Thanks to our gracious friend Laura of Bucky Fan Pics for this Bucky Covington concert photo from New Mexico. Click here to see her whole gallery, and head over here to view Bucky's concert schedule at his official site.
It's been a wild weekend, for all the wrong reasons.
Yep, it's our first big "tabloid scandal", and those of us who are big fans of Bucky Covington, Rocky Covington and the band are naturally finding the current set of allegations and accusations incredibly hard to believe. Thankfully, Bucky himself had something to say about it this afternoon, on Twitter and Facebook:
Hey Guys and Gals, I’m sure most of you have seen the news on TMZ. This story is absolutely false in every way. I would never steal anything from anyone. I did not get paid, but went on to play my full show and had a great time performing for fans! I thank all of you for your continued support! Bucky
I'm neither or a lawyer nor a law enforcement officer, so I wouldn't dare to address the details of what essentially boils down to a legal dispute in progress. But what does jump out at me, as a daughter of a small business owner and as an ex-bar-band singer, is this: "I did not get paid".
Bucky Covington and Rocky Covington (at left) on stage in Palmdale CA; thanks to a kind Anon for the photo.
Unfortunately, this is something that's already happened earlier this year. Many performers, including Bucky, were reportedly unpaid stars of the first--and last!--annual SuperTwang, a planned three-day country music festival that ended up as an abruptly terminated day-and-a-half event according to WBIR-TV in Knoxville. The promoter left the festival site in unusual fashion: "Employees waited for concert promoter, Hal Royce, to answer their questions about their compensation. Royce never came out of the building he was hiding out in until he was escorted to a car with his belongings by law enforcement." Jimmie Van Zant, the final performer at SuperTwang, had this to say to a reporter: "Sometimes the show still has to go on. I feel really sad that a lot of the people put their time and effort in and not getting paid. I'm showing support cause I'm not getting paid."
There's beauty, glamour and a rockin' good time on stage and in the crowd when the music is playing, but both performers and promoters put their time, talents and wallets on the line with every concert date. A lighter-than-expected crowd, stormy weather, an illness, a "surprise" problem or prohibition just before showtime, internal issues with staff--both parties can suffer, and sometimes, the suffering comes in the form of a clash. This particular clash is now in the hands of the law, and it's safe to assume a court of law will eventually decide the outcome.
However, it's hard for any of us, as Bucky's fans, to imagine there isn't an enormous misunderstanding at the bottom of all of this. Those of us who have been watching Bucky since the very first time he strode onto the American Idol stage know how much he's wanted this, and how hard he's worked for it for so many, many years. From the Idol tour, to radio station sponsored events, to big-city country nightclubs, to LP Field and Riverfront stages at CMA Fest, to Kosovo for the troops, to small hometowns across the USA--Bucky and his band have been working and playing live with dedication (and sometimes, unexpectedly, for free) to build, maintain and grow a solid country music career.
Thanks again to the very kind Lacypony for this terrific photo of Bucky Covington in concert in Yakima, WA.
Getting personal, here--don't you find it hard to believe that Bucky (or anyone in Bucky's shoes--newly engaged, newly signed to a label, with a new album coming out early next year and an endless tour behind and ahead of him) would risk his reputation, a prison term and his future employability for what amounts to gas money for a tour bus? Bucky's a smart and honest guy. When one is unexpectedly short of funds for whatever reason (including sudden illness on the part of one's employer), there is an invention called a credit card that can be used to cover emergency expenses. I will go out on a limb and suggest that several people in the Covington entourage might be in possession of a credit card or two...
Mystifying, all of it. This particular situation is best left to the experts and the legal system, of course, and if my unabashedly biased opinion turns out to be wrong, I'll take my serving of crow Southern-fried, please. But after all these years, after being impressed with Bucky's soulful rendition of "Thunder Rolls" on Idol way back when and knowing he deserved--and would get--a career in country music, I'm gonna go with my gut and say...this has got to be a misunderstanding. Show business is sweet, but like sugar, it can also be gritty--and nobody knows that better than the promoters and performers who make it all happen for us cheering fans.
As Bucky once said in an interview with the Bradenton Herald (via GAC): "But I have noticed one thing. Anything — and I don’t care how much you love it — anything you do, if you do a skill or do something and somebody gives you money for it, you’re going to run into stress at one time or the other. Anytime money is exchanging hands, it can get stressful here and there. But you take my worst day of stress now, it’s like a good day compared to back when I was in the body shop. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
Concert reminders for the week:
July 28: Enjoy Bucky and his band at the Jackson County Jr. Fair in Cottageville, WV; this one's free with fair admission.
July 30th: Be with Bucky and his band for a date at Six Flags over Texas ; it's all part of the Starburst® Summer Concert Series, and your ticket is free with park admission or a Season Pass.
August 6th & 7th: Join Bucky, many motocross and country stars and host Craig Morgan for the 2011 2011 Craig Morgan Charity Ride and Concert in Dickson, TN. This event features three big events--a celebrity dirtbike ride on Saturday morning, a Sunday morning Sporting Clay Shoot and a Sunday evening concert. Details and tickets are available via CraigMorgan.com.
August 11: It's Fuddfest time in Gleason, WI! This big country music festival is packed full of your favorite stars, and Bucky and band will grace the stage there at 6 pm. The festival has plenty of ticket options, all available via their website.
See you soon!