Gabe Reed’s arrest was nearly as mysterious as the Dallas-based concert tour promoter’s business. According to business partners, he left a trail of musicians and promoters across the world bereft of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, fearing for their lives as heavy metal concerts fell apart.
Reed, 46, was booked into Collin County Jail in the early morning hours of April 30 on a federal detainer charge. Capt. Jim Moody, spokesman for Collin County Sheriff’s Office, says Reed was at the jail under an agreement to hold federal inmates temporarily.
According to the criminal complaint, Reed is being charged in California with two counts of federal fraud. He will be appearing in front of a federal judge in Sherman on Tuesday and most likely face trial in his former stomping grounds of Los Angeles.
"In the end, this is a business,” Reed wrote in an email to the Observer in June 2016. “If a promoter can't pay an artist their fee, there is a good chance that they will not be able to pay for the fundamentals of staging a concert of this magnitude. ... In fact, anyone that has ever worked with me on a tour or show has always been paid as agreed."
Many artists who worked with him disagree. The accusations of fraud first began in August 2011 when Ariel Vigo, an Argentine concert promoter, sued Reed in federal court in Dallas, claiming a breach of contract. Reed failed, he says, to provide a promised Motley Crue concert in Argentina. Instead Reed held the concert with a different promoter in Argentina. The courts granted Vigo’s motion for summary judgment on March 4, 2013, awarding him $1.4 million, but wrote that its own attempts to contact Reed had been “similarly futile.”
Another lawsuit against Reed indicated that he “fraudulently represented himself” when he claimed to be a licensed entertainment attorney with "Gabe Reed Productions." Ava Zoller and her daughter Hannah Madison Taylor filed a lawsuit in Dallas County district court, claiming he cost Zoller more than $357,000 from her retirement proceeds, investments and life savings.
“Reed is holding money belonging to plaintiffs, or has fraudulently stolen the money for personal use,” they claimed in their lawsuit. “As a result of failing to open the tour, Hannah Madison Taylor lost influence and credibility with the circle of artists needed for her to be successful in her genre in the Dallas area.”
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Taylor and her mother won their case, but still haven’t received their money. Dallas-based entertainment attorney David Small, who represented Taylor and her mother, told the Dallas Observer in June 2016 that Reed was evasive and fought tooth and nail to prevent their accessing certain banking records. “It’s one of the things that make people feel as though the music business is shady for the most part, because of stuff like this,” Small says.
Reed also worked in Europe. A St. Petersburg promoter named Andreas Platonov claims Reed cost him $1.9 million and his reputation. In the October 2013 contract between Interest Media and Gabe Reed Productions, Reed lists Slayer’s Tom Araya, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman as part of the Metal Allstars 2013 European tour package. However, the artists had never agreed to Reed’s proposal and declined his offer several months prior to the contract being signed between Reed and Interest Media.
A press release appeared on the Metal Allstars Facebook page shortly thereafter but not before fans started purchasing tickets: “Inaccurate and unconfirmed reports were published yesterday on various Internet outlets regarding the upcoming Metal All Stars European tour and its talent lineup, in particular, Slayer's Tom Araya...Mr. Araya is not performing with the Metal All Stars - he and Slayer have nothing to do with this tour and the use of Slayer's logo as well as the logos of other artists in the fraudulent advertisement was wholly unauthorized."
In March 2014, Superfix's Eli Rubin filed a lawsuit, claiming Reed owed him $110,000 because his band had paid to be a support act on the Metal All Stars South American Tour in 2013 but were never allowed to play. Rubin won his lawsuit but never got paid. “He’s got it down pat. He’ll take you out on his boat, take you to some private event and give you front-row seats to an Ozzy [Osbourne] concert. You’re his good buddy," Rubin says. "But here’s the thing: He preys on people who are passionate about getting their music and their band out there."