What did you wake up thinking about this morning? I woke up this morning looking forward to a six-day break with my wife, son and daughter. We’re at my friend’s lake house on Long Island. It’s been a hectic summer. Right after my first cup of coffee, I got a call from Marc Brickman and Steven Van Zandt, the producers of the Rascals show we had in Toronto.
Describe a lesson you learned from a failure. This is almost a right of passage that one goes through in the agency business. You discover a band at their embryonic stage, develop them from 10 people in a nightclub to 5,000 or 10,000 people nationally, and then get fired by that band for no reason due to the quality of your work. It’s often due to a political change in management or an artist deciding to take things in a different direction. The lesson is to not let being dismissed by a client affect your self-worth. You have to accept the loss and move on to the next challenge.
What will define your career in the coming year? I always half-jokingly refer to my job description as “to serve and protect.” So hopefully what will define my career is continuing to support and work with the other agents in all our offices in North America — helping them sign clients, giving them points of view on unique ways to book clients and expanding our lecture and literary departments.
Who is your most important mentor, and what did you learn? My father was a mentor in many ways. He owned a car dealership on Long Island. No matter who he worked with, whether it was a customer or co-worker at the dealership, he always treated them well. That always stuck with me. If you’re fair with people, they’ll oftentimes be very fair back to you. Professionally, [late legendary concert promoter] Bill Graham was another mentor. He could be incredibly personal, charming and ferocious all at the same time. It was a marvel watching him and speaking to him about how the business was changing, and his thoughts on artists and protecting the rights of people who attend concerts and giving them a quality experience.
Name a project that you’re not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past year. One is the Governors Ball on Randall’s Island [in New York]. We had Guns ‘N Roses on it this year. They’re doing a terrific job in trying to treat the audience well. The other is Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival. I give them a lot of credit for pulling off events that are incredibly attractive and relevant to the 17- to 30-year-old audience that seems to be growing. I tip my cap to them.
Name a desert island album. Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits. His upbeat songs always make me feel good, and his ballads always make me feel warm.