This used to happen all the time when I was on the road. One night in Denver the club owner left before we were done and told his bar manager to pay us about half of what he agreed to. We went as far as finding the club owners house in the middle of the night and we wouldn't leave until he paid us. He was going to call the cops but we said go ahead. We had a printed contract that he signed. We also told him we were not above beating the money out of him. This sounds extreme but when you are far from home and away from any kind of support system the last thing you want is for club owners and producers to think you are some kind of push over. We got paid and worked for the same guy in the future without problems. Some guys just want to see what they can get away with.
Some joker probably walked in and pitched the dump a cheaper band. This stuff goes on way too much and it makes us all look like a bunch of jerks stepping all over each other. The problem is that you don't really have any recourse but to rise above it and move on.
I remember pitching a restaurant owner a band on the tip of a friend of his. The first thing he asked me was if I had a following. I, in turn, asked him if he had good food. Needless to say, I didn't play there.
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