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Interview with Larry Butler
Master Seven Interview by Tom Beninate
Copy Editor: Susan Castellano
What I’m trying to get at here is, where do you start?  What do you do? What do you have to do? What opportunities do you look for to get into the business and actually make something? I could still be a tour manager. I wasn’t really good at it because to be a real good tour manager you have to be a complete asshole 24/7. And, I’m not good at that…. One day somebody quit and I got a job at Warner Bros.…. Then I got a regional job and then a national job and then became vice-president. I kind of just stuck it out until 2001 when the bottom dropped out of the record business…. During those twenty years Warner Bros. was doing really well. There was money to be spent…. Our department didn’t generate any income but it was something Warner did that the other labels didn’t because they just didn’t want to spend the money. So Warner was known as the artist’s label. Ten years ago the bottom dropped out of the record business when the labels no longer controlled the distribution of music to the American public.

Is this because the labels were late in adopting digital technology and downloads?

I don’t believe the labels were necessarily late in adopting digital technology. They were late in adopting the digital technology business or changing the business plan which frankly couldn’t be changed because the nature of the new business was that no one could monopolize the aggregation and distribution of music…. Everybody shared files. It isn’t just that, but that undermined the whole nature of what the business was. Without the stranglehold on the distribution of music, record companies lost their purpose and their market.

That makes a lot of sense Larry. But why was Steve Jobs along with the iTunes concept able to eat the record label’s lunch?

Because it wasn’t the way the music business was set up. First of all, it could have only come from the outside. For the record labels to have gotten together and put together something like iTunes, that would have been a huge anti-trust problem. The government would have said, “That’s collusion. What the hell are you guys doing?” So it had to come from the outside. [Secondly] record companies would never have priced their music at such a low rate because of the huge overhead the record labels had…. I was part of the huge overhead. There were a lot of us who left in 2001 because we just couldn’t be afforded. The job I was performing was not a profit center…. It was non-recoupable money. So it’s the first thing to go. I actually got out before it went [bust]…. [Additionally] popular music just isn’t relevant [anymore] for two reasons. One, the American public doesn’t seem to care. Two, I’m not interested very much in what’s going on musically, and I’m listening…. There are glimpses but so much of it is all retro-active. Bob Dylan said, “We’re all still living off the scraps of the ‘60s.”

Well, before the 1960s you had craftsmen and craftswomen who had song or music component specialties. These people generally lived their lives writing music or writing lyrics. Vocalists sang, instrumentalists played their instruments, and both were experts at it. You also had the support industry of engineers, managers, publishers, and executives. But today, artists feel they need to have their hand in all of these full-time professions. The problem is their first ambition is to be an entertainer and a star. That leaves very little time for writing great music. For example, Gotye wrote a reasonably good song [“Somebody That I Used To Know”] but it wasn’t fully baked.…

I agree with you [when you call it a] reasonably good song. Every time I hear it I say, “That could have been structured better.”

Absolutely! If you listen to the entire album, you’ll find that it is a reasonably good record for today. But it is not a reasonably good record when compared to music that has withstood the test of time. So my question to you is, how can an artist today, who wants to be a star and is a jack-of-all-trades compete with the dozens of craftspeople [in the past who were] required to make a song?

The business model worked in the ‘60s. There were indeed Brill Buildings and songwriters. There were the McCartneys and the Lennons who were trying to be Brill Building songwriters. Those are the people they emulated because songwriting was what it was all about. Songwriting is not what it’s all about now. But a lot of it is what you just referred to. The songwriter has so many other hats he needs to wear these days because there is no infrastructure to support all those other jobs. A songwriter also has to be his own publicist, and his own marketer, and perhaps his own performer. He has to be his own publisher because ... the [existing] infrastructure is too expensive….
But isn’t that biting the hand that feeds you?

Yes!  It’s a very short term thought…. The money from publishing exists in a couple of ways. Historically, a lot of it has been from the performing rights organizations: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. They make it their pride and profession to track down your song being performed and make sure you get paid for that. Now there is a lot of discussion about how efficiently they do that and how fairly they do that, but they do do that….  I was working for Jason Mraz for the last couple of years for publishing and I was at an ASCAP dinner where he was being honored for “I am Yours” being the huge runaway song that it was. The actual honoree at this particular function was Patti Smith. Patti Smith said or told the story that in the ‘90s she was a single mom with not much going on in her career as far as active performing. The only thing that kept her alive and kept her going was every three months she’d get an ASCAP check. And that kept her alive. That is so cool. And that’s what publishing is about. Let me recommend a book by Randall Wixen, The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing. Randall Wixen is a publisher here in Los Angeles. His main client is Tom Petty but he has a huge organization of a lot of writers. He is a bulldog about getting money for the songwriters he represents. It is a really great book so I recommend it to everybody…. Performers don’t make any money on publishing, only songwriters do. If you are a songwriter you need to know publishing. I know it’s boring and it’s arcane, and it’s byzantine, and it’s confusing, and it’s all over the place, and everybody has an opinion on how it works, but you need to know how it works or some semblance of how it works. Otherwise you are not going to make any money in the business because there are people who do publishing who will make sure you don’t.

How relevant is the Harry Fox Agency today?

Very, because they provide a service that no one else wants to do. [They do] all of that paperwork and tracking of mechanicals. Publishing is a pennies business. If you’re living on mechanicals … [they] make sure that whoever recorded your song is actually paying you. I went through this with Jason Mraz because his manager doesn’t want to deal with Harry Fox. He wants Jason’s employees or his employees to track all of the mechanicals themselves because that way you can’t get raped. But it is a huge job and it is for pennies…. It’s only recently that I got into publishing. I’ve been in the business thirty years and … it seems [those who worked in publishing have] always been a bunch of old fat men in a room smoking cigars. I didn’t want to be involved with that. But Harry Fox has really turned their act around and has become way more efficient and way more artist-friendly than they were perhaps ten or twenty years ago. A lot of people I know in publishing who have rejected working with Harry Fox for that reason have turned their act around and are right now working with Harry Fox.

Thank you. I’m sure that will clarify the topic for a number of people who will be reading this interview.

It’s always important to somehow have a relationship with the publishing rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. They are on top of what’s going on too…. Even though they are looking to line their own pockets, they are looking out for the writers and the publishers who in fact they represent. That’s their golden egg and they know that.

But isn’t it true that you need to be above a certain threshold of exposure before the performing rights organizations will pay you?

… The real money, if there’s any money in publishing, is in placements and licensing. It’s in TV and radio. It’s in mainly TV. The boom in cable TV is the best thing that could have happened to the songwriter in this decade because that’s where the music is exposed, that’s where it’s being played, and that’s where it is the law that you as a songwriter are going to get paid. And it’s negotiable because it’s music affixed to a picture. [For] music on its own just being played on the radio you get pennies. If your music is slapped onto a picture … you’re in sync rights. When you’re in sync rights it’s all negotiable and it is the money. Good luck getting in but it’s there.

So how does someone get in?

I’m actually working on that right now. I’m managing a singer/songwriter in San Diego named Dawn Mitschele. Dawn is from the Jason Mraz camp. There’s a singer/songwriter coterie in southern California that emulates what Jason has actually accomplished and Dawn is among them. She’s fabulous. She is somewhere in between a Joni Mitchell and Colbie Caillat with that type of songwriting and that type of performing. She’s playing around and making a living. But I’m trying to work on placements. That’s the difficult part. To do it on your own it’s not going to work. That’s my experience. You pretty much have to go through third party people who listen to the music supervisors and [who] the ad agencies know. Then it’s a question of, “Okay, do I do one exclusively or do I do it non-exclusively.” If I had the answer I would be making a lot of money. So I’m trying to figure it out myself and how it’s going to work. I’ve signed up with two or three third party placement people and I’m trying to see how that goes.
Larry Butler is the PollStar Artist Development Executive Award winner who specializes in artist management, live performance, touring, and publishing. His twenty-plus years at Warner Bros. Records culminated as Vice-President of Artist Relations. Larry organized and ran Jason Mraz’s publishing for the number one hit, “I’m Yours.” In addition to running his Did It Music, Consultancy and Publishing company and his Z. Butler Agency, Larry recently wrote the eBook, The Twelve Lessons of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Again, it’s art versus commerce. Larry, you have Did It Music and The Z. Butler Agency. What is it you try to accomplish with those two organizations?

The Z. Butler Agency exists because [a] California law (and its pretty much a New York law as well) is based on some unscrupulous managers from twenty or thirty years ago. The law’s effect is if you are the personal manager of an artist, you cannot negotiate or sign employment contracts. You need to have an attorney or an agency for you so that there is no division of interests; you are the personal manager but you aren’t double-dipping making money somewhere else on the artist. Someone else makes that money. There are two exceptions. The manager can negotiate a recording contract and a publishing deal. Everything else, including booking and live performances, a manger cannot negotiate or be the agent…. The trouble is you have way more musicians and bands than you have agents. So I formed the Z. Butler Agency mainly for unsigned artists to legally play shows. I’m not actually out beating down doors. But if indeed you’re a small band, have a manager and you have a date coming up and you want to legitimatize it, come to me. I’ll legitimatize it. At the same time I can also assess what it is you are and maybe I want to get involved. Maybe you don’t have a manager, and you just want to talk to somebody who knows something about the biz. [You can] talk to me. I’m looking for talent. I’m looking for people who really know what they’re doing and have some promise…. The beauty of being a talent agent is he can perform the duties of a manager. So Dawn Mitschele in our legal agreement … signed with me as her talent agent.

Is that through Z. Butler and Did It Music?

Z. Butler. She’s not signed to Did It Music. I’ve got one hand behind my back that way because in this manner if indeed something takes off and Dawn gets a real actual talent agent, I can tear that contract up and become her manager. Did It Music is kind of an umbrella thing. It’s publishing, managing, and consultation. I got a lot of hats on because the business is in such an upheaval that it’s really hard to say what is going to work for me and for everybody else…. As long as I can do anything, then I’m going to be able to do the thing that needs to get done and then perhaps find a new place for me in the music business. And I’m not the only one. There are a lot of people out there wondering what the hell they are going to do next.

Are you still looking for talent?

Oh yeah. The real upside is managing talent, managing real talent, because real talent needs management. They may not know that. In my experience, talent is really looking for funding and functionality and then facilitation and …

And getting them on the radio.

Yeah here’s what I want done … [and this is what you should] pay for. That’s pretty much the way talent looks at management. That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book. One is the fact that the whole business is in such an uproar and I wanted to solidify a lot of what I considered to be truths about how it should work, how it did work, and how it can work. There are things that are still relevant today even in this mess. It sets me apart from everybody else who is looking to do easy consultation. Well I got a book about it and you don’t.

What is your strategy regarding releasing it as an eBook versus a physical book?

[There are] two things. One is I could have written this book ten years ago because nothing has happened in those ten years. But there wasn’t an avenue to produce it or distribute it short of finding a publisher or doing it vanity press and pressing up a thousand books. Then what do you do, go to book stores or conventions or whatever? So there was never any drive to do it…. [Several] months ago I was reading one of Bob Lefsetz’s things and there was a reference to somebody who said, “You know, it’s really easy to put a book out because Amazon Kindle had pretty much developed this program that, hell, anybody could put a book up.” I followed the link and read this story about this guy who puts books up on Kindle. I’m thinking, “Okay. This is what I’ve been looking for….  I don’t have to wait for some publisher, editor, or somebody to approve it or fund it.” Now of course there is a huge learning curve on formatting. The blog that I read said you really should hire somebody who knows a lot about HTML. I said, “You know, I’m going to do this myself.” I figured out a way to get it from [MS] Word into HTML. It took me three months to write the book and three months to format it. Amazon Kindle has like six different formats. Anytime you put something out there they all come out a little strange, so you have to go back and play around with your formatting so you have at least some semblance of good looks in each of the formats. [You also need to work] with pictures. I have a lot of photos so I had to learn all of that. I was looking for a graphic person to do my cover and I couldn’t find anybody so I did it myself…. That’s a learning curve for me.

Another nice thing about eBooks is that libraries now lend them. But for your price of $2.99 you simply buy it.

This is why I didn’t go physical. First of all I’m only on Amazon Kindle because that’s their program…. Amazon Kindle rules eBook. Again, I’m not going to a mass audience. Then it’s real easy to find my book. Two is I worked with Jason Mraz who did a great book of Polaroid photos that he put out when I was there. We distributed it to book stores and through his merch online or whatever. He sold like 5000 of them which was great because that was our initial order. So we went back and ordered another 3000 of them. 2500 of those are still sitting in a hallway someplace because suddenly the market dropped off…. Suddenly there is this expense of having the physical book just sitting there. So that was a lesson learned to me. I’m staying out of physical books…. Now on the plus side, Bob Lefsetz interpreted that as me being on the cutting edge of the new technology when in fact it was a practical decision…. The reason it’s $2.99, which is a constraint of Amazon, is that they pay 70% back to the writer for books that retail from $2.99 to $9.99. Anything more than $9.99 or less than $2.99 they only pay 35%. So you don’t want to price anything less than $2.99 or more than $9.99. It’s almost like price fixing. Bob said, “It’s really a big magazine article.” As I mentioned in the book I could have made this thing 100 pages longer by just repeating the same things over and over again and with more stories that really were pointless and meaningless but that’s just taking up your time in order to make more money. I’m not going to do that.

Well, you have exactly the right amount of pages because it reminded me of The One Minute Manager which also has exactly the right amount of pages. With The Twelve Lessons of Rock ‘N’ Roll, you made your points and then set the reader free. Larry, it has been a pleasure talking with you today. You’ve given us many golden nuggets of information.

Thank you Tom. I appreciate it.

You can buy
The Twelve Lessons of Rock 'N' Roll
at Amazon.com

July 25, 2012

Larry's website

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In that sense, is the public really wrong to forgo buying CDs when the records are not inspiring? Are they wrong to only cherry pick the best song on the album and buy it in the form of a download? For example, people used to buy 45s. Hasn’t the buying public always been interested in hit music?

I bought thousands of 45 rpm records when I was a kid. Up until The Beatles I only owned three or four albums.

Let’s say, hypothetically, someone writes ten very good songs and releases them on one CD.


Would people spend ten dollars for it?

Maybe. Well, there’s Adele. I’ve listened to the album. I don’t think every song is a killer. But fully half of the album is really well-produced. A couple of songs are great and a couple more are very good. The rest are just okay.

Are you referring to Adele 21 or Adele 19?

21. I own it. I bought it. I buy albums. Generally I try to download the whole thing. But I come from that era. If I like the single, I want to hear some more and see what else the artist has, if indeed there is more there. I’m very curious. I’m looking for that gem. I’m looking for that album you just described. I’m hoping someday to find it. They are pretty few and far between. It’s been that way for a long time. The concept of the whole album thing has really been a great business model. It was a great little nod-wink the record industry was pulling on the general public because as we all know not every album has twelve great songs. That was the case before The Beatles and that was the case maybe after … the mid to late ‘70s…. At the same time, the record business saw that coming and [chose to] eliminate the single. You couldn’t buy singles in the ‘70s and ‘80s other than maybe on cassette…. It wasn’t really until iTunes that singles made a huge comeback. The record industry kept a stranglehold and made sure you couldn’t buy one song. You had to buy twelve. When that went away the whole business went away.
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Absolutely. Songwriters of all ages need to focus on writing great music, and then you think about Facebook and your promotion.

Well this is the crux of my book. The music industry such as it has been is totally undermined and out of control. It’s out of your control. You have no control. You can only just throw stuff out into the Internet and hope that it happens. But you do have control of two things that the Internet and digital processing are not going to replace. One is songwriting…. That’s the spark of an individual. That’s what you still have. If you work on that, and by the way keep your publishing, which is the commerce side of that art, then there’s a shot. What you do with it at that point remains to be seen. You need to make that happen. The other thing that so far the Internet has not replaced is a live performance. All of the 3-D holograms in the world are not going to, in my mind, replace the live performance of a single individual on a stage with, and I use this quote from David Lee Roth, “With one guitar, one spotlight, and one microphone delivering a song and selling it.” Making it work and making an audience respond. That will not be replaced by digital representation…. Every live performance is different. Some are amazing and spectacular and some are mediocre by the same artist in the same week in the same club. They are going to perform a song differently on Tuesday then they do on Friday and the Tuesday one is the one you should have seen. That is the essence of performing. You can make money performing as long as you keep your merchandising. There is the art of performing and the commerce of merch and tickets. And then there’s the art of songwriting and the commerce of publishing that are still there. That’s what I’m looking at and that’s what I’m encouraging people to do.

That’s great advice. Larry, in your book you mention that the real money is in publishing. There are many songwriters and artists who don’t understand publishing. Give us a synopsis of what publishing is and why every artist needs to be familiar with it.

The beauty of publishing is [that it is] built around the copyright law. The copyright law still exists because it’s in the actual constitution. It is one of the articles of the constitution that intellectual property will be owned by its creator. Were it not in the constitution, somehow record companies or somebody else would have gotten it outlawed by now. If it was just another law, they would have found a way around it. You can’t knock it out of the constitution. So it exists to provide income and revenue to creators…. Record companies and radio stations would like to see it go away because it is an expense to pay songwriters. They don’t particularly want to do that.

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Have you had any experience with the Taxi organization?

Yes. I like Taxi. I like what they are doing. I certainly like their outreach and the proactiveness of their organization. I like the people who work there…. I haven’t actually done any business with them…. Last year I was working with the music supervisor for a show called Justified. I was just literally … hanging around this guy’s office just doing what I can to pick things up. Some of the best music we found was through Taxi. I found them to be real responsive about what the show was about and about what music they had and how they discovered it fairly inexpensively. Part of the problem with this boom in music is the fact that now there’s a lot of music as well. Five years ago … if you were the performer and wrote the tune, just to have two minutes of your song on a network TV show, you’d make at least fifteen or twenty thousand dollars. That was the going rate. That going rate is now down to like two or three thousand dollars. It’s not what it used to be. But it’s still two or three thousand dollars. It’s a lot more than that two or three cents or nine cents or whatever you’re making for each sale of your single on iTunes. That’s why it’s the golden egg that everyone out here is chasing. Now I’m in a pretty good position. I’m here in LA. I know a lot of people…. I could just imagine how frustrating it must be for somebody out there. But say for instance, you’re in Dayton, Ohio. There’s bound to be a local cable channel that has local programming. You get in contact with those people and offer them your music. Start getting the idea of how your music is going to get placed on a picture, or get associated with TV, cable, or video. Do it at a local level. At least if nothing else you’ll get the language and you’ll get the idea of how it works. Something might happen.
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Okay, but what if some unknown artist actually does come out with something on the order of Dark Side Of The Moon or Thriller. Would that be something people would want to buy?

Well, one of the best examples of this unfortunately is Alanis Morissette’s first record. You heard the single and you liked it and you listened to the rest of the record and you say, “Wait a minute. This is really good. This is really deep. There’s a lot going on here.” But that example is 15 years old. I haven’t heard that much in the last 15 years.

So, would you buy the imaginary record I suggested?

Yes, I would think in much the same as in [Adele’s] 21…. I don’t think the American music buying public is necessarily completely turned off or stupid. If a really good album comes along and happens to magically catch the public’s imagination with one or two hit singles and has a deep record, I think that album is going to sell. I just don’t happen to believe it exists right now.

The public generally gets it right.

The public is always right. David Geffen used to say, “Our job as a record company is to make sure that the public hears your music and that it is available for purchase readily and easily. Beyond that, we can’t do anything.”

And the radio stations are always right. They always play the hit songs. There are no instances where the radio played the b-level song but forgot to play the hit. That’s not to say all great music is played on the radio today. I’m just talking about popular music in hit format.

Yeah. It kind of happened in a sense when I was working at Warner in as much as we were having that stranglehold on music. We would deliver the song we wanted to deliver and get radio to play it. Rarely did radio go somewhere else on a record to find another song we weren’t promoting. Pretty much we at the record company were the soothsayers. It was up to us to discuss and decide what it was the American people wanted. It was kind of sad but it was pretty much the way it worked. There are a lot of tracks on albums that went unnoticed and unheard because of that.

Larry, you wrote the book, The Twelve Lessons of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Who is your audience for this book?

I didn’t have one to start. I wrote the only book I could write…. It’s really geared primarily to the music industry. [It’s for] musicians and performers and people working in the music industry who work with artists or who work with songwriters. This isn’t a mass media book. So much of it is inside information and some of it is twenty years old…. There’s a whole crowd under the age of 30 who really don’t even know who half these people are. You’re familiar with Bob Lefsetz

Yes. In fact I regularly read his newsletter and strongly agree with much of his approach.

Me too. I’ve known Bob for 30 years. Bob always did this type of blog or rant or whatever you want to call it. Initially he would come to Warner and he would write and pass these things out and put it on people’s desks. And then for like five dollars he would mail it to you…. It was always great. [Ultimately] I wrote the book for Bob Lefsetz. I wrote the book for, not him personally, but everyone he represents: anyone who follows what he does. He and I are in the same pocket as far as what is going on and what went on, and what has to happen now. I’m writing to that crowd which has been around a while. At the same time I’m writing to the people who haven’t been around [as if to say] “Hey. This is what happened before you got here. You can learn from this stuff. Don’t go into this … blindly as I did.” There was no one for us in the ‘60s to learn from because it was a whole new genre and a whole new audience. It was a whole new way of presenting music to the masses. It was less controlled than it had been. Now it’s totally out of control. And that in a sense is the problem with what the current musician/songwriter/ performer has…. No one has control over what the hell is going on right now. There is no first you do this, then you do that, and then you do this…. That’s why it’s difficult to give advice. What do you do? Most of the stuff I read is all about well, you got to put your fan base together, you got to Twitter every day, get your Facebook up and running, communicate with your fans, and give away stuff for free initially. By the way that’s always been the case….  Music in today’s culture … is just another thing to talk about. It’s just another piece of merch. It’s not the hub of the wheel…. The musician, songwriter, or performer is the hub which has many spokes and music happens to be one of them…. Any music that’s a year old is of no viability anymore. It’s all about what’s happening now and that’s why it’s out of control.

That is reflected in the genres. Top 40 is literally all over the place.

[It is] all over the place inside every track. The songs are all over the place. When I was growing up top 40 was exactly like that but the songs stood on their own. I loved top 40 in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s because it was such an aggregation of stuff. You’d hear The Everly Brothers, and then Chuck Berry, and then Percy Faith, and that kind of stuff. That was a set list for radio at the time. If you didn’t like Percy Faith and his Orchestra you had to wait three minutes in order to get to your favorite Little Richard record. There was no thought as to a genre or being very specific. It was fabulous because you learned more about all kinds of music that way. Right now there are so many channels you could actually shut out so much of the music you should be hearing in order to focus on one thing. I find that real constricting and I find it sad.

It is sad because songwriters that restrict their input also restrict their output. Writers that listen only to mediocre music write mediocre songs. In Steven Tyler’s recently released book, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? he says something to the effect that if your song is only good or okay then it’s not great. Okay is a jingle or a ringtone. Now Tyler didn’t write only great songs but he did write “Dream On.”

“Dream On” is one of my favorites. “Walk This Way” is a great song.
Larry, you followed your career at Warner Bros. Records with a lot of very interesting things you now do in the music industry. What are some of your career highlights?

I have spent my entire life in the music business, with a few detours…. I started playing in bands in high school which sounds like, “Oh yeah. Everybody does that.” But I’m talking about 1961. In 1961 in white-bread Centerville, Ohio, playing in a rock-and-roll band was not something that was looked upon smilingly by the elders of the community. It was like the next step to jail or a life of ill repute because pretty much that‘s what rock-and-rollers were. It wasn’t a revered profession. It was low-class, alcoholic, drug-ridden society. Initially it was fun. Then we started taking it seriously when we got to college. We worked our way through college playing in bar bands. This was a great way to make money…. The good thing then was the four of you could get paid a hundred dollars a night…. That was a lot of money in 1961. Sadly, today, if you [play at a] bar you get one hundred dollars a night.

Who were the rock-and-rollers competing against at the bars in 1961?

It was pretty much what you might call white R&B…. They were low-class guys playing black music for white guys in bars. It was filled with carry-over-from the-‘50s stuff. We weren’t doing that….We were looking forward to something newer…. The Beatles hadn’t happened yet. We were doing more along the lines of The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers…. We did have a drummer who was enamored with James Brown. That was always kind of funny that we were these clean-cut white kids from Centerville, Ohio who had a whole set of James Brown covers. But it was really more like a chuckle – we weren’t really a black R&B band. I’ve always taken umbrage with white people who think they are black…. We were making a couple of records here and there, but it wasn’t like we were going to be stars. There wasn’t anyone in my group who was driven to be a star…. Playing in a band pretty much took me through the end of the ‘60s, until I got out of college. Then, I moved to California….There were some friends of mine who were now in a band called Pure Prairie League. They were from Cincinnati. I worked with them in another band. They had a hit record here in California. They introduced me to their manager who needed a tour manager for another band he had. I mentioned this in my book [The Twelve Lessons fo Rock 'N' Roll] that pretty much the way you get things done is to lie. I said [to him], “Yeah, I’d done that.” In a sense I had because in the bands I was in I was pretty much the manager, organizer, accountant, booker, driver, and babysitter…. So I knew what it was about, I just never had the official title. I started working with this band and Warner Bros. is picking up the tab. I’m on the road driving the truck, dealing with crooked promoters, drunken crews, late nights, bad hotel rooms, and no decent food. But wherever we performed there would be this Warner Bros. guy showing up. He was traveling in style. He was flying everywhere, staying in really nice hotels, taking people to dinner, coming to the shows, and just having a good old time. I said to myself, “That’s the job I want. I don’t want this job. I want that job.” When I got back to Los Angeles I went in to [see] the boss of that department and said, “I’m done with tour managing. I want a job in your department.” He said. “You know, hang around and something will come up.” I did just that for three years. For three years I did tour managing for baby bands and some name bands….
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