In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the synth rock band, Death Valley Dreams, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story below:
This is a wild story from back when Johnny and I were in The Drama Club. We got a call from an agent that had been helping us get shows. He tells us that he has this guy who wants to book and sponsor a tour with us and another band from St. Louis. He says he’s going to pay us a weekly salary and get a tour bus for both bands to do the tour. Keep in mind, that neither of the bands was big enough to draw for a headlining tour, but we said “Let’s do it!”
In the weeks leading up to the “tour,” we still didn’t receive contact info for anyone at any of the venues to advance the shows. The venues he was “booking” were like small arenas. We knew this all had to be bullshit, but we said “If a bus shows up…..we’ll get on it”. Even though it seemed shady AF, we were up for an adventure.
The day we’re supposed to leave comes and we get a ride with all of our gear to the location we agreed to be picked up at. Still not believing any of it we laughed, but still said we’ll get on it if it shows up. Well wouldn’t you know, the bus actually showed up! A black Prevost rolls into the parking lot. We were like “oh shit, it’s actually happening.” The door opened and the other band from St. Louis along with our agent friend (who was going to TM), who got the call from this “tour promoter”, got off to greet us. All of us were confused as to why any of this was happening but everyone was along for the ride.
Right from the jump there were problems. Before we even left the parking lot the bus driver said “we need to get gas or we’re not going anywhere”. The TM got on the phone with “the promoter” to have money wired to us. Now, apparently, this guy also conned an ex-cop with some extra money into investing in a tour that was supposed to sell all of these tickets and everyone was going to make all kinds of money. So…this ex-cop wired the money and were on our way to the only show that was actually confirmed in Miami. He keeps saying that the venues are canceling and to just go to the next city. Every day the same thing. He tells us, that him and this ex-cop are meeting us with another tour bus in Miami and we will get everything figured out and do the rest of the dates from then on. We were like “ok yeah right.” Wouldn’t you know… he showed up!
So.. we’re in Miami. Another green Prevost tour bus rolls up in front of the venue, where we also have our bus parked. This shady-looking wirey guy comes off the bus to greet us. He’s all nervous and apologizes and says he’s gonna make it up to us and the rest of the shows are going to be great. Also coming off the bus was the ex-cop investor guy and his wife. Big marine looking dude. We set everything up in the venue but zero people showed up. It was almost like they didn’t even know we were coming and he just conned them into letting us in there. Well after everyone started talking to the investor guy it became apparent that this “promoter” was conning everyone. So the ex-cop went onto the bus to confront him about it. He basically said it was all a lie and he just wanted to know what it was like to be on tour with a band. The ex-cop was PISSED! He spent over 10 grand for the busses and gas that he would never get back. We went on the bus to see what was going on and he had him at gunpoint in the back lounge. So obviously there were no more shows. The investor turned out to be a really great guy. He actually paid to have the buses take both bands home, which he totally didn’t have to do.
The band from St. Louis went home on one bus and we went with the investor, his wife, and the con man, who we ended up leaving at a truck stop in the middle of Georgia somewhere. It took us a few days but eventually, we made our way back north and dropped them off in Ohio, and then Pennsylvania. The bus dropped us off at my house. We said our goodbyes to the driver, who said he’d never been a part of anything like this before. We said neither have we… but we’d do it again. We just know if the bus shows up, you have to get on. It might not be what we expected but it was a hell of a ride.