Michael Schivo emerged from the generation that saw rock music become a major influence on society. This book is devoted to divulging what it was like to be at the helm of a durable, long-lasting rock concert promotion company that put the stars on stages from intimate nightclubs to vast arenas. He was a scrappy, cantankerous and free thinking booker of major concerts starring the likes of Metallica, Def Leppard, Chicago, Kiss, Hall and Oates, U-2, Peter Frampton, Inxs, Cheap Trick, Journey, Ted Nugent, Genesis, Blue Oyster Cult, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Rush and nearly every major rock, pop and jazz act that could fill small halls and arenas for 5 decades. It was a time when Rock was running wild with the rules constantly in a state of flux. Eventually, however, he found that the scene had changed since the days when he and other promoters started paving the Rock and Roll highway. This book pulls back the curtain to show how today's playing field has turned the concert scene to mush!
Nothing is held back from the reader in this tale of the dramatic changes that made every one -- from the agents, managers and the acts to the promoters themselves guilty of corrupting a system that ran smoothly in the 60s and 70s, only to be pulled apart by greed and disrespect.
Schivo's playing field consisted of Las Vegas, then Southern California, Lake Tahoe, Reno; totaling 17 cities.
Within these pages is a transparent look into that tedious and tenuous concert business, written from the promoter's viewpoint, the last one to get paid. Imagine a grand party where the host pays for everything and hopes there is enough money left over to see a profit. The book covers what is known as the settlement, where the artists' reps and the promoter sometimes engage in a tug of war to walk away with the money that is rightfully theirs. These settlements could be calm and congenial but they could also get intense; where guns were pulled and threats made.
It's all here to read about. So while you may have attended many a concert, you really don't know everything that goes on at the event. Other stories in the book deal with humorous situations that happened to the author over these years. He lived in the 24/7 towns of Reno and Las Vegas and those cities were always full of fast living. This book also covers turf wars with other major promoters as well as the recent Live Nation mergers that have the entire concert industry reeling on the brink of disaster.
Schivo was raised Italian, learned to think like a Jew, traded like a Dutchman and bought talent like a Scot. That is who he is, a recipe for survival. He was one of a handful of Goyim who dared enter into the music business in those days and this book serves as a documentation of most risk takers.
So take a good, hard look into the dynamics of concert promotion starting in the 60s and continuing through today. It's the saga of how some secrets, some skills and 45 years of hard work allowed Schivo to survive while the concert industry marched through peaks and valleys. What happened from the 60s through the millennium can never happen the same way again. The playing field has been eliminated and the music and the message have been diluted.
Quote the Author Michael Schivo:
"Anyone who was there in the beginning and watched and participated in this fraternity or Boys' Club if you will, were the first wave of concert promoters that later became risk takers who loved money and, in some cases, their audiences as well. We enjoyed the daily thrill of the ride not found on any E ticket at any amusement park on earth. The ride was long and is winding down now due to the new economy and the violations and lack of principles that we altered and then lost."
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