Soca stars Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) and his wife Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez hosted a news conference yesterday at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain, where they made clear the future of their band, The Asylum Vikings (formerly Asylum Band), and to introduce Dexter Thomas as the band’s new manager.
This comes on the heels of last month’s severing of ties with former Asylum Band manager Ian Pantin and also brought previous management issues to the fore, which both Alvarez and Lyons-Alvarez said have been ongoing for some time.
Alvarez and Lyons-Alvarez disclosed various grouses, including a lack of transparency in handling business affairs and accounts and unsettled contract payments.
Alvarez said he takes full responsibility for certain issues, which he said should have been handled more efficiently.
“In the last five years things were not being run in the proper way--there were transparency and accounting issues. I will take a lot of the blame and responsibility for things that could have been handled better, but one has to wise up and realise that enough is enough.”
Alvarez said their first venture following the change in management has been extremely successful.
Lyons-Alvarez said the band was at the mercy of the previous management and had to endure too much negative feedback.
“Management has changed. We have a new body running the affairs of the band ... contracts and the negotiations process and having things done in a timely manner, which was not being done under the previous management,” she said.
“We got a lot of feedback from a lot of different promoters and the general consensus was for a band of our nature and stature and size, we should have put things in perspective in terms of how we respond to people and how efficiently we deal with contracts and time management. There have been hiccups with prior management.
“When we initially separated and parted ways there were three contracts that our former manager had negotiated for and out of respect and professionalism we decided to allow him to complete those contracts, even though he was not officially in the capacity of manager. We thought that the right thing to do was to honour our commitments.”
Lyons-Alvarez said the band was not paid by the former management for a recent show in Jamaica.
“We paid the band out of our own pockets and we informed management that because of his prior behaviour we did not think it was in our best interest to continue with him on the other two contracts.”
Lyons-Alvarez said if they have to fulfil their contract obligations at the other two events for free, then that will have to be the case.
“Where we are at with respect to the shows, even if we have to do the commitment for free then so be it, because at the end of the day the band will not be looked upon as a band whose sole interest is money. Our interest is music. We love what we do even if we have to do the show and walk away, then so be it.
“One of the things I want people to understand is that we were at the mercy of management, because we are the artistes, we are not there in the meetings when the negotiations are being done. We have somebody who is representing us, they are supposed to go out and come back and report to you and that was not happening. What we had was a sort of dictatorship arrangement where management did as they saw fit and anybody enquired as to why or when was seen as challenging authority,” she said.