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Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by lasercd, Jan 9, 2010.
Damn, I wish I had as much free time as this guy does...
Downloading is a very different issue than uploading. When I download something, it's for my personal use, to determine whether or not it warrants purchasing. The fact of the matter is, I'd purchase far fewer CDs without the ability to preview music. Conversely, I would never upload music to a public forum.
I just read about this thread on another board, and had to pop on and say my peace as well. Sadly, my old band Vox Tempus among the first to be suckered in by Tom Argo. I haven't spoken to him in years but I knew him well...well enough to tell stories for days. In my last interivew with Progression Magazine, I spent a paragraph or so trying to warn people off about his antics, as Vox Tempus promoted our involvement with him heavily in the beginning.
It's been years since he swore to me that he would never jerk around another band, as I get contacted from time to time about it. (There was a time where if you googled Tom, Vox Tempus popped up many times.) I tried reasoning with him, that while he believes his antics to be harmless, it hurts the releases of up and coming bands who save their money from their day jobs to pursue their musical dreams. I'd go on, but I posted all this on teh board ages ago and I'm sure it's buried in one of these threads. It's disheartening, and he is one of the main reasons why there will never be another Vox Tempus record. This is what caused me to form China Blue...but that is another story.
I know you're reading this Tom. Damn man, I wish you would have just left it alone.
And the cycle begins anew. It seems like every year or two this jerk rears his ugly head and we get to have this conversation all over again. This is now, what? Version 3, 4 or 5 of "Tom Argo screws over bands he professes to love, flips out when people call him on it then begs forgiveness saying it will never happen again"? If it didn't result in so many bands getting hurt watching folks rip him a new one might be enterainting in a sad, pathetic, morbid sorta way.
Well, I was curious about the old posts so I did a search. Found this one by Tom, but not a lot else. Still, somehow creepy reading this from six years ago.
There was another thread on Dominici that was amusing as well, where he refers to his "label" Progman Records, and DrumRman jokingly refers to it as Progleak Records.
Glenn, Deron - Argo laso has a forum name of "Inner Peace" of course you probably already know that.
I've been reading this thread, totally dumbfounded.
I can see the havoc Tom Argo has wrought. But, frankly, I feel sorry for the guy. He obviously has mental and/or emotional problems. No one does what he's reported to have done unless he has deep-rooted issues.
So I hope Tom is reading this thread. And I hope he seeks help.
I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I believe he loves the music. But, apparently, he feels a need to "help" - or be perceived to be helping. And, apparently, he can't tell fantasy from reality. Such a person has crossed a line from nuisance to genuine threat, perhaps to himself and others.
So, I do hope the guy seeks professional help.
If he does, maybe he can return on an even keel and actually be of help to fans and bands alike.
Until then, I hope he steps back from all this and thinks long and hard about his actions.
Okay so I have gone back through the thread and I didnt see the answer to the following question so maybe someone can answer it for me:
Why does Tom uploading a record before its official release not allow a band to release it? Is it because the label wont now that its been uploaded and they wont make money off it or what? I dont get it.
I maybe felt sorry the first time, but as I said before, we're on verse 5 or so of this song and dance now. Each time its the same. He starts out promoting all these obscure bands trying to get his hands on their music, in the process torpedoing their hopes for any amount of success. Finally someone calls him out on it and at first he goes ballistic and flips out on everyone. In the end though he issues some sort of "heartfelt" apology, claims he'll get the help he needs, that it will never happen again and that he will "remove" himself from the scene. He'll go quiet for a year or so then pop up again with a new alias and pick up where it left off. Rinse, wash, repeat. I've been on these boards (PPUSA, PMX, PMRising) long enough to see 3 or 4 cycles of this now.
At least he hasn't tried to make a post that says that he's died (unlike last time). At least not yet...
Don't get me wrong, Locust. I'm not making excuses for the guy.
It doesn't matter if he's done it once or a hundred times. He obviously has problems that need to be addressed professionally. That's why I feel sorry for him - he hasn't gotten help yet.
My guess is that the answer depends on if you're a person who believes in downloading music you haven't paid for or if you're a person who is against downloading music you haven't paid for.
Making music available to one and all before it's officially released may have a negative impact on sales of said music.
Other times, like in the book-publishing industry, a street date is important to calculate sales totals. Books that leak and sell before their street date aren't included in NY Times Bestseller calculations.
Anyway, the fact is this: A street date is a street date. Anyone who jumps the gun on that, for whatever reason, does so in the wrong.
Believe I am not trying to say he is right I am just confused as to why this can end band's career or not have amazing records released like this phonomik album that a few have discussed.
I'd like to know exactly too how what he did virtually ended Vox Tempest and other bands and killed their releases. I have some pretty solid ideas, but would rather hear exactly from someone with definitive knowledge. It's NOT that I don't believe it. I CERTAINLY DO! I just want to understand why we can't get this great music now.
Gotta admit, a more detailed explanation of how his antics poorly affects the bands, will better help us understand why it's so wrong. Moreso to clarify things, so we don't get the wrong messages.
One way or the other, this guy won't be dealt with by my band. Guaranteed.
Maybe someone needs to create a Tom Argo page over at Wikipedia....
Going off memory from some of the things I've read over the years, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, just what I remember and what got posted on forums:
-Got a hold of some preproduction tracks of the Shadrane album from Vivian Lalu well before its release and promptly posted them on his FTP. It didn't prevent the album from coming out but it hurt things and upset Viv a great deal
-Gypped bands out of money via his "ProgMan Records" label. I imagine this is where the Vox Tempus fiasco falls since he released their album (and Crises though they appear to still be together, I don't know if he put out more than those two, those are the ones I have). You ask how he can cause a band to break up? Any time there's money involved it can strain relationships. I'm not saying that's what happened to Vox Tempus but bigger more successful bands have fallen apart over shady managers and record labels ripping them off. He's had other "companies" in the past too Reverse Sphere and the current Silverwolf off the top of my head. So there's no telling how many bands he suckered in and how many more he TRIED to.
-The closest one to home here, and Glenn can correct me if I'm wrong or not remembering this correctly, but I believe he represented himself as someone who could get a band booked at ProgPower, made some promises that ended up with hurt feelings (and maybe worse, I don't know the whole story) when he (obviously) couldn't follow through.
Here are some threads on the PM:X board from the last few years where he's repeated this schtick multiple times:
An apology from 2008
His latest apology
Unfortunately the epic Shadrane thread on the PM:Rising board appears to be gone. Maybe someone can cull through the internet archive to see if its there. Some of the links are fairly innocuous I'll admit but I put them out there to show there's plenty of history. If you search the PM:X board his posts go back to 2004 when he started his short lived label.
Again, I don't have have any special insight, I've just been on the sidelines for several of his meltdowns and think its sad that so many excellent bands have been screwed over by this guy. Any little bit I can do to make sure no band ever sends him a note of music ever again is worthwhile, imho.
I've been reading this thread with interest, because it reminds me of a slightly similar situation from about ten years ago - a somewhat more malevolent personality by the name of Louie Mastro, who had a release called Mermaids in the Mist or some silliness like that. He auditioned for Dream Theater after Kevin left, obviously did not get the spot, and made a huge nuisance out of himself for a couple of years afterwards between DT-related people and anyone he hoped would propel him to success as a musician. Anyone who was on the AOL DT forums back in the late 90s may remember him, as he always used to sign himself as "The Runner Up," and used to tell the women he was hitting on that he actually played live with DT for a show or two (which was a total fabrication).
Short story long, to everyone's surprise, he committed suicide. He had a long history of threatening it in his efforts to get particular people on the scene to pay attention to him. Total cry-wolf type of guy - and then one day he went through with it. And in reading the threads here and on PM, I've been thinking "...I wonder if history's going to repeat itself." (I hope not!)
to put this as simply as possible without having to go through all the tedious details of so many issues for people to mull over.
Tom interferes with the process of deals, he represents himself in many different ways, and represents what he can do for a band in many different ways, he offers nothing but bullshit, and wastes everyone's time with not just annoying communications, but they can get downright abusive with threats and language if he doesn't get what he wants.
And in doing all this he ends up giving bands false hopes they have something going on with him, when they have nothing but a freak that wants their music for free. He get's in the middle of deals that may be going on, and screws them up because everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie.
He gets the bands confused and they make poor choices ON THEIR OWN based on the bullshit and chaos that Tom creates. This on top of the fact that as soon as he gets great new music, he's not only talking about it WAY before it's on the streets, he's then giving it away to anyone that will ask, way before it's released, or in some cases even signed to a label, which becomes evident these days fairly quickly because of how small our nitch world really is.
If he only shared one or two songs, no biggie, but he likes to send everyone the highest bitrate possible and the entire album, unsolicited by megaupload or other sites like this.
Young bands don't know any better, they want to believe, they're excited when a guy slathers them with loving praise and exciting stories that he can help. Only to take it in the butt with serious dysfunction from a guy that can't help his obsessed behavior. DON'T BE A TOM ARGO.... And Tom, get some medication please.
I looked back and the thread was indeed on the PM Rising board, and apparently long gone. I would re-type the entire Tom Argo/Vox Tempus thread (and the stories I heard from other bands) but it would take way too much time, and honestly depresses me way too much. But it's true that Tom makes promises he can't keep, overstating his relationships with labels, radio, magazines, etc. For example he told Vox Tempus he had a relationship with Rolling Stone and a review was guaranteed! He promised a lot but was never able to deliver, outside of having some of the Prog Power vendors carry our CD at the festival. Unfortunately, he lied to us about what the terms were for each vendor, so several of them walked away really pissed at us (the band) for his dealings with money, minimum orders, etc. If I'm not mistaken Laser's Edge was one of them, but I had the chance to meet Ken at Prog Power the following year and told him the real story.
He also promised to have Vox Tempus posters plastered at Prog Power. We asked him to call with updates, and he finally called from the show - on his father's cell phone. At this time our label boss had no cell phone, no high speed internet, no website, nada. He was only able to attend the show because his dad made it his annual birthday present, and they went together. We insisted on some proof that our poster was "plastered up at Prog Power" (something that Glen typically didn't allow from what I now understand). So Tom sent us a picture of our poster taped to a wall in the men's room at the show. Thanks Tom, like we wouldn't figure that out. uke:
You have to realize that VT was one of the earliest bands that Tom "tried to help". I obviously never believed a lot of his stories - I mean c'mon, Rolling Stone? I solicited several deals from other labels, but the band wanted to maintain control of the masters, etc - and Tom told them everything they wanted to hear. However he never provided a contract and never paid us a cent, and we made sure that we stayed non-exclusive. In other words, we had no expectations that he would come through. We made our own money and made sure we were able to promote the CD ourselves. The album received GREAT press, but only because we (the band) constantly put it out there, sent out samplers, etc. Tom had no involvement with this whatsoever.
The way Tom hurts bands? Well everyone's heard that he likes to upload unreleased material for the world to download for free. This didn't happen with us - that I am aware of anyway. But one of the things that hurt us has to do with the lifespan of a new release. The average new CD has a shelf life of about three months if it doesn't take off. So you want to start getting the word out as early as possible (preferably before the release date) to maximize that window. Tom had asked us to sign with him rather than a real label, as he would work harder and we'd be his exclusive client. He asked us to give him three months and see how he did. We gave him a box of CD's to send out for promo, which he never sent out and sat in his garage. (He did this with other bands as well, with the case of discs literally in his garage.) So we gave him the three months, but I also pushed it to ever outlet I could think of. (Which is why Progman Records gets so many hits via Google). He did nothing for us, other than those men's room photos and the occasional thread on this board. The band lost a ton of money doing everything ourselves instead of pursuing one of the 5 real offers we had on the table. By the time we realized how bad things were, no label would touch us. The band was so jaded, lost interest and eventually just lost touch.
Granted, when I look at it today it sounds like a pretty naive story. I had concerns at the time but the band were taken in by Tom's promises. Maybe we got what we deserved?
I have tried to set up a deal for a re-release on this album, which has gotten tons of solid reviews for songwriting, production & musicianship. We had a deal with Z Records in 2005, and another with Angelmilk in 2008. Neither label ever followed through. I dunno...is the album cursed? At the end of the day, I'm the only one in the group still making music. Well unless you count Gregg Bissonette, who we brought in to play drums.
Thanks for your interest in our story. If anyone has any other specific questions, I will try to answer them best I can. Sorry if I sound pissed off - I just can't believe this came up again. For those who have never heard of Vox Tempus, feel free to stop by our My Space page.
Thanks and rock on,