A little more than three years after selling the Monterey International agency to Paradigm, partners Ron Kaplan, Garry Buck and Alex Buck are on the move again. The three veteran agents with a powerhouse roster that includes Buddy Guy, Van Morrison, Roger Daltrey and Joss Stone announced that they’ll be joining the music department at ICM Partners under the leadership of Rob Prinz, worldwide head of concerts.
Kaplan started at ICM Partners two weeks ago and tells Billboard “in the short period of time that I’d been there I’ve had positive feedback from so many people about being part of ICM. It just feels right,” says Kaplan, who relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2017 and will work out of the agency’s Century City offices.
ICM is the third home in three-plus years for the Chicago agents, who reunited with their old partners Dan Weiner and Fred Bohlander when Monterey International was acquired by Paradigm in 2017. Weiner and Bohlander founded Monterey Peninsula Artists in 1975 and launched the Chicago-based Monterey International agency in 1994. The two agencies were considered the premiere independent booking operation through much of the 1990s . In 2004, Monterey Peninsula was acquired by Paradigm, and Weiner and Bohlander, along with the late Chip Hooper, joined the newly merged agency while Monterey International was spun off into its own company.
Kaplan and Garry Buck’s relationship goes back even farther, more than 35 years, starting at Chicago talent agency Prestige in the mid-80’s. Prestige would go on to become American Famous Talent and the two men would build out a contemporary talent roster that includes their roster into a who’s who of contemporary talent including Corinne Bailey Rae, Macy Gray, Mavis Staples (Europe only), Richard Marx, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Tower of Power and Whitesnake. Alex Buck got his start over a decade ago at Monterey International assisting numerous agents while also helping to book a regional territory before eventually being promoted to Agent. Once Monterey International was acquired by Paradigm, Alex Buck transitioned into the fairs & festivals department.
“Garry and I have worked together for over 30 years and my main goal in coming to ICM Partners was to be able to preserve that partnership,” Kaplan told billboard.
For his part, Buck said the men’s “partnership is like a mature wine,” noting “the greater the vintage the tastier it gets.”
Prinz has known Kaplan since the late 1990s and said he “always respected Kaplan and Garry Buck and their artists,” adding “they have always been very strong competitors and great agents.”
“We were thrilled to be able to engage with them and have them join the team,” Prinz said. ICM Partners has been on a hiring spree that predated the pandemic, noting “we’ve been very fortunate as a company to be so well-prepared to be able to not only weather the storm that is 2020 but you know also to be able to act strategically and proactively surround ourselves with great agents.”
Today’s announcement caps off a productive year for ICM Partners, which managed to weather the first nine months of the pandemic in relatively good health. In early March ICM Partners acquired European agency Primary Talent International and on Sept. 30, ICM Partners hired former WME agent Pete Nash to bolster ICM Partners international business, bringing with him Kings of Leon, Pet Shop Boys and Travis among others. In August, ICM hired former WME agent Simon Clarkson and in May, the agency picked up Paradigm’s Dave Kaplan and Randall Uritsky, veteran music agents who had previously worked at The Agency Group.
“Our entire team’s excited to be working with the three and the repertoire that they bring. I think we’re going to hit the ground running and keep our focus on representing great artists, getting the work done and giving these great agents the support they need,” says Prinz.