Something in the Music
Seattle here we come! If the California trip had shown the band that they were getting hot it also showed the management group that there were several other parties interested in working with Machine Gun Music as promoters, additional agents, concert packagers, and one major company, Concerts West, wanted to sign Randy Hansen and Machine Gun to an exclusive deal which would put them on major concerts around the world.
As their agent, besides making sure they were working, I wanted them to get the best shot they could get. The two concert promoters from Southern California and Concerts West were the best way for the the band to go. Since they didn’t have any records and weren’t on radio or television they had to be seen in person to get the full effect.
The big highly promoted and record company underwritten shows in the big areas were the way to go. Of course, that met again with a round of solid “no’s” from Phil and Ray so I had no choice but to continue on as we had trying to make club owners pay for a group that needed good money and only did one long set per night. When they hired Randy they had to have another act, another cost to the club, so it was tight in many instances.
However, a day or two after we’d returned to Seattle I got a call from Far West Entertainment a local agency I’d previously worked for about a date headlining a concert at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. That venue was big with the band and crew, they’d all watched major acts play there and now they had a chance to headline, and without a record. They’d only been out of the south end taverns for a few months and now they were headlining a concert! Heady stuff indeed.
Suddenly it became really exciting to be back in Seattle. The news of the upcoming show hit the streets via the radio and newspapers who had taken a fancy to Randy Hansen. They saw a young local guy going against long odds and trying to make it as the absolute best tribute to that other local guy Jimi Hendrix.
Our office in a building on Lake Union became a hot spot as well. Other acts getting wind of what was going on started showing up in hopes of possibly getting signed. Machine Gun Music was technically a management company but I still was an agent so there were a couple of situations that I took care of along with taking care of Randy. However, inside of this shinny world loomed a real problem. Ray and Phil did not want to give up any part of their percentage of what Randy and company was bringing in. For me that was a crippling problem.
Daily I was getting feelers and offers from the various promoters but they were sticking to their guns and would only take on the project of exposing Randy Hansen and Machine Gun to the masses with a percentage of the action.
Personally I knew Randy, Tim and Larry just wanted to play and as long as they were making a good living like they were they were fine. They felt they wanted to be in with the best and didn’t realize that there was a monetary price to pay for that. Ray and Phil had money tied up in the program and as first time band businessmen they hadn’t grasped the magnitude of what was ahead. Unfortunately, I saw the writing on the wall.
Randy I think saw it as well. He had a loyalty to Ray since he’d first set him up with equipment but he knew that unless a miracle happened his shot at fame was going to be limited because of Ray and Phil and their attitude. He and John Lambert had spoken with the promoters in Southern California and they had suggested they leave Ray and Phil and take me and move down to Los Angeles. It had impressed them and they had been discussing it but we decided to leave it as it was until after the Paramount show. That would be a big factor in what decisions were going to be made.
Major promoters were watching and my phone was ringing off the hook with questions. I realized this could be the final piece of the puzzle, if this went well we might just possibly be able to become a valuable enough band that we could and would be booked on major shows. It had happened fast but that’s how it goes in rock and roll!