skull cap, Devin lived to tell the tale. He is blind in one eye and has a giant “Q” shaped scar on his head, and his speech is often slow and slurred. He works every day as a mechanic, he has a license to operate a vehicle, but he is just very slow. I would compare him to a child in certain ways. I could not imagine what goes on inside of his head or what he went through. Although it can be aggravating at times, I still pause and take time with him when he frequently approaches me, because to him I am associated with music and discussing music makes him happy. A lot of people avoid him because of his mannerisms: he smokes cigarettes and he is 6’4″, he hasn’t had a haircut since the original Lynyrd Skynyrd line-up was together, and he is not very pleasant to look at.
But I believe God brought him into my life for a reason. Although I sometimes struggle when he stops me to chat because it takes him so long to get a conversation out, I think to myself, as cliche as it sounds: What Would Jesus Do. Then I am reminded that Jesus has put many people in certain situations, and Jesus loves to spend his time and efforts on imperfect sinners like me. I am 31, I’ve hit some hard times, and I live with my mother and am currently struggling just to pay my bills. I have been divorced twice, and I have two children. But I have been very blessed to be able to share my passion for music and entertainment through this outlet of RockinGodsHouse.com. I am not telling you this for any gratification on my part: the only reason I gave you that glimpse into my life is to explain my story and share my perspective of this altercation that took place with this very popular band.
Devon loves the secular metal band Rainstorm. Now I have listened to this band before and though they are not my cup of tea I know everything about them. They have an attractive female lead vocalist whose brother is the drummer. Their mom and dad are blue-collar people and are very much involved with the band. They are very popular and many fans adore them. I am not one of those many fans, but Devin is. He knows every song they have in their catalog. He owns every album, every DVD, shirt, poster — the whole nine! If they had a world championship Rainstorm trivia bowl, Devin would reign supreme with nobody even close to matching his wits. He discusses Rainstorm with me every time we are together because he associates me with music.
Well, it just so happens that Rainstorm is performing in Nashville. It will be their only show in the states, and then they are off to Europe until late August. So I had it in my heart to hunt down said band’s management and PR people to try to conduct an interview and perhaps get tickets and arrange a meet-n-greet with the band for Devin. After a few days of Sherlock Holmes investigating on my part (yes, I am tooting my own horn), I was able to track down the powers that be and arrange an interview with Rainstorm; in fact, it was the front woman of the band whom I was going to chat with via telephone interview. I also arranged two passes to the show. I told Devin, and his face lit up like a 10-foot-tall Christmas tree in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza in New York. I even invited him over to listen to the interview I conducted. He grinned the whole time, and I even mentioned to her in the conversation that Devin was present for the call and that he was their biggest fan and that he would love to meet her at the show. She said, “That is awesome!” and that she would love to meet him and get a picture with him.
Now the way God created me and how my heart works, I thoroughly enjoy bringing joy to other people’s lives and helping people. I was very proud of arranging this whole thing with Rainstorm for Devin.
We had a month to wait before the concert. I had the article-interview printed in a local middle Tennessee newspaper. I even had it edited by my friend/boss/editor Kevin Ott at RockinGodsHouse.com to make sure it was perfect, and it was! Devin was ecstatic and showed everyone the article when it was released. I was so excited to assist someone in experiencing something they took such delight in. I gave the glory to God because without Him I know in my heart none of it would have been possible.
Then the day came.
It was time to see the show. Devin was pumped. I was pumped for Devin. I was granted press passes, and we showed up early. We had our cameras ready in hopes to get a personal interaction with the band that Devin holds so near and dear to his heart.
The time finally came. We got into the line for the meet and greet, and Rainstorm’s tour manager was checking IDs and letting people in for a photo opportunity. Devin was ecstatic. When it was our turn to go inside, the manager pulled us to the side. He explained that he did not care what I had written or done for the band, he was granting us two passes and was going to draw the line with letting us meet the band. He also explained that the other people in line had paid money to meet the band and if he allowed us in he would have to allow everyone in.
This was not playing out like I had imagined. And this was just the beginning of a night that would go horribly wrong.
I then said that I didn’t have to go in, that Devin could go, and then I explained in further detail our situation. The tour manager got irritated, cut me off while I was talking, and proceeded to scold me as if I were a child. The whole time I was looking at Devin as his heart was breaking. Now, granted he is a full grown, tall man, but due to his brain he has the mindset of a young person at times. I felt awful. It was like looking at a person who had just witnessed their favorite superhero get his masked pulled off.
As frustrated as I was, I decided to not give up — and mind you I don’t recommend that anyone do this — but I waited for said manager to disappear, and I took Devin in anyway. A wise radio personality mentor of mine told me early on in my career that, “It is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” On a few special occasions I have put this advice to use.
So as I took him in and put him in line for a photo and interaction with the band, I began to mingle with Rainstorm’s entourage. I met the bus driver, the guitar player’s mom and dad, and another famed syndicated radio show host. I was in my comfort zone, and it looked like Devin was going to get to meet his favorite rock group. (BUMM BUMM BUMM) Enter danger music in your head. The manager spotted me. Which is not hard: I am six feet tall, and I am what you would call a bigger guy with a somewhat larger-than-life personality. He pointed his finger close to my face: “GET OUT NOW, GET OUT NOW, and get your friend!”
Now, I have had the privilege to meet a former United States President, and his Secret Service men and their polite manners made them seem like puppies in comparison to the way the tour manager then treated me. He began to physically escort us out the door and scold me for a second time, all the while cursing me out and literally calling me everything other than a Singer Sewing Machine. I had never experienced this kind of treatment in my life — and I once had to spend a weekend in jail because of a missed child support payment (true story). He threatened to take our passes away. I spoke up and said, “That’s fine with me,” and Devin agreed. Devin went from being sad to Incredible Hulk-style anger. He was bitter, and so we left and came home.
I apologized several times, and Devin accepted. He knew it wasn’t my fault, and he very much disliked how the manager had spoken to me. He was okay with my attempt to help him meet the band, but I still felt extremely guilty. I didn’t know what to do. I had witnessed a person who loved a musical group turn to bitterness and disgust within minutes.
I prayed on it and felt that maybe God was speaking through this incident, telling me to get out of the entertainment industry. So that is what I had my mind set on doing. I emailed Abbie Stancato and Kevin Ott, my respective bosses, brothers in Christ, and friends, and I expressed my intention and the burden on my heart. One lives in California, the other in Indiana, yet they are very dear friends and will help me, encourage me, and discuss my problems with me in a second’s notice. It is a great feeling to be a part of a team like RockinGodsHouse.com. I received an encouraging email from Kevin and an awesome phone conversation with Abbie — who, like a guardian angel of sorts, listened to me, encouraged me, quoted Scripture, and discussed the amazing story and trials of Joseph from the Bible, which reminded me that sometimes we get thrown into a pit and betrayed even when we’re trying to do something good for somebody.
Abbie also encouraged me to write about my experience. So I did. I got it off my chest, I was open and honest, and I feel much better.
I am still a little confused on what my next step should be. Should I stick with the entertainment industry? It’s not an easy place to work in sometimes. The entertainment industry has a dark, ugly side to it, and sometimes those things need to be exposed. When RockinGodsHouse.com interviewed Tichina Arnold, she said the same thing, essentially: the industry is a brutal place.
Ultimately, the fans of a band should be treated with dignity — not with contempt as if they were mere sheep in a pen who are not worthy to bask in the glow of a band’s stardom. Maybe the band members themselves are not like that; maybe it was just that particular tour manager. But shouldn’t the band be aware of how their managers are treating fans and be more protective of the fans who are buying all their music and concert tickets and making their career possible?
But, overall, I am glad and relieved to write this and receive encouragement from the RGH team — I appreciated Abbie’s suggestion to share my story with our readers.
If you have a similar tale about a band or entertainment personality please feel free to hit me up and share it with me. You can email our editor — firstname.lastname@example.org — address it to me, and he will forward it on to me; and I will get back to you from my personal email. I’d like to hear from you and maybe provide the same listening ear that was offered to me.