Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I met Max

In 1986, I took on my first band, Sacred Reich. I met Jason Rainey when he was 16 years old and hanging around The Bootlegger, which was my brother, Paul, and my club in Phoenix. Jason came to me one day and told me he had a band. Of course we booked them immediately and my relationship with Sacred Reich began. Life was a snowball, with Metal spreading through the world like a changing Season. We morphed from travelling in the back of a UHaul truck, to circling the globe, tucked in a tour bus. Times were changing quickly and Sacred was soaring in popularity.
Sacred Reich
Sacred was signed to Metal Blade Records in the US and licensed to Roadrunner Records in the rest of the world. This was the beginning of my 26 year relationship with Roadrunner. One day, early in 1989, I got a phone call from the label, asking me if I would consider managing all Roadrunner bands that had no management. I declined because there were a few acts I didn't want to work with and also, I managed differently than most managers...I travelled with my bands. I wasn't taking on a lot of acts at the same time because I was the manager, tour manager, tour accountant and merchandise seller. It was a lot to handle and I didn't want to dilute the attention I was giving to my acts. I was managing Sacred, Atrophy and dabbling a bit with Forced Entry, from Seattle and did not want to spread myself thin. I did not want to be some out of touch manager sitting in an office, sending my bands out with $5 in their pockets, cramped in a van. No, I was traveling in the same condition as my bands and working my tail off to reach new heights. Touring took a good deal of dedication and I had a clear vision of where I wanted my bands to go. I couldn't do that from an office.
One day, and many times after, Monte Conner, the new A&R from Roadrunner, called me and asked me to manage a new band he had signed from Brasil. I politely refused. I had never met them before; what if we didn't get along with each other? No, I couldn't consider it. I wasn't interested in breaking the standard I had set for myself and my groups.

A couple months later, Sacred got an offer to support King Diamond at the Ritz in NYC, on Halloween night!! We were so excited! This was going to be super cool, not to was the famous Ritz Theater! I heard Sepultura would be one of the openers, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet them and check out their show.

When I arrived at the Ritz, I noticed many other managers checking out Sepultura. The weird thing, all the mangers came up to me and told me not to touch Sepultura, I won't say the reasoning, I felt it was discriminatory and I admit I was a bit surprised to hear the comments. As soon as the Brasilians kicked into their set, I felt such raw energy. I also got this feeling inside of me that I only felt rarely. I can't explain it. It was a sort of premonition. I sat next to Cees Wessels and said, "I will take this band for you." Cees laughed and we chatted for a bit. I went to their dressing room after their set and we all hung out. The guys didn't speak much English and I kept mixing up Max and Igor.

Their tour eventually brought them to the Mason Jar in Phoenix. Dana, Christina and me all went down early to hang out. I was shocked to discover the low level of care the Seps were receiving. For God's sake, Paulo played the entire tour with 1 pick!! Can you imagine, no one could spend a few cents and get him a pick?? They were allowed $5 a day to live on, which I could not believe. What was worse, they had a man traveling with them who said he was their manager/tour manager, but all I could see him doing was making himself a private video collection. The band didn't even have a bottle of water or a towel to wipe their face off!! It was shocking to me. When Max asked for water, this man told him, "get it yourself!" I was speechless. I took Paulo to my house and got him some picks and cruised back to the club.
WATER!!! haha

I took care of the band and got them water, towels and whatever else they needed. After the show, we went to a Motel 6 and had a meeting. They asked me to manage them. I had found out their "tour manager" had signed them to a manager who managed a soul singer(she managed a female artist such as Ertha Kitt or someone similar). This was super strange to me. The band had never even met or spoke with their manager!!! I told them I didn't step on other manager's toes and they would have to free themselves before I worked with them. We said our goodbyes with big smiles on our faces...we knew we would see each other soon. In January, I received a postcard in the mail from Max. It was a Beneath the Remains card with a nice message. I did not expect it.

A month or 2 later, a deal was negotiated and their "manager" was paid a flat fee of $10,000 and the road opened up for me to work with them. And the deal I gave them??? Haha, I said I would work for free for 1 year, to see if we would get along with each other! Now, that was for the love of music!!!

Class dismissed....