If this doesn’t warm your heart a great deal toward what good can happen when bands treat their fans like humans and then get the same in return from their fans in time of crisis, I don’t know what will. As posted in today’s “mailbag” followup from Bob Lefsetz’s “Lefsetz Letter”:
Figured this story was right up your alley. On September 11, Drivin N Cryin (www.DrivinNCryin.com) had their trailer containing all their stage and production gear stolen from a hotel parking lot in Macon, GA after a show the night before. In this their 25th year as a band, some jackass(es) decided they would steal the tools of a workingman’s band. These guys don’t sit around their homes waiting for mailbox money. They make their livings on the road. Everything had been done by the books: trailer backed up against a wall so the doors could not be opened, hitched and locked to the van, parked in a well lit area, etc. (Not that it mattered – La Quinta doesn’t have parking lot security cameras! And when a thief really wants something, he’s going to get it.) Within minutes of discovering the loss and notifying the police, we posted this announcement on FB (which also feeds our Twitter):
drivin’ n’ cryin’ PLEASE READ!! ATTENTION MACON, GA!! We had our trailer, with all the gear, stolen last night from the La Quinta motel at X-169 in Macon, GA. Please contact Ken Green at 404-309-3057 with ANY information. And PLEASE repost this message!!
September 11 at 12:12pm
View all 29 comments: http://www.facebook.com/drivinncryin?v=wall&story_fbid=129729463741328
Kevin Harkins: this is so sad, Macon had gotten entirely to bad
September 11 at 4:08pm
David Lions: give us tag number and description mite help us find it better
September 12 at 12:46am
Within 30 minutes of this posting, both the Allman Bros and Drive By Truckers camps reposted and reached out to us offering any and all support; DNC fans reposted and requested additional information that they could use to help us locate the trailer and gear; Fox, NBC and CBS affiliates (radio and TV) in Atlanta and Macon contacted us to tell the story and help in the search. All this because of Facebook and Twitter! As you can imagine, there were a hundred issues that required immediate attention – police, insurance, gear lists, etc. But through FB, the fans offered suggestions, tips, leads – anything to help fill in the gaps while we were organizing ourselves for a more coordinated effort:
Clinton Ryan: check with gass stations around where it was parked they might have video of the thieves you may need to contact a privite investigator to get the info
September 11 at 3:05pm
They posted pix of our trailer and gear on other blog sites, made copies of the gear list (that we posted on FB: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=5912085821&topic=15178) and hit the streets visiting pawn shops and music stores from Macon to Valdosta to Chattanooga to Birmingham with this list in hand, spreading the word both online and in person. Note the timeline here – the first posting by us was at 12:12pm with updates every 30 minutes or so. The stolen gear listed was posted at 1:15pm. Fans were all over it all day, with thousands of repostings of our updates! By 6pm, we had located 3 items that had been sold to a music store in Atlanta:
drivin’ n’ cryin’ WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! We recovered 3 items in an Atlanta pawn shop this afternoon, but nothing else since. PLEASE fwd this stolen equipment list (link below) to all your local pawn shops, music stores, friends in bands, rehearsal spaces – anyone you can think of in a 200 mile radius of Macon, GA that might come acro…
September 11 at 7:18pm
AND!!… we had a photocopy of the suspect’s driver’s license (courtesy of the store owner) that we promptly posted on our website with links to it through FB/Twitter: http://www.drivinncryin.com/thief/. Now, because of the time lag between filing the police report and entering the stolen gear list into the national database, the music store owner had unwittingly purchased the 3 items (2 custom amps and a guitar). Otherwise, he might have been able to identify them as stolen. BUT!!… because he later saw our FB posting (he’s a DNC fan!), he called me saying “Hey, I think I purchased some of your gear an hour and a half ago. Come get it.”
As the story grew online, traditional media became more involved. Macon and Atlanta TV affiliates ran follow up stories and interviews, helping to keep the story alive. The following day (now Sunday, September 12), the AP contacted us, taking the story national. I had calls from L.A. to New Brunswick, Canada from people offering support, gear, trailers, tips, etc. I got calls from Georgia Case offering to manufacture and donate new road cases to Drivin N Cryin because they love the band; emails and call from fans asking where they can donate funds to replenish the gear; backline companies like Avatar and Crossover offering free gear loaners to get us through the next few weeks of gigs; Guitar Center called to let us know that they issued a notice to all their stores in the SE, posting the stolen gear list and asking their employees to be watchful. This is just a small sampling of the generous outpouring of love and support shown to us within the first 36 hours of this crisis. Again, all this because we were able to be proactive through social networking and engage our fans/friends.
I know this abbreviated version of the story leaves more questions than answers offered (just ask, I’ll answer) and I wish I could tell you that it ends happily. (Though I suppose it does, in a way.) Beyond the initial 3 items recovered that first day, we have yet to locate any more gear or the trailer. We were able to identify a timeline and travel line of the suspects (they visited multiple locations in Atlanta, trying to sell the gear) but the police have had no luck in finding the suspects. Yet.
While it doesn’t hurt that we gained 1000 new FB fans and had tens of thousands of hits to our website during this crisis, the bright side is that we have the opportunity to turn this spotlight from us and shine it on something worthy of greater attention. To that end, we’re working in conjunction with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the City of Macon and Deep Blue Interactive to raise funds for NARAS’s MusiCares Foundation and local law enforcement by holding a benefit concert in Macon, GA on October 14. I hope you’ll spread this story, Bob. There’s a lot to be learned here. Our online network is worth SO much more than postings of tour dates and sales pitches. They are REAL people who REALLY care. When we needed them, they stood up to be counted. We love them like family.
Feel free to use my name and contact info.
Manager, Drivin N Cryin
That’s definitely got me in a good mood this afternoon. Working musicians put up with so much shit in their day to day lives, it amazes me both that some dirtbag would actually STEAL THEIR GEAR, but even more that the band had the presence of mind to turn to their fans and ask for help. And when given a chance, as I’m sure most of you would, the fans stepped up and did the best they could to help the band get their gear back.
Makes you almost start having faith in internet humanity 🙂
And now, check out the band that got this all going. First, a video of drivin’ n’ cryin’ playing Letterman back in 1991:
and a song from their latest album, “What Ever Happened To The Great American Bubble Factory?”