The organizers of the Acoustic Outcasts Tour, including KEEL frontman Ron Keel, have issued the following statement in response to Don Dokken's "announcement" that the tour has been cancelled "because of the hurricane disaster":
"I am extremely happy to report that our agent, Robert Hovey from Global Entertainment, is alive and well — and so is the Acoustic Outcasts Tour.
"I spoke to Robert today — who is still in the New Orleans area, in an upstairs bedroom of his home (the only room in the house that's intact) — getting back to business with his generator, phone, and lap top. Amazing. I asked him if there was anything we could do, what did he need (Charlie and I were set to drive down there and get him, or take him food and supplies if need be) — and he asked me if I had a FAX machine...he is a trooper, and we share the same philosophy: The show must go on.
"He has some horror stories to tell — traumatic experiences like the ones we've all been witnessing on TV. He has spent the past two days helping load dead bodies onto trailers — he had no idea how long it had been, he was astounded when I told him it was September 4th, and Labor Day Weekend.
"It occurred to me during the conversation that he has NO idea how extensive this catastrohpic destruction is; he hasn't seen the endless images on CNN, or seen a newspaper, or heard a radio broadcast. All he knows is what he's seen with his own two eyes or heard through word of mouth. And after all he and his family have been through, he was all about the business and getting ready for the Acoustic Outcasts to hit the road on September 16th.
"There have been reports that this tour was cancelled — NONE of these came from our camp. Our primary concern was of course for our friend and agent, but we also felt an obligation to keep the wheels turning regarding the upcoming tour dates. We took a stand: If Robert was alive, then he would most likely need the income from this tour to help get back on his feet. If he was dead, then we would make sure his commissions and tour pay would go to aid other families in need of assistance. To a man, we all hung tough — I cannot tell you how proud I am of Charlie Wayne, Terry Ilous, Kelly Keeling, and JK Northrup for unanimously voting to never give up or surrender to the temptation to pull the plug. We banded together and did what we had to do to keep the wheels turning. We formulated backup plans, hired an interim agent who was already working closely with Robert on these dates to act as our representative and help with the business, I personally called all the venues and let them know the situation, Charlie and Terry lined up a tour bus and driver to replace the bus that was in New Orleans.
"Within 24 hours of the flooding of New Orleans, our headliner Don Dokken made [an] announcement [that the tour was cancelled and that he was joining the VH1 Metal Stripped tour beginning sometime in October]. Don removed the tour dates from his web site.
"It is obvious that Don Dokken has signed on to do another all-star acoustic tour (I wonder where they got THAT idea) and was using the Katrina disaster and our agent's predicament as an excuse to back out of the Acoustic Outcasts Tour. I will not debate the ethics of this tactic.
"We — Robert Hovey, Terry Ilous, Charlie Wayne, Kelly Keeling, JK Northrup, and myself [Ron Keel] — have every intention of doing this tour. We have decided to donate a generous portion of the proceeds to benefit the hurricane relief efforts. We have a job to do as musicians and as Americans and we will do everything in our power to make this happen. Several other major artists have stepped up to the plate and offered to participate if need be. If Don Dokken does not get on the bus, that's his choice. If Don backs out and the venues and promoters cancel our shows because of it, that's their choice. My choice is to hit the road, sing songs, and do our part to help our fellow Americans in need."