Longtime Arizona promoter Danny Zelisko has left his post as chairman of Phoenix-based Live Nation Southwest to launch his own concert-promotion firm Danny Zelisko Presents, the Arizona Republic reports. The move represents a return to the independent ranks for Zelisko, who became the top promoter in the region after forming Evening Star Productions in 1974.
Zelisko had been a vocal critic of the late 1990s concert promoter consolidation that led to the formation of Live Nation Entertainment, the largest concert promoter in the world. He eventually sold Evening Star in 2001 to what was then known as Clear Channel Entertainment. "I look at it as picking up where I left off," Zelisko told the Republic. "My new office is in the basement of Alice Cooper'stown (in downtown Phoenix), which is perfect because I am a partner with Alice in that restaurant."
In recent years, Zelisko and other regional promotion heads at Live Nation were seen to have had little influence on shows that were programmed in their respective regions, with most Live Nation concerts, particularly national or international tours the company produced, booked and orchestrated out of LN's Los Angeles office. But following a company re-organization last fall, Live Nation signaled a move to put more power in the hands of the local promoter offices, including talent buying, marketing and pricing, from regional promoters, presumably to tap into local market expertise.
Zelisko told the Republic that his contract at Live Nation was not renewed and that the split was amicable. Zelisko did not immediately respond to Billboard.biz's request for comment.