Slapshock, a popular Filipino band that played an intense, aggressive type of rock music, has built a steady, lucrative career for the past 23 years with support from a large fan base and corporate sponsorship.
The breakup, according to two confidential sources with direct knowledge of the incidents, was caused by greed and deceit.
14 September A Slapshock member learned on Facebook that a reggae band in Pampanga had fired one of its own members for taking money from royalties without the band’s knowledge and permission.
The Slapshock member, through their manager, Kevin Arnedo, checked on the records of the band’s own royalties from its account with Tunecore, a digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service.
As the Slapshock member found out, two withdrawals were made by their manager amounting to $4,150 (approximately P200,000) upon the request of the band’s vocalist, Jamir Garcia.
15 September Kevin told the band member that, according to Jamir, P20,000 was paid for the mixing of new songs that Jamir, guitarist Lean Ansing, and drummer Chi Evora recorded.
The balance of P180,000 was divided equally, as “royalties,” among Jamir, Lean and Chi.
But Lean and Chi said they each received only P20,000 from Jamir. Thus, P140,000 went to Jamir from the P200,000 he himself asked Slapshock’s manager to withdraw from the band’s Tunecore account.
Prior to this incident, all Slapshock earnings and royalties, as well as revenue from sales of band merchandise, and talent fees from corporate sponsorship, were divided equally among its five members including bassist Lee Nadela and guitarist Jerry Basco.
In a text message sent to Lee, through Lean, Jamir admitted taking the P140,000 and added that, from then on, he, as the band’s main songwriter, is entitled to administer all succeeding royalties. As it turned out, Jamir worked with Lean and Chi on recording and mixing new songs for a new album without informing Lee and Jerry.
This led Lee and Jerry to surmise that they were being eased out of the band. 16 September Jamir sent a text message to Jerry, reiterating that he withdrew the band’s royalties from digital sales of their songs without the need to ask the band’s permission.
Jamir and Jerry are first cousins.
On the same day, Lee and Jerry decided it was time for Slapshock to break up.
17 September Jerry called up Lee, saying that Jamir might have also been taking money from the band’s sponsorship deals. (Usually, the band’s manager first receives checks from sponsorship deals and then distributes to each member his share of the money.
But in Slapshock’s case, Jamir proposed that he receive all net proceeds, after deduction of band expenses. (As a bandleader, he wanted to be the one to distribute to the rest of the members their share of the money.)
The members agreed out of trust and confidence in Jamir. One particular sponsor had been paying Slapshock a considerable amount of cash as one of its endorsers.
Over a five-year period, from 2015 to 2020, the sponsor paid Slapshock a total of P30 million, broken down as follows: 2015-2016, P5M; 2016-2017, P5M; 2017-2018, P5M; 20118-2019, P7.5M; 2019-2020, P7.5M.
A band member who was involved in preparing the Slapshock contracts with the particular sponsor said each member should have received at least P1,200,000 a year.
18 September When Lee and Jerry checked Slapshock’s bank statements, including bank transfers from their manager to Jamir, and from Jamir to Jerry, it turned out that Jamir had taken from Jerry a total P407,052 — based on the amount each Slapshock member should have been receiving from the corporate sponsor in the past five years.
Before the day ended, Lee and Jerry had drafted a paper that formally disbanded Slapshock. All members, including Jamir, signed it.
But the story doesn’t end there.
On 12 October, Jerry sued Jamir for estafa and qualified theft. The case has been filed at the office of the city prosecutor in Quezon City. Daily Tribune tried contacting Jerry, but he declined to comment. How things will play out, nobody knows at this point.