A Texas charity organizer and an Alabama concert promoter foiled an alleged scam artist who has been promising nationally touring acts at bargain-basement prices for nearly two years. This time, the imposter claimed to represent Ronnie James Dio twice in one week.
Mat Raymond, an independent promoter in Birmingham, Ala., said he was contacted via e-mail March 10th by "Tom Peterson/ Ronnie James Dio Management."
The e-mail offered Dio to the promoter, saying, "since we are working on a couple up close and personal dates with Ronnie, your club was suggested. Can you handle this act."
Raymond decided to check it out. "I’m also a talent buyer for the 1,000-capacity Iron Horse Café here and we get a lot of inquiries at the club, so getting an e-mail about doing a Ronnie James Dio show wasn’t that out of the blue," the promoter told Pollstar. "But I know that Dio is a Pinnacle [Entertainment] artist, so I called [agent] Ryan Harlacher."
An artist rider supplied by Peterson appeared to be legit and a follow-up e-mail suggested a June club date. But Raymond suspected something was up.
Further research and a conversation with Harlacher confirmed Raymond’s suspicions. Dio isn’t touring North America this year and will be in Europe in June.
When Raymond tried to contact Peterson by e-mail again, he got no response.
"[Peterson] didn’t realize he was dealing with someone who’s in touch with the business," Raymond said. "But I can see how certain people could easily be taken advantage of because they just don’t know how to connect the dots."
Meanwhile, the phony artist rep was busy pitching a Dio show to a charity organizer in Texas, using other known aliases.
Rob Eichelberger, VP of the "Ride For Dime" charity motorcycle ride and concert in Carrollton, told Pollstar he got word from another charity organizer March 17th about a chance to book Dio to headline the August event.
The charity was formed in memory of former Pantera and Damageplan frontman "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three others who were killed in 2004 at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Eichelberger followed up on the news.
"A company called East Texas Choppers said they had been contacted by Doug Goldstein, who said Ronnie James Dio was looking to do some small venues throughout the South for the summer," Eichelberger said. "’Up close and personal’ is what they called the dates.
"The fellow at East Texas Choppers went ahead and sent [Goldstein] a $1,250 retainer. He said it sounded like a good deal and forwarded over the contract."
Eichelberger said he went ahead and signed the contract, which asked for $5,000 with $2,500 up front to hold the date, and overnighted the money to "Carey Zermeno" at a Chicago address. He then posted the good news about Dio’s upcoming appearance on the "Ride For Dime" Web site.
"’Ride For Dime’ has gotten a pretty decent name in the music world, so once we announced [the Dio show] on our Web site, Blabbermouth.net announced that Ronnie James Dio would be headlining ‘Ride For Dime,’ too," he said. "Dio’s management contacted Blabbermouth and told them they didn’t know anything about that. So I contacted [manager] Wendy Dio myself, and got an e-mail from her about this thing."
Eichelberger said he immediately put a stop payment on his check, as did East Texas Choppers. Neither party had lost their deposit money at press time, and the situation hasn’t hurt the event’s credibility.
"It sucks that it happened but it’s given ‘Ride For Dime’ a lot more press this year. The motorcycle clubs we associate with are aware of what we do and they’re pretty upset about this," Eichelberger said. "Everybody that we’ve gotten e-mails from … [is] standing up for the charity, so I’m real happy about that.
"If [Goldstein] comes to Texas, it’s going to be a bad day for him."
Copies of a contract and related correspondence obtained by Pollstar in both cases show a boilerplate contract format with lengthy requirements on the artist rider. The names listed on the paperwork include Doug Goldstein Management at a Chicago address, "James Lundell Ronnie James Dio Team" at a New York City address and Tom Peterson with a Chicago phone number.
As previously reported by Pollstar, the buyer is instructed to overnight payments by certified check to various names including David Wilson, Cary Zermeno and Michael Robertson.
Similar aliases have turned up in the last two years involving illegitimate offers for Axl Rose, Alice In Chains, Bret Michaels, Poison, David Lee Roth, Great White, Jani Lane & Warrant and "Weird Al" Yankovic.