A discussion with Ezra Holbrook, professional musician and music booker in Portland, OR, on how to make friends and influence booking agents.

Ezra Holbrook. Photo by Inger Klekacz, used with permission.

What is it you do, exactly? What is your title?

I guess probably “booking person,” or I’ve seen some people call it “talent buyer”...I think that is a strange, uh...it doesn’t sound - I mean, honestly, it sounds like a john to me - I feel like I should be soliciting a prostitute - “I’m a ‘talent buyer.’” So yeah, I call myself a “music booker.”

How many venues do you book for right now?

Two venues full time, the Adrift Hotel and Secret Society. Right now I’m also working for the city of Long Beach [OR], helping them book their summer concert series. Last year I worked for the state of Washington on their State Park shows for a couple things. Last year I worked for the PDX Film Festival, they’ve asked me if I want to be part of it again...so I do all kinds of freelance stuff as well.

What tasks are involved in booking?

I handle the shows up until they go to the nuts and bolts of the venue. When bands are looking for a show, they send me their material. I have to listen to their music, look at their press kits, decide if they’re appropriate for venue, check out their FB page, see how many followers they have, how often do they post about their shows, like, kinda try to see if they do their job - but honestly, for me the most important part of that process is just if I like their music or not. And then working with the band to find a date that works, getting the show booked usually putting together the rest of the bill. Occasionally a band will come to me with a complete bill, but most often it’s - especially touring bands, they’re like, “Hey, we’re gonna be in town Friday the 27th,” so then I have to put something together that will work as a show, you know, so that when people come, they’ll be like, “oh, if I like this band, I’ll probably like this band.”

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And then I do all of our calendar updating and management. At Secret Society we have project management software between our graphic designer, our PR person, stage management and all that stuff - I also have to create the event [in the project management software] and get all the show information built into it, and then my job is kind of over.

Do you reach out to bands, or do you mostly rely on them to come to you?

I do both. I mean, you know, I think it’s my job to try to keep abreast of what’s happening as much as I can, so definitely - if I hear of bands that might seem to fit one of the places I’m working and that I need to pay attention to, I’ll search them out. A lot of times I’ll also - you know, if, like, I’m booking a touring band, for instance, and they have heard of bands that are in their circle, or maybe like, “Oh, we played with this great Portland band in San Francisco a year ago,” you know, “can you find such and such band,” and I’ll be like, “Okay,” so I’ll, you know, hunt ‘em down on the internet and figure out how to contact them, you know, most people on their FB page either have a booking contact or a booking agency contact, and then I’ll, you know, eventually figure out how to get in touch with them

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So you rely on Facebook pretty heavily, then?

Facebook is pretty handy, just because most people have their contact info right on there. And also because it answers some of my other questions. Like, you can’t tell from a website how many people are interacting with them, or how often they interact with their fans.

The nice thing about a website is that usually, right there at your fingertips you have audio, and video, bios, press kit...but FB is kind of nice because I sort of look at it like, most of the fans, in my opinion, are probably going to be interacting with the band through Facebook and finding out about the show through Facebook, so, I like to at least look and see, how interactive are these people, are they posting all of their shows, are they posting some of their shows? You know, like, if a band asks you for a gig and you go their Facebook page and it’s like, last post is two years ago? Chances are, I mean, honestly, it’s a bad sign. Like, you’re obviously not very engaged, and, you know, we still gotta sell tickets. We need bands that are, you know, out there working. Because certainly, on our side, we’re out there working.

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And I know it’s not always accurate, I realize that the number [of followers] doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but at least it does show that people are trying to do something, and they’re getting somewhere, which to me, I’m like, okay. If a band only has, like, 60 friends, either you’re just starting out, or...it’s a red flag, either way.

And what about the phenomenon of Facebook - um, I know we’re kind of going down this Facebook rabbit hole, but it’s kind of important - like, Facebook throttling posts? Do sponsored versus non-sponsored posts, organic interaction versus explicitly marketed, matter?

I would say that over the last year or two where that was sort of a noticeable difference, where posts that used to reach, like, 200 people all of a sudden, it’s like, “6 people saw this,” and you’re like, “What the hell?”

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So I’ve certainly noticed that, um, now you do have to pay to boost a post to get it to a large number of people, and I don’t necessarily expect bands to do that, because I don’t know that it’s actually proved its viability yet. Because, still, what does that really translate to? I’m not sure. You know? I don’t think that it’s fair to hold people responsible for how many of the public are interacting with what they do, but I do think that it’s important to work with people who are doing stuff. Because what that shows is that they’re engaged, and I guarantee you that that’s not the only avenue in which they’re engaged and making an effort.

If I see a band that’s workin’ it and talking about every show and trying to get people excited, and even if they’re not paying to boost their posts or whatever, they’re doing the best they can. And from the venue’s side, we boost all our of posts, and according to Facebook it makes a difference, and attendance seems to have gone up.

You know, I keep thinking back to, like, when CBGB was in its heyday, and - I can’t remember who, it was an interview with somebody - but they were talking about, how you wouldn’t have to promote your own show as a band because people just showed up at the venue trusting the venue’s taste in music and knowing that there would be a good show there regardless. And so, it sounds like things have shifted quite a bit. Is that something that bands seem to...grok? Has there been a lot of pushback on that?

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I think there’s a couple of different things wrapped up in there. The first one is that that is a microcosm of what’s happened to the music industry as a whole. Because, you know, the same thing could have been said about labels. I used to buy records based on - I mean, obviously I would buy a record if it it had great music that I liked, but - there were some labels that, like, dude, anything they put out, if you liked this then you’re gonna like this. There was this kind of trust between the public and the company that they were curating something, that there was some effort put into it.

Like K Records, or…

Yeah. Kill Rock Stars, Sub Pop....

...There’s a certain sound that you expect from that label.

Yeah. 4AD...and, you know, the major labels back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

You know what Motown sounds like.

Yeah. You know what Sun sounds like. There’s a certain expectation of quality there. I think with bars, the same thing has happened, but it’s kind of for a different reason. I think that because, when I was young and touring a lot, that was absolutely true, and the interesting thing was you used to be able to go play Sacramento for the first time in your life and play in a bar that was full of people who were there to see music. As long as you didn’t suck, you would probably sell 10 or 15 CDs, and make a handful of fans, and have a really good time, but that was the only way to discover new music: to go see something. There wasn’t another way. I mean, you could go to a record store cold, buy a CD just because you like the album artwork, which I’ve done plenty of, but there was no other way.

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So people that wanted to find new music went out on Friday and Saturday nights to hear bands they’d never heard before, either because they’d read something in the newspaper, and sometimes because that’s the bar that they went to, and they don’t know who’s going to play...or maybe it was because they know the local headliner but not the two touring bands who were from out of town...but now it’s very different.

There was a lot more serendipity, it sounds like.

Yeah. And the audience was there for a different reason. Now, if the audience is there to see a band they like, they’re only there to see that band, they don’t give two shits about the other people, because they’ve already been trolling the internet for a week and they’ve got the new music that they want, and they’re not there to, like, get their minds blown.

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They’re hunters as opposed to gatherers.

Exactly. And, you know, sometimes they might actually miss a mind-blowing band because they’re not paying attention because that’s not why they’re there. That’s been a been a dramatic change. It’s, an interesting conversation to have with bands, because I would say that it’s a change that happened over a decade ago...it’s still sometimes very hard to explain to a band the difference between a venue where people are, and a venue that you have to bring people to.

Because there are some venues where it’s like, look, people are hanging out. They’re gonna be there whether you’re there or not. And they might listen, and they might like you, and they may not pay you any attention at all, but they’re there. So, you know, there’ll be 40 people there, hanging out. If you bring 40 people, then there’ll be 80 people there. But there’s also venues where it’s like, look, people don’t go here for anything other than to hear a band that brought them here. So there’s no point in you telling me that you can bring 60 people if you can’t, because what’s going to happen is that you’re going to play to no one.

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And you’re going to look like a douchenozzle.

And there’s nothing wrong with saying, like, “I mean, right now? [we can bring] zero,” because at least then, a booking person is like, “Okay, well, if I like your music enough and I want to do this anyway, I know I need to put you with two bands that can draw X amount so that the room is full and it’s a good show for everybody.”

But I don’t think that’s something that happened 10 years ago because bars were full on Fridays and Saturdays, and they were full of music fans. I mean, like, when I was that age - I grew up in LA - sometimes we knew who we were going to see, and sometimes we didn’t, but we would get in the car every Friday and Saturday evening and drive to Melrose or wherever and go to, like, the Anti-Club or go to the Palomino in the Valley, go to one of our favorite bars...I saw a million good shows...and not everyone was good, but we didn’t care! I also discovered some of my favorite LA punk bands.

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But that was the way we looked at it: we found the places that had the kind of music that we liked, and we just went there, and, you know, sometimes you swing and you miss, but even if you bat .333 that means that if there are three bands, one of ‘em is going to be good.

But I wouldn’t even do that now. I don’t do that now. Things have changed. And it is unfortunate because it’s absolutely hurt the bar business and it’s hurt touring immensely.

No one’s up for an adventure anymore. They want a sure thing, a known quantity...I blame OkCupid.

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Me too. [Laughs] Jerks.

We’ve talked a little bit about how you’ve been in more than one band - bands that had big draws and bands that didn’t.

Yes, I was the founding drummer of the Decemberists. They didn’t have a big draw when I was with them…[laughingly] I don’t know if that’s an editorial comment about me, or…

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No, you were just a baby band. You were just starting out.

Right. We were just a baby. And I also played in Dr. Theopolis, which had a really big draw, you know...I was a drummer with The Minus 5, I play solo...and I play in the The My Oh Mys....so yeah, I feel like I’ve played in bands that had draws, and bands that are either still struggling or that struggled until they gave up.

How has that impacted the way you interact with bands, if at all?

I’d like to think that it helps me - especially in difficult conversations, either when you’re negotiating, or something’s gone wrong and you have to fix it - because I honestly feel like I try to look at things from the perspective of the band and from the perspective of a venue trying to make ends meet.

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In my experience as a person playing in a band, I’ve definitely come across a few booking agents who also played in bands, but the vast majority of them weren’t, and I think that sometimes...everybody starts making assumptions about where the other dude is coming from, and I hope because I’ve played both sides of the aisle, that...it makes it easier for people to deal with me, because I get where they’re coming from. There’s a little bit of trust there that wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t spoken the language, as well, and understood what it’s like to be on the road, and sympathetic with those nights where the band’s like, “Dude, we made sixteen dollars.” And I’m like, “I feel you, man. I’ve been there.”

You briefly mentioned negotiating. What kinds of negotiations go on behind the scenes that most people aren’t aware of? What goes into determining how much a band gets paid? Is it the same formula for every venue?

There’s a wide variety of deals that venues use. I book two venues and the deals are different. A lot of it depends on what type of venue it is and what they can financially work out. At the hotel I book for, they don’t charge a cover for their shows because...you can’t charge people that are staying there to come to a show. And it becomes too complicated if you’re like, “Oh, well, you know, some people get in for free,” it just doesn’t work. You’d have to find a way to keep track of everything, you’d have to have a door person, which means an extra employee....so usually in cases like that, you’re paying guarantees [a set amount of money that a band gets paid regardless of how many people show up, not based on ticket sales], and negotiating a fee.

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There’s a lot of instances where you’re offering a guarantee plus some sort of incentive, like, let’s say, you know, “We’re gonna pay you X amount as a guarantee, but if you sell over 300 tickets we’re gonna kick you an extra 10%,” or whatever.

But it’s all over the place, there’s really no standard. The club that I book, we do a straight-up door deal, we never do guarantees, so basically you’re getting paid a percentage of the ticket sales. So then, it’s really heavily reliant on how many people you can actually bring to the bar. Which, again, is also part of why I really stress to people that there’s no point in exaggerating what you think you’re capable of, because there’s gonna be two people that are unhappy, and it’s gonna be you and my boss.

You’re only screwing yourself...There’s no point in telling somebody that you can sell 100 tickets when you can’t sell 10. You’re the one who’s going to end up unhappy at the end of the night when you end up with $5. And your drummer quits and throws a beer can at you.

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Is that an autobiographical story?

No! No. I’m sure I’ve thrown plenty of beer cans at people. But I rarely quit.

What do bands do that they think helps but actually makes your job harder?

There’s a few things. When I was coming up, there was an accepted protocol, as a band, for booking, and that doesn’t really seem to be around as much anymore. For instance, you get your PR stuff, your press kit, which obviously was in the mail, to a booking person. If you’re on tour, you tell ‘em when you’re gonna be in town; if you’re not on tour you say, “We’d love to be considered for a show.” You figure out how long [the press kit] is going to take to get there, and you give them two weeks. And you do one follow-up. And if you don’t hear from them again, that means that either they can’t help you, or they don’t want to help you.

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Now - and I don’t know if it’s because email is so much easier? - everybody wants an answer. And not every band, but a lot of bands will just...continue to bombard you. They’ll continue to send you emails, like, “Hey, I’m following up AGAIN,” all caps, and, you know, I get it, but the thing that they fail to realize is that if you’re booking a club that’s doing even decently, you get, like, 50 of those a day. You’re busting your ass keeping up with all of the stuff that you can use. You don’t have time to keep up with the stuff that you can’t use. I don’t want to have to figure out a way to tell you that I think that you’re terrible - and that’s not always the case, but what if it is the case? I don’t want to have to tell you that!

Yeah, it seems like if the booker thinks you’re a good fit, you will hear from them.

Exactly. Yes. So...that’s one thing that’s changed a lot, and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m not going to change how I do things because I don’t have time to change it. And I sometimes get really nasty emails from people that are like, “Who do you think you are? We’ve written you five times…” and I’m like, “...?” People get incensed about not getting a “No” reply. But from my perspective, I’m like, I never needed a No.

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No reply is “No.”

Exactly. No reply is No, and I don’t have to sit down and craft an email that’s politely...lying to you about why I’m not going to book you.

Bands essentially spam everybody these days. They’re going through Google or whatever, and they’re just blasting everybody. And I’m like, dude, I am not booking a speed metal band at Secret Society. If you had paid any attention to our website or to what we do at all, you would have known that. But you don’t have time to do that, yet you’re expecting me to hold your hand, and whisper sweet nothings into your ear to make you feel better. You just pressed send to 3000 clubs but then you get mad when not every one of them goes, “Dude, I don’t know why you’re emailing me in the first place.”

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Aside from what you’ve already talked about, what kinds of things can bands do to not annoy the shit out of a music booker?

First and foremost: DON’T PUT BOOKING PEOPLE ON YOUR FUCKING MAILING LIST. I mean, unless they ask you to, which they might! Realize that the email address that you have for that person gets an ass ton of email, and every unnecessary one is just a clog.

And every time you see a name associated with a thing you don’t want, I mean, how good can that be for their band?

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Yeah! And also, half the time, it’s hilarious, I get emails from bands for their shows at clubs that we’re in direct competition with! And I mean, Portland, we’re not really competitive, per se...but I mean, like, if I was a band, I’d be like, since we’re probably going to ask Ezra for a show in 3 months, maybe don’t tell him, unless we have to, that we’ll be playing the month before at a venue that’s six blocks away.

Like, to go back to the OkCupid analogy, you wouldn’t put pictures from your dates with other OkCupid guys on your profile.

Well, you could even put it on your profile. Don’t send it to the person that you’re asking for the next date. They’re like, “Hey, you might be interested in this! Here’s some other dates I’m going on!”

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Also, if you start an email with something like, “I’m not trying to be a prima donna…” or “it’s no big deal, but…” then: you are being a prima donna, and it is a big deal. And either get over it and just do it, or maybe...think about how important it is to be a pain in someone else’s ass. Because, I get it, bands have intricate needs at times, but there’s a whole other side with 5, 6, 7 people including PR and staff and graphic design and stage management, and all those people need to be lined up and have correct information, and if you’re doing it right, it’s a job, and the minute you change anything, it falls apart in everyone’s lap and makes extra work.

I mean, it’s not just a show, but it’s just a fucking show. And maybe you go on third instead of second. And maybe your soundcheck is only 15 minutes instead of 25. Those little things, they’re little things.

Seriously, if you’re U2, and you want to complain about what time you go on, fine. But if you’re Joe Schmoe and the Joes, seriously, get over it. Just fucking go on when you’re supposed to go on, end when you’re supposed to end, soundcheck for however long, or don’t soundcheck at all, or whatever! Either you’re a professional and you can handle it, or you’re not. But the rigamarole of complaining, and especially of trying to couch your complaint like it’s not being difficult or demanding when that’s absolutely what it is, is just silliness.

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Okay, can you explain to those of us reading the difference between a legitimate request and a pee-pants complaint?

Well, I mean, they’re all legitimate, but it’s just…

...How much energy is it worth?

Yeah, exactly. And I think a lot of it is, you know, people trying to position themselves for what they think is going to be the best outcome, but you never really know.

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Because maybe there’s a flash flood that day, or maybe there’s a giant Blazers game…

Yeah. My thing is, if you have to try to manipulate a situation so that the results work out in your favor, to me that shows a lack of confidence in what you’re doing, which is a red flag as a booking person. [When you complain about your time slot] it’s inconveniencing everyone else to change things around, because then I have to go back to the table and deal with [the other bands] like, “Is this okay, because so-and-so wants…” - and then what I’m also saying to the bands is basically, “This person wants to put you in what they consider to be a bad spot. So are you cool with that?”

Wow. Have fun in the green room!

Oh, yeah, I mean - and of course I never narc anybody out, but - I know that you’re willing to throw so-and-so under the bus because you think this is gonna be better for you, even though half the time it ends up not mattering AT ALL. If it DOES matter, if you are like “I want to play to the most people in the room because we’re not going to bring anybody,” then why are we talking about booking a show with you in the first place? You’re, right away, undermining the whole process. And now it’s a pain in the ass for us. We have to redo our Facebook event, our poster, everything, all because someone else is like, “I wanna try to get an edge!” You should be the edge! Be the change, dummy! Be the crowd you want to see in the room.

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So, as a seasoned musician who has toured quite a bit, what wisdom can you impart upon a band just trying to book a gig?

I would say spend the time to approach venues where your music is actually appropriate. It does make a difference. Pick bands that you like that you know are touring and look at the places that they’re playing, and contact those places.

So it takes a little more effort upfront but you have a higher quality of interaction?

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Yeah! And for your efforts, you’re more likely to get good results. Also, in this day and age, having a working electronic press kit (EPK) of some kind, even if it’s on ReverbNation or Bandcamp, those work fine - having something to send people that includes something they can listen to and even maybe something that they can watch. But I get emails from people that don’t have any audio.

What is that, even? If you’re coming to me for a gig, and I have to Google you to find your music, I’m not interested. Like, I wouldn’t apply for a job and not attach a resumé, you know?

I know! So, yeah, an EPK is kind of important these days. Those things are soooo easy to set up, it takes like 30 minutes to set up a ReverbNation page. And they are really handy for bookers. Everything is there that you need.

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And if you do have a website, honestly, I gotta say, I loooooove long, awesome animations before anything happens, but seriously, if you’re a band, and you’re dealing with someone that is all day going through email after email, half the time, I’m just, “Nope,” you know, like I’m giving you 30 seconds here, and then I’m on to the next thing. So if you do send me a website link, maybe send a direct link that skips the splash page. Or send me something else. Get me straight to what I need to listen to you.

No foreplay, you’re all business.

[Laughs] Yup. And the third thing is, I know we’ve already talked about this, but: whether you’re starting out or you’re touring, try to be as accurate as possible about what [kind of draw] you’re capable of. Because if it loses you a gig, you don’t want to be playing that gig anyway. It means a lot to me when people are straight with me. 9 times out of 10, I can kind of tell when someone’s bullshitting me anyway.

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Are there bands that you just absolutely won’t book, regardless of their Facebook followers, their music?

Well, I might be in kind of a strangely unique situation in that way because both venues I work for are way more concerned about the experience everybody has than about the money they’re making, and I don’t think that’s typical.

Obviously I can’t book, like, you know, speed metal at a hotel. And I can’t book a band in there if there’s a bunch of bad language. You know, there’s kids. I do have to think about language and volume. But as long as it’s okay for all ages, and...you can’t blow the roof off the joint.

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But honestly, at both venues, if you treat people like shit, if you’re a dick to the door person, if you yell at the sound guy, if you’re a dick to the bartender, even if you don’t tip on your free drinks all night, that shit will come back to haunt you...you’re not gonna come back. There’s plenty of bands that are totally cool and totally professional, and we don’t need to deal with that kind of stuff.

Do you talk with other booking agents? Do people’s reputations precede them?

I do, and I’m friends with quite a few of them, but I’ve found - and I think this is a good thing - that most booking people don’t disclose negative stuff about bands publicly. I think you’d have to really step over the line. I think most booking people realize that sometimes you can have a bad interaction with someone because they haven’t had their coffee, or maybe they just had another shitty experience and they’re taking it out on you. Most of the time you give someone the benefit of the doubt and you like to think that maybe that was a one-time event and that they’ll get it figured out.

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You ride an interesting line when you do a job like this because...I often find myself in a situation where I’m like...it’s like telling someone they have food in their teeth.

Do I have food in my teeth?

You don’t. But! When do you tell someone that they have food in their teeth? I mean, it’s funny that that’s such a hard thing to do because you’re doing someone a favor, but at the same time, it’s socially very awkward, and also you’re like, maybe that’s not my place to tell you - maybe your girlfriend will be here soon and she can tell you you have food in your teeth, but like, I definitely have interactions with people where I’m like, should I say something to this person about how they’re behaving? Because I think I would want to know. If I had broccoli in my teeth I’d want someone to be like, “Hey, dude, you got broccoli in your teeth.”

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But it is weird, it’s awkward - and this doesn’t happen all the time, but...it’s an interesting conundrum at times to be like, should I say, “Hey, take it back a notch,” or, “You’re being a drama queen,” or whatever? My thinking is, I’ve certainly had people check me before, and even if I initially have a hard time swallowing that, it’s helpful in the long run.

Then of course, the interesting thing is, if you do your job right, these become long relationships.

Can you name your dream band who you’d love to book for, say, Secret Society?

Like, any band?

Sure. Not just a dream band; a wet dream band.

Well! Probably Elvis Costello. And The Attractions.

Oh well, yeah. Is there a local band that you’d love to see play a room that you book?

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I try to be realistic about what we can actually have in there, I mean it’s like 170 capacity, some bands, as much as I would love to have them, there’s no reason for them to play there. They can sell four times as many tickets...it just doesn’t make sense. But, I mean, within our ballpark...I’ve been trying to get Old Light in there forever. We’ve tried, like, six times; it’s just never worked. Either the date fell through for them or fell through for us….

But I would say we’ve had pretty good luck getting people who wouldn’t be undersold by the room. And we’ve had a lot of bands - and this is part of the thing that’s hard about being a booker, I think - we’ve had a lot of bands that, like, when they were starting out, played Secret Society a lot, and now they’ve blown up, and they won’t play there anymore. It’s not because they don’t like it, it’s just because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s like, “We could go sell out a 600-capacity room, and we only play Portland four times a year, so playing a 175….” You know? Makes perfect sense but it’s a drag. They move on for absolutely the right reasons, but at the same time that is a tough thing to be like, “Okay, they’ve outgrown us.”

A poignant success story.

It is! Because you do feel like in some way you had a part in helping them get there. And that’s also why I think it is important to find ways to book bands that are just starting out. If they’re good, you have to find a way to do it. And at places that don’t have built-in people there, you have to figure out a way to build bills where a beginning band can be seen by people that will like them. The idea is, “Hey man, if we can do this three times this year, next year, you’ll be that other band, and someone else, will be, you know…[the beginning band].” But it’s important to do that because then you start to build these relationships with bands - because otherwise, how do you get a foothold? If bands can’t come up in town and have a somewhat viable experience business-wise, you’ve got a scene that doesn’t work, because you’ve got the big bands and...nothing.

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Having places where good music can turn into big ticket sales is imperative.

The incubator approach.

Yeah. It just takes transparency on both sides. The bands have to be honest with the booking people and the booking people need to be transparent because the band needs to understand what your needs are as a club to make it viable to do the show. If everybody does that, then...you rarely have problems.

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The biggest component that I’ve discovered about booking is that you kind of have to rewrite the stereotypical relationship between bands and...anybody else, basically.

...Adversarial?

Completely adversarial! I think that everybody assumes - and rightfully so, in some cases - that someone’s trying to get one over on you. I really like working for the people I work for because they’re absolutely 100% authentic and really do care, and if they do have needs from a business perspective, they’re upfront about it with the bands —

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Well, they’re all music lovers, too, right?

Yeah, and musicians, in most cases.

But you can always tell, when - the instant something starts to go wrong - the reaction is more aggressive than it needs to be, given the context. So then, immediately, I’m like, Okay, this person is used to being fucked over, they’re assuming they’re getting fucked over now, so the minute anything starts to go a little bit awry, they’re like AACK.

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So a lot of times I’ll actually send someone an email that says, Hey, I am not working against you. Here’s how this relationship works: I have 2 people to make happy. That’s you, and that’s my boss. And the thing is, there isn’t really any situation where only one of you can be happy. There’s really never a case where you do a show and one person’s like, “This was awesome!” and the other peron’s like, “This sucked.” You know? This should be good business for everybody, or it’s really not good business for anybody.

Once you break down the cliché on the front end, you also then get rid of the cliché responses, you stop going down that road at all in that relationship - and ideally it is a relationship that could last for years and years and years. But that’s really the key, because I’ve definitely had situations where I was like, “We’re having an argument based on something that hasn’t actually happened between the two of us...I get it if you’re reacting to something, but you’re not reacting to this situation.”

Anything else you’d like people know? Any glaring omissions so far?

No, I think we just about covered everything.

Well, that was easy. Thanks for talking with me, Ez.

Any time.