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Ken Johnson, Father of Drum Tech Killed in Radiohead’s Stage Collapse in Toronto, Wants Answers

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Just over a year ago, Scott Johnson was onstage under a massive roof structure in Toronto, Ontario tuning drums for Radiohead’s upcoming show that night.  This would be the last time he ever tuned the kit again, as later that afternoon the roof structure came tumbling down on top of Scott and three other people.  The others made it.  Scott Johnson was killed.

A year has passed, and Scott Johnson’s dad, Ken, is destroyed.  He’s also pissed at how long this is taking, getting some justice for his dead son — who was doing the one thing he loved to do more than anything.  All he wants is answers, but the Crown hasn’t any for him.  From an interview article at The Spec:

Ken has been searching for answers ever since, crying daily over the loss of his only child, waiting to hear who’s to blame.

The Ministry of Labour recently announced 13 charges against concert organizer Live Nation, a staging company, and an engineer.

A postponed trial is expected to begin Thursday.

“I want to be there,” said Ken, weeping over the phone. “I want to see the people involved and hear what they have to say.”

The charges include eight against Live Nation Canada Inc. and Live Nation Ontario Concerts GP Inc., under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The ministry alleges that Live Nation failed to ensure the stage was adequately designed and that every employer complied with the act.

Optex Staging & Services Inc. faces four charges, and engineer Domenic Cugliari is charged with endangering a worker, resulting from his advice or certification.

The maximum fine against a corporation, if convicted, is $500,000 per charge. Individuals face $25,000 per charge or up to a year in prison.

Ken Johnson, who works for a scaffolding safety association in England, is hoping the trial results in some “lessons” for those involved.

“Maybe people should have done some things differently,” he said. “Whatever the outcome of the trial, I just hope that it’s fair and honest.”

He said Scott was an honest, hard worker living his dream. Tuning drums for Radiohead was a pinnacle in his career, reached after years of determination.

“He always wanted to be a performer, but realized that wasn’t going to pan out,” said Ken, who used to cart his son around to perform small shows as a teen. “This was the next best thing.”

It breaks my heart to read of how this is going.  I know legal matters take time and accidents of this nature need investigated — but one has to wonder just exactly what is going to come of this, who is going to pay, and why.  “Scott’s message in life was to be fair, and none of this is fair,” said Ken Johnson, interviewed over the phone. “I still cry every day.”

Scott had been on the road with The Killers, the Australian Pink Floyd Show and Keane over the previous 8 years, taking on Radiohead in his career as the pinnacle of his performance.  Scott’s dad also talks about calling home once a week or more, spending time with his folks via Skype in his hotel room while on the road.

A memorial fund has been started for Scott Johnson that donates drum kits to students, along with other awesome positive acts for young musicians.  Visit the Scott Johnson Bursary Fund for Young Musicians.

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Last Week’s News Catch-up – Wybron Closing, Live Nation Sued, Trees That Glow, and More!

It’s been a busy weekend, and now that Monday rears its ugly head, it’s time to get back to work.  For some of us, it means looking for work, and others it means working hard and keeping busy.  With the summer season coming up, I have to believe that the “keeping busy” part won’t be an issue.

Let’s catch up on last week — a lot happened last week that was of industry importance.

First — Wybron, Inc is closing its doors on June 28, 2013.  After 35 years in business and with tons of technological development for and in our beloved Lighting Industry, the maker of the Color Scroller (et al) says goodnight, and good luck.

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Then — Live Nation, Optex Staging, and Domenic Cugliari (an individual engineer that allegedly signed off on the Radiohead stage that collapsed and killed Scott Johnson, Radiohead’s drum tech) were sued by the Ontario Health and Safety Board.  This is a huge deal in the world right now, especially since summer gigs are kicking full steam ahead.  Are you safe in the workplace?

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Next — a Kickstarter campaign by some extremely intelligent and driven individuals to manufacture the first man-made bioluminescent trees.  I highly recommend this as a respite from the news about disasters.

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Then — are you an expert of light?  Think you know the difference between Luminance and Illuminance?  Then put your knowledge where your mouth is and take the JimOnLight LIGHT Quiz!

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Stay tuned, world — more to come soon, and I wish you all a Happy Monday!

 

Radiohead Stage Collapse – Charges Laid On Live Nation, Optex Staging, and Domenic Cugliari

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Last summer’s Radiohead stage collapse in Toronto that killed the drum tech, Scott Johnson, has culminated in some legal actions.  Four charges each have been laid in Ontario court against Live Nation Canada Inc., Live Nation Ontario Concerts GP Inc., Optex Staging and Services Inc. alleging they failed to ensure the stage structure was being built in a safe manner – and one charge on an engineer, Domenic Cugliari, for “endangering a worker as a result of negligence.”  This case goes to trial on June 27, so there will be more to report.

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From the Billboard site – a prepared statement from Live Nation:

“We wholeheartedly disagree with the charges brought against us by the Ministry of Labour. We absolutely maintain that Live Nation and our employees did everything possible to ensure the safety of anyone who was on or near the stage involved in the tragic incident that led to the unfortunate death of Mr. Scott Johnson. We will vigorously defend ourselves and we are confident that through this process the facts will come to light and we will be exonerated. As we commence this year’s concert season with a new staging contractor, Live Nation will continue its strict peer review process with external engineers for rigging and staging. We will remain vigilant in these safety and security procedures because the wellbeing of our employees, fans and artists is of utmost importance.”

Here’s a list of the charges on the four parties mentioned:

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What do you think?  Leave a comment below – another tragedy past in our industry, and I know that from now on, the heads are gonna roll in our business.  Keep your stuff together, people.  Do a great job every time.

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Thanks to Star Phoenix, MSN News, CTV News, and Globe and Mail.