Something In The Music – Part 4
After the The Sound Factory closed I kinda bounced around for awhile. That had been an intense 24 hour a day way to live and eke out a living but it was gone and I wasn’t sure what was next so I moved to Lake Tahoe for awhile then back to Sacramento and got a job in a factory that made truck radiators. Time ground along slowly compared doing music until a friend of mine who played in one of the bands we’d used at the Sound Factory got a hold of me. He had another band and would I help him with the promotional side of things and maybe help him get some jobs? I thought it over and decided to give it a shot; I did miss music and that life, but was leery of parts of it.
Needless to say that was the beginning of my becoming a full time booking agent working the Northwest. It was like The Grateful Dead song about “a long strange trip” but that’s a good way to describe how I ended up in Seattle in an office on Queen Anne Hill. I had come from booking one nighters at schools to tiny taverns and clubs in small towns, to gathering enough accounts and bands to break into Seattle which was a happening place. Heart just had signed a record deal and there were several other local bands under heavy scrutiny from labels. The big taverns like the Aquarius, Ad Lib, Flight Line and The Office were packed with agents and record scouts. Up north in Vancouver BC several acts were breaking out nationally so the Northwest was enjoying a hot time. I had gradually built up a small stable of good bands and with steady accounts and that was good. But the scene was happening so fast that some of the club owners decided they’d like to get into managing a band themselves. They knew bands, agents, and other club owners. Problem; it was a full time job to do it right and running their clubs took a hell of a lot of work and energy. Solution; put some money into a band, since they all needed it, and hire somebody to do the promo, logistics and booking. So the best case scenario was to have their own agent who just booked their band for top dollar. It was important for that agent to have good connections like I did because if his band was hot the other agencies would be losing jobs to him and would try to dissuade their clubs from booking the act. Over the years I’d knocked around in the music business I’d learned one thing; agency battles can be costly for bands, clubs and agents.
Like being approached by after the Jimi Hendrix show I’d been approached by one of my clients after seeing Randy Hansen. I was his agent, he saw the band he wanted and he was willing to put up enough money to get it rolling. He wanted me to find out everything about the band and get it going. He had one of his clubs for sale and it was closing quickly so he wanted to get going. Hey, I was ready. I was very impressed with Hansen, he had the magic that held people, it was fantastic to listen and watch a real show of shows even on a small stage in a little lounge so I got busy with the same feeling I’d had back in the student days; excitement, I couldn’t wait to see it all unfold. There was magic in music again, that something that had been missing.