Q&A: Alan Palomo Explains His Side Of The Crystal Castles Story

As space was pretty tight in the print edition this week, I wasn't able to fit the entirety of my interviews with VEGA's Alan Palomo or the Granada Theater's Mike Schoder into the space for my column this week on the Crystal Castles cancellation at the Granada. Below, find the entirety of my interview with Alan Palomo from last Wednesday afternoon, in which Palomo discusses, among other things, his intercations with Crystal Castles in Austin and how he heard the news that his band wouldn't be playing with them in Dallas.

VEGA's Alan Palomo
VEGA's Alan Palomo
Richard Card

 So I understand there were some problems in Austin that led to your getting kicked off the Dallas bill...
As far as we were concerned, we were incredibly accommodating to the band...

OK, but before we get too far into what happened, I imagine you were pretty excited to get on the bill in the first, place, right?
Yeah. We were absolutely stoked about it.

And now? After what happened? And given what Crystal Castles is accusing you of?
It's completely flipped. It's like they're trying to wash their hands entirely of this.

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OK, so what happened in Austin?
Essentially, when we got there, even at the beginning of the night, we were drinking beers from this fridge and someone came up to us and said "That's Crystal Castles' beer. That's their personal stuff. You can't touch it. We're gonna go get you you own." So that was that--they brought us our own cooler of Shiner. And then they asked to use our guitar. Ron [Gierhart] gives it to Alice Glass and she's up there playing it, and he goes up to the press pit to record her playing it. A few minutes later, their manager, this girl named Storm, just grabs Ronnie and shoves him out the press pit and shouts, "They don't like that! You can't do that!" Even the bouncers were like "That's rather excessive..." Then she brought it up to my manager later in the night, and he was like, "Well, we're sorry, but we let her use our guitar." We didn't see anything wrong with it. And then later, one of their crew members after the show gives Ronnie back the guitar and the amp, but they put on of their effects pedals inside the guitar cab, so it wasn't until we got back to our apartment that we saw it there. We immediately called their sound engineer and told him, 'Hey, we have this pedal, do you want us to bring it back now,' and, essentially, he just told us to bring it to Dallas. So that's what we did.

OK, so then you came up to Dallas. What happened then? When did you find out you wouldn't be playing the show?
We showed up to the venue the next day at like five o'clock and we're hanging out in the green room. As soon as we got there, the first thing we did is give [the pedal] to one of the stage hands [at the Granada]. So I'm checking some emails and Mike Schoder walked up to us and was just like, "We just want to introduce ourselves. We just got done with one of the strangest phone calls we've ever received." Apparently, Tom Windish of the Windish Agency [Crystal Castles' booking agency] himself called to say that, at the personal request of Crystal Castles, that if VEGA's on the bill Crystal Castles will not perform and that it's non-negotiable. And we're just, like, sitting there being like, "You've gotta be fucking kidding me." We had already arrived and were ready for sound check and we were just hanging out. They told us that we had to be out of there by the time that Crystal Castles got there. At that time, they didn't say anything else about anything.

Did you ask why you were suddenly out?
Yeah, we asked. absolutely. Like, at least just honor us with some information. And they didn't know anything.. They just said, 'Headliners make the rules, we just play the game.' An hour or two after we got to our friends house, I'm calling our manager, I'm calling our booking agent and as many people as I could to get information. The answer I got from the Windish Agnecy was that their friends were in a band and they wanted them to open. It was all so ridiculous and dramatic.

RIght, but the Crystal Castles people are now saying it's because you took the pedal. You maintain that you didn't take it intentionally, right?
Taken out of context, I guess you could spin it that way, but we found that out as soon as we got to my apartment, within 20 minutes after leaving the venue. They completely knew.

And the beer thing?
I felt like they brought it to our attention just to intimidate us and push us around. Their manager seemed to be looking for things to be angry about.

Did you speak to the band at all when you were in Austin, backstage?
Yeah, we spoke with their drummer and he was cool. And we talked to Ethan for a few minutes, but he was pretty stoic. It just seems like calling us beer and pedal thieves is kinda childish.

So when did you decide to do the make-up show at the Fallout Lounge?
We just thought it was the perfect opportunity to bounce back. It was great to see so many people there interested in seeing us live. We were just happy to set up a sort of makeshift show afterward.

And you certainly had quite the crowd thanks to Crystal Castles' cancellation. I dunno if I've ever seen the Fallout so packed.
Yeah, it was really cool that all those people came out to see us.

Anything else you wanna add?
In all honesty, I just sort of see it as a whole learning experience. Things like this happen, I guess.

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