Death Manager Eric Greif Responds To Death To All Tour Issues
Band Photo: Death (?)
When Sick Drummer Magazine released a statement about rumors and allegations pertaining to the Death To All tour that they organized, Death manager Eric Greif responded briefly saying he'd issue a "press release" on the matter as well. He has since issued the following statement:
It is with profound regret that I must clarify the reality of the Death To All Tour, now that rumors are in full swing and Sick Drummer Magazine has issued a statement at their zine. First, I must thank the musicians and crew for making this such a wondrous experience for the fans. The Schuldiners & I were tremendously proud of how much Chuck’s spirit was captured by these nine seasoned pros on stage. What events these five shows were! So it should be clear that, on the surface, Death To All was an awesome experience for me as a fan, as the former manager of Death, and as the person legally entrusted with guarding Chuck’s legacy.
I was approached by Anton Hefele of Grind Percussion LLC (who go by the business name Sick Drummer Magazine) with the enticing premise of he & his partner Ian Macdonald organizing such an historic tour, and I was asked to designate the charity of our choice. The Schuldiners & I endorse Sweet Relief (sweetrelief.org), so that was simple. I was assured by others whom I trusted that Sick Drummer was a legit organization and could pull the tour off. In fact, they themselves stated clearly that they had all contingencies sorted out to handle any & all tour outcomes, like any legit folks in the metal music business would. They guaranteed musician & crew salaries, worked the gig bookings out with The Pantheon Agency, and after some wrangling did a licensing contract with us at Perseverance Holdings Ltd. that would see compensation going to the Schuldiner family for the use of Chuck’s songs & the prestige of the Death name & logo. The biggest commitment they made, however, was that 20% of every ticket and merch item sold would go straight to Sweet Relief. This was the crux of why we’d allow this tour to happen under Chuck’s name.
I trusted in these two guys from Sick Drummer Magazine. So did Jane Schuldiner, Beth Schuldiner and Chris Steele. So did the musicians. So did the Death fans. After rocky negotiations produced an 11th hour contract, including their cancelling of shows in Atlanta and Dallas (that they had added after the first five), we still gave them the benefit of the doubt. I was on the entire tour and witnessed first hand the organizational confusion and the financial incompetence, as did every musician. Clearly I knew there was no way they would be able to afford all of what they were obligated to pay, even despite sold out venues and purchased merch flying out the door. The sharp pain of worry in my gut was only eased by the thought that they had promised they could handle any outcome. I was wrong.
I discovered within a month of the tour finishing that each musician, beyond a bit of cash given during the five dates, was handed a worthless check in Orlando, signifying most of their pay. I found that the same applied to the crew. Perseverance Holdings Ltd. was unpaid. The booking agency was unpaid. Worst of all: Sweet Relief didn’t get a single penny of the supposed ‘20% off the top’ that Sick Drummer had been touting.
I had to break the news to the Schuldiners of the diabolical circumstances, and they were crushed. Still, I tried to keep this from the public. I went back & forth with Ian Macdonald who seemed to throw his hands in the air in a mea culpa of ‘we didn’t mean it, dude — we’re just shitty businessmen.’ All told, I reckon they currently owe around $100,000 to everyone, including the charity.
Fans also started writing to us en masse to complain about missing merch and costly VIP tickets never refunded. When I started writing on the Death To All Facebook page that they should press Sick Drummer for refunds, I was suddenly removed from the page as an admin. Yes indeed Sick Drummer cobbled together promissory notes to give to everyone, whilst at the same time pleading with the musicians not to take any legal action. They even agreed that they’d never again undertake anything related to Chuck or Death…but, for whatever reason, they refused to relinquish a claim to the tour name ‘Death To All,’ which added insult to injury. But by then I was just numb.
I want to apologize to everyone for having to write such a detailed statement so that the rumors can be put to rest. Some of you might say that none of this matters because the shows were cool and you had a killer time. But promises made are promises meant to be kept, especially contractual ones. Chuck’s name was used. The charity was meant to receive immediate cash. I have never insinuated that either Anton or Ian are crooks, but the truth of the matter is that my trust in these two guys has let a lot of folks down, and for that I am full of regret. We would like to see Death To All happen again, perhaps in different parts of the world, and next time this kind of financial fiasco will not happen on my watch.
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