Allan Holdsworth's Financial Situation

unholdsworthy

Member
Messages
9
Since the legend's unfortunate passing in April, I've read and heard quite a bit of how AH was living in poverty or flat broke at the end of his life, that his family is dirt poor, and that he struggled to make ends meet even during his vibrant heyday.

Maybe he was in dire financial straits in his final years/days, but what I don't understand is, if he didn't have any money during his prime, how was he able to move to America, raise three children (all of whom are now adults and one of which bore him a lovely, healthy granddaughter), and continue to make records and go on tour?

Sure, he may not have made or had hundreds or even tens of millions of dollars, or even ever had just a million dollars, but then again, he wasn't a national or international superstar. And he certainly didn't live high and mighty.

But he still raised a family in a house in Southern California, he still lived in a house at the time of his death (granted, maybe not a mansion, but still a house), and died with a net worth of $230,000. Not exactly poor or shabby, especially for someone who wasn't a superstar. By comparison, David Cassidy, a former TV star and later superstar singer who sold millions of records, left behind $150,000 worth of assets, which is shocking for someone of his stature.

But what I really want to know is, if AH was struggling even in his prime, how was he able to continue making records and play live, especially all over the world? How was he able to pay for airfare and hotel accommodations for himself and his band members? Also, I read that in the last few years and even up to his death, he was still touring but had no money to stay at hotels so fans let him stay with them and transported his equipment. How was he even able to get to the gigs in the first place and pay his band members?
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,821
Although he was hailed as a virtuoso (and he was), he didn't sell a ton of records and when he toured he generally wasn't playing huge rooms. And those tours don't really make much money (if any). Many operate at a loss, particularly if you don't have great management. It's really a shame that he didn't earn a better living. He was a phenomenal talent.

BTW, welcome to TGP.
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,821
Unfortunately that is quite common with unique musicians. The ones who make millions are few and far between. I don't think he did extensive tours in the later years either, usually just playing on the west coast.

For some reason I always think of Michael Hedges and Alan Holdsworth in a similar niche. Phenomenal guitarists with reputations in this community of ours, but completely unknown to the general public. I think Michael did better financially if for no other reason that it was just him. He didn't have a band and he could play similar venues on his own and only needed to split his pay with management. That's a tougher proposition when you're a niche player touring with a band.
 

NB_Terry

Member
Messages
3,750
Someone months ago did an excellent post that AH didn't promote his own career or tour regularly even in his own region.

He was an incredible musician but not a businessman.

i have all his records on vinyl and saw him in concert twice. RIP AH.
 
Messages
8,475
I don't mean to hijack this thread, but a previous poster mentioned Michael Hedges. Does anyone realize that it has been over 2 decades since he passed??? I don't remember seeing any anniversary posts about his passing. Hard to believe even after all this time.

R.I.P. to both. :(
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,821
I don't mean to hijack this thread, but a previous poster mentioned Michael Hedges. Does anyone realize that it has been over 2 decades since he passed??? I don't remember seeing any anniversary posts about his passing. Hard to believe even after all this time.

R.I.P. to both. :(

Indeed. I booked him back in '90 or '91 and I spent the better part of three days with him. A really nice (if a little odd) guy. And just stupidly talented. And gone far too soon.

You gave you his Music and you want to talk about The man's Money?

For professional musicians, money is a real issue. Particularly those who never have a great deal of popular success. It's kind of remarkable that a guy like AH can be so revered by his peers but not have enough financial success to support himself and a family.
 

diego

Member
Messages
3,284
The simple answer is that it most likely wasn't easy. Some folks live from paycheck to paycheck and some live from gig to gig.

There was an early interview in Musician magazine describing how AH got to LA and did the early tours...

http://www.fingerprintsweb.net/ah/press/mus84.html

'Thus did America beckon to one Allan Holdsworth, legendary electro-jazz guitar stylist who, by 1980, was unable to find gainful employment in his U.K. homeland, either as a guitarist or leader/composer of his own appropriately named trio, I.O.U. Holdsworth was even preparing to hang up his guitar strap forever: "I was broke, couldn't make any living at all in music. I would've had to retire; in fact, I was just about to take a job in a music store. I had accumulated a lot of equipment over the years, and I basically paid the rent by selling a few things each month. Eventually, when we came to mix the I.O.U. album, I sold the last guitar I had. Then I came over to America on vacation and met someone who said she could get us gigs, so we all came over."

Ellis Island for these gifted immigrants consisted of the Orange County living room of veteran British vocalist and I.O.U. member Paul Williams (no, not the short, geeky guy from Hollywood Squares), who had moved to California some time before (and whose home still serves as a drop zone for migrant British fusioneers). "We were more or less all staying at his house, which probably drove him crazy. Then we did really well at the gigs. I was amazed how many people came out to see us - I didn't know that many people knew we existed."'
 
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11,766
I remember an interview in Guitar World (I think it was around the time of the Secrets album) where AH was talking about how broke he was, and considering giving up playing for a living. He talked about maybe working for a record company.
Very sad.
 

GerryJ

Member
Messages
5,484
Michael Hedges. .....After he was found deceased - he had apparently driven off the rugged coastal California highway and the wreck wasn't found for several days (corrected)- there was an appeal for money for his common-law wife and a child, as he didn't leave much behind.
 
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