Let's take the recent eventful evening when KRS-One headlined Fitzgerald's (2706 White Oak Drive), for instance. The curtain lifted on this drama when Simone Parker, KRS-One's manager of 14 years (and his wife of 12 -- that's right, she's the Sharon to his Ozzy), and tour manager B.J. Wheeler went into the Fitzgerald's office about an hour before KRS-One was scheduled to perform. They demanded that club booking agent Jake Fisher cough up additional expenses -- more hotel rooms, stuff like that -- and an extra $500 over and above the fee in the original contract. Arguing ensued, and owner Sara Fitzgerald was summoned from home to clear things up. When Fisher declared he wouldn't pay the additional $500, Parker and Wheeler brought in their heavy, too: KRS-One himself.
"I thought I had on my side that he was a peace-loving human being," says Fisher. "But he got violent real quick. He didn't put his hands physically on us, but he's a very large man, and he said, 'No, you're gonna pay me. You don't know what kind of muthafucka I am. You don't know me, do you, muthafucka? Do I need to go to my truck?' "
Believe it or not, this was not when things got wild. Fisher was willing to give KRS-One the amount agreed to in the contract, which Fitzgerald says was $3,500. But KRS-One was still not satisfied. According to Fisher, the rapper forced a Fitzgerald's staffer to open the box office and get all the money out (about $2,010). KRS-One dropped the money on a stool in the office and began to count it. When Fitzgerald tried to grab her cash back, KRS-One allegedly karate-chopped her hand off the stool and scooped the loot.
Fisher was ready to kick the rapper and his managers out of the club, cancel the show and refund the audience's money. But that move was preempted by KRS-One, who went upstairs to address his people from the stage. "KRS-One told everybody in the building that we refused to pay them and that they should come down here and demand their money back," says Fisher.
The unruly crowd of about 200 predominantly white kids formed a dangerous crush down the stairs to the box office. "It wasn't a mob scene," says Fisher, "but they were throwing beer bottles, screaming, 'We want our money! What the fuck?' " Fitzgerald adds that she couldn't even give them their money back because KRS-One had moved it from the box office to the business office.
KRS-One, who stands six foot five and weighs more than 250 pounds, barreled down the stairs as well -- only he was brandishing a broom like Chow Yun Fat wielding the Green Sword. Meanwhile, some members of the audience had gotten inside the club's offices after one of their number had thoughtfully yanked the locked door off its hinges.
Finally Fitzgerald agreed to cough up the extra $500. "It was either that or have my club destroyed," she says.
KRS-One snapped back into peace-and-love mode and went upstairs to do the show. The crowd went wild.
According to KRS-One, also known as Kris Parker, all this came to a head because he never received the deposit he was supposed to get before he even came to town. (Fitzgerald admits this charge; she says a wrong routing number was to blame.)
Parker says that it was Fitzgerald who went nutty, that she told them to accept what she gave them and be happy about it. Parker wasn't about to get punked like that: "I warned her -- I said, 'You don't know who you're dealing with here. This is not a threat. I'm not threatening you. I'm telling you the truth.' And that's the truth. They don't know who they're dealing with. I'm not a regular, average rap act. I lead an entire culture. So the people made them understand that."
As for the karate-chop thing, he says he simply moved Fitzgerald's hand, as well as his wife's, away from the money before anyone got a chance to take it.
Everyone involved with the fracas agrees that it was a third party, a black friend of Fitzgerald's, who intervened and advised her to give them the extra cash. "I looked at my friend, and I said, 'Well, what do I do?' And he goes, 'Pay him the money. Somebody's gonna get hurt.' And so I just said, 'Okay, I'll pay you whatever you want.' "
"We basically got hijacked," interjects Fitz's booker Lana Lowery.
"He robbed us with the crowd that was upstairs," puts in Fisher. "I couldn't believe he was taking this $500, for no good reason other than the fact that they wanted 500 more dollars."
As for Fitzgerald, she says she doubts she'll book any more hip-hop acts at the club. "When something like this happens," she says, "I just want to go home and take a bath."