January 11, 2012

Mos Dick

Via The Vine

One year ago, acclaimed American hip-hop artist Dante Smith – stage name Mos Def (pictured) – was set to tour Australia for the first time. Eleven shows were booked, including headline festival appearances at Soundscape in Hobart and The Hot Barbeque in Melbourne. After failing to appear at his first scheduled performance in Adelaide, he went on to randomly skip four shows of the itinerary. Such was the ensuing confusion, that following the postponements, cancellations and sternly-worded press releases from the promoter, Peace Music, became something of a sport here at TheVine. For background, revisit our news story ‘Mos Def gone missing on Australian tour’. (I’m pleased to note that he made it to Brisbane for his Australia Day show, which was actually pretty great.)

What did those four cancellations mean for Peace Music, though? The promoters were awfully quiet for the remainder of the year, which posed the question: "Did the Mos Def debacle put an end to their live music interests?". In late 2011, I contacted the company’s managing director, Sam Speaight, requesting an interview about the logistics of touring American hip-hop artists in Australia. “I’d love to do this,” he replied via email. “So often promoters are dragged into the street and shot (proverbially speaking) by the ticket-buying public over hip-hop artists’ cancellations and their childlike antics. Few people understand that, in many cases, the promoters have driven themselves to the brink of sanity and financial ruin to avoid an artist cancelling.”

A couple of days later, we connected via Skype. “The total chaos that seems to govern most of all the management side of these artists’ careers is just dumbfounding,” Sam told me from his new pad in London. “If people knew what went on behind the scenes, if nothing else, it would be a spectacle worth reading about.” He’s not wrong...

LINK: Mos Def Tour Promoter Sam Speaight: "I literally broke down and cried."


  1. not to question the dudes integrity or anything, but it's $250k.

    if his contracts were so airtight i have a little trouble believing there wouldn't be a breach outlined worth taking him to court over.

    buddhist or not.

  2. Right on! 250k is not to be laughed at.