On 12/6/10 I was supposed to play at the Maximal Festival
in Milan, Italy. I was booked for the event but never got a deposit. I asked about a deposit for WEEKS but one never came. Sent many e-mails, but no response. I was suspicious because many people including Monika Kruse and Tina from Kne'Deep (Rush's manager) never got paid from the 2009 Maximal Festival and warned me not to play. I told the organizer Tommaso Dapri (who had finally got back to me via e-mail days before the party)
that if I didn't get my deposit, I wouldn't get on the plane (they could afford a plane ticket yet they couldn't send me a deposit).
So, the night before, after discussing the situation with friends, I decided to go despite my misgivings. I figured if I were physically there I could crack some skulls.
Flight on Air Berlin
to Milan was no problem. When I arrived I saw Tommaso, the main organizer. I figured things were cool if he came to greet us. I had played for him twice before at a club in Milan called The Tunnel in '06 and '07. All was cool back then and Tommi had lived up to his contracts.
Ran into some cats from Detroit I hadn't seen in awhile too (Scan 7, DJ Seoul from DTM and I had never met Chris a.k.a. Detroit's Own DJ Surgeon).
The next day, we went to the festival grounds to check them out before the party began. I was scoping out the box office, getting a sense of the money trail in case I had to track down my dough. We went to the artists area and got an envelope with our credentials in it but again no deposit! After a while I went back to the hotel as I wasn't supposed to play until 2 am (closing out the Anima stage).
Around 10:30 pm that night, I made my way to the festival area again, this time with my records and ready to play!!!! I left nice and early because I had a feeling there would be problems. This was my view when I first arrived at the event:
I arrived at the Anima stage and sure enough Juan was talking to one of the organizers and I could tell something was wrong.
"Money problems," said Juan. I replied, "I KNEW IT!"
The original deal I was told was that we'd have to take a cut. I was down with that and was still ready to rock.
We both walked over to the box office. There was a guy there who kept trying to get Tommaso on the phone but he wasn't answering. There were armed guards around the box office, kids were steady paying to get in even after it was known that there were talent problems.
I waited for awhile and nothing. So I decided to find Tommaso on my own. Back at the artists area, a crowd of angry local Italian DJs confronted Tommaso's mother, who was catering the event. Tommaso was nowhere in sight, leaving his mom to take the heat!!!
I finally found him hiding behind the t-shirt concession area (which was making money), near this RV that was the headquarters. I told him I'd play for half, even a quarter of my fee (the fee that HE HIMSELF OFFERED, NOT ME!), but he kept crying broke. The guy had tears in his eyes and now his mom was hiding back there too. I saw these old guys carrying money bags so obviously they took control of the party and decided nobody was getting paid. Again there were armed guards, plus police outside the campgrounds.
So there I was in Milan for nothing. I had been warned, but went anyway. I took some pictures with the kids upon request though. It wasn't their fault!
I almost played though. Scan 7 and DJ Surgeon decided to go on (they had flown all the way from Detroit) and they were destroying it! I sat there with my records backstage and was getting geeked to go on because they had the crowd all hyped! But if I had played, Maximal would have won. If I played without them living up to their end of the contract, I would have been exploited. Period. The Maximal people posted YouTube videos of Lou's show to make out everything was cool.
So back to the hotel I went. Basically all I got were some Maximal t-shirts. The festival was on a Saturday but my flight wasn't until Monday night (they didn't let me review the schedule before they booked it). The hotel was way outside Milan so I didn't get to see the city at all. I tweeted
about the experience and the Maximal people (Tommaso and friends) tried to badmouth me like I was the bad guy. I AM NOT THE BAD GUY HERE SO DON'T GET IT TWISTED, PEOPLE. I could have stayed in Berlin minding my own business. The only good that came of it is that I saw Marco Passarani (after 17 years!), Space DJz, Juan Atkins, Scan 7, DJ Krust, and some other old friends again.
I sincerely apologize to the people who came to see me play that night, but I was lied to by Maximal and decided to make a stand since they LIED FROM THE BEGINNING AND OBVIOUSLY HAD NO INTENTIONS OF PAYING PEOPLE. There were obviously problems, but JUST BE UPFRONT AND WE COULD WORK SOMETHING OUT.
I wouldn't mind even doing a free make-up date in Milano for DIFFERENT PROMOTERS. I would do that for the kids if it was MY CHOICE, not being dicked by shady promoters!
Nobody wants to admit they got dicked, but somebody's got to be vocal and tell what happened from a DJs point of view, especially those of us who live off our art! Hopefully this blog post will lay all questions to rest and we can all move on! This will be my final word on the subject for all to see!
Thanks for your understanding and continued support and I hope to see you next time!
More European Tour pics to follow.
PS: Thanks to Luca who arrived despite all bullshit to take me to Malpensa airport, which was an hour away from the hotel (Air Berlin flew out of there instead of the closer Linate airport)!
-AO :: 3:09 PM ::