Over the past several days, I've received an overwhelming amount of support and sympathetic wishes in regards to my stolen guitar. One of the topics that has consistently come up is whether or not we will be setting up a fundraiser page, such as a GoFundMe or something similar, to cover the loss of the guitar. While I do appreciate everyone's willingness to help, we won't be setting something like this up ourselves.
The popularity of crowdfunding websites (such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo) has grown in past few years, and that's great. Fans can help artists reach previously unattainable financial goals, and bands can repay their loyal fans with different rewards based on the size of the contribution, which makes these types of websites awesome for both bands and fans. In that same time period, strictly donation-based websites like GoFundMe have emerged. These types of websites offer friends/fans/family an opportunity to make donations to causes that they support, and I've seen them used to successfully fund things like funeral expenses or mission trips, and that's awesome as well.
But I've also seen people - bands in particular - take advantage of their fans/friends/family by turning every negative thing that happens to them into a financial opportunity, doing multiple fundraisers in quick succession every time something goes wrong, and grossly overstating the amount they'll need to repair or replace a vehicle or piece of equipment. The situation is almost always painted as incredibly dire even when it isn't (i.e. - pay for our van repairs or we'll be stranded miles from home FOREVER and the entire tour will be canceled and we will all STARVE and DIE). This gets especially hairy with smaller, up-and-coming bands who, in turn, have smaller fanbases made up mostly of family, friends, or acquaintances who may feel pressured to give what they don't have, or embarrassed if they aren't able to help.
Now, are some of these bands' claims legitimate? Absolutely. And when your back is up against the wall, you should have zero shame in asking others for help. And if we ever reach a point where that is our only recourse, we will not hesitate to ask our support system for help. Is this one of those situations? No. I have a backup guitar, albeit one that is nowhere near as nice as the one I lost. American Arson will not cease to exist without that guitar. Is it incredibly unfortunate, unfair, and a burden for me financially? Yes. That guitar was was my single most valuable piece of equipment and had inexplicable sentimental value to me. Can I afford to replace that guitar with one of similar value? No, absolutely not. But we can be a band without it, and I can't bring myself to guilt our supporters into replacing it knowing full well that it isn't an explicit, pressing need.
If someone wanted to provide coupons or offer their employee discount towards a new instrument, we would accept that. If a fan or loved one were to set up a fundraiser of their own volition, we would accept that as well, but we would not feel comfortable publicizing it on our social media pages. If you simply want to support us but don't know how, you can always purchase something from our online merch store:
Thank you all so much for your love and support. We couldn't have made it through this last tour without you, and we can't wait to see all of your smiling faces again in the near future.
<3 Evan & Jesse