Industry Profile: Cary Baker

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess MediaWire)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Cary Baker, owner/president, Conqueroo.

As well as his clients, Cary Baker believes in the spirit of rock and roll; in the purity of blues and country music; and in the sanctity of kicking off his working days at 6:30 A.M. (Pacific Time).

This wily, fast-talking, midwesterner veteran publicist maintains that it’s crucial for his PR firm, with four employees working from Studio City, California, to work in real time with all of their American media contacts.

Before launching Conqueroo in 2004, with a sizzling hot Americana, blues and alt-country roster that included J.J. Cale, Gingersol, Robert Earl Keen, Anne McCue, James McMurtry, Vernon Reid, Chris Stamey, Tres Chicas, Ponderosa Stomp and the Americana Music Association Conference, Baker had been a label publicity executive for nearly two decades.

Baker worked as VP of publicity for I.R.S. Records, Capitol Records, Morgan Creek Records, and Discovery Records in Los Angeles. Prior to Conqueroo, he had been at The Baker/Northrop Media Group, where he was a founding partner.

Over the years, while working at these labels, Baker spearheaded publicity campaigns for R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Shelby Lynne, the Beastie Boys, Delbert McClinton, Cheap Trick, Loudon Wainwright III, Alex Chilton, Susan Tedeschi, Tina Turner, Steve Vai, Concrete Blonde, Frank Zappa, Tom Verlaine, and many, many others.

For 20 years, from 1987 to 2007, he instructed the UCLA Extension class “Publicity in the Music Industry”.

Prior to switching over to publicity, this ardent record collector, and musical evangelist was a respected freelance music journalist working for such national publications as Billboard, Goldmine, Creem, New York Rocker, Bomp!, Mix, and Trouser Press.

He also freelanced as a writer around Chicago for such local publications as the Illinois Entertainer, and the Chicago Reader, and edited a monthly music magazine called Triad.

Since Conqueroo was launched in 2004, the publicity company has represented Trombone Shorty, the Band of Heathens, Sonny Landreth, Martin Sexton, Rodney Crowell, Hoodoo Gurus, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hot Club of Cowtown, and Billy Joe Shaver.

As well it has had such corporate clients as Collectors’ Choice Music, Stax Records, Shout! and the 2007 John Sayles' film "Honeydripper."

Baker has also compiled and written liner notes for reissue titles on Universal/Chess Records, EMI/The Right Stuff Records, and Motown.

Much of Conqueroo’s clientele has been Americana. Why?

First of all, I’m from Chicago, and I spent my adolescence listening to blues and rock and roll. It’s my background, and it’s my history. I also worked for Ovation Records (in the late ‘70s) doing country. I went to Nashville and worked with the Kendalls, Joe Sun, Vern Gosdin, and Max D. Barnes. I developed an appreciation for country and for Nashville as well. (Then working with) R.E.M. really got me into the possibilities of American indie rock.

So you combine blues, American indie rock, country, Nashville, Austin; and (the fact) that I’m getting a few years older; I sort of drifted from punk rock and indie rock to Americana seamlessly.

You are renowned for being fiercely devoted to your roster.

Conqueroo is sort of the summation of all my years in publicity. I am doing what I want. I am doing it my way. I am doing it during my hours—although the hours are long. I’m doing it with artists that I love and respect. I am utilizing all of the connections that I have made during the prior 25 years of my career.

I think that I have engendered some respect as an indie working in a certain area of music. I’m not the guy you would go to if you are a fuchsia-haired, tattooed, pierced band that is going to play on the second stage of Coachella (Coachella Music and Arts Festival). That’s not what I do. But, if you want real grassroots experienced publicity for singer/songwriters, roots music, blues reissues, Americana, and triple A, then you come to me.

With all the talk of DIY these days, most artists can’t replicate what you do.

It still takes a village. It can be very unbecoming when an artist presents themselves. At the same time, I know many artists who do book themselves; and a few have relationships in the press and do reach out themselves.

Coming from a journalism background, I know how to write a good pitch or a good proposal. I have (media) lists that artists don’t have. I have relationships that artists don’t have that are constantly being renewed. It is full-time work doing what I do.

When you accept an act, what time period do you look to work with them?

Ideal is 90 days. (A successful campaign) is still doable at 60 days—less desirable, but I have done, is 30 days. I have had artists who have called me a week before release; and I have had artists call me 30 days after the release to clean up a mess because their in-house label person failed.

A 90 day media campaign seems most realistic.

I am a believer in solid, long lead-time magazine set-up. Magazines like American Songwriter, Relix, M, Rolling Stone, Spin, Magnet, Under the Radar to name a few, these take real solid lead times. Even if artists don’t care if their review is on time—“a late review is okay”—it might not be fine with the magazine who wants to remain current. Sometimes it takes 60 to 90 days just to eke a path to many of these editors as well. It’s hard to get to them sometimes. Everybody has voice mail. It takes a lot of restrained repetition to get people to reckon with the CD that is on their desk.

Do editors and journalists hide behind email?

People prefer email. It gives them time to take a breath, consider, park the email, flag it, think about it, listen to the music, and then get back to me. When you think about it, calling people on the phone is tantamount to putting them on the spot. Maybe, they haven’t heard (the CD). Maybe, they need a moment to think about it. Maybe, they want to reach out to colleagues or people on their staff and see if there’s someone on their staff more interested than they are about the CD.

How many clients do you work?

Conqueroo works about 10 clients at the moment.

Do you go on the road with acts?

I never go on the road with artists. I am here at control central. I see my artists when they come to L.A. or when I come to New York, Nashville or Austin.

Pitching Americana, blues and roots acts to mainstream press is a tough row to hoe.

It is. Americana really isn’t mainstream until you get to the point of Wilco, Steve Earle or Buddy Miller. Some of those artists do get to play late night television.

For many daily newspapers an act also has to be playing locally to be considered for a feature.

That’s true. If the artist is newsworthy enough then maybe they would consider it. A few major newspapers still have record review columns. Every Sunday, I read the Philadelphia Inquirer reviews, and the New York Times reviews.

Decades ago, many music journalists were generalists and wrote on artists in different genres. Journalists are more focused today and are often more celebrity-oriented. Pitching them on an Americana artist is often a long shot.

Well, I don’t go to People magazine with a lot of my artists. But it’s also true that if somebody is newsworthy, editors want coverage of that artist, and they would be foolish not to. The real trick is to come up with the story that is really compelling, or to come up with an angle that is unique. You are not going to make all of the headway, but you can make some headway. You can get your foot in the door.

You are competing for space against Lady Gaga and Madonna.

I know I am. So I am very picky with who I take on. I work from 6:30 A.M. to 7 P.M. at least. I just never stop. I put out about 200 emails a day. I really work it. That’s how I am able to do this. I will also start a baby artist with baby press. There are a lot of blogs that start artists. They catch fire, and people notice. Then you are able to take that to the national press.

Americana is not really a music genre. It’s an amalgamation of musical styles.

That’s the revelation. When you go to the Americana (Music) Conference, there’s everything from Ricky Skaggs to the more indie rock sort of things. You will find everybody there from Billy Joe Shaver to the Avett Brothers, who came from that world. Wilco would cordially be invited to play the conference and would be right at home, along with Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. I usually have eight to 10 artists performing at the conference, including some people that you wouldn’t think of as Americana like Over the Rhine, and Susan Cowsill. Basically, if it’s honest, and it’s singer/songwriter music, if it has some integrity, it doesn’t have to have a twang, it can be considered Americana. It is a very wide genre.

Thirty years ago, Van Morrison was on mainstream rock FM. Today, he’s practically considered Americana.

If he made an album today it would probably get worked at Americana like Elvis Costello. But, I don’t like to think of Americana as a place where people convert to gracefully (with age). I like to think that people have some commitment to Americana. And there are a lot of up-and-comers in Americana like Amy Speace for instance, or the Band of Heathens who I work with.

[Interestingly, Van Morrison had never played Nashville before 2006. Touring behind his “Pay The Devil” album—his versions of country tunes both celebrated and obscure —he made the city one of just seven U.S. stops on this tour. The Ryman Auditorium reportedly sold out in 12 minutes—even with a lot of those hallowed Mother Church pew seats selling for $135 each.]

I’m a critically-acclaimed Americana act with a great record produced by someone like T-Bone Burnett on a respected indie label. How would you treat me as a client?

First of all, let’s talk about whether or not I accept you as a client. I’m very picky. There’s only one of me. I don’t want to be as big as Shore Fire Media or Sacks and Co. by design. We have four people here. I want to remain small and boutique. I’m very hands-on with every client we take on. As I said, I am very picky. I want an artist that I can take to the New York Times, to late night TV, to National Public Radio, to American Songwriter, to M, Spin and Rolling Stone. Those are my goals. It’s going to be a lot easier if the artist has a little bit of media base for me to do that.

It helps if an act are road warriors?

It helps if they are road warriors. That certainly helps in the various cities. It’s competitive out there, man. There are just hundreds of artists out there playing Chicago, New York, D.C., Philly, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland every night of the week. It is even hard to do tour publicity now unless you really have a compelling artist.

There are companies that now handle social media and internet marketing. How involved are you with that?

There are a lot of companies that do social networking and internet marketing. I am able to do it when it’s necessary. Usually, the artists are ahead of me on that, but I will make suggestions.

My personal Facebook page has 3,000 friends; I have a 1,000 followers from my Conqueroo Facebook page, and 700 followers on Twitter. I am aiming to get more on Twitter. I really do the Twitter thing on my press releases with the hashtags. On Facebook, I pretty much have a running document of all of our important press releases, and press clippings that you can access. I treat it like an archive. I will say the odd whimsical thing on Facebook, but I regard—at least the Conqueroo Facebook page—as very sacred. I don’t want people to remove us. I am also on LinkedIn, which I have found to be a useful tool.

Publicity is a relationship business.

It has always been a relationship business. Every year at South by Southwest I meet new editors. Many of them half my age. I let them know that, “Hey, I may be a little older, but I come with this kind of a pedigree.” I know music. I know the media. I come from the media. I keep up with music. I have satellite in my car. I listen to Sirius XMU and Outlaw Country.

Is your age a handicap at times? People in their 20s use social media and…

I use social media too. I use social media like I am a 20 year old.

Many younger people rarely use the telephone except to text.

That’s okay, I sent 200 emails today. I’m right there with them, and I have the same energy that they do. At South by Southwest this year, I had 13 artists, plus a party, plus a hit list of people that I wanted to meet and a selection of breakfasts with media people that I wanted to get to know better. Nobody knows how to play the relationship game better.

You don’t do much pitching overseas.

I deal with Maverick, Mojo and a select few others (in the U.K), but I have been told by some of my label clients not to work international publicity because release dates don’t always correlate with the American release. It’s such a bleed these days because a lot of Mojo writers live in the U.S. The U.S. is full-time work. U.S. publicity is absolutely beyond full-time work.

How many years have you attended South by Southwest?

24 out of 25 years. I love it. I love Austin. I love live music. I love spring. It really kind of helps me to meet people and renew contacts. It lets me know what music that I might work on, or sing, or listen to, or buy. It’s a great party. It’s harder now. It’s immense. You have the Spring Break factor. The festival factor. The interactive (sector). There’s film and now even fashion at South by Southwest.

You can’t really break a band there anymore.

I don’t know if the objective is, necessarily, to break a band. Some bands definitely break out of South by Southwest, but you have to go there with realistic expectations. You realize that at any given point and time, and at any given hour, you have 100 to maybe 200 people playing official and unofficial showcases from 10 A.M. to 2 A.M.

You come with a realistic set of goals, but you also have to prepare in advance.

I spend from January 2 to March 15 preparing for South by Southwest. I do a mailing to the Austin press. I set up TV for my artists. I put together my party. I make South by Southwest work for me.

Conqueroo is co-sponsor of the prestigious Guitartown/Conqueroo Kickoff Party.

I have a party partner, Lii Deb. She started Guitartown 10 years ago. I have been a partner for five years. I get to give her a certain number of clients and she brings a lot of her favorite bands that she knows, or up-and-comers that she knows.

The party gives Conqueroo a big footprint there.

A big footprint on day one at South by Southwest. It’s a venerable party at this point. I get lot of people asking if they can play it, but I’m not about to put requests off the street in front of my clients, who I am working for, and who I really want to get the exposure. But, I welcome the enquiries. I always send them a polite and prompt “no” and I explain why.

I also go to the Americana Music Association’s awards each year. I have been to almost every one of them since 2001. I didn’t go the year of 9/11—it was rescheduled and I wasn’t able to make it. I’ve been to about 10 of those. Here’s the heavily-guarded secret: It’s more fun than South by Southwest. It’s smaller; there are only about four clubs. It is not beleaguered with day parties. There are panels which are first-rate. It is really an adult singer/songwriter, Americana, alt-country equivalent of South by Southwest that happens in the fall in Nashville, which is a great city to visit and do business in—which Austin is too.

You came to California to work with I.R.S. Records in 1984. Before that, you also worked for a label in Chicago handling publicity.

I had one (label) job in Chicago before I went to I.R.S. I was head of publicity at Ovation Records. Right out of college, and around the time I wrote for Billboard, I started to write about Ovation. Ovation had country artists like the Kendalls, and Joe Sun. They were basically a country label with a few failed attempts at pop. I did that for two years, so I was not inexperienced at publicity.

What lead you to working with I.R.S.?

I graduated from college in July, 1978. I moved back to Chicago from DeKalb. I worked for Billboard out of the Chicago office. I wasn’t prolific. I edited a monthly magazine called Triad, which was a little like BAM! (Bay Area Music) in San Francisco). It was a glossy, stapled, monthly free music magazine. Its previous editor was Patrick Goldstein, who went on to become a big writer at the L.A. Times.

[Triad magazine was produced by Triad radio, a progressive, free-form, nightly program, which aired on WXFM-FM in Mount Zion, Illinois. The magazine evolved from Triad’s program guide and was available free at retail outlets.]

I also worked for the Illinois Entertainer, and the Chicago Reader. I kept writing for Trouser Press, Creem, New York Rocker, Bomp! and a magazine called Record. I wrote a lot about I.R.S Records artists. Eventually, I formed relationships with I.R.S. They signed my college roommate Wazmo Nariz, who had been my first signing on Fiction Records. He would sever with them, but I had my own relationship with I.R.S.

[Wazmo Nariz’s (aka Larry Grennan) first success came with the single, "Tele-tele-telephone," released on Baker’s Fiction Record label in 1978. The single was licensed by Stiff Records in the U.K., which released an EP the next year. I.R.S. Records founder Miles Copeland signed Nariz and his band to Illegal Records/I.R.S., which released the LP “Things Aren't Right.” It featured the single "Checking Out The Checkout Girl," which received some airplay in the midwest. Soon afterwards, Nariz was dropped by I.R.S.]

How active was Fiction Records?

I put out three or four 45s, and an EP. Wazmo Nariz was our best-known artist. He was my college roommate and he sounded a lot like Bryan Ferry meets David Bowie meets Lou Reed. His record “Tele-tele-telephone" went on to be licensed by Stiff Records out of the UK. They put out a 12-inch single of it. Wazmo Nariz went on to become the first American artist signed to I.R.S. Records. That in itself was a pivotal incident in my career because I had discovered this guy signed to I.R.S. and I formed a relationship with I.R.S. myself.

This was as punk music was taking hold in America.

I was right on top of punk, and I still liked blues. I even liked folk. I was way into punk and power pop. The unsigned bar band in DeKalb, and Rockford nearby, was Cheap Trick. They didn’t have a contract yet but we knew about them. Cheap Trick turned me onto this band called the Names. They were friends of (Cheap trick drummer) Bun E. Carlos. I put out their first 45, “Why Can’t It Be” (b/w "Baby You're a Fool") in 1977. It was the same year I went to L.A. and New York to check out CBGBs in New York, and the Starwood and the Roxy in L.A. 1977 was a very big year for me.

How did you come to work with I.R.S.?

In the cold winter of 1984, word reached me that I.R.S. Records was seeking a head of publicity. I had nothing to do, and it was freezing out. I put in a resume and a cover letter. I was going to Los Angeles for a bit of a vacation—I mentioned that in my cover letter. They called me. I went in, and talked to them. I pretty much spent my winter vacation interviewing. I made about four stops at I.R.S. Records (in Los Angeles), talking to different people.

Over 60 people applied for the job. I don’t know how many they talked to, or how many they were serious about. I got back to Chicago, and about a week or two later I got a call from Jay Boberg (president of I.R.S.) offering me the job. So I accepted the job. About three weeks later, I put my stuff in a moving van, came out and lived at the Travelodge Sunset motel at Sunset and La Brea for a few weeks until I found an apartment.

I got to I.R.S. in Feb. 1984. They were just getting ready to launch R.E.M.’s “Reckoning”; the Go-Go’s “Talk Show”’; the Alarm’s “Declaration”; Let’s Active’s first album (“Afoot"); and a new Lords of the New Church record (“The Method to Our Madness”). I came into town, and I had all of that to get me in the door. I had Bob Hilburn from the L.A. Times, and the music editor of the L.A. Weekly calling me which was astounding.

I was at I.R.S. for four years. I helped break Concrete Blonde, Fine Young Cannibals, and General Public. R.E.M. had a lot of foundation before I got there but we got them onto their first David Letterman show; their first “Saturday Night Live”; and their first Rolling Stone cover.

Did you like your job?

I felt like I had the best job in the record industry. I.R.S. was truly a fun place to work. They were signing artists that were critically acclaimed, and with the Go-Gos that had preceded me, they had proven that they could also chart a hit as well—with A&M’s help. But they knew what they do, and they knew the right artists to sign.

At that point, I.R.S was on fire while many of the more established labels were floundering.

The label was on fire, but we weren’t getting paid much. They weren’t selling a lot of records. They had a lot of good publicity, a lot of critical acclaim, a lot musical credibility, good A&R. Everybody loved the Fleshtones, Let’s Active and the English Beat. Everybody loved R.E.M. There was also Timbuk 3, Fine Young Cannibals, and the Balancing Act etc. I had a great roster to work with.

You were also quickly accepted by the music press.

I brought a solid journalism background to publicity. I knew how to write. I wrote all my own bios. I was a bonafide—I don’t want to say musicologist—but record collector. I really knew music. I could really sit in a room with Bob Hilburn or Bob Christgau and talk music, which I think accounts for a lot of my success. I still make it a point to read the music press, and listen to as much music as possible.

Until the rise of internet, print ruled publicity.

There wasn’t the internet back then, so it was print. Basically, publicity was print of all kinds: magazines, newspapers, lead time dailies. It was wire services. It was TV, and TV news of all kinds; public radio, although it wasn’t the force that it is nowadays; and some radio, but radio promotion is a whole occupation in to itself.

I would like to think that I helped further the position of record company publicity a little bit. There were visionaries in publicity that preceded me like Marilyn Laverty, who has gone on to form Shore Fire Media; Bob Merlis (at Warners); and Heidi Ellen Robinson, in Bob Merlis’ department at Warners, who invented tour publicity. And as far as indies went, there was Howard Bloom, Danny Goldberg, and Mitch Schneider. There were a lot of people who had really given credibility to publicity—many that I haven’t named.

In 1988, after four years, you left I.R.S. to go to Capitol Records.

A lot of the artists had left I.R.S. and my soul had left the building as well, I’m sorry to say. I had a few differences with Miles Copeland over the years. Fortunately, I had an offer from Capitol Records to head their publicity department. This was a quantum leap for me. I had one, two or three people at I.R.S. Records, depending on which way the wind blew. At Capitol, I was a department head with 12 to 14 people, including interns on two coasts.

You were at Capitol from 1988 to 1991.

They were great years. We had Bonnie Raitt with nine Grammies (in total) and we had M.C. Hammer, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney with “Flowers In the Dirt,” the Smithereens with “11,” and we had Dave Edmunds, Grace Jones, and Donnie Osmond. If you sense a trend of ‘70s retreads there, well that was the case. We also had the Beasties, and Blind Melon was just starting to be signed. So we were starting to see the future. But we had a hit with someone from the ‘70s (Bonnie Raitt) with one of the biggest hits of all time, “Nick Of Time” (selling five million copies, and winning three Grammy Awards in 1990, including Album Of The Year).

You spent nearly three years at Morgan Creek Records from 1991 to 1993. The parent company was very successful in the film business.

That’s why the label didn’t succeed. The movie business was very geared to opening weekend box office whereas music is artist development. We had Mary’s Danish, Little Feat, Janis Ian, Shelby Lynn, and Miracle Legion.

It was strange working there. We had computers on our desk, but we didn’t have the internet. It was press releases on paper. We could write things on the computer but then it had to be mailed or faxed.

Eventually, the guy (James G. Robinson) who owns Morgan Creek Productions, who knows the film business well, got tired of writing checks in the name of artist development. The label was pretty well laid to rest after three years.

The label’s biggest hit was "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams featured on the 1991 soundtrack album “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and on Adams' album “Waking Up the Neighbours” on A&M Records.

That was the big hit that paid a lot of pay checks. It is the only platinum record we got at Morgan Creek. It fueled a lot of artist development.

Did you know early on that you wanted to work in the music industry?

I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by music, and by media from day one. My science teacher in junior high had a subscription to Billboard. He would bring it for me, and I would study each issue. It was fascinating to me: the labels, the executives, the charts, the news items, the signings, the concert reviews, the “Watch Closely, Mr. Retailer” album reviews, and (stories on the) juke box operators. I was in rapt attention.

Was music part of your background?

My late father was a classical music collector. My mother was a violinist in the Montreal Symphony for years. They served as an inspiration.

Like others, I got hooked on the Beatles, and I was a rock fan from that moment onward. But I discovered that I lived in Chicago, which was the home of blues and Chess (Records). I think I heard Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud” album (released by Chess-affiliated Cadet Concept in 1968) on freeform radio WSDM-FM or (urban station) WDAI in Chicago in 1968 or 1969. That was really when I lost it. I realized that I was a subway ride away from Chess Records. I needed to know everything there was to know about Chess Records and the blues. That was on top of my interest in rock and everything else. I was a goner by then.

The other thing that was instrumental in my career—and how is this for career focus? I was, maybe, 14 years old and had entered high school (New Trier High School) in the north suburbs of Chicago, only to find out that we had an FM station 88.1 FM WNTH. I became a DJ with a blues show. Then I became music director and public relations director (at the station) at 15.

Music director was an interesting job because it entailed me contacting record companies, and local distributors and getting them to service a high school radio station. After school, in that narrow window between 3:30 and 6 P.M., I would go to the distributors, and make sure that we had albums like “Woodstock” for the radio station’s library. And as the public relations director, I was trying to get stories on the station at the Winnetka Talk, the Evanston Review, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

I went to Brunswick and Dakar, the soul labels. I also went to One-derful. I visited Delmark a lot. I spent time at the Jazz Record Mart with Bob Koester (also the founder and owner of Delmark Records.) His shipping clerk was a wild-eyed, angry young man name Bruce Iglaurer who went on to form Alligator Records (in 1971). Both guys were mentors and good friends. They answered my questions and suffered a teenaged kid hanging around.

Did you visit Chess Records?

People think that I’m lying when I say this, but I went to Chess, and Sunnyland Slim, the famous blues pianist and recording artist (who played with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Little Walter) was painting the walls. I had met him once before at the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. We kind of knew each other. I was 14 or 15. I said, “How are you doing Sunnyland?” He said, “You can see how I’m doing.”

That kind of stuck in my craw.

When I hear these stories about Muddy Waters painting the ceiling at Chess, according to the Rolling Stones (in an account by Keith Richards, when the Rolling Stones visited Chess in 1964), on top of being their recording star…

I don’t really believe that story.

I believe it’s true. With Sunnyland Slim, I saw it with my own teenaged eyes. At Chess, I met (producer) Ralph Bass, and (pianist) Sonny Thompson. I met a lot of the latter-day A&R people who closed the doors of Chess. They sold it to GRT (General Recorded Tape of California). Even at 15 or 16, I knew that was a disaster in the making. GRT proceeded not to have any life of its own. The Chess tapes later became the property of All-Platinum, which also collapsed.

[After GRT purchased Chess in 1968, it moved the label to New York, operating it as a division of Janus Records. In 1975, GRT sold Chess to New Jersey-based All Platinum Records. It later faced financial difficulties, and the Chess catalog was acquired by MCA Records, which itself was later merged into Universal Music.]

What did you think of the 2008 film about Chess Records, “Cadillac Records?” I thought the ambience was good.

The ambience wasn’t bad, but they didn’t film it in Chicago. Illinois has an active film office as does the city of Chicago. We have locations here. The former Chess Record building is owned by the Willie Dixon family. You tell me that they needed to shoot the film in New Jersey? That kinda offended me from the onset. Some of the other stuff I was okay with.

[The filming of “Cadillac Records” started in Feb. 2008, in Clifton, New Jersey. Filming also took place in Mississippi and Louisiana.]

I never did see “Who Do You Love?” (a 2008 a biopic of the record producer Leonard Chess, directed by Jerry Zaks and filmed in New Orleans) because it had a shelf life in L.A. of about one week. I’ve never come upon it since then.

Did you hang out at the Maxwell Street Market in Chicago?

I went to Maxwell Street, indeed. My father used to be taken to Maxwell Street by his father to shop there. It was a hot bed of activity, especially for the Russian Jewish emigrants of Chicago, and European emigrants, of which my grandfather was one.

So my father took me there in 1969 to show me around. He wanted to get it out of my system. He wanted me to never want to go back. But that backfired. We went there and there was blues on the street corners. I saw Big Walter Horton, Little Pat Rushing, and Big John Wrencher. The guy I really was in awe with was Blind Arvella Gray, who was a blind street singer who was missing some fingers.

He played a slide steel resonator guitar.

That’s right. It was a Nashville steel-bodied guitar. And he would get around all over the city. But on Sundays you could find him on Maxwell Street with a tin cup. I sat and watched him for hours and hours. I took many photos.

You arranged for Arvella Gray to record an album.

There was a label in my home town of Wilmette called Birch Records. They did a lot of “Barn Dance” era recordings (with performers from the “National Barn Dance” program broadcast by WLS-AM in Chicago) like Patsy Montana, and Lulu Belle & Scotty. I suggested that they record Blind Arvella Gray, and they made the arrangement.

One night we drove the owner of the label (Dave Wylie) and Blind Arvella Gray down to the south suburb of Harvey, Illinois and recorded an album. We got out at about 3 A.M. The album came out on Birch Records. They pressed about 1,000 albums, which all sold out.

One day in 2005, it occurred to me that nobody had ever reissued this Blind Arvella Gray record. The trouble was (Dave Wylie) who ran the Birch label didn’t have a computer; and he wasn’t on email and there was very little internet DNA. I really had to dig deep to find him. Finally, he called me and he knew exactly why I was looking for him. So, he leased me the Blind Arvella Gray record (“The Singing Drifter”), which I put out on my own label Conjuroo Recordings.

[Arvella Gray was born in Somerville, Texas in 1906. Little is known about his life He apparently lost his sight, and the first two fingers on his fret hand in the early 30s.

Gray had self-released three singles in the mid-60s; and been featured on a few compilations, but he hadn't released an album of his own. In late September 1972, Wylie and Baker drove Gray to a studio in Harvey where Gray laid down 15 tracks, both originals and adaptations of traditional material. 11 tracks ended up on the 1973 album, “The Singing Drifter.” Gray died in 1980.

In 2006, Baker reissued “The Singing Drifter,” which had long been out of print, on Conjuroo Recordings.]

You tried the famous Maxwell Street polish sausage, of course.

I had many a Maxwell Street polish sausage and ribs and tacos and everything that you can think of.

In the 1980 “Blues Brothers” film, Aretha Franklin jumped up on the counter to belt out “Respect.” That was filmed at Nate's Deli on Maxwell Street - now a parking lot. As well, the Hill Street Blues Precinct House on the ‘80s TV series “Hill Street Blues” was the old Chicago police station on the corner of Maxwell and Morgan Streets.

Nate’s Deli (formerly Lyon's Deli) was a real deli (owned and operated by Nate Duncan). I’ve had many a pastrami sandwich there. They didn’t have live music never less did they have Aretha Franklin.

You could walk around Maxwell Street and find musicians all over the street corners and in the alleys, especially in vacant lots where they could run an (electric) current from next door and plug in their guitars. And there was a place called Maxwell Street Radio (Maxwell Radio and Records) at 831 West Maxwell, run by Bernie Abrams. In the ‘40s he had a label (Ora-Nelle) that released the first record, a 78, by Little Walter, and the first 78 by Johnny “Man” Young ("Money Taking Woman”).

[For decades, the swarming weekend open-air market on Maxwell Street southwest of Chicago's Loop served as a place where Chicagoans of all ethnic and racial backgrounds could come together. It was free, out in the open, and dozens of local blues and gospel musicians performed there weekly. Maxwell Street doesn’t have a market anymore, but a recent 90-minute film documentary “Cheat You Fair,” named for one of the Maxwell Street stores, chronicles the history of the marketplace from the 1870s to the 1990s.]

What did you study at North Illinois University?

I was a journalism major. I graduated after five years. I dropped out a couple of times. I was editor of Rockford’s alternative weekly Lively Times for awhile. I was also the music writer for the Northern Star which was a daily paper. I wrote for the Chicago Reader, the Illinois Entertainer, and eventually Trouser Press, New York Rocker, and Bomp! All while I was in college. I also started Fiction Records while I was in college, which was another reason why I was slow to graduate. Graduation was never a priority with me.

Were you collecting records then?

I was a major collector. I would take summer vacations and school holidays and rummage through Salvation Army stores on the wrong side of the tracks. I went to the South Side, the West Side, Evanston, Waukegan, and Joliet looking for 45s and 78s.

The best haul of 78s that I ever found was at a barbeque restaurant in Sycamore, the town next to my college in DeKalb. There was a barbeque place called Fanny’s, without a sign or a phone, located in the coach house of a house. You had to know about it.

After being a five year man on campus at NIU, I did find out about it.

My music friends and I went there for dinner one night. We learned that the place had been opened since the ‘50s. We asked the owner about those records from the ‘50s. He said, “You mean the kind that you can’t play anymore? 78s? I was going to call the Salvation Army to haul them away.” We all went, “No-o-o.”

After dinner, we went down into this guy’s basement and he gave us dozens and dozens of 78s. We’re talking Willie Dixon and the Big Thee Trio, Clifton Chenier, and Don and Dewey on Specialty (Records). Things that you wouldn’t believe. There was a bunch of Chess recordings. I have never scored 78s ever again, like I did from that barbeque restaurant in this rural northern Illinois town.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide: Celebrating 40 Years Of The Juno Awards.


Industry Profile Archives:
Mick The DJ, DJ/Enterpeneur 04/30/15
Jeremy Lascelles & Robin Millar, Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group 12/01/17
Joanne Abbot Green, CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival 10/17/08
Lee Abrams, XM Satellite Radio 11/28/03
John Acquaviva, Fund Manager, DJ and Serial Entrepreneur 07/09/15
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Jamie Adler, Adler Entertainment Group 05/11/07
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Randy Alexander, Randex Communications 10/12/07
David Alexander, Sheer Publishing 07/21/16
Eva Alexiou-Reo, FATA Booking Agency 05/14/15
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Jeff Allen, Universal Attractions 08/16/02
Marcie Allen, MAC Presents 06/05/09
Marcie Allen Cardwell, MAC Presents 12/21/07
David Allgood, Bama Theatre 01/03/11
Patrick Allocco, AllGood Concerts 10/05/07
Michele Amar, French Embassy 05/26/16
Mike Amato, Rok Tours International 02/02/07
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Billy Atwell, AMP Studios 12/13/07
Bob Babisch, Milwaukee World Festivals Inc. 04/02/15
Tom Baggot, 05/02/03
Stephen Bailey, EPACC & Deleware Center For The Arts 02/06/04
Cary Baker, Conqueroo 05/11/11
Vince Bannon, Getty Images 07/05/11
Phil Barber, Barber & Associates 02/04/01
Camille Barbone, WineDark Records 12/09/05
Erin Barra, Musician/Producer/Educator 07/10/14
Ben Baruch, The Fox Theatre 09/27/08
Ben Baruch, By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess) 04/05/17
Paul Bassman, Ascend Insurance Brokerage 08/03/16
Adam Bauer, Fleming, Tamulevich & Associates 02/15/02
Ed Bazel, That's Entertainment International 10/05/01
Joachim Becker, ZOHO Music L.L.C. 01/12/07
Howard Becker, Comet Technologies 05/02/11
Mark Bego, Author 06/15/07
Jim Beloff, Flea Market Music 09/20/10
Richard Bengloff, The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) 09/12/13
Seth Berg, South Bay Music 01/30/09
Aimee Berger, 2 Generations SPA Music Management 09/24/04
David Berger, Future Beat 10/29/14
Barry Bergman, Music Managers Forum 03/14/03
Steve Bernstein, Relix LLC 09/30/05
Mark Berry, Attack Media Group 04/07/07
Scott Billington, Rounder Records 01/17/12
Jeffrey Bischoff, Cinder Block 03/24/06
Sat Bisla, A&R Worldwide/ Musexpo 03/29/10
Nina Blackwood, Sirius Satellite Radio 07/14/06
Adam Block, Legacy Recordings 11/07/13
P.J. Bloom, Neophonic, Inc. 01/24/11
Rishon Blumberg, Brick Wall Management 06/27/03
Justin Bolognino, Learned Evolution, and The Meta Agency 04/25/13
Steve "Chopper" Borges, Total Pro and Borse Techos 03/03/06
Les Borsai, Mediocre Management 01/30/04
Shane Bourbonnais, Live Nation Canada 03/21/08
Jeff Bowen, Sears Centre Arena 03/13/08
Rick Bowen, Mystic Music Experience 07/11/08
John Boyle, Sanctuary Music Group 03/19/04
Jeff & Todd Brabec, Writers/Attorneys 01/03/12
Bill Bragin, Joe's Pub at the Public Theater 08/08/03
Joel Brandes, Avenue Management Group 11/02/08
Joe Brandmeier, Moving Pictures 03/15/02
Scooter Braun, SB Projects 12/13/10
Ron Brice, 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill 06/08/16
Billy Brill, Billy Alan Productions 11/11/05
Doug Brown, Talent Buyers Network 09/21/01
James Browne, Sweet Rhythm 11/01/02
Bob Brumley, Brumley Music Company 02/17/16
Tony Brummel, Victory Records 05/17/09
Charlie Brusco, TBA Entertainment Corporation 10/13/01
Del Bryant, BMI 05/18/07
Cortez Bryant, Bryant Management 12/06/10
Stephen Budd, Stephen Budd Management 07/13/17
Bruce Burch, University of Georgia Music Business Program 10/09/09
Deborah Burda, Kentucky Exposition Center 08/03/07
Patti Burgart, IEBA 06/07/02
Jordan Burger, The New Musiquarium 01/22/01
Ron Burman, Roadrunner Records 08/25/06
Suzanne Cadgene, Elmore 05/19/06
Karen Cadle, KGC Productions 03/12/04
Gary Calamar, KCRW 07/10/09
Charles Caldas, Merlin 07/05/10
Brian Camelio, ArtistShare 02/29/08
David Campbell, AEG Europe 08/02/10
Tom Cantone, Foxwoods Entertainment Group 10/20/00
Tom Cantone, Foxwoods Resort Casino 07/03/03
Tom Cantone, Mohegan Sun 08/30/09
Ashley Capps, A. C. Entertainment 05/21/04
Rio Caraeff, Vevo 07/12/11
Mike Carden, Eagle Rock Entertainment 08/16/11
Charles Carlini, Carlini Group 05/16/08
Mark Carpentieri, M.C. Records 05/27/05
Mark Carpentieri, M.C. Records 01/10/11
Troy Carter, Coalition Media Group 06/07/10
Daniel Catullo, Coming Home Studios 06/22/08
Raffi Cavoukian, Folk Singer/Children's Entertainer 05/11/16
Jeffrey Chabon, Chabon Entertainment Group 08/22/02
Mike Chadwick, Essential Music & Marketing 08/01/12
Rob Challice, Coda Music Agency 03/27/13
Tom Chauncey, Partisan Arts 01/11/02
Tom Chauncey, Partisan Arts 10/04/11
Lisa Cherniak, Artists Against Racism (AAR) 07/20/01
Bob Chiappardi, Concrete Marketing 06/13/03
Joel Chriss, Chriss & Co. 10/04/02
Michael Chugg, Michael Chugg Entertainment 09/14/01
Michael Chugg, Chugg Enterprises 10/02/09
Gary Churgin, Harry Fox Agency 09/13/10
Vinny Cinquemani, S.L. Feldman & Associates 12/13/12
Barry Coburn, Ten Ten Music Group 03/28/11
Matthew Cohen, Green Room Productions 10/19/01
Ted Cohen, TAG Strategic 01/10/13
Lisa Cohen, Associated Booking Corporation 02/10/06
Steve Cohen, Music + Art Management, Inc. 03/09/07
Dan Cohen, Music & Memory 01/12/17
Michael Cohl - Part 1, S2BN Entertainment 03/06/13
Michael Cohl - Part 2, S2BN Entertainment 03/13/13
Bryan Coleman, Union Entertainment Group 02/14/12
Mamie Coleman, Fox Broadcasting 07/05/12
Dennis Condon, Disneyland Resorts 07/13/01
Peter Conlon, Peter Conlon Presents 05/20/05
Tony Conway, Buddy Lee Attractions 10/06/00
Allen Cook, TOURtech 04/16/15
Tomas Cookman, Cookman International 09/05/03
Alex Cooley, Alex Cooley Presents 07/12/10
David Cooper, 10/31/03
Jay Cooper, Greenberg Traurig, LLP 05/23/11
Julie Coulter, Near North Insurance Groups 06/07/01
Amy Cox, Deep South Entertainment 02/09/07
Michael O. Crain, Crain Law Group, LLC 10/09/13
Charlie Cran, The Strawberry Music Festival 04/05/10
Jim Cressman, Invictus Entertainment Group 06/06/12
Russ Crupnick, MusicWatch, Inc. 07/23/15
Todd Culberhouse, Vision Management /Vision Records and Entertainment 09/05/08
Tony D'Amelio, Washington Speakers Bureau 04/21/06
Ruth Daniel, In Place of War 08/09/17
Ray Danniels, Standing Room Only Management, and the Anthem Entertainment Group 03/05/15
Ken Dashow, WAXQ-FM (l04.3 FM) - New York 09/08/06
Hal David, Lyricist 07/26/11
David Davidian, Independant Lighting Designer/Director 06/18/04
Anthony Davis, D&L Entertainment Services, Inc. 03/02/01
Chip Davis, American Gramaphone/Mannheim Steamroller 05/31/02
Mitch Davis, Tempest Entertainment 07/16/04
Jeff Dawson, Canadian Recording Services 06/08/08
Desiree Day, USO Celebrity Entertainment 08/10/01
Shauna de Cartier, Six Shooter Records/Six Shooter Management 10/23/13
Gene DeAnna, The Library of Congress 02/21/12
Vincent Degiorgio, Chapter 2 Productions 08/01/13
Tony DeLauro, DeLauro Management 12/23/04
Valerie Denn, Val Denn Agency 04/30/01
Val Denn, Val Denn Agency 03/06/14
Robert DePugh, Alligator Records 07/29/05
Tom Derr, Rock Ridge Music 10/29/04
Paul Dexter, Masterworks Lighting Design and Road Cases 12/10/04
Marty Diamond, Paradigm 01/22/10
Glenn Dicker, Redeye Distribution/Yep Roc Records 07/07/06
Barry Dickins, International Talent Booking Agency 06/06/13
Jim Digby, Event Safety Alliance 09/01/16
Mark Dinerstein, The Knitting Factory 11/17/06
Neill Dixon, Canadian Music Week 03/03/16
Thomas Dolby, Musician, academic, technologist, and author 11/09/16
Jasper Donat, Music Matters 2009/Branded 04/24/09
Jim Donio, National Association of Recording Merchandisers 04/22/11
Marc Dottore, M. Dottore Management 04/11/03
Tim Drake, The Roots Agency 12/12/08
Mike Dreese, Newbury Comics 11/23/11
Charles Driebe, Blind Ambition Management Ltd. 09/22/06
Jeremy Driesen, Ray Bloch Productions 09/07/01
Michael Drumm, Music Link Productions 07/18/08
Angie Dunn, Lucky Artist Booking 10/13/06
Jay Durgan, MEDIAmobz 11/09/11
Erik Dyce, City and County of Denver's Division of Theatres & Arenas 08/02/02
Erik Dyce, City and County of Denver’s Division of Theatres and Arenas 08/23/10
Paolo d’Alessandro, International Solutions 06/25/14
Ros Earls, 140dB Management 02/19/14
Art Edelstein, Festival Productions 12/01/02
Bruce Eisenberg, Audio Analysts 08/31/01
Martin Elbourne, The Glastonbury Festival 12/18/09
Michael Elder, Red Entertainment 03/17/06
Tod Elmore, Sixthman 11/24/06
Paul Emery, Clear Channel Entertainment 11/19/04
Arty Erk, Citrin Cooperman 04/27/16
Joe Escalante, Kung Fu Records 07/08/05
Colin Escott, Music Historian/Journalist 07/18/11
Ritch Esra, The Music Business Registry 09/27/02
Ritch Esra, The Music Business Registry 04/24/12
Mike Esterman, Esterman Entertainment 09/01/06
Jeff Eyrich, BePop Records 11/25/05
Bob Ezrin, Bigger Picture Group 05/24/09
Lisa Fancher, Frontier Records 08/09/10
Rick Farman, Superfly Productions 10/15/04
Ray Farrell, eMusic 06/09/06
Sam Feldman, S.L. Feldman & Associates 10/25/02
Bob Feldman, Red House Records 11/24/02
Charlie Feldman, BMI 08/26/05
Paul Fenn, Asgard Promotions 11/22/09
Debra "Fergy" Ferguson, TourDesign 08/01/03
Pete Fisher, Grand Ole Opry 09/11/09
David Fishof, David Fishof Presents 01/08/01
David Fishof, Rock 'N Roll Fantasy 10/05/08
David Fishof, Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp 02/28/12
Mike Flanagin, New England Country Music Festival 09/12/08
Joel Flatow, RIAA 12/13/11
Jim Fleming, Fleming Artists 03/20/10
Joe Fletcher, Joe Fletcher Presents 01/12/06
Jeff Fluhr, StubHub 10/06/06
Nancy Fly, The Nancy Fly Agency 04/02/04
Arthur Fogel, Live Nation 08/09/09
Martin Folkman, Independent Music Awards & Music Resource Group 08/11/06
Belle Forino, Fantasma Tours 03/18/05
Fletcher Foster, Universal Records South 07/31/09
Sam Foxman, Contemporary Productions 01/06/06
Todd Frank, 4Star Entertainment, LLC 01/24/03
Bob Frank, Koch Entertainment 01/09/09
Larry Frank, Frank Productions 01/17/11
Mike Fraser, Record Producer/Engineer 10/11/08
Carl Freed, Metropolitan Entertainment 06/22/01
Elizabeth Freund, Beautiful Day Media & Management 01/26/07
Harlan Frey, Roadrunner Records 07/11/03
Adam Friedman, Nederlander Concerts 06/22/07
Ted Gardner, Larrikin Management 04/25/03
Daniel Gélinas, Festival d’été de Québec 05/23/13
Marci Geller, Sonic Underground 08/15/08
Chris Gero, Yamaha Entertainment Group 10/26/16
Steve Gerstman, SGS 07/19/02
Sandra Gibson, The Association of Performing Arts Presenters 01/09/04
Sandra L. Gibson, Association of Performing Arts Presenters 01/16/09
Steve Gietka, Trump Properties 07/30/01
Steve Gietka, SMG Entertainment 03/19/14
Darren Gilmore, Watchdog Management 03/17/16
Daniel Glass, Glassnote Entertainment Group 10/16/14
Jake Gold, The Management Trust 04/13/01
Neil Goldberg, Cirque Productions 09/07/07
Harris Goldberg, Concert Ideas 06/27/11
Neil Goldberg, Cirque Productions 04/16/14
Martin Goldschmidt, Cooking Vinyl Group 09/29/16
Harvey Goldsmith, Harvey Goldsmith Productions 06/28/10
Michael Goldstein, RockPoP Gallery 11/09/07
Seth Goldstein, 09/20/11
Anna Paula Goncalves, CEO Global Brand Appeal 08/20/14
Arnie Goodman, Blue Storm Music 11/15/02
Wesley Goodman, Red Entertainment 09/16/05
Richard Goodstone, Superfly Productions 01/27/06
Christie Goodwin, Photographer 03/18/15
Rob Gordon, What Are Records? LTD 02/01/02
Steve Gordon, Entertainment Attorney 08/06/04
Yoav Goren, Immediate Music & Imperativa Records 06/10/14
Mike Gormley, L.A. Personal Development 11/10/06
Jonathan Gosselin, Gosselin Marketing & Promotions 07/02/04
Richard Gottehrer, The Orchard 04/10/09
Sean Goulding, The Agency Group London 09/12/12
Jerimaya Grabher, RPM Direct 09/26/03
Mary Granata, The Granata Agency 09/06/10
Kelly Graves, Providence Performing Arts Center/Professional Facilities Management 01/20/02
Stan Green, Stanley A. Green Lighting and Productions 12/12/03
Mark Green, Celebrity Talent Agency Inc. / Bergen Performing Arts Center 08/12/05
Jeffrey Green, Americana Music Association 03/10/06
Paul Green, The School of Rock 07/06/08
Benjy Grinberg, Rostrum Records 12/06/11
Brent Grulke, SXSW 03/06/09
Michael Gudinski, The Mushroom Group 10/29/15
Phil Guiliano, CIE USA Entertainment Inc. & OCESA PRESENTS Inc. 03/25/05
Steve Gumble, SBG Productions 06/16/06
Greg Hagglund, Vivelo! 05/07/04
Rodney Hall, FAME Music Group 11/06/09
Rob Hallett, Robomagic 02/05/15
Craig Hankenson, Producers, Inc 02/23/06
Kerry Hansen, Wynonna Incorporated 10/03/03
Eric Hanson, Ted Kurland Associates 12/20/02
Eric Hanson, Tree Lawn Artists 03/23/07
Rusty Harmon, MTM Music Management 12/06/07
Ali Harnell, Clear Channel Entertainment Nashville 08/15/03
Bob Harris, 02/06/09
Evan Harrison, Huka Entertainment 12/08/16
David Hart, The Agency Group 02/20/04
Laura Hassler, Musicians without Borders 12/02/15
Abe Hathot, Musician, composer, and music producer. 12/21/16
Steve Hecht, Piedmont Talent 08/29/12
Travis Hellyer, Mezzanine 09/02/05
Janie Hendrix, Experience Hendrix 02/01/10
Nona Hendryx, Rhythmbank Entertainment 06/02/06
Dan Herrington, Dualtone Records 07/25/03
Sara Hickman, Sleeveless/Stingray 06/30/06
Dan Hirsch, On Board Entertainment 04/04/03
Nick Hobbs, Charmenko 12/14/01
Carel Hoffman, Hilltop Live/Oppikoppi Productions 11/07/12
Ian Hogarth, Songkick 08/09/11
Gene Hollister, Rose Presents 04/08/01
Rusty Hooker, Rock Steady Management Agency 02/16/01
Jake Hooker, Hook Entertainment 05/10/02
Martin Hopewell, Primary Talent International 04/19/02
Tom Hoppa, TKO Booking Agency 09/29/06
Bobbie Horowitz, Times Square Group 01/04/02
Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages 11/01/11
Bruce Houghton, Skyline Music 10/27/00
Bruce Houghton, Skyline Music 01/22/14
Andi Howard, Peak Records and Andi Howard Entertainment 09/02/03
Barbara Hubbard, ACTS 09/12/03
Laurent Hubert, BMG US 11/12/15
Seth Hurwitz, I.M.P. 04/20/09
Ariel Hyatt, Author, and founder of Cyber PR 11/23/16
Mark Hyman, Ashley Talent International 11/09/01
Brett Hyman, Category 5 Entertainment 07/23/04
Bruce Iglauer, Alligator Records 08/17/01
Bruce Iglauer, Alligator Records 05/28/14
Doug Isaac, Super Bowl Concert Series Producer (EXI) 08/24/01
David Israelite, National Music Publishers' Association 11/29/08
Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson Productions 02/06/13
Jay Jacobs, Parc Landon 09/21/07
Larry Jacobson, World Audience 09/17/04
Audra Jaeger, The Management Trust 05/09/03
Ralph James, The Agency Group 01/31/11
Jeffrey Jampol, Jampol Artist Management 07/18/12
Jean Michel Jarre, International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) 06/19/13
Michael Jaworek, The Birchmere 05/08/09
Peter Jesperson, New West Records 11/03/06
John Jeter, The Handlebar 08/15/12
Mike Johnson, Groundrush Media 02/17/06
Andrea Johnson, ICM Partners 11/02/17
Mike Gormley & Jolene Pellant, Yes, Dear Entertainment 04/23/10
Susan Joseph, Justice Entertainment Group 02/21/11
Darren Julien, Julien's Auctions 10/25/10
Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson Guitars 09/28/10
Justin Kalifowitz, Downtown Publishing 04/20/17
Leonard Kalikow, Music Business Reference, Inc. 06/26/08
Craig Kallman, Atlantic Records 03/20/09
Steve Kane, Warner Music Canada 02/09/17
Danny Kapilian, Independent Producer 07/12/02
Mike Kappus, The Rosebud Agency 10/26/09
Andy Kaufman, Birdland 05/17/02
Wendy Kay, Mars Talent Agency 03/09/01
Lucas Keller, The Collective 03/22/11
Marty Kern, Clemson University 07/07/01
Carlos Keyes, Red Entertainment 10/08/04
Golnar Khosrowshahi, Reservoir Media Management 10/24/12
Martin Kierszenbaum, Interscope/Cherrytree Records 09/06/09
Barney Kilpatrick, Rattlesby Records 10/28/05
John Kinsner, The Walnut Room 03/28/08
Doug Kirby, LiveTourArtists 10/24/03
Steve Kirsner, Compaq Center 06/29/01
JoAnne Klabin, Sweet Relief 03/21/03
Andrew Klein, Revolution Marketing 11/05/04
Larry Klein, Producer, bassist, songwriter 03/13/12
Jack Kleinsinger, Highlights in Jazz 04/25/08
Ann Kline, Casa Kline 09/04/14
Brian Knaff, Talent Buyers Network 09/29/01
Kymberlee Knight, IEBA 11/16/00
Mike Kociela, 360 Productions 05/30/08
Stefan Kohlmeyer, Bach Technology 02/08/10
Lily Kohn, Microsoft Corporation 02/14/11
Tim Kolleth, Alligator Records 01/25/08
Al Kooper, Musician/songwriter/producer/author 02/06/14
Mitchell Koulouris, Digital Musicworks International, Inc. 02/11/05
Mark Krantz, John Schreiber Group 06/15/01
Jeff Krasno, Velour Music Group 11/19/07
Jeffrey Kruger, The Kruger Organisation 01/25/02
Harvey Kubernik, Author/historian/music journalist 08/20/15
Ted Kurland, Ted Kurland Associates 01/15/01
Jordan Kurland, Zeitgeist Artist Management 08/23/11
Carianne Laguna, Blackheart Records 03/07/08
Brady Lahr, Kufala Recordings 04/30/04
Ernie Lake, EL Records 01/19/07
Roks Lam, Wolfman Jack Entertainment 12/17/04
Anni Lam, Parc Landon 06/29/07
Gary Lane, CenterLane Attractions 10/14/05
Tom LaPenna, Lucky Man Productions 09/10/04
Camilo Lara, EMI Music Mexico/MIS 08/10/07
Gary Lashinsky, Lipizzaner Tours 05/13/05
Gregg Latterman, Aware Records 12/13/02
Tony Laurenson, Eat to the Beat 02/27/04
Emily Lazar, The Lodge 10/15/15
Bill Leabody, Leabody Systems 06/10/05
Peter Leak, 24-7 Worldwide Management 03/28/12
Steve Leeds, SR. VP/Promotion/Rock Formats at Virgin Records 07/26/02
Elliot Lefko, Goldenvoice 09/21/17
Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter 11/14/08
Carl Leighton-Pope, Leighton-Pope Organisation 07/05/09
Steve Lemon, Live 4 Live, Inc. 12/06/02
Randy Lennox, Universal Music Canada 06/24/15
Simma Levine, Disson Furst and Partners 11/10/00
Andy Levine, Sixthman 06/08/07
Rich Levy, Clear Channel Entertainment Properties 06/25/04
Eddie Levy, Chelsea Music Publishing 07/24/14
Myles Lewis, Denise Rich Songs 12/20/10
Adam Lewis, Planetary Group 01/20/16
Terry Lickona, Austin City Limits 03/14/11
Justine Liddelow, Stage and Screen Travel Services 08/31/11
Jim Lidestri, Border City Media 09/03/15
Larry Lieberman, 4EverWild 03/28/03
Eric Lilavois, Crown City Studios, and London Bridge Studio 12/10/14
Miriam Linna, Norton Records 05/18/17
Marc Lipkin, Alligator Records 03/05/05
Tommy LiPuma (Part 1), Verve Records 11/08/10
Tommy LiPuma (Part 2), Verve Records 11/15/10
Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud 10/04/10
Andy Lo Russo, The Singing Chef 12/16/05
Phil Lobel, Lobeline Communications 08/13/04
Paul Lohr, New Frontier Touring 01/21/05
Paul Lohr, New Frontier Touring 05/17/10
Julie Lokin, New Audiences 03/23/01
Dave Lory, Artemis Records 03/30/02
Max Loubiere, Tour Director 04/11/12
Mark Lourie, Skyline Music 03/08/02
Dave Lucas, Live-360 04/28/06
Joe Lucchese, EventJoe 02/23/07
Kevin Lyman, 4 fini 03/30/01
Kevin Lyman, Vans Warped Tour 05/23/12
Bubba Mac, 09/14/07
David Macias, Emergent Music Marketing 06/17/05
Kristen Madsen, Grammy Foundation and MusiCares 11/22/10
Larry Magid, Larry Magid Entertainment 05/04/10
Peter Malkin, PM Management 02/07/03
Toby Mamis, Alive Enterprises 02/12/01
Billy Mann, Green & Bloom | Topl1ne, Manncom 09/18/14
Tasea Margeolas, Multi Entertainment 06/23/06
Tony Margherita, dBpm Records 09/06/11
Bob Roux & Mark Campana, Live Nation 12/20/11
Lee Marshall, Magic Arts & Entertainment 09/13/02
Zach Martin, Radio Producer at New York's WAXQ-FM 08/30/02
Mario Martin, Gorgeous PR 04/27/07
Molly Martinez, Ticket Summit 2008 05/23/08
Paul Mascioli, Mascioli Entertainment 01/14/05
Michael Maska, Big Hassle 01/28/05
Ted Mason, Mi-5 Recordings 11/16/01
Steve Masur, Masur & Associates, LLC 11/21/03
Pam Matthews, The Ryman Auditorium 04/08/05
Terry McBride, Nettwerk Music Group 03/01/10
Michael McCarty, ole 06/20/11
Jim McDonald, McDonald Group 12/19/03
Virginia McEnerney, HeadCount 11/26/07
Doc McGhee, McGhee Entertainment 06/14/10
Camilla McGuinn, Tour Manager 08/24/07
Andy McLean, North By Northeast (NXNE) 04/01/05
Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead historian/publicist 09/06/02
Garry McQuinn, Back Row Productions 06/14/11
Ruthann McTyre, The Rita Benton Music Library; and president of the Music Library Association 08/31/10
Dick McVey, Musician's Referral Service 10/27/07
Katherine McVicker, Music Works International 01/08/15
John Meglen, Concerts West/AEG Live 02/21/13
Mark Meharry, Music Glue 05/28/15
Jorge Mejia, Sony/ATV Music Publishing 09/17/15
Dan Melnick, Festival Productions, Inc. 02/22/02
André Ménard, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 06/12/09
Bob Merlis, Merlis For Hire/Memphis International Records 01/16/04
Doug Merrick, Cumberland Talent Agency and Merrick Music Group 07/21/06
Louis Messina, The Messina Group 10/22/04
Louis Messina, The Messina Group/AEG Live 07/17/09
Louis Jay Meyers, North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance 03/30/07
Louis Jay Meyers, Folk Alliance International 01/23/09
Todd Miller, House Of Blues - New Orleans 11/14/03
Jeff Miller, Fantasma Productions 03/16/07
Ben Miller, Rock Ridge Music 11/02/07
J. B. Miller, Empire Entertainment 08/22/08
Richard Mills, S.L. Feldman 11/02/09
Marty Monson, Barbershop Harmony Society 07/07/16
Linda Moran, Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) 04/05/09
Jesse Morreale, Nobody In Particular Presents (NIPP) 09/20/02
Chuck Morris, Live Rocky Mountains 09/28/09
Mo Morrison, Independent production 05/24/02
Kevin Morrow, Steel Wool Entertainment 01/25/17
Nick Moss, Blue Bella Records 11/30/07
Jim Musselman, Appleseed Recordings 04/14/06
Natalia Nastaskin, United Talent Agency 04/13/16
Marc Nathan, Flagship Records 07/01/05
David Neilon, Rising Star Promotions 11/30/01
Don Neuen, Star Coaches Inc. 10/10/12
Dennis Newhall, DIG Music 10/07/05
John Nittolo, John Nittolo Productions 04/13/07
Ian Noble, Metropolitan Talent 05/23/03
Fabricio Nobre, A Construtora Música e Cultura 05/04/17
Josh Norek, JN Media, LLC 07/05/02
David Norman, Tour Manager 04/20/07
Mimi Northcott, Canadian Recording Services (CRS) 04/11/08
Bill Nowlin, Rounder Records 01/05/07
John Nugent, NY JAM Inc. 11/08/02
Andy Nulman, Just For Laughs 11/20/13
Sal Nunziato, NYCD 06/01/01
Bob O'Neal, Ryman Auditorium 06/28/02
Andrea Orbeck, Prehab Health and Fitness 03/15/10
Heather Orser, Toad's Place 01/29/01
Janet Oseroff, MultiMediaProperties 11/18/05
Marc Ostrow, Boosey & Hawkes 12/05/08
Riley O’Connor, Live Nation Canada 07/24/09
Jeremy Palmer, Buddy Lee Attractions 11/02/01
John Palmer, Megawave Records 08/31/07
Panos Panay, Sonicbids 12/23/05
Julien Paquin, Paquin Artists Agency 04/30/14
Graham Parker, WQXR-FM 11/26/14
Crispin Parry, British Underground 02/24/08
Donald Passman, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown 04/09/10
Donald S. Passman, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown 01/06/16
Bruce Patron, Overland Entertainment 07/28/06
Alexandra Patsavas, Chop Shop Music 09/27/11
Cheryl Pawelski, Omnivore Entertainment Group 09/26/13
Kerry Peace, Alligator Records 08/18/06
Eric Peltoniemi, Red House Records 12/14/09
Scott Perry, Sperry Media 03/11/05
Lawrence Peryer, Jr., 23 Omnimedia 11/07/08
John Peters, MassConcerts 06/07/11
Holger Petersen, Stony Plain Records 04/15/05
Jon Phillips, Silverback Professional Artist Mgmt/Controlled Substance Sound 08/29/08
Dave Pichilingi, Sound City 03/30/16
Vince Pileggi, Music Inc./Music Inc. Sounds 12/01/06
Eric Pirritt, Endit! Presents / The Fox Theatre 10/17/03
Neil Portnow, The Recording Academy 02/08/11
Louis Posen, Hopeless Records 04/04/11
Stephen Posen, Estate of Glenn Gould 01/23/13
Nadia Prescher, Madison House 06/20/03
Jeff Price, TuneCore 02/28/11
Tom Principato, Powerhouse Records 02/01/08
Roger Probert, Core Records 12/08/06
John "Grinder" Procaccini, JP Squared (JP2) 01/17/03
Mark Pucci, Independent Music Publicist 09/09/05
David Pullman, The Pullman Group 11/03/00
Rod Quinton, Saigon Sound System 04/18/11
Dolphus Ramseur, Ramseur Records 10/19/07
Jack Randall, Ted Kurland Associates 04/05/02
Jack Randall, The Kurland Agency 03/08/17
Debra Rathwell, AEG Live 05/03/13
Jeff Ravitz, Visual Terrain 02/08/08
Paul Reed, Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) 06/14/17
Rich Rees, M.P.I. Talent Agency 09/19/08
John Reese, Freeze Artist Management 08/01/08
Bill Reeves, WRIII, Inc. 10/20/06
Stephen Rehage, Rehage Entertainment 07/30/04
Lisa Reiss, Pearl Productions 08/17/07
Salaam Remi, Composer, producer, musician and label executive. 01/08/14
David Renzer, Universal Music Publishing Group 08/23/09
Alison Richard, Universal Orlando Resort 05/06/05
Kelli Richards, The All Access Group 02/07/12
Gary Richards, HARD Events 08/29/13
Sam Righi, Waterfront Entertainment Group 05/30/03
Jon Rinaldo, Joker Productions 01/02/04
Geary Rindels, Geary Rindels Enterprises, Inc. 12/05/03
Doreen Ringer Ross, BMI 01/18/08
Lisette Rioux, Island Def Jam Music Group 05/16/03
Dave Roberge, Everfine Records & Everfine Artist Management 12/03/04
Sandy Roberton, Worlds End Producer Management 02/20/09
Ty Roberts, Gracenote 01/31/12
Bill Rogers, BRE Presents 07/13/07
Ian Rogers, Topspin Media 06/01/10
Benji Rogers, PledgeMusic 12/19/13
Dave Rose, Deep South Entertainment 09/15/06
Eric Rosen, Ronald S. Bienstock & Associates 05/25/01
Stuart Ross, The Ross Group 02/23/01
David Ross, President IAAM; Director, Show Me Center 09/23/05
Jack Ross, APA Canada 09/07/17
Bobby Rossi, Ruth Eckerd Hall 02/28/03
Michael Rothschild, Landslide Records 04/29/05
Robert Rowland, Red Entertainment 06/13/08
Bill Royston, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival 03/07/03
John Rudolph, Bug Music 05/24/10
Elizabeth Rush, E.R.A. / Elizabeth Rush Agency 08/20/04
Aran Rush, Expo and Foro Imperial 02/16/07
Maurice Russell, Harry Fox Agency 10/21/05
Barron Ruth, Skyline Music 02/14/03
Andrea Sabata, Skyline Music 01/07/05
Numa Saisselin, Count Basie Theatre, Inc. 02/04/05
Ron Sakamoto, Gold & Gold Productions 01/16/10
David Salidor, dis Company 07/20/07
Shaw Saltzberg, S. L. Feldman and Associates 06/21/10
Bruce Allen & Sam Feldman, A&F Music 12/19/08
Mark Samuels, Basin Street Records 06/11/04
Jacqueline Saturn, Harvest Records 01/21/15
Tamara Saviano, American Roots Publishing 07/22/05
Tamara Saviano, Author, journalist, and producer 08/18/16
Michael Scafuto, Mountain High Entertainment 12/07/01
Steve Schankman, Contemporary Productions 12/21/01
Steve Scharf, Carlin America 10/11/02
John Scher, Metropolitan Talent 11/21/08
Al Schmitt, Producer/Engineer 02/13/10
Bobby Schneider, Tour Coordinator, Third Eye Blind 01/31/03
Jake Schneider, Madison House 04/02/14
Steven Schnur, EA Music Group 07/03/13
Elaine Schock, Shock Ink 02/19/10
Stacy Schott, Mad Booking and Events 08/22/03
Daylle Schwartz, Revenge Productions 08/19/05
Dean Sciarra, 11/26/04
Joel Selvin, Author and Journalist 08/07/14
Jay Sendyk, Sendyk, Leonard & Company, Inc. 05/03/02
Jonathan Shank, Red Light Management 12/13/17
Peter Shapiro, Ideal Entertainment 04/16/04
Peter Shapiro, Dayglo Ventures/Brooklyn Bowl 11/15/17
Seth Sheck, Access Pass & Design 01/03/03
Seth Sheck, ACCESS Event Solutions 06/22/16
Seth Shomes, The Agency Group 11/12/14
Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation 07/18/03
Anya Siglin, The Ark 03/05/10
Bill Silva, Bill Silva Entertainment 10/19/10
Tom Silverman, Tommy Boy Entertainment 03/06/12
Steve Simon, Clear Channel Communications 05/14/04
Ralph Simon, Live Earth 07/06/07
Ralph Simon, Mobilium 04/12/11
Michael Simon, The Harry Fox Agency 08/14/13
Ron Simpson, RCS Productions 01/11/08
John Simson, SoundExchange 07/15/05
Dion Singer, Warner Bros. 12/07/09
Gram Slaton, The Community Arts Center 02/25/05
Owen Sloane, Gladstone Michel Weisberg Willner & Sloane 10/11/10
Peter Smidt, Eurosonic Noorderslag & manager Buma Cultuur 07/17/13
Garrison Snell, Gyrosity Projects 02/23/17
Mike Snider, Paradigm Talent Agency Nashville 05/17/11
Andrew Snowhite, Musictoday 05/04/01
Bruce Solar, The Agency Group 05/14/14
Nikki Solgot, Circle Talent Agency 02/18/15
Michael Solomon, Brick Wall Management 05/25/07
Mark Sonder, Mark Sonder Productions 07/25/08
Steve Sonnier, UIC Pavilion at the University of Illinois, Chicago 09/03/04
Kathy Spanberger, peermusic 06/20/12
Carolyn Specht, CIE USA Entertainment Inc. and OCESA PRESENTS Inc. 03/26/04
David Spelman, New York Guitar Festival 10/01/04
Jason Spiewak, Rock Ridge Music 04/07/06
Dan Steinberg, Square Peg Concerts 11/29/12
Dan Steinberg, Square Peg Concerts 02/18/05
Jeremy Stephan, Ventures, LLC 04/23/04
Walter Stewart, Mars Talent Agency 02/21/03
Gail Stocker, Gail Stocker Presents 11/12/04
Jon Stoll, Fantasma Productions 10/13/00
Jesse Stoll, AEG 06/27/09
Henry Stone, Henry Stone Music 06/24/05
Jason Stone, Live Nation New York 03/31/06
Howard Stovall, Resource Entertainment Group 05/28/04
Cameron Strang, New West Records 10/18/02
Don Strasburg, AEG Live Rocky Mountains 02/27/09
Barbara Strauss, Sovereign Ventures 05/12/06
Richard Stumpf, Cherry Lane Publishing 08/07/06
Deb Suckling, SUGARRUSH Music 07/27/17
Patrick Sullivan, RightsFlow 10/25/11
Bernie Swain & Harry Rhodes, Jr., Washington Speakers Bureau 12/07/00
Dean Swett, Paramour Group 06/14/02
Jake Szufnarowski, Rocks Off 05/02/08
Marc Tanner, Chime Entertainment 12/22/06
Donald Tarlton, The Donald K Donald Group 04/12/02
Tess Taylor, Los Angeles Music Network 08/09/02
Race Taylor, WPLJ - New York 10/27/06
Race Taylor, WPLJ - New York 10/27/06
Chris Taylor, Taylor 03/15/09
Peter Tempkins, DeWitt Stern Group 03/16/01
Peter Tempkins, Momentous Insurance Brokerage 03/27/09
Lisa Tenner, Tenner & Associates (EAT'M) 08/06/01
Jeremy Tepper, Diesel Only Records 10/10/03
Allan Tepper, Bicycle Music Company 09/28/07
Martin Terefe, Kensaltown Studios 05/31/11
Milun Tesovic, MetroLeap Media 10/18/09
Mandar Thakur, Times Music 08/06/15
Jerry Thompson, Promoter Line Inc. 03/05/04
Jose Tillan, MTV Networks Latin America 12/02/05
Jon Tiven, Hormone Studios 08/05/05
Adam Tobey, Concert Ideas 08/24/17
Rob Tonkin, Marketing Factory 12/17/15
John "J.T." Toomey, 25/8 Management 11/15/11
Livia Tortella, Warner Bros. Records 01/10/12
Phil Tripp, IMMEDIA! 01/19/06
Claudio Trotta, Barley Arts Promotion 11/26/01
Chris Tsakalakis, StubHub 01/11/10
Ben Turner, Graphite Media 05/10/10
Steve Vai, Favored Nations Entertainment 04/26/02
John Valentino, Fantasma Productions 04/18/03
John Valentino, AEG Live SE 11/01/10
Don Van Cleave, Coalition of Independent Music Stores 04/09/04
Casey Verbeck, Partners in Music 06/06/03
David "Boche" Viecelli, The Billions Corporation 04/18/10
Marsha Vlasic, Artist Group International 05/31/17
Mat Vlasic, Bravado 06/28/17
Ray Waddell, Billboard Magazine 08/27/04
Rob Waggener, Foundations Recovery Network 03/07/11
Jim Walczak, Racine Civic Centre 06/03/05
Jeff Walker, The AristoMedia Group 08/16/10
Carla Wallace, Big Yellow Dog Music 11/04/05
Russell Wallach, Live Nation Network 03/20/12
Steve Walter, The Cutting Room 10/24/08
Neil Warnock, The Agency Group 05/02/09
Diane Warren, Realsongs 08/14/09
Butch Waugh, RCA Label Group Nashville 01/10/03
Lauren Wayne, The State Theatre 05/09/12
Kirt Webster, Webster PR 02/03/16
Ken Weinstein, Big Hassle Media 04/22/05
Bruce Weinstein, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts 02/15/08
Larry Weintraub, Fanscape 05/18/01
Pam Weiser, Momentous Insurance Brokerage 10/11/11
Kevin Welk, Welk Music Group 01/24/12
D-J Wendt, Dmand Management 05/09/08
Alison Wenham, Worldwide Independent Network 02/13/09
Bill Werde, Billboard 08/03/11
Joel Whitburn, Record Research 11/13/09
Judd White, Tour Manager/Accountant 02/13/04
Jeff White, In Ticketing 12/16/06
Adam White, Author 09/14/16
Lisa White, Pearl Street Warehouse 10/04/17
Adam Wilkes, AEG Live Asia 10/13/16
Fenton Williams, 04/04/08
Del Williams, Right Arm Entertainment 04/18/08
Bryan "Birdman" Williams, Cash Money Records 09/13/11
Paul Williams, ASCAP 10/19/11
J.P. Williams, Parallel Entertainment 10/03/12
Kurt Willms, Green Room Productions 09/20/03
Chris Wilson, Heartbeat Records 03/02/07
Tony Wilson, Factory Records/In The City 06/01/07
Tom Windish, The Windish Agency 07/26/10
John Wiseman, XL Touring Video 05/05/06
Thom Wolke, 02/08/02
Michael Wood, City Lights Entertainment 08/08/08
Keith Wortman, Blackbird Presents 03/22/17
Nigel Wright, Independant Record Producer 11/07/03
Dusty Wright, 07/27/07
Jeremiah “Ice” Younossi, A-List Talent 09/20/09
Gail Zappa, The Zappa Family Trust 10/02/14
Kevin 'Chief' Zaruk, Chief Music Management 06/10/15
Ron Zeelens, RAZco Visas 04/20/01
Rick Zeiler, Sidney Frank Importing Company 06/04/04
Danny Zelisko, Live Nation 06/19/09
Jason Zink, Emporium Presents 10/19/17
Hillary Zuckerberg, Brick Wall Management. 07/09/04
Steve Zuckerman, Global Entertainment and Media Summit 03/22/02
Paul Zullo, Muze 01/23/04
Nanette Zumwalt, Hired Power 02/03/06


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