Vincent Casamatta, tour manager and engineer
"I've been on the road and in the studio for a lot of years now. I’ve tour-managed bands through endless missed flights, sleepless nights, 4 a.m. lobby calls, 20-hour days, moody artists, petty promoters, strung-out crews, and plenty of drunken mayhem I’m not always quick to recall. I’ve got a few stories, but one that still to this day seems like it was ripped out of a missing scene from Spin̈al Tap was a few years ago when I was hired to tour manage and engineer for OK Go.
"A few years back, OK Go’s manager gave me a call. He had a big problem: The entire crew was so fed up with their tour manager that they were ALL going to quit the very next day and fly home on their own dime, if necessary. This particular crew was the nicest, most talented bunch of people you could ask for. And OK Go are perhaps the sharpest, most gentlemanly group of upstanding guys you could find. This was basically the worst tour manager in the world.
I think the final straw was when he told a promoter in Michigan he’d be back in a minute; he just needed to grab his gun out of the van to 'set things right.'
"He spent his nights polishing his collection of sharp knives, and his days in complete, unprepared disarray. I think the final straw was when he told a promoter in Michigan he’d be back in a minute; he just needed to grab his gun out of the van to 'set things right.' I’m guessing when they asked him how he solved work conflicts on the job interview, he didn’t say 'with my piece.' But there he was—way out of his element.
"To make matters worse, their manager wanted to know if I could try to grab whatever money I could from him—because it had been brought to their attention that the current tour manager hadn’t sent back a dime of what they were paid for any shows, or any cash from any merchandise sales, for the entire tour!
"So this guy had to go, and I agreed to take over. All I had to do was meet them before they got to the next show and send this guy on his way. I was waiting for him, flanked by the biggest 'security guards' I could find. All I needed to do was get whatever cash I could, hand him his boarding pass and send him to the airport in the cab I had idling out front.
"I called him into the office, sat him down, and made it clear: 'Give me the cash and I’ll get you on your way.' Just like that, he slammed his briefcase on the desk in front of me, clicked open the latches, and flipped the lid to reveal a pile of miscellaneous uncounted bills totaling around $15,000. And on top of the pile? Two of the biggest switchblades I've ever seen.
"As he walked out the door, he turned back and said, 'If you ever know anyone looking for a good tour manager, give me a ring ‘cause my schedule just opened up,' and handed me his card. I still have the card if anybody’s looking."