Last night I received an email from Delene Garafano, whose problems getting paid by the Rolling Stones and Mike "Mick" Decaro I have reported in this eBlogazine since it began.
Delene is finally ready to recount, in her own words, some of her story. In reading what she had written I was moved by the simple elegance of her words, even though the story is sad.
And this is one of the things that is wrong with the Music business today...that the sort of behavior Mr. Decaro has demonstrated is not only tolerated, but required by a legacy of big company fascistic tactics to keep the musicians as cattle, captive in economic arrangements like "work for hire" contracts where they give up all rights to their creative product; and record company reps who look young and hip and act affable (like Mike "Mick" Decaro) while they talk out of both sides of their mouths and lead the naive and unsuspecting young artists down the primrose path to wage slavery.
In the matter of Delene Garafano and Mike Decaro, it is decidedly a bit different. Delene is not a recording Artist - she is just a contractor who thought she had an offer tendered in good faith. Yet, it has appeared to me that the Rolling Stones' organisation bears all the same stigmata of said major labels treatment of their recording Artists: They're huge, raking in billions, and employ minions like Decaro to do their dirty work, like getting work done, not even at a wage slave rate, but at no wage or fee whatsoever.
I first met Mike Decaro at Delene's house. Two days later I went to Stamford to get to know him a bit, and find out if he was for real. He wasted no time in offering me the same deal he offered Delene: $2500.00 a week, plus expenses, for the duration of the tour, for my time in helping him attend his duties for the Rolling Stones.
Mike wanted me to go to Jane Rose's office the next day to sign up, but unfortunately I had plans I could not change. When I told him we could schedule another mutually convenient time for myself and Ms. Rose to meet later in the week, he became petulant and childish, like I was being mean. This is simply the way adults do business, Mike.
We spoke on the phone a couple days later (he called me). "Mick" was apologetic and, again, offered me the same deal. I told him I would write down the details of what we agreed upon, and email it to him to forward to Ms. Rose, and then she could email me the contract back to look over. Then, we could schedule a meeting to finalise the arrangement. I will publish that email later.
First, here is Delene's story in her own words.
Here is the email she sent me last evening (August 25, Sunday), published with her permission.
Publisher, Stoned Out Loud
Dear Stoned Out Loud,
First I would like to say thank you for reporting what happened to me in my short time in the music business, working for the Rolling Stones and, basically, babysitting and acting as midnite psychotherapist to Mike Decaro. It is a bitter lesson for me to learn, but I guess you have to take the bitter with the sweet in life.
I also want to say that I appreciate Stoned Out Loud linking to my internet site, http://stonestour.tripod.com . I worked hard on it, and hoped that I could finally get paid for it so I could catch up on my bills and maybe get a little ahead. If "Mick" had been telling me the truth about the 2 years of employment and what I would be paid for my time, I would have been able to finish building my house.
I know there's probably not a snowball's chance in hell of ever collecting a dime from the Rolling Stones, because I am starting to realize that if they are smart enough to have made as much money as they do, they are probably smart enough not to let Mike Decaro make any hiring decisions. I guess I just wanted to believe that there was some potential happiness and fulfillment in working for the Rolling Stones. That's what wishful thinking gets you.
After all that has been reported about my situation on Stoned Out Loud, I think it is time that I spoke up. You will find below this letter, and attached separately, a text file that I have called "My Say." Please publish it.
Put it on Stoned Out Loud so that people will be able to read it and not make the same mistake I did.
It is really too bad that the Rolling Stones have people like "Mick" working for them, who take such advantage of people. I hope something good can come of this.
My Say "Working" for Mike Decaro and the Rolling Stones By Delene J. Garafano
I figured that I would say what has happened to me and why I kept going back to Mike "Mick" Decaro's house.
I am Delene, You guessed it already, didn't you? I met Mick on line and thought that he just needed a friend so I invited him here to my house to meet me. Within a few minutes of his being here he was going on about the Stones. I told him that I had met Keith Richards briefly in Syracuse when they played there in 1989 during the Steel Wheels tour. I am not dumb enough to think that he would remember me but I just mentioned it in passing hoping to get Mick to change the subject.
Mick seemed nice enough to begin with and he seemed to understand about my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was just finishing a divorce from my husband of 17 years and I thought what was the possibility of me finding two idiots in one lifetime? Pretty good I guess.
Mick came across as a caring individual and while I thought he was a bit immature I decided to overlook it. Mick seemed to want company and friendship and he asked me to help him out by working with him on the fan news letter that he writes for the Stones.
He began by saying he would pay $4,000.00 a week. I pointed out that that figure was ridiculous. He then said 2500 a week and the Stones would pay for health insurance for me and a car. Plus, I would go with him on the tour and the Stones would pay for all of my expenses. I would be travelling with their entourage. The tour would last 2 years.
I had just lost my car when an old man plowed into me. It was totalled. I was going to lose my health insurance when my divorce was final as well. Mick was saying that he needed someone to help him put out his newspaper and since he wasn't married anymore the Stones would pay for his help for him. He wanted me to know that Keith Richards was his close friend and that he got most of his stuff from Keith.
He also said that after 22 years and 2 wives he has paid his dues with the Stones. His first wife died on his birthday the first year that they were married and he inherited his Stones collection from her. He met the Stones through her as well. She was the head of their Fan Club, and had a lot of memorabilia, which Mick inherited.
Mick kept talking about a “Jane Rose” who had to meet me in order to put me on the payroll. He kept saying that although she was extremely busy she tried to contact me by phone. He kept saying that my phone lines were tied up and they were getting busy signals. So I paid to have call waiting and caller id and a voice answering service but still he kept saying the lines were busy, and that she couldn't get through.
My housemate at the time, Herbie, didn't like Mick at all and when he was on the computer and Mick's number would come up he simply ignored it. Mick was always saying that “these people” (meaning Herbie) were taking advantage of me.
I was babysitting my cousin's kids for her at the time and Mick said that I couldn't do both. So I asked her to find someone else to babysit. It broke my heart to do so as my 2 sons were living with their father and I didn't get to see much of them. I was always available to go to Stamford to work with Mick for the Stones. He would say he wanted me to work and I would jump in my car and drive right down there, about 100 miles, to his home-office.
Mick lives with his mother and father in a house he says he inherited from his grandfather. We would go out to places like an aquarium store and he would say “I'll buy that for you and the Stones will pay for it.” I didn't pay much attention to that as I was still trying to get him to say when I could meet with Jane Rose. I told him to name a time and I would be there. He kept saying that she was a “hoitie-toitie bitch who was doing coke,” and she was much to busy to see me.
I would go to Stamford and be there for days at a time waiting to meet with her and in the meanwhile we would work on a thing called Slammies. Slammies are small cards with Stones pictures and quotes on them, signed by various members of the Fan Club and then used in a contest that Mick runs.
I put together an edition of Yesterday's Papers, a Fanzine that Mick produces for the Rolling Stones. It was the 40th Anniversary edition, and featured a Brian Jones retrospective. Then Mick says he didn't use it and that he was putting his magazine out on the computer.
He says that he told Jane Rose that I was putting the magazines out when it was his friend Carl doing the work. Mick would constantly say to me “I lied for you so you owe me.” I would say I didn't ask you to lie for me and I would appreciate you not doing that ever again.
Mick would tell me that I should listen to him as I couldn't think for myself. He said that I had made bad decisions when he wasn't around. After 17 years with my ex I can recognize when someone is trying to control me. I still believed Mick and he would get mad when I tried to pin him down on signing a contract for the work I was doing.
He would say “You dare to doubt me?” or “You dare question Me?” and I would feel guilty for asking for proof. Mick had a habit of staying up all night and sleeping all day so he didn't think anything about calling me at 3 in the morning.
I tried to explain that having MS made me extremely tired and it took a lot out of me to have to answer the phone when I was sleeping. Needless to say, he didn't listen to me and he sounded so distressed that I felt sorry for him. I just sat there on the phone and listened to him. He would claim he was playing with his gun and he had loaded it and was playing Russian Roulette.
My second husband had commit suicide and I didn't want another soul on my conscience. So I would once again just listen to Mick. He would be telling me about his last girlfriend, a Russian girl that thought nothing of slapping him. He would call me and say she had just slapped him again for doing nothing. He would sound like he was about to cry. I would make soothing sounds and tell him that he wasn't doing anything wrong and couldn't understand why she would keep slapping him. Mike never does anything wrong and nothing is ever his fault.
He would say that the magazine would be late and it wasn't his fault, it was mine. I was trying my best to learn as much as I could about programing, I had met a guy named Tim who would help me on weekends and teach me about computers. Mick would say I wasn't learning fast enough.
He would tell me he could have anyone work for him but that he felt sorry for me and was holding the position open for me. I haven't worked in 2 years, I recently got Social Security Disability so I didn't need to work, I just wanted to. Everything was coming together for me after the worst 2 years of my life. I started to dream about finishing my home and my kids became excited to think I would be earning money. My ex-husband started demanding child support, which I pay now out of my disability check.
Mick promised me that we could go to Australia and China with the Stones paying for it all. I tried to talk to him about me getting paid, and all he would say is “What do I have, to show Jane Rose?” We had done the slammies, I said, and I had put together a 40th anniversary issue of Yesterday's Papers. He said he didn't use it. Yet he also said at different times that he had told Jane Rose that I had been doing Yesterday's Papers, for four issues, lying about it “for me,” so he could “hold the position open” for me. And now he said he wanted a web site, and that I needed to get it done, or I would never be able to get paid.
I would say pay for the domain and I will build it. He would say build it and then he would pay for it. So I went to tripod and built him a sample site. It can be viewed at http://stonestour.tripod.com. I said “Here it is: When am I going to get paid?”
He said that the Stones had given him a credit card and that he would pay me using the card.
The first time Mike said he would pay me with the card, he called me up at 7 o'clock in the morning and told me to come down there to Stamford to get paid. Then, when I got there, he said that he couldn't use the card because he and Trish had gone into the city and he put a lot on the card and the bank shut it down. He would have to wait for the bank to give him a new pin number. So I went home.
Then Mike called and said that he had some things he wanted me to do and that he would pay me if I could come to his house again. This time he needed some typing done. When I got there he wanted me to fix some questions he had done for a radio station. This time Mick said he couldn't pay me because he had lost his wallet.
I am finally tired of his lame excuses. He always said that he couldn't drive because his mother had thrown away his plates and he had to get replacement plates. Then he said he needed a sticker for the plates and that the DMV would mail it to him. But, he claims, the DMV “is 8 months behind” in mailing plates and stickers out. It has been months and I finally mentioned to him that it really wasn't the big deal he made it out to be - he could just go down to the DMV and they would give him a sticker, on the spot.
It has been one excuse after another.
I have given him every chance to come through on his promises and he hasn't come through on any of them. I have run out of patience and have decided that once again I have been a fool. Well I will pay the price of that as I have always done but once again I have trusted someone and once again I have been disappointed.
I think from now on I'll only trust my animals. So am I an idiot, or am I a person who really wants to believe in things that people tell me?
I would have liked to go on with my life believing in people but it is too hard. I am tired of being disappointed by people like Mike “Mick” Decaro, and I and hate to lose what faith I had. I should have listened to my friends who kept telling me that he was full of BS but I just wanted to be able to work again. I want to feel useful again.
I'll have to find something else.
August 25, 2002 Creator of StonesTour.tripod.com http://stonestour.tripod.com