Elton John in Talks to Make Biopic 'Rocketman'
Elton John in Talks to Make Biopic 'Rocketman'

Elton John, who recently left Twenty-First Artists, the management company he co-founded in 1999, has formed a new music company called the Rocket Music Entertainment Group.

The company "is set up to be an all-encompassing music company with the core of the business being focused in artist management," according to a press release today. The company has taken over management duties for Elton and has set up offices in London, New York and Tokyo. In both London and New York, its offices include recording studios available to its clients. The company's roster include John, James Blunt, Lily Allen, Leon Russell, Oh Land, Dirty Vegas and others. It also has a joint venture with Wallace Productions -- whose clients include Marina & The Diamonds and Sophie Ellis-Bextor - and will be signing artists to its other companies: the Rocket Records label, Rocket Music Publishing and Rocket Productions.

According to the release, Rocket's management staff includes:

Frank Presland, Chairman: Originally an entertainment lawyer when he represented clients such as The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Jimmy Page, RCA Records and the BPI, Frank set up an artist management company for Elton John in 1998, and this eventually became Twenty-First Artists. After a brief spell running (and selling) Sanctuary Group plc, Frank then set up Rocket Music as the successor to Twenty-First Artists.

Todd Interland, CEO: Todd Interland has worked within the Elton John organisation for the past sixteen years, eleven of them as a manager, during which time he signed and manages artists including James Blunt and Lily Allen. Todd's career began at London Records in the USA, after which he joined Elton John's Rocket Records label in New York. He now oversees the general management of all the company's artists, as well as the worldwide management staff, and is responsible for the company's new business development.

John Barbis, Chairman North America: Johnny Barbis began his career in radio promotion at Shelter Records, followed by London Records, Chrysalis, ABC and Geffen. He later went on to serve as President & CEO of Island Records and President of A&M Associated Labels, as well as becoming a partner at Dreamworks. Over the course of his career, Johnny has worked with such artists as ZZ Top, Blondie, Tom Petty, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, U2, Melissa Etheridge and Elton John, amongst many others. Most recently, Johnny has embarked on a new role as manager to his old friend, Elton John, thirty years following their first days together at Geffen.

Mike Tierney, General Manager: Mike Tierney has worked extensively throughout the record business, including radio and television programming, major and independent record label operations, and artist management. He has overseen some of the best known and most influential brands in America, including Vh-1, K-Rock/New York, WFNX/Boston, KUBE/Seattle, and KUFO/Portland, and has served as senior vice-president at Epic Records and label manager for ATO Records. Artists he has managed include the Presidents of the United States of America, My Vitriol, and Slender Means.

Will Ashurst, Chief Operations Officer: Equipped with a wealth of diverse music industry experience in Business Affairs, music television programming, publishing and artist management, Will Ashurst is responsible for operating the day-to-day aspects of the business at the direction of the Partners. He oversees Business Affairs and implements commercial strategy, seeking to maximise commercial opportunities. Will is also involved in the business' music publishing activities, and has a particular brief to oversee its Japanese operations.

Tony King, Creative Consultant to Elton John: Tony started his career as a promotion man for Decca Records, went on to work for Andrew Oldham and the Rolling Stones, and then worked with George Martin at AIR London. He then worked for Apple Records as Marketing Manager in the UK and General Manager in the US. This was followed by an Executive VP role at Elton John's Rocket Records, followed by Creative Director at RCA Records in New York. For the last twenty-seven years, Tony has worked with the Rolling Stones as media and creative liason on all tours and recordings.

Jim Doyle, Music Publishing Consultant: Jim Doyle advises Rocket Music in its music publishing activities, including the negotiation of contractual arrangements for the company's clients. He has been involved with the publishing side of Elton John's career for the past thirty years, and continues to handle day to day interaction with Universal Music Publishing on Elton's behalf. Jim has advised on and negotiated publishing agreements for a variety of clients, including Elton John with Universal Music Publishing and Sting with EMI Music Publishing.

Derek MacKillop, Wallace Productions: Derek MacKillop's Wallace Productions and Rocket Music work together as partners in a joint-venture, managing Pnau, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Marina and the Diamonds, King Creosote and Richard Fleeshman.