Gainesville Band Headstash Responds To John Kadlecik Critique


On Monday night, guitarist John Kadlecik brought his band to The High Dive in Gainesville, Florida; where apparently he didn’t have a good experience. Kadlecik complained not only about the venue but about opening act Headstash in a since-deleted Facebook post. Headstash took the criticism in stride and wrote a response, which led Kadlecik to apologize for bringing the band into the situation.

Here’s what the former Furthur guitarist wrote in the first since-deleted Facebook post:

blech… bad vibes in Gainesville. I wonder if local authorities/chamber of commerce do their best to keep the dreaded “deadhead gang” down since the tear gas/cancelled show incident in 1994.

At any rate, I would advise touring bands to avoid the High Dive. It is not a “deadhead friendly” venue. No posters up for the show in the venue, the calendar poster had my name spelled wrong with no mention of “band” (an important distinction, since I play solo all over the country as well as with several bands.) This was true last year, as as well, as one fan reminded me after the show.

Also, instead of being allowed to play 2 sets (like every show on this tour) starting at a reasonable Monday night showtime of 8pm for ticket buying fans last night, we were forced to play one set starting at 9:30, with an opening band that, I am sorry guys (and gal), had no business playing through a PA system let alone providing support for a national touring band that can play (and has played) three 2-set nights in a row without repeating songs. **I am someone who believes making music is a human birthright** AND I am all for helping the local scene, AND I am all for deadheads having fun jamming together, but not at the expense of limiting the length of our show for folks who were kind enough to purchase tickets to see us. Or at the expense of representing the highest potential of what Grateful Dead music can be. To Head Stash, I mean no ill will towards you, and I hope you are having fun and encourage you to keep at it, but you are, putting it kindly, not ready for prime-time, and I suspect local clubs take advantage of your willingness to take any gig for peanuts as well as using you to scare off would-be fans from the the whole “Dead-cover/tribute band” scene in general. I apologize if this sounds harsh, but my music teachers (including Bob Weir & Phil Lesh) never pulled any punches or held back honest critiques either. Good luck, but be careful. Hunter S. Thompson’s classic quote about the music biz is sadly, very real.

Headstash penned a response on their website to Kadlecik’s note telling them the band had “no business playing through a PA.” The group called Kadlecik “a guitarist we like” and “someone we respect as a master of the craft.” Headstash went on to discuss their experience at The High Dive in which they made a meager $75. “But the money wasn’t why we were there, so who cares, it’s not our livelihood to play shows. Playing shows is something we do because we love it, it’s fun, and it spreads songs we love,” Headstash wrote.

The morning after the show Headstash woke up to see JK’s post and received a call from the venue, who blamed the “internet kerfuffle” on them. “It turned out that it was JK and Jay Lane that were complaining and getting their fans to complain. It makes sense because the bar is notorious for under paying artists and had seriously underpaid them,” Headstash continued. “I counted 70 people in the venue, so if even 50 bought 17$ tickets, they should have made 700-800$ minimum and they were paid 300$. We never play this venue, because of this, with exceptions for when someone we like is playing and we have a chance to open.”

Headstash then turned their attention to Kadlecik’s “attack” on their music. “He attacked us personally under the guise of constructive criticism, but what’s constructive about ‘you suck and should practice more,'” added the band. “I practice almost every minute I can, but I still have to work, and spend time with my girlfriend and my son. Then there were 100’s of people commenting on us from both directions, having never seen us or heard us except maybe for a 2-year-old video from our second show.” He also mentioned the response from Headstash devotees, “Our fans, who did attend the show (15-20 folks) were shocked and angry, they had just paid 17$ so they could have JK tell them our band is awful. Our friends who own other venues and hire us regularly, called us and talked about booking us again soon, and probably never hiring JK if the opportunity arose.”

Then, the post turned into a reflection on Kadlecik’s critique:

At first I was a little heart broken. A minor hero of mine had just mocked us loudly in public. Every time someone has told me I am terrible it hurt, but eventually you have to realize, that I am not doing it for them, and they hardly matter. If I let other people’s opinion dictate my life, I would never be living authentically or playing my truest music. I play music the way I do, because it makes me happy and I love to do it. I play music because my friends and I have a good time together and it feels so good to play. I play because our fans keep coming to our shows and dancing and having fun. I play music because I want my son to see that it’s something he can do, in a way I was never exposed to. I play music because it’s my way of life, and I haven’t found a better way to be! I play music almost every chance I have because it’s who I am. I play all day and when the show is over, you’ll usually find me sitting somewhere playing more music.

Headstash realized any publicity is helpful for a band on the rise. They created t-shirts reading “HEADSTASH Shouldn’t be allowed near a PA – JK.” Towards the end of the post, the band noted “Some folks play for silver, Headstash plays for life and for love!” They also addressed Kadelecik, “I wish JK all the best, but I wouldn’t ever go out of my way to see him again. There’s too much good music made by people who are grateful for the adventure to waste time and money bothering. I’d rather stay home and practice.” Head here to read the entire post.

Headstash – Sand

John Kadlecik issued a response on his Facebook page but deleted that update as well. “I am sorry I mentioned the support band by name. They were forced on us by a promoter/venue team that chose to ignore the spirit of all gig negotiations, if not the letter,” Kadlecik wrote in the post he recently removed. “And I am also sorry for other bands that might have seen themselves in my critique and were discouraged.” He went on to add, “Armchair critique is totally lame (ahem, PT), and ‘punching down’ is never cool, but you should know this: when you agree to get onstage as support (opening act) for a touring band who are literally risking their lives thousands of miles from home, you are claiming to be peers. You are no longer just a bunch of kids (or moms & dads) on youtube dreaming of making it… you are there.”

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