On Friday, January 16, before a show scheduled for that night at Casselman's, Puddle of Mudd frontman Wes Scantlin arrived at Denver International Airport, where he promptly hopped on a baggage carousel. That did not end well. "Evidentlyn someone in their group was egging him on to do it," says Seth Daniels, who promoted the show. "They were videotaping it for, I don't know, trytostayrelevant.com. [TSA] told him to get off, and he refused. They didn't arrest him immediately; they warned him: 'Hey, if you don't get off the luggage rack, we're going to arrest you.' He refused to get off, so they arrested him."
Daniels, of Rock Panther Presents, had to hear about the events secondhand, as he was in Albuquerque managing an MMA show. He received a call at about 3 p.m. from someone at the limousine company handling transportation for the band. Initially, Daniels thought it was a joke. "It is pretty funny, but it would just be a lot funnier if it didn't happen to me," he says.
From Katy, Texas, Daniels moved to Colorado Springs to work at the Olympic Training Center as a lead judo athlete and wrestler. He's mostly been promoting martial-arts events for the past ten years; the Puddle of Mudd show was only his third time working with live music. And it was an experience he will never forget on the professional level.
"The only reason I agreed to sign this band in the first place was because their agency told us this dude was sober now," he says. "That's why they gave me certain pictures of him, and I was only supposed to use those pictures because he was sober."
Scantlin has had a history of drunken and disorderly conduct across his career and has been no stranger to erratic and disruptive behavior in public. He was banned for life from Graceland in 2007 for "cannonballing into one of Elvis Presley's off-limits pools."
After his ride on the baggage carousel in Denver, Scantlin was taken to a downtown Denver jail, while Daniels and his staff tried to figure out a way to bail him out so that he could perform that night.
"He wasn't supposed to get out until Tuesday because he had warrants in four other states," says Daniels. "So they had to clear each warrant to make sure they weren't extraditable. And they were all, like, skipping court dates for drunk and disorderly and other stupid stuff."
With friends on the police force advising him on procedure and timing, along with the support of a good friend, Levi Brite, who posted the bail and provided a lawyer to smooth over the legal details, Daniels was able to still arrange for the show. The original bail of $11,000 was reduced to $5,000 with a $250 bond, because none of the charges out of state was extraditable. At 12:03 a.m., Scantlin was whisked over to Casselman's to perform at around 12:20 a.m.
"It's probably good that I wasn't there, because I probably wouldn't have handled it as professionally as my staff did," says Daniels. "It's one of the scariest situations in business I've ever been a part of. I would have refunded every ticket. I would have taken the $25,000 hit, gone out of business and gone bankrupt. I'm a karma person, and I can't take people's money if they don't get what they're paying for. So I was literally trying to figure out how much money to put in the bank to handle all these refunds and trying to figure out what to do."
Daniels had also made contingency plans: Lola Black, from the opening act of the same name, was willing to step in to sing the songs she knew, and her husband, guitarist Chris Dellinger (formerly of '90s alternative-rock band Blister 66), was possibly going to sing a few as well. The staff had even intended to talk to Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch, who was at the show and is from the Denver area, to see if he might be able to sing. In the end, Scantlin put in a good performance. But the incident has shattered Daniels's impressions of the band.
"I'd been a fan since I was a senior in high school, listening toCome Clean
my entire time in college," says Daniels. "We were pumped and sold the show out. It sucks because not only do you not ever want to work with them in business, but I'm no longer a fan of the band. I don't want to hear any of their songs again the rest of my life. The shitty part of being a fan and being a promoter is that I'm not doing this to make money, I do this because I love music and I want to see a lot of these bands that I've never seen in my life. Even if they haven't had a song in five or six years, at some point I missed that concert -- and now that I have a concert company I want to see it so I make it happen. Then they do this, and it sucks, because I was a fan."
"From what I heard, the rest of the band was really cool," adds Daniels. "They were apologetic and signed a lot of posters. And everybody backstage liked them a lot. And everybody said Wes was really cool after the show."
Daniels harbors no regrets. He says that many people that came to the show had never heard of and loved Lola Black, a band that was offering what it could to salvage a potentially disastrous situation.
"Don't get me wrong," says Daniels. "I do think it's a funny situation. I'm not angry, bitter or upset about all of it. I just wish it hadn't happened to me. If I had read about this on TMZ, I would have laughed. It's funny! It just sucks when you're the one left holding the bag. Had it happened to another promoter, I probably would have laughed instead of cried in my hotel room."
Daniels's next show will combine two of his passions: a performance from Everlast at the Paramount Theatre on March 6 between sets of MMA matches.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.