Danny Wimmer Presents to Launch Rock-Focused Alchemy Recordings

Danny Hayes Danny Wimmer
Sam Shapiro

Danny Hayes and Danny Wimmer

The LA promoter is planning a major expansion with an assist from Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Companies.

Danny Wimmer Presents is launching a new record label, part of a broader expansion for the rock-centric concert promoter who is pushing ahead with an investment deal with Yucaipa Companies, a private equity fund owned by billionaire Ron Burkle.

The partnership sets the stage for a deeper investment into the live concert business and the creation of Alchemy Recordings, marking a return to form for Wimmer, who moved to LA from Jacksonville in the late 1990s to help Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit run his label Flawless Records, before going on to Epic and then Atlantic. After Napster hit the record business, Wimmer launched Rock on the Range and built Danny Wimmer Presents into a major festival producer, before linking up with Dino Paredes of Shelter Music Group, a former long-time A&R man and manager for Rick Rubin's label American Recordings. Paredes is a partner on Alchemy and manager of Tool's Maynard James Keenan.

"We really believe we have a great platform to launch rock records — we're very focused on rock acts using our platform," Wimmer said, adding "I think we spend more money in media than most labels. And we really felt like the time was right."

BMG has signed as a distributor for Alchemy, which will release a new June 2020 record for Keenan's band Puscifer, as well as Dark Side of Everything from Neverly Boys, the new band from Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio.

Like many promoters, DWP was hit hard by the COVID-19 and had to cancel seven of their eight festivals — the October 9-11 Aftershock festival in Sacramento is still on the books and Wimmer said he is looking to the future "to come out of this really strong."

Frank Quintero, a principal at Yucaipa says his firm is "accelerating our plans and not slowing things down” in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown.

"You have great people out there that need partners from the operation side and the finance side. I think we make a great team," Quintero said. "We're not looking to capitalize on the crisis, but there's going to be people who are in dire straits and we're going to be there to try and help them out."

DWP chief executive Danny Hayes hopes concerts can open back up in some capacity in six months, but believes it will take two to three years for a full recovery.

"There will be an initial period of uncertainty when it opens up — the fan demand will be there, but we don't know if fans will have the money and the vacation time to invest in live events," Hayes said. "As things being to come back, I think we're in a great position and want to be helpful to other promoters. We're not looking to be predatory, but we do have growth plans and this is an opportunity for us to help promoters that might not be built to go that potential distance."

Hayes says DWP plans to invest in festivals, venues and mature companies as opposed to startups and new ventures. He added that beyond promoters of all types, DWP is also looking at related businesses such as merchandise, content, sound and light companies, transportation and staging outfits and other support businesses that provide the necessary infrastructure for the music business.

"I'm really proud to have Yucaipa as a partner because there really is an opportunity for there to be another promoter out there with a platform for artists to grow our festival portfolio and help us get in the touring business," Wimmer says. "No one's gone through this time ever and to have a partner that just says 'stay focused and do good business' is incredible."

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