Dealing with the Byrds Chapter 2

After going through the pangs of making sure that The Byrds were going to arrive on time and perform (chapter 1), i never envisioned the things that were to come.

the Director of Social Affairs at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) had warned me what to expect but there were some things that apparently, he did not experience that i did.

he said they showed up 45 minutes late for an 8pm show, played 5 or 6 songs and left with no encores. he was generally pissed.

The Byrd’s equipment semi and their advance team arrived about 6pm which was way late in my mind. the band arrived about an hour later. Their setup was pretty simple and the sound system was pretty straight forward, no special equipment requests.

the band was a different story. i went in the dressing room to greet them and make sure that we did not have a repeat of the previous night late start and limited song list. i immediately saw that they were using drugs and doing whatever they wanted. i told the road manager that we were on campus and alcohol and drugs were not allowed. there was security. the manager informed me that he did not like me and that they may not play at all. of course, this turned into an exchange of threats of litigation and physical violence from me, which he did not seem to care about. i don’t think he perceived a real threat.

the byrd’s manager then demanded payment of the back half of their contract before they went on stage. thinking that i did not have any option and that it was a check which payment could be stopped, i presented the check for $2,500 to him. we had already paid them $2,500 with the signing of the contract through the william morris agency.

the tour manager looked at the check and handed it back to me and said, “cash only”. i looked at him in astonishment. he looked back with a blank look and said, “cash or they don’t go on.

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