Day 8 - Performance at Absolute Blue
Today we had our first performance in Tokyo at a well known club in the middle of Tokyo called Absolute Blue. We were also trying to do a live recording session so we arrived a few hours early to try and set up the microphones and the audio interface. Unfortunately there was no sound man, so we were left to our own devices with the sound engineering. Also, while setting up my synthesizers on top of the piano, I accidentally etched a scratch into the music rack, about 1.5 inches long that just barely nicked the top layer of gloss on the music shelf. I didn't notice, but when the owner came over and brought me a towel, she saw the scratch and became very distraught. I told her that I was sorry, it was obviously an accident, and that I would repair or replace the music stand as soon as I was able, and gave her my contact information, which she already had. She was not being reasonable, and demanded first 20,00, then 10,000, then 27,000 yen (about $250) to be paid immediately! I am a piano technician, and work on pianos all day at Berklee, and knew that the repair couldn't be more than $100 dollars, and told her that I needed to see a receipt for the repair, or for the new music rack before I made such an outrageous payment. We continued to setup the microphones and test the levels, with no help from a sound engineer, while she proceeded to type up a fake invoice for 27,000 yen, which I knew was a completely arbitrary number, that had nothing to do with the cost of repair or replacement. Me and my band decided to talk about it, and I decided that I would get a proper estimate for repair and give her that amount at a convenient time. I did not have the money to pay $250 for a scratch on the music shelf, and it should be covered by insurance if she rented the piano as she had claimed. It was clear that she was just trying to get money from us, and was not concerned with the music or the piano.
Unfortunately, one of my band members went ahead and paid the amount she was demanding, out of fear, despite me telling them that it was my responsibility, and that I would pay the proper amount at a reasonable time. All of these events really stressed me out personally, and I feel that the emotions were getting into the music. After the first set I found out about what happened with the payment, and we nearly canceled the second set, but a few more guests were waiting to hear us play, and we did not want to disappoint them. We finished the second set, and packed up or stuff to leave and get dinner and discuss what happened. We sold a few CD's and spoke about Berklee programs, but the minor scratch was still hanging over my head. Overall, it was a huge learning experience for everyone in the group. We will not be returning to this club, and learned to be more wary of sketchy club owners and establishments that try to profit off the backs of musicians that play for them.