A scam artist who booked concerts by pretending to represent
Sullivan Bigg, Great White’s agent, was first alerted to the ruse by Chris King, owner of Sticky Fingerz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack in Little Rock, Ark., in August. King had been approached via e-mail by a man named Bobby Jenks about booking the band, and was in the process of doing so when he decided to contact Bigg.
Bigg thought at first the offer to the Little Rock club was an isolated incident, he said.
“I got a phone call from a friend in western Massachusetts and he says, ‘Hey, I see Great White is playing at such-and-such a club.’ I said, ‘No, Great White isn’t even touring until spring,'” Bigg told Pollstar. “I contacted the buyer and he says, ‘I got a contract.’ I said, ‘My friend, you’ve been scammed.’
“So I put a big disclaimer warning on the Great White Web site. I was trying to get the word out to people to do their friggin’ homework. Within 36 hours of posting that warning, three other buyers contacted me.”
The alleged con artist used the name John Byrnes to book a November 4th Great White / Lita Ford show at the Maximum Capacity Sports Bar in Chicopee, Mass., for $1,500. One tip- off the deal was phony: Lita Ford left the music business years ago after she married former Nitro lead singer Jim Gillette. But the phony artist rep knew enough to make it sound legit.
“He had somebody call [the club] and say, ‘This is Lita Ford’s husband, Jim Gillette,'” Bigg explained. “‘I’m calling to cancel the show and I’ll be sending back the money.’ Of course, the money never comes.”
Other clubs caught in the scam were located in Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In Little Rock, Jenks wanted to book “Jack Russell’s Great White” for a September 9th show at King’s club for $3,500.
“In the opening e-mail, he referred to the band as ‘The Great White.’ I was a fan of the band in high school and have never heard the band referred to as ‘The Great White,'” King told Pollstar. “I thought that was suspicious right off the bat.”
The club owner said other inconsistencies in correspondence with Jenks set off a red flag despite the negotiations appearing legit.
“He went through everything you would typically discuss when booking a show. He was very thorough in some of his questioning and definitely sounded like an agent,” King said. “But in one of our conversations, I specifically asked, ‘Is this Jack Russell’s band?’ Then our conversations always talked about what Jack needed for the show.”
Copies of the contracts and related correspondence obtained by Pollstar show Jenks and Byrnes using the same contract templates used in scams involving Poison, Alice In Chains, Bret Michaels and Axl Rose concerts with similar content flaws. The only difference now is the force majeure clause previously misspelled as “force manure” has been removed.
In both cases, the buyer is instructed to send payments by certified check to road manager David Wilson at the same Chicago address.
Other names used by the bogus booker include Bill Cantor, Michael Robertson, John Bryant and Doug Goldstein with various business names including Try-Star Entertainment, Michael Robinson Management, Robertson/Goldstein Management, John Bryant Management and Bobby Jenks Management.
Bigg said he’s also heard through the grapevine the scammer might be pitching his client Jani Lane of
“This guy is so awful. These are little clubs who can’t afford to lose this kind of money. If they’re embarrassed, they’re going to blame [Great White], saying the band canceled,” he explained. “That makes my clients look bad. Haven’t they been through enough?”
– Tina Amendola