Promoters out of pocket as Phil Rudd reps go awol
Several promoters across Europe are owed tens of thousands of euros in deposits for a string of cancelled Phil Rudd shows, with some still waiting for refunds from shows called off as far back as June 2017, IQ has learnt.
The former AC/DC drummer in late 2016 announced plans to take his Phil Rudd Band on the road, pencilling in a run of UK and European dates for the following spring on the back of a re-release of his 2014 solo LP, Head Job. For both the tour and album release, Rudd agreed a ‘360’ deal with Wave 365 Media, a “bespoke marketing and promotion” company led by chairman/president Alan Bellman.
According to Rudd’s agent, Ian Smith of Fizzion/Frusion, the Head Job tour got off to a successful start, with the Phil Rudd Band playing around 30 shows in 15 countries in the first half of 2017. However, a run of UK shows initially scheduled for May 2017 were pushed back to September and then failed to materialise, followed by the cancellation owing to last minute “key technical and logistical issues” of all dates in autumn 2017 by Bellman.
Another run of European shows was then announced for May and June 2018; these, too, were cancelled, with the blame again pinned on “unforeseen technical and logistical issues”.
One Spanish concert promoter says he has yet to “see a penny” of his deposit returned, despite all Spanish dates being called off last October. He estimates Wave 365 currently holds at least €20,000 in non-refunded deposits from Spain alone.
His story is borne out by conversations IQ had with promoters from the UK, Italy, Germany, Croatia and elsewhere in Spain, all of whom said they are awaiting the return of at least €5,000 each for shows which didn’t go ahead.
“We were all gobsmacked to find the tour was pulled again”
An Italian promoter, who says he has lost €6,000 in deposits and around €2,000 in lost earnings, tells IQ he has “sent many emails without ever receiving an answer from Bellman or his lawyers”. A British promoter, meanwhile, says he has “emailed Alan Bellman at least 20 times since September, and the only email I’ve ever received was a CC on one where he was getting heavy with someone accusing him of fraud.”
“It’s typical that the minute you’re late with the deposit, you’ve got the agent screaming at you on the phone, saying management are going to cancel,” he continues, “but when the shoe’s on the other foot, it’s a completely different story.”
Another describes how the Rudd Band were “supposed to come to Croatia a week earlier to have rehearsals here for the tour. I booked the rehearsal space and paid for two shows, but the shows never happened.”
While the Croatian promoter says he managed to secure a refund for the fees, “the money I spent for promotion, rehearsal room, et cetera, I never got back. So I’m in a better situation than the other guys, but it’s still not good – they kept me in the belief that they [Phil Rudd Band] would show up until two days before the shows.”
The situation for a promoter just across the border was worse. Having booked Rudd for a date in Slovakia, they later discovered that Bellman had, without the band or Smith’s knowledge, booked a show in Spain for the same night.
While one British promoter says he expected the deposit to be put into an escrow account, Smith confirms promoters’ contracts stipulated that all monies would be paid directly to Wave 365 Media. “From the very start of negotiations I made clear to all promoters we were required without exception by management [Bellman/Wave 365] to collect on their behalf and monies had to be sent to management” – management that Smith says he hasn’t heard from in weeks.
One promoter estimates Wave 365 currently holds at least €20,000 in non-refunded deposits from Spain alone
A statement issued to IQ by Smith/Frusion, “produced in full consultation with and released for and on behalf of the Phil Rudd Band”, says all parties “feel badly let down by these cancellations and associated problems not of their making, especially having successfully completed a two-month tour in early 2017”, but, “having the decision being placed before them by Mr Bellman to cancel the tour in 2018, had no option other than to comply”.
The statement adds that Bellman and Wave 365 Media have “rightly, freely and openly accepted full liability in writing for all refunds of fees and any other costs to all affected promoters”.
While one said promoter says that, in his opinion, “these tours were booked with no intention of the tour happening – just an excuse to collect money from promoters then do a runner”, Smith contends that this was not the case. Indeed, he says the band had their bags packed ready to go. “If the tour hadn’t have gone ahead initially, I’d have agreed it was dodgy,” he says. “But we did 30 shows in 15 countries with great success – and we were all gobsmacked to find the tour was pulled again [in 2018].”
“We feel very much victims of a situation not of our own making,” he adds. (Until recently, Smith was not allowed to speak directly with the band, the agreement stating all communications must go through Wave 365 Media.) “We all hope this is dealt with quickly and fairly.”
Multiple attempts by IQ to contact Bellman and Wave 365 were unsuccessful.
Molly Long contributed to this report.
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