The Truth about VINNIE VINCENT (& the KISS Expos)
After all the mess with the Expos I felt I had to tell everyone, what has really happened. Vinnie Vincent did the first two Expos in Stockholm, afterwards the Promoters from those shows drove him in a van to Malmö, where he arrived about one hour late. The Promoters told me, that it was just impossible to get him to the show in time, because he was too late. Besides the one hour delay everything went fine.
The next day we had to get up early to get to Oslo in time. We planned to leave at 5 a.m. in the morning. Vinnie Vincent was supposed to drive with some dealers and the cover-band in a big bus, like Peter Criss did in 1994. The only difference was, that there were less people on the bus this time, but more luggage, so we took out the last 17 seats at the back of the bus. Anyway, the first surprise was, that someone put a restaurant-bill (around US $ 150,-) on my hotel-bill. It took a while until I found out, that it was Vinnie Vincent, who had dinner the day before, who put it under my room instead of his. The bigger problem was getting Mr. Cusano on the bus in time. He had several wake-up calls, and a couple of people went up to his room to help him... but it still took him more than an hour to get on the bus. We left about 2 hours late, and we had to delay the show in Oslo for one hour, because we arrived in Oslo at the venue at 16.00, only one hour before scheduled opening time. We drove directly to the venue, Vinnie got driven to the hotel, later l've been told that he changed the hotel for whatever reason to the Radison hotel (very expensive first class hotel). Instead of getting to the venue right after checking in at the hotel Mr. Cusano had several "important" things to do first, I think he went to a restaurant first, had a shower or whatever, in fact he should have been on stage at 19.00 (that was already the delayed scheduel). He finally arrived at 21.00.
The local person, who took care of Vinnie that day told me he had lots of Problems with him all the time (delays, he did not want to play with the cover-band etc.). I gave him one of my helpers to do his table at that day, which was also not in the contract. His wife was with him at all times on the whole tour, and also got paid for the flight, hotel, travel and food, but she has never been behind his table.
At the sign-session I saw (and this is NOT a joke!) 2 people searching the people for guns and knifes, who were queuing up for the sign-session. Besides that he had another 2 people at his table, 3 people besides his table and I think another 2 people behind his table for security. I was also Standing beside his table for some time, he told me several times to make sure that nobody comes up to him from the side... there were 2 other people and also a barricade besides myself. A person, who wanted to get a photo with him wanted to put his arm around him to pose for a picture. He immediately refused to get touched at all. In his own words..."...no, no, don't touch me; stand like this (shows him how he should stand), don't touch me...". The show should have been over at 23.00, in fact the band did not even go on stage before about 24.30. The show was over at about 02.00 a.m.!!! .
After the show Vinnie asked for the rest of the tour for a person from Stockholm (one of the Promoters of the Stockholm-Expos) to do his table for the rest of the tour, and (again, this is NOT a joke!) a professional security-person. The next day he did not want to get up early, so I already delayed the departure for 2 hours. Even though he was still an hour late after we picked him up from his hotel. The bill for his food topped again the lim it of US S 50,- (which was the limit he agreed on and was in the contract) by far.
We arrived very late in Gothenburg, the entrance was delayed for half an hour. We went directly to the venue because of the delay, so someone drove Vinnie to his hotel. Later I found out, that he again checked in at the Radison hotel, because he did not like the hotel we all stayed in. He arrived as usual more than an hour late because he disappeared for a while. He complained about still having jet-leg (after being more than a week in Europe) and being tired because he gets no sleep. I told him, that he will be able to go to bed and sleep, if he is on time and if we can end the show in time, and not being late for 2 hours every day and have no sleep.
In Gothenburg he had a local professional security person, who was a friend of one of the dealers. He again did not want to play with the cover-band, but he finally did after he got told, that he had to because its in the contract and it is advertised, and people expect it.
The next day we had to catch a ferry to Denmarkat 07.15 in the morning, we had to be there at 06.45. I already had the feeling of having delays in the morning, so I told everyone to leave at 05.00 am. Just after 05.00 a.m. I got a call from Vinnie from his hotel, he tells me, that he is sick, and he does not want to go on the bus and ferry for that long trip to Holland. So besides giving him some more money for food in cash to his Swedish helper, who stayed with everybody else at the same hotel, he also wanted 3 plane-tickets for himself and his wife, and his helper. Plane-tickets are usually pretty cheap from Gothenburg to Holland, it was 2 days in advance and KLM is based in Amsterdam, so I was expecting a ticket to be about US $ 2-300,-. I also gave him my credit-card info in good faith for him to buy the plane-tickets, and now things are really starting to get crazy...
He was also supposed to FAX me the flight-info to the hotel in Rotterdam. When we arrived in Rotterdam late at night, there was no FAX or other information from Vinnie. The next day in the morning: still no info. The dealers were already setting up their tables (at 10.00 a.m.), and I still haven't heard from Vinnie Vincent! I was at almost all the time at the venue to take care of the show. At 11.00 a.m. I was just by accident at the lobby at the hotel for a minute when Vinnie called me. He told me, that he can't buy the tickets with the credit-card info alone. The plane was going at 11.45 a.m. He was supposed to be on stage at 17.00, so he could have made it with that plane. The next plane was not arriving before 18.45 in Amsterdam, and it was another hour drive from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. He said he did not have that much cash on him to buy the tickets although I know he made enough money on the table at the Expos...
I found out, that the tickets he wanted to buy would have cost US $ 2.000,- (in words: two thousend), because he waited until the last minute, and did not book the tickets in advance. He told me, that I had to buy him those tickets or he will not show up and go back to the US. I also have to say, that the Rotterdam-show was the biggest and the best one on the tour with about 550 people showing up, and I just could not disappoint all those people...
Of course it was too late to get the tickets for the 11.45 flight. I had to go to the airport to buy the tickets, where I found some cheaper tickets (about $ 700,-cheaper, but still very expensive). He obviously just wanted to book the next best tickets, which were very expensive. Anyway, so I bought him those tickets, and there were 2 people with 2 cars who picked him & his wife up from the airport, so that he did not have to go by train to Rotterdam. He afterwards complained about the "car in the size of a breadbox". He had 2 cars to choose, which were in at least the size of his private car.
Instead of driving directly to the venue he told the driver to drive him to the hotel. He showed up unbelievably 4 (in words: four) hours late, at 21.00. The show had to end at 22.45. The band went on stage right after the question & answer-session, where Vinnie joined for 3 songs at the end. He refused doing the sign-session at the same time the band is playing. He first refused to sign autographs, I had a long discussion with him until he finally agreed to sign autographs for the people in the basement, after he got 10 (in words: ten!) security people. He was in the basement behind a cashier-box behind the door with him looking out of a little window. He looked like a prisoner looking out of his room in jail. 2 people were with him behind the door, another 3 or so in front of the door, another one or 2 at the door where people left, and another 2 or 3 at the other side where people were coming from. Only one person at a time was let through to get his autograph. He refused posing for pictures.
He was demanding a professional security person to travel with him at all times now, and also staying at the same hotels with him. Not enough, he also wanted a van from a professional company (like Avis) to drive him by a professional driver. Of course none of this was in the contract which he signed. He did not want to go on the bus again for whatever reason, I think it was in his believe unsafe, overloaded, not enough space or whatever... The bus was hired from a professional company with a professional driver, who of course would have not driven the bus if it was unsafe or dangerously overloaded at any time. Anyhow, since it was Easter holiday, and all companies were closed for a couple of days, he agreed on going with a van to the next show in Castrop Rauxel (3 hour drive).
We left the next day early in the morning, he was supposed to leave at about 9 a.m. After we arrived at our hotel in Castrop Rauxel at about 11 a.m. there was already a message, that someone should call him at his hotel in Holland. He did not like the van nor the other car he got offered to travel in. Anyhow, after an endless discussion he finally agreed on traveling in the car. The car was driven by a Dutch person, who couldn't find the hotel in the small city immediately, so it took him 5 hours instead of 3 hours to get to the hotel in Castrop Rauxel. He surprisingly did not change the hotel, but came much too late to the show as usual, I think about 2 hours late. He also invited some other people for lunch at my expenses. He told the person "to show me the bill, and I should pay for it". He played only 2 songs with the cover-band, the sign-session even topped the one in Rotterdam on curiosity. He did the sign-session in a big room, his table was at the end of the room, about 8 security people again at every possible place. Only one person at a time was let in to get his autograph, who first had to walk through another room to finally get to his table. He refused to pose for photos or to get video-taped, although according to his contract he had to pose for pictures and let people video-tape.
At the hotel we had a discussion about all the problems, he handed me a letter and a list of things that he wanted to get arranged, or he would leave to the US. The main discussion was "a professional
security person", which was not just not in the contract, it was also impossible and illegal to get one. He wanted to have a Swedish professional security person to get flown in. To have a Swedish person work in several different countries is illegal, if he doesn't have a working permission in those countries. I've been told he said to someone: "...what if I get out at a tank-station and the guy doesn't like the way I look and shoots me..." In the letter it also said, that if he doesn't get all those things within' 3 days, he will leave to the US and send out explanations to the fanclubs and the press, why he had left the tour.
He also should have been Special Guest on a KISS Expo in Wolverhampton, England on April 21, the promoter there was responsible to take care of Vinnie Vincent for a couple of days. After Vinnie told me already in Gothenburg, that he will also demand the same things for that show (Swedish helper, security person to be flown in from Barcelona, professional van with a professional driver, the best hotel in town) and also change the airline to British Airways (he was booked on a lesser known airline, which he thought he would crash with). After he still did not let the promoter know his demands until then, I gave the Promoter a call and told him about it.
Vinnie still refused to go on the bus, but a fan who had hired a Mercedes drove him to Berlin. He did not complain about the Mercedes. In Berlin he checked in at the Radison hotel without even looking at the hotel where everybody including him were supposed to stay with the usual delay. The show in Berlin was done with some delays due to Vinnie Vincent again.
Since he was always showing up hours too late he was missing sales at his table, he did not make much money at his table, and hardly anyone bought his "new" CD 4-track EP, which he was selling for $ 25,-. He only wanted to sign for the people who bought his CD, which would have been a sign-session for 2 people in Berlin (2 people bought his CD in Berlin as far as I know). After some discussion, he finally did sign for everybody queuing up, in the same way as in Rotterdam, behind a door with a little "window" open with lots of security people.
I later found out, that he was using my credit-card without my knowledge to pay for his hotel and food bills. I hired a car from Avis for him to go to Hamburg. In Hamburg I got sick due to constant stress and 2 weeks of no sleep at all due to all those problems (and I am mentioning only the bigger problems we had...). He complained about the car being too small. It was a bigger than average car, anyway I got him a bigger one in which he should have gone to Hanau. Should have...
After the doctor advised me to go to the hospital, I went home by train over night and Rikk (manager of the cover-band) took care of business in the meantime. We had to cancel MTV, because nobody was sure what is going to happen next or if the show was going to happen at all. When he was doing press, instead of being happy to get promotion, he was complaining about "work" or being busy. At the Expos he constantly wanted to have his new 4-track EP played over and over and over again and again... We all got sick of it...
He also "did not care about the fans at all" (in his own words!) at any time, he never wanted to sign anything or pose for pictures, he was only concerned about selling his CD's or getting money out of someone somehow. Hamburg was a complete desaster again, he did not show up before 22.00 (4 hours late!), he did play with the cover-band, but the sign-session I've been told was the biggest joke on the whole tour. He did the sign-session upstairs in the main room (holds 1.000 people, bigger than the other room where the Expo was held), so people had to go upstairs, queue up, then they were let in one at a time, had to walk all the way through the main room to the other side, through body guards and security people where Mr. Cusano was willing to sign one autograph (no photos!), and if someone came who bought his CD, he gave 3 autographs. If someone did not have his CD he got told he should buy one.
One big fan, who went to 3 Expos, the one in Castrop Rauxel and Berlin before, and now also to Hamburg, was already disappointed, that he did never get a photo with Vinnie, did also queue up in Hamburg for an autograph. I've been told, that Vinnie recognized him from the day before and told him, that he won't give him another autograph, because he already got one the day before, and that he had to buy something from his table first to get another autograph !!
At one time someone came with something in his pockets to his table where he was signing; Vinnie thought he had a bomb or something in his pockets and went 5 Steps back until he realized that it was not a bomb or something...! At one point another fan came with a cigarette, Vinnie took some steps back telling the guy "...take away the cigarette, take away the cigarette, the smoke is killing me...". The next day in Hamburg (second show) basically the same procedure, but this time Vinnie did not play with the cover-band at all.
He had 3 options to get to the next Expo to Hanau: either go on the bus with everybody early in the morning with about 10 other people in a half empty 50 seater-bus (he refused, the bus was "too dangerous" for him). Another option he had, was going to Hanau already the day before, which was a day off, in a new hired bigger car. He refused, because he was "too tired". The last option he had, was going in the car the day of the show with 2 other people (and his wife of course with him also as on the whole tour). He was supposed to leave at 9 a.m. It was a 6 hour drive. He was supposed to be on stage at 18.00. I went home.
When I arrived at home I found a FAX-message from Vinnie, that I "should get someone to pay for his hotel-bill". At that time he had already tried to use my credit-card information to pay for the hotel-bill, which the hotel refused without my permission and signature. Afterwards I found out, that he has done this also in Berlin before, where it worked. I called the hotel, and they said the bill is (and I have the receipts to prove it!)... $ 1.700,- (in words: onethousendandsevenhundret) (which was DM 2.500,-). I asked the hotel to fax me a list of the bills, so they faxed me a 7-page list of bills including bills he had signed with my name !(??). I clearly told him, that I won't take care of the complete bill, because it includes numerous phone-calls to the States, he also sent a lot of CD's home by DHL (he brought 11 boxes/ suitecases of stuff to Europe!), which he has put on the hotel-bill, which I should have paid for, as well as $ 100,- food bills from the most expensive restaurant I have ever heard of etc.. He faxed me, that I should pay the bill, and that it is all hotel and food money.
Since it was then already after 14.00, he faxed me that I had to pay for another day at the hotel, since the checkout-time was already over. Rikk and another person, who should have driven Vinnie to Hanau, had to leave at 17.00, because they had to go to the Expo. After 8 hours of trying to get Vinnie leave the hotel, they finally could not find him anywhere at the hotel, Vinnie has not left any messages, and after hours of waiting, they finally had to leave at 17.00 without Vinnie. They left a message for Vinnie, where he can reach them etc..
At that time he had already cancelled his appearance in Wolverhampton, because the promoter of course did not agree with his demands. He got already paid for that apprearance in advance at the Expo in Atlanta in March. Vinnie never gave him the money back nor has the promoter heard anything from him of my knowledge. Since he cancelled that appearance he wanted me to take care of all his expenses during that time where he should have been in England.
Vinnie never appeared in Hanau, he left to the US after faxing me his "resignment" for the tour, which he was also not allowed to according to the contract he signed. He literally broke EVERY point in the contract (except one I think) at least once. He got paid in advance for his appearances, he did know what to expect, and after he saw he did not sell as many of his CD's as he had expected, he just left back to the States. He never paid back the money to me or the other promoter(s).
With all the money he got in advance he printed up all his CD's and Merchandise, which he brought. The "new" CD sounded like just some very poor bootleg-outtakes from the first Invasion-album, it looks like he has made his own bootleg-CD from his outtakes he found somewhere from his old band. I wonder, if all the Ex-members know about it. I've also heard, that in his new CD there is a Merchandise form, where you can join his "fanclub" (which I doubt does exist at all) and order bootleg-CD's like studio-outtakes from the recordings of "Lick it up". If someone ever joins his "fanclub" or sends in money for any kind of Merchandise, don't be surprised if you never get anything in return, you have been warned. I can only advise people not to buy his CD or to order anything from him, they might not get anything in return, and this is the main reason why I am making this public! I do not want to see this person ripping off more people.
He fucked up twice with KlSS, with the Invasion and also his manager had to quit working with him because he couldn't handle him anymore. It has been more than one month since Vinnie left back to the US and I have not heard a word from him ever since nor did he send me or anybody else any money back.
This Information is being sent out to the media and the press and all people involved in the KISS and music-business.
Gerhard Wimmer/May 1996