Friday, September 14, 2012

Dallas rock band Midnight Empire cut from Slash concert - Dallas Morning News

DALLAS â€" Nearly 24 hours before Dallas rock ‘n’ roll band Midnight Empire was slated to open for the sold-out Slash show at the House of Blues in Dallas, the band manager got a phone call: They’d been cut from the bill. They received the coveted gig through a contest from a Guitar Center program called “Onstage with Slash,” and the company found out that Matt Cook, drummer for Midnight Empire, is an employee at Guitar Center. That’s against the rules.

“When we discovered the band's drummer was an employee of Guitar Center, we sadly had no choice but to disqualify them as our rules clearly state employees are ineligible to participate,” wrote Dustin Hinz, director of Music and Entertainment Marketing for Guitar Center, in an email. The band was not replaced.

The band members had applied for the contest over the summer and were told that Slash hand-selected their band. But members of Midnight Empire signed a form acknowledging they accepted and read the rules, including that a band member couldn’t be an employee of Guitar Center.

The band’s manager Kevin Huckabee said the musicians were “crushed.”

“It was devastating at first,” he said. “Our guitar player [Art Struck] â€" Slash is his hero. To hear he couldn’t play for his hero, it left him numb.”

They initially pointed fingers at Guitar Center â€" “at how they couldn’t get over it and help us out,” Huckabee said. But he said they also should have read the fine print, explaining, “It’s in the contract and we missed it.”

Employees of Guitar Center are not eligible for Guitar Center contests now or in the future, Hinz told us.

Huckabee was still able to get five tickets to the show and a backstage pass, and band members met and shook hands with Slash.

“When we went into this, it wasn’t like we’re just a good band out to fulfill a dream, we’re a legendary band about to take our first step,” said Huckabee. “We missed the step, but we grabbed a rail and ended up meeting Slash.”

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