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January 25, 2024 130 mins

Concert promoter for Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, the Lumineers...


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Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Leftstets Podcast. My
guest today is concert promoter of Louis Messina. Louis.

Speaker 2 (00:19):
Is it ever Lewis, No, it's never. Yeah. It's really
funny because when I introduced myself, I go, Hi, I'm
Lewis Messina, but you can call me Louis, but don't
call me lou Okay.

Speaker 1 (00:33):
So what differences have you noticed, if any, in the
concert promotion business post COVID as opposed to pre COVID.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
The difference is is that the abundance of acts that
are on the road. It's just, you know, that is
the biggest difference. There's so many shows going on at
the same time. Even though everything has been so so successful,
I'm really concerned that one day and maybe soon, that

people are going to say I have no more money.
I've been to too many shows. I can't go to
fifteen shows like I did because I've seen everybody, or
I've been at home and COVID's over. I don't know.
I'm just looking forward to this upcoming year and I
don't know if I mean that's the big difference. There's

a lot of big difference. The country is different today
than it was pre COVID. In my opinion, the political
landscape is crazy. It's insane, and people, I think are
getting over the COVID blues.

Speaker 1 (01:47):
Okay, so how hard is it to get a building
and how far in advanced do you have to book
a tour?

Speaker 2 (01:53):
Well? The good thing, the way I operate, I'm waiting.
I'm waiting in advance. I know it artists are doing
two years from now because it's not like I'm you know,
I call myself a career promoter, not a tour promoter,
because it's about not only what we're doing this tour,

but what we're doing two three tours from now. And
so I'm already booking in twenty six and twenty seven
right now because I know what I mean. Everything's always
subject to change, of course, but I know what most
of my autists are doing in years to come. Unlike
you know, when I get a phone call, go hey,

we're looking for you know, an offer, and we're going
to start in January. That's not how we do business.

Speaker 1 (02:43):
Okay. Recently, relative to you, you picked up the Lumineers.
You're big on career development, taking artists into the stratosphere.
The Lumineers did play a stadium in Chicago. What did
you see in the Lumineers that you wanted to work
with them?

Speaker 2 (03:01):
Uh? Musically, I just love their music and and uh
when I first got involved with them, they were there
was sort of like kind of you know, just hipster
band sort of, and they had a very select audience,

I believe, you know. And then all of a sudden
they just developed into superstars. I mean, Wes has become like,
I mean, he is a superstar, and the band is
has changed. They've got a couple of new members, and it's,
in my opinion, it's I just saw I just saw

magic and them that That's that's all I can say.
I heard magic and their music, and I saw the
way that they connected with their audience. Just like everybody.
That's what I'm always looking for the connection between the
artist and audience. And they have that connection and they
are growing by the day.

Speaker 1 (04:03):
Okay, in the old days, everything was driven by the
record company and radio. That's not necessarily the case these days.
So with a band like the Lumineers, what can the
promoter do to grow the audience for the band?

Speaker 2 (04:18):
Wow? What can we do? It's almost like, well, we
do everything because we like to look at ourselves as
as a connection to the artist, the manager, the label,
where we're just not we just don't want to be
the promoter. We want to be the artist partner. So

we're involved in all of their decisions with them, with
the record company. So we're all on the same page
and we all have goals. And I think that is
where how you see something and then you take gambles,
you know, like we we played two stadiums last tour,
we played Denver and Chicago, and I committed that we're

going to play eight to ten uh on you know,
on the next tour because I just feel it. But
I think that that is it. It's just that we
just don't put shows on sale. We're actually we're going
deeper than that with the autists and their entire organization,

not just us selling tickets. It's selling it's selling them
and selling their career and selling their brand. And that's
what we're trying to do.

Speaker 1 (05:39):
Oh, someone like the lumineers who are on their way up,
can you go a little deeper what you might do
to grow to get people into the building.

Speaker 2 (05:48):
Well, first of all, we play the right buildings, and
unlike a lot of autists that take, you know, take
these tour deals. If we're only supposed to do thirty
five shows, that's all the shows we do, not fifty
or sixty. And we pick our markets and we know
where our growth is because you know, I'm a big

believer in historicals and so if I saw where they
did X amount of people that time, I'm always trying
to grow. Help the artists grow twenty five thirty five
percent each tour because there's enough people to fill every
arena in every stateium in a country that listens to
their music. So now you know the fans, they're hardcore fans.

They just got to hear one message, one thing from
the Lumineers. But now I've got to convince along with
the band. But my job is to convince people that
should I go to the Lumineers, should I go see
this band on that band. I've got to create this
imaginary world about going to see the Lumineers and how

wonderful it's going to be. And so that is kind
of my job is or as you know, throwing them
throwing magic dust on the whole on the whole program
and if that makes any sense. But that's what I do.
I do. I just throw magic dust on it.

Speaker 1 (07:13):
Okay, well, there's magic dust once the show plays, and
magic dust to get people in the building. So if
you're playing a stadium that's somewhere between thirty five and
sixty thousand seats, you're gonna have a certain number of
people who are going to say, I have to see
this is my favorite band. How do you convince the
rest of the people. What's the magic dust you might

employ to get the rest of the people to come.

Speaker 2 (07:37):
Well, you know, through messaging if it's you know, it's
through repetition of your message and talking to people, not
talking at people. That's hard really to explain. And it's
like when you see a commercial on television, officer, Oh wow,
that's a cool commercial, and then you want to dig

a little deeper. So if I can create this fantasy
or that the Lumineers is a mussye show by through
repetition of my messaging and through different messaging, getting fans
talking to each other, because that's the key thing, because
you know, I grew up in a world where you know,

the best form of advertising is word of mouth, and
so I can get fans start talking to other fans.
That's the key thing is to get the chatter gone.
And so we just you know, if people weren't, if
the fish are inviting on this side of the boat,
we have fishing on the other side of the boat.

So our messaging has to continue and we have to
we have to continue looking for the people that we
can convince to go see a band like the Lumineers
or whomever, you know, George Strait, whoever I work for.

Speaker 1 (08:57):
Okay, the old days, you know texas As GM days, whatever,
you just advertise on the rock stations. How do you
reach these people today?

Speaker 2 (09:08):
Well, I mean, now it's all I mean, the majority
of our advertising is social media. I mean we're still
buying you know, regular radio and Harvey zero newspaper ads,
but most of our advertisings is you know, online advertising,

and we have you know, we'll we'll, we'll, we'll partner
with you know, we'll partner with Aol or Google, or
or will partner with different entities. And so not only
are we reaching out just to autist fans, but we'll
keep on expanding the number of people we reach out to.

If it's through the buildings email. This is if it's
through the ticketing company, if it's through the fan clubs,
we just keep on growing and own and growing the
people that we are who we're trying to reach. We
you know, Scott Swift always tells me, you know, there's

so many billions of people that live in the world.
If we only get one percent of it, I mean,
we can sell out everywhere. So that's all we're trying
to do, is get one percent of the population. That
shouldn't be a tough thing to do.

Speaker 1 (10:24):
Let's talk about Taylor Swift. You know, she wrapped up
her US tour a few months ago. If you could
snap your fingers and do anything different, what might you
do different?

Speaker 2 (10:35):
Clone her? There's nothing I would do different. I mean,
you know it was so big. As I was talking
to you and Aspen about there is such a demand,
we knew it was going to be big, and we
said it. That's while we only set one city a week,

so we knew that there was gould be multiples. But
you know, if I would have known, I mean, unfortunately,
there was ten times. I mean, there was millions and
millions of people trying to get tickets. You know, we're
trying to get one hundred and fifty thousand tickets and
two million people registered. If we would have staggered because

our new approach is slow and easy and rather than
like going out and at one time, I think that's
the only thing we might have done different. But it's
been Pitcher perfect. I mean the whole time. I mean,
the fans are loving it. She's having the best time
of her life. Her shows are incredible, her fans are incredible,

and you know, she's ready to start in a couple
of weeks in Asia and then you know, it's off
around the world this year. I mean, she's working all
the way through December.

Speaker 1 (11:54):
And what is your involvement in the foreign dates we're
to see?

Speaker 2 (12:01):
We're involved with Tailor Worldwide. We have local partners around
the around the world, but we're involved with worldwide.

Speaker 1 (12:13):
Okay, so let's delve into the ticketing. Let's delve in
at the most basic level, the fees. What is your
view point on the fees.

Speaker 2 (12:24):
They're ridiculous and I don't know how they got that high.
And I think it's sad that ticketing is the cost
of service charges ship They're like, you know, a third

of the cost of the tickets, which is ridiculous, but
there's nothing I can do about it. I mean, I
need to have a ticketing system. So if it's Ticketmaster
or Access or you know, any of these, you know,
seat geeks, their fees are ridiculous. But there's so many,
you know, so many people with their hands in the pot.

That's why, you know. I mean, you have the ticketing company,
you got the building, you got the promoter, you know
all you know having their fingers in the pot.

Speaker 1 (13:17):
So with all these incredibly successful acts, to what degree
can you as the promoter negotiate the fees to your advantage?

Speaker 2 (13:28):
It's very difficult because unless it's a very inexpensive ticket.
If I'm trying to sell a twenty dollars ticket, then
I will go to a ticketing company and say can
we limit the fees at this, But when you're talking
about higher up prices, there's little to no control or
say that I have because it's what it is. It's

very difficult to negotiate their fees down.

Speaker 1 (13:57):
Okay, the two big ticketing companies in the US you
mentioned Access and Live Nation. Ticket Master which is owned
by Live Nation, part of Live Nation. Now you have
these super scaled shows. But a lot of people where
the shows are playing in smaller building or they're not
instantly going clean, they get an advertising bump from ticket Master.

They feel being on Ticketmaster raises a weirdness. Is that
something you've experienced relative to using other ticketing companies.

Speaker 2 (14:28):
Well, Ticketmaster is the most established company, but Access is
gaining ground big time. Ticketmasters just because they're part of
Live Nation and you know, they've signed all these you know,
building contracts and they were way ahead of the game.

But I think people when they think of ticketing, ticket
Master comes to mind right away, so the manages people
are familiar with it. Even if it's not on Ticketmaster.
People go to the Ticketmaster site or go to an
automatic brokers site. You know, they'll go they think they're

going through Access or Ticketmaster and they wind up on
a seek geek site. And you know, unfortunately people are
especially a popular show, people are so anxious to get
tickets they're not even knowing where they're buying them from.
But being on Ticketmaster, you know, they're the most established.
That's all I could. It's not like, oh, I'm going

to sell fifteen percent more tickets because I'm a Ticketmaster.
You know, if I have, you know, a hot act,
I could sell it out of my trunk of my car.
But people will find where the tickets are. But I
think Ticketmaster is the most stable. I'm going to just
leave it at that. They're the most established. But we
do need to have other ticketing platforms out there.

Speaker 1 (15:59):
Okay, in other countries you can buy the tickets from
multiple outlets. Do you think that's a superior system.

Speaker 2 (16:13):
My experience is it's not a superior system. I mean,
like in London and at Wembley Stadium, you know, the
stadium is divided in half where ticket massa gets half
the tickets and access gets half the tickets. That works
really well, but in a lot of like when we

were down in South America, I mean the ticketing was
really kind of funky because I mean we had, you
know a lot of times the promoters controlled the ticketing.
They have their own systems, and so it's not as
organized when you leave North America. It's a different world
out there, it really is, and it's not as you know,

it's it's not as as current as American ticketing. Uh,
it's just a lot of work and a lot of detail. Uh.
To to to go into countries outside of North America
and get the service that we normally have here.

Speaker 1 (17:18):
How do you make sure you're not ripped off in
these countries?

Speaker 2 (17:21):
Well, you you have to pay close attention and and
I guarantee you we're getting ripped off, you know. And
I don't think as much as it used to be,
because when I first started doing international shows, I always
felt like all the international promoters were in collision with
each other because the rent you know, the building rents

were always the same, all the cost was always the same.
And honestly, I just said, this is bs. If you
want my act, then I want I. You know, we're
not gonna do it your way. We're gonna we're gonna
louis Ie this thing, and we're well, you know, I
need to know where I need to know what's behind
the curtain. So I mean, if you don't want the act,

I don't need you man, you know. And and so
when you have the power of someone you know, as
strong as someone like Taylor, you get you get to
look behind the curtain.

Speaker 1 (18:19):
Okay. In some of these countries, the economics only work
through sponsorships because the public can only afford so much
for tickets. Is that a factor with Taylor Swift?

Speaker 2 (18:32):
Not really. She wanted to do you know, Taylor's never
done a world tour, and she wanted to do a
world tour. And uh, when sponsorships come in, they come in.
But it wasn't the driving point of she had to
have a sponsor to go tour. You know, if we
have sponsors, it's I'm from New Orleans. It's called land yap.

You know, it's a little something extra. And so it's
not that we it was mandatory that we had to
go seek sponsors in other countries, but we did because
she's such you know, she's the biggest star and not
only in the world, but one of the biggest stars
in history of music. So so everybody wants to be

associated with her.

Speaker 1 (19:17):
So how do you decide where to play?

Speaker 2 (19:20):
Well, you look for the Well we knew this was
a stadium tour.

Speaker 1 (19:26):
So now no, no, I'm talking international. So let's assume
you want to go to South America. Economically, do you
say I have to do a certain number of dates
just to make the numbers work. Where do you decide
what cities, what countries, how many shows?

Speaker 2 (19:41):
Well that came from uh, you know, like we went
down in South America. We we only played three markets
and besides Mexico City, and that's all she wanted to
play where she didn't want to do a tour of
South America and then around the world. She just wanted

to hit every country. You know. Originally, like Canada wasn't
even available when we routed this tour, but then she
she got so many requests from her fans then that
we added the Toronto uh, and then we added the
Vancouver because fan demand and she's trying to reach her

all her audience. And so that's what I'm saying. We're
playing Italy, playing France where she's never played stadiums in
these markets before. She's never played arenas in those markets before.
I mean, she's done the UK, but but now she's
you know, she's hitting almost every every country in Europe

and and you know, then in the East, I mean,
she's only done uh, Japan, Thailand, and Australia. So that's
the only Marcus that she's done, you know, out west.
And but we're doing like I think it's like ninety

shows this year around the world, and we come back
in North America, we added three shows and we had it.
We had Miami, Indianapolis and New Orleans and Toronto and Vancouver.
At the end of the tour, Okay, we know that
all these shows are going to sell out. They already

sold out.

Speaker 3 (21:31):
Right, Well, you get on the plane, it's day one,
and you know you have eighty nine more days to go.
Does she ever get fatigued or does she ever say
this is as many as I want to play?

Speaker 2 (21:46):
She she is iron Woman. I mean she is. She
comes off stage with so much energy and so she's
so happy. She's having the best time of her life.
And I can't speak. Just a few times that I've
spoken to her, she's off coming off stage, and she is,

she sties, she's just happy as could be. And she's
I mean she's singing three hours and twenty minutes every night,
sometimes doing three four five in a row. She's I
told her she's bionical, and she really is. I've never
seen anyone like her my whole career.

Speaker 1 (22:31):
So what makes her different as a person from the
other superstars you work with?

Speaker 2 (22:37):
Man? She tail is a one of a kind. I mean,
I've known her for seventeen years and she's always been
that special person. She's always out, worked, out thought, you know,
out hustled out everything to anybody. And she always knew

where she wanted to be, even I mean when she
first started. I mean she always told me. I remember
before the first tour, she goes, you know, when they
hired me as as their promoter, she goes, this is
how I want my shows to be. You know, she
already had in their head how she wanted it to be.

And you know, I want all my songs to be
a theatrical presentation. And then she knew what kind of
affects she wanted back then, you know, way in the
early days when there's not a whole bunch of money involved.
But she knew, she knew who she is. She's so
driven and she always I don't know, she's she's able

to capture what's in her head and get it on stage.
She's amazing. I mean, like I said, I'm honored to
be a part of her world. And you know, I
wish I could take some credit, but man, it's all her.

Speaker 1 (24:09):
So in terms of ticket prices, there are expensive tickets.
How do you decide what the price should be?

Speaker 2 (24:17):
I let people decide, you know, And and that's why
Dynamic pricing comes in no different than airlines and hotels.
If someone wants to pay, we sought out at a
certain amount and if the demand is there, But like
with Taylor and Ed Sheeran, and they'll cap us where

we could, they also go, this is the most you
can sell a ticket far or dynamic pricing some honest
you know, sky's the limit and other parts where people
mistaken ticket pricing is that say, ticket prices that we're
selling or four hundred and fifty dollars, but on the

secondary markets they're five thousand dollars and that's what people
that they can tailors selling tickets for or George Straight
selling tickets for, and it's not the case. But that's
where dynamic price, in my opinion, is really great because
it narrows the profit margin of the secondary markets and

be the artist it actually now participates in ticket sales
as far as the grosses, the full gross and not
just their you know a third of what the secondary
markets are are selling tickets for. You know, as Bruce said,
you know, why should they make the markets when these

everybody's on stage is the one that's putting the work in.

Speaker 1 (25:49):
So once again, if you could snap your fingers. How
would you beat the brokers?

Speaker 2 (25:54):
What we're doing as much as we can do, as
far as dynamic pricing, that's the only way to do it.
Limit tickets for four to six per transaction. It's just tough, man.
The only way you're gonna limit it. If the government
jumps in and there's national regulations on resale tickets. It's

too big of a business for a promoter or an
act just to fight, no matter how hard you try.
I mean, you know, look at goth Brooks. He keeps
on ad and shows, but there his tickets on the
secondary markets. You know, everybody's tickets are. And we've tried.
I've been fighting ticketing scalping my whole career, and I

don't know what to do about it. I mean, only
way I know how to do it, how it benefits
us is through dynamic pricing.

Speaker 1 (26:50):
Okay, So you have these acts that go clean everywhere.
What kind of deal does your company make with them?

Speaker 2 (26:59):
I deal that's fair for the act and fair for me.
That you know, every act is different. I my you know,
as you know, my model is a lot different than
AEG's model or Live Nations model. I work with a
dozen acts and So my deal with them is my

deal with them. And you know, I'm not out there
in the rent a band business, you know, that's how
I call it, you know, where I'm just not writing
these goofball checks and making up this these crazy deals

where people think they're getting free money. I just make
the most money for my artists. That's what I do.
That's how my deals are different, because I'm honest with
my artists. If there's a dollar on the ground, they
get their piece. There's there's total transparency the way I
do business.

Speaker 1 (28:01):
Have you ever scalped tickets as a promoter?

Speaker 2 (28:04):
Never that one time? Okay, So you don't believe me.
I see that grin on your face.

Speaker 1 (28:13):
I know so many stories with people with blue chip
reputations and they have scalp tickets and they have done
other things. I can't sit here and say you've done it.
I'm just saying that, Hey, that's something that comes up
with everybody.

Speaker 2 (28:27):
Or they won't share the public and I could have,
you know, I mean, I just like the acts. We
left a lot of money on the table. But man,
I wouldn't be who I am today if I would
have played that game. I just wouldn't have simple as that.

Speaker 1 (28:43):
Okay, you're done with SFX. You go into business with
George straight You had so much history in the rock business.
What did you learn that was different about the country business.

Speaker 2 (28:59):
Nothing really different. It's well, Lowald, that's what the i'mn sure,
you know. I mean, you know, I've been with George
for thirty years and it's there's loyalty there where there's less. Okay,
this is going to get me in trouble. There's less agents,

there's less people involved. You know, you're dealing almost one
on one with the autist. You know, like if I'm
dealing with George, I'm dealing with George and you know,
or her Wolsey, his manager. You know, if I'm dealing
with Kenny Chesney, I'm dealing with Clinton him and Kenny
you know, the manager. And you know, with Blake Shelton,

I'm dealing directly with Novel and Blake you know, actually
with Novel, you know, but there's a direct connection. It's
not like I got to go to the local, you know,
through the regional agent that goes to the responsible agent,
that goes to the manager. You know, where that's a
goofball game. So that is the difference between in my

opinion country. But even though it's the relationship I have,
It's like with the lumineers Joel Tamian, he's the agent.
Do business with him, do business with you know, activists,
the management company, and I get quick answers. It's like
because going back to what I'm saying, I'm trying to

be partners with the act, not just trying to be
the guy that bought them for a tour or two.
You know, I didn't buy them. I'm partners with them.

Speaker 1 (30:38):
So when you get involved with George, what's the status
of his business?

Speaker 2 (30:43):
What do you mean status?

Speaker 1 (30:45):
How many tickets could he sell?

Speaker 2 (30:47):
Well, I mean we have packaged him with Chris Stapleton
and we're selling out every stadium that we play.

Speaker 1 (30:55):
No, No, I'm asking something when thirty years ago, when
you first got involved with George.

Speaker 2 (31:00):
Well, George, as long as I've been involved with When
I first got involved with George, we went I mean
besides a couple of amphitheaters that it played for me
in early early on when I was promoting him in
theaters right after he got out of the Hunky Tonk.
But how I really got involved with George is creating
the George Drake Country Music Festival. It started out as

a one day stadium show in San Antonio that led
to an annual eighteen concerts a year throughout the United
States and stadiums. George was the first country stadium act
ever to do a stadium tour.

Speaker 1 (31:38):
Tell me about that first gig in San Antonio.

Speaker 2 (31:42):
Well, it was George, as I remember, George, Leanne Rihimes.
I mean, we had a whole bunch of people. I
don't even remember who was on this show, but it
was a bunch and we sold out the Alamodome and
George had such a good time, and then he goes,

let's do it again. Then I think the second year
I added Dallas and Glenn Helen the Amphitheater that we
had back then because it was so big. And then
finally after the Glenn Helen show, I'll know, George and
I went to play golf with Howard Rose and a

friend of his, and I had a proposal for George
and I said, what do you think? He goes, how
many shows should we we do? And I go, I
don't know, twenty thirty. He goes, how's about we start
with five or ten? I anyway, we settled on eighteen.
But that's how it started. I believed in it, and

you know, the first year I had Tim McGraw, faith
hilled Dixie Chicks, you know, I had you know, I
had the who's who of country every year. I mean
that's where I met you know, Tim Faye, Chesney, the Chicks. Uh,
that's where I met so many people on those George
Stree country music festivals.

Speaker 1 (33:06):
Okay, when the first one happened. Were you working with Pace?
Who were you working with when you started?

Speaker 2 (33:12):
I was Pace, I you know, were we owned most
of the amphitheaters, and then I started PACE Touring. I
was always in. I was always in touring one way
or the other. I mean, back in the day when
Bruce Cap worked for me, we promoted you know, like

New Edition the only nw A tour and uh, we
did a lot of touring. But then I hired John
Meglan and I started PASTE Touring and the first two
tours that we did was the George Stay Country Music
Festival and oz Fest. So that's how we started with

PACE Touring. So what was your experience with Sharon loved it.
I love Sharon. I love Sharon. I love Ozzie. I
mean it was the most fun I've had. I mean,
I just adore them, and working with her was so
much fun. And working with Ozzie was so much fun.

It was I never stopped laughing.

Speaker 1 (34:21):
Okay, Sharon's tough. They had The Osbourne's on MTV. She
intentionally didn't sign the contracts such that when the show
was renewed, she held them up for a lot of money.
Needs to say, her father had a colorful career. What
was it like being in business with her, being on
the other side of the fence, And did you learn

anything from her? In addition, what you.

Speaker 2 (34:46):
Learn is not to get on the other side of her,
you know, to get on the talk side of her.
That's the one thing, you know. But I never had
a problem with Sharon never ever, you know. I mean
we would just dear friends with each other. She was
so lovely, just as nice as nice could be. But

I've seen the other side of her when she you know,
when she got pissed off at people, Like I said,
you don't you don't want a blue box from her,
You don't want a Tiffany box from her?

Speaker 1 (35:22):
How about a golfer? Are you?

Speaker 2 (35:25):
I stopped playing I was never that good. But I've
had a couple of back surgeries and a couple of
knee surgeries. Now I'm kind of afraid to play because
I don't want another back surgery or knee surgery. But
I mean, I was a hacker. I mean I was
a fifteen eighteen handicapper and I think the best I

ever got was maybe twelve. Actually, the last round of
golf I played, real round of golf I played was
with Robin Allen who works with Taylor, and Rob Lighte
and John Meglin at Augusta for two days. So that
was a long time ago.

Speaker 1 (36:06):
So to what degree have you benefited business wise playing golf?

Speaker 2 (36:12):
Well, it's really difficult because most of the time, even
though I might have been playing with people, most of
time I was in the woods, so I didn't really
have a chance to talk to talk to a lot
of people, and so I was always looking for my ball. No,
it was fun. You know, golf is a good community,
you know, I mean, you know, you spend four hours
with some people, and you know when Rob light and

Mitch Slater, not Mitch.

Speaker 1 (36:39):
Slater, Mitch Rose.

Speaker 2 (36:41):
Mitch Rose had their annual golf tournament at Pebble Beach.
That was nothing but fun. I mean I look forward
to it every year. So that was fun. And the
John Barrick, you know the thing, his golf tournament was
always nothing but fun.

Speaker 1 (36:56):
Okay, So you mentioned Howard Rose and Rob Light. What
makes a good.

Speaker 2 (37:02):
Agent, a smart agent, one that's detailed like Coward Rose,
like you know he is. You know how it was
always so detailed. It wasn't about you know him. The
same thing. Howard's model was almost like he you know,
he had a dozen acts at the height of his

career of fifteen acts and unlike you know, one of
the big agencies where they I mean they kind of
are involved, but they're not involved. I mean not when
you have, you know, in your roster's three thousand acts,
how can you be involved, you're not. But Howard, you know,

he had Elton, he had Buffett, he had Chicago, he
had you know, he had his niche bands and that
was it. And it was always one at a time shot,
I mean, one out of one act at a time,
very similar to the way I'm doing business. Dennis Offer
is the same way. He's so detailed. You know, he's
involved in everything. If it's marketing, if it's ticketing, if

it's you name it. And just like most promoters, the
same thing. The promoters that have all these you know
as I call them, turn the page promoters because they
don't have no idea when a marketing person has you
know that that's in ames Iowa has thirty shows to
market at all. At the same time, they're doing a

shitty job. They're just turning the page to get to
the next one. And that is I've done that business.
I've done that. That was my world for a long time.
But that is not a good world. I know. If
I was an act, I would not have an agent
or a promoter that wasn't concentrating on me.

Speaker 1 (38:47):
Okay, so you work with George Straight. Who was the
next act after George Straight?

Speaker 2 (38:55):
Well, the five I left with was George Straight. I
had a I wound up having a non compete, a
two year noncompete, but I was able to call about George,
the Chicks, Tim McGraw, faith Hill, and Kenny Chesney. So
that's who I had for the next two years. The

chicks were on fire. They were selling out everywhere. I
did the first Soda Soul tour with Timith, faith and
that's when Kenny was blasting off. You know, he just
became a headliner. So those are the five acts that
I started with. And then when my non compete was
over and I started calling agents again and they were

telling me, well, you can match you know, clear Channels
offer or match Bob Ruse offer. I going, you need
match Bob Ruse offer. I trained him, I taught him,
you know, and he worked for me as a fucking
club buyer. Sorry I mean to say so now I

got to match his offer. I played this band when
they were opening opening in a club, and so that's
when I realized. I said to myself, screw this business.
I only want to work with acts that want to
work with me. I'm going back to the personal and
relationship business. That's how I changed my whole thing when

I started Messina touring.

Speaker 1 (40:25):
So tell me how you built Kenny Chesney.

Speaker 2 (40:29):
Well, I believe in Kenny because I saw him on
George Straight and I saw the merchandise numbers. I know
that he was second or third from the bottom. We
had like a seven X show and people were eighty
five percent of the stadium was full, and he went
on every night and he was out selling everybody else
but George Straight and merchandise, and we just chipped away

with Kenny. I had him on George Straight for two years,
and then I had him on the Tim McGraw Amphitheater
tour and then Wet headlining, and we played everywhere. I mean,
if it was a four thousand seedar, five thousand seedar,
ten thousand sedar, we just kept on building and building
it and building it, and then we took the shot.

We played him at neil And Stadium in Knoxville, and
we did the like almost seventy thousand people and everybody,
you know, because back then I couldn't even get anybody
to open for Kenny. You know, what do you mean?
You know he's a wanna be everybody. You know, just
no one believed in Kenny Chesney. The only people believed
in Kenny Chesney was Kenny Chesney, Clintonheim, Joe Galante and myself.

There was very few people that had belief in him,
but his fans loved him. And here we are now
this summer will be twenty five years with Kenny, and
he just gives it it all man. And you know,
if you ever been to his show, he's a hard worker,
just like Taylor. His work ethic is unbelievable. You know

he's involved. If he doesn't talk to me, he's talking
to Kate McMahon, Roan McMahon. He's talking. He's calling them
direct about what about this idea, what about that idea?
What about so and sofa support? You know he is involved.
The other day, I mean, we got this ridiculous offer
for somebody and he called me up. He says, what

do you think. I go, well, you want the truth
or you want to lie? And he goes, I want
the truth. I go, I wouldn't do it. I go.
We can always make money, Kenny. But this is if
we do this show and it underperforms, which I think
it will because of the city you going to, you're
gonna be bitching at me the whole summer. And we've

got an unbelievable summer coming up. We always end in Foxboro.
We're doing three stadium three shows in Foxboro this year
at Jollette Stadium and they're completely sold out. I go,
and if we add another show, you're gonna hate it
because it's outside of your normal what you normally do.
You're routie and all you need to think about is
all year is why did I book this show? And

he goes, fuck it, I'm not doing it, and he
didn't do it, you know.

Speaker 1 (43:10):
A little bit more specific, what was wrong with the show?

Speaker 2 (43:14):
It was a it was a B market for a
lot of money, and I didn't think I thought I
would wouldn't do well because the market was not that
great of a market to begin with, and and I
thought I thought the show would be good for thirty
five thousand tickets.

Speaker 1 (43:37):
Okay, Kenny, even at this laid date, does not play
only stadiums, So mix up the stadium with other places.
What's the logic there?

Speaker 2 (43:48):
He Well, there's a lot of places that hey don't
have stadiums be you know, like doing this off cycle,
we always go back to the secondary markets and play
you know this last year back where I come from,
we played all secondary markets arenas, and then we just

normally mix up amphitheaters and stadiums during the summertime when
it's a stadium run where we'll play a stadium on
Saturday and play an amphitheater on a Wednesday, because you know,
there's no stadium in Raleigh, there's no stadium in Little
Rock or or Phoenix that we should go play. I mean,
the Amphitheater is the better play for Kenny, you know,

And that's just it. And there's only somebody, you know,
I don't think with Kenny, we can play a Wednesday
night in a stadium where we need to be on
a Friday Saturday night. And there's only so many Fridays
and Saturdays each week, you know, So we you know,
we do twenty two stadiums in about fifteen amphitheaters every year.

I'm not every year, every other year, because he's in
every other year cycle. When it comes to state, how.

Speaker 1 (45:01):
Do you decide on in every other year's cycle.

Speaker 2 (45:04):
Well, don't wear out you're welcome, you know. I mean,
if you you know, if you if you you know,
don't see him this year, tickets will go and sale
for next year in about two months, you know, after
the show. So that's it. So we're you know, we're
trying to keep the markets fresh for him, so we
don't just burn out the markets. I mean, like a
lot that's that's the unfortunately, well a lot of country acts,

you know, it's just you look at that lineup, it's
this it's the same rethread shows every year. Every year,
every year, and sooner or later, these acts just burn out.
You know, it's just like they just become they can
become B level acts.

Speaker 1 (45:49):
Okay, so you play the stadium in Knoxville. When you
start playing more stadiums, Taylor's out totally alone. Okay, how
did you build those shows to sell them? And now
when Kenny doesn't even need the opening acts, how do
you build this show?

Speaker 2 (46:08):
We try to find someone that compliments Kenny and his audience.
You know, it came from my Texas Jam days of
giving people value for their money, seeing the when George
Strait Country Music Festival, or George and Chris Stapleton giving
them value for their money. Where this year it's it's Kenny,

Zach Brown, Megan Maroney and Uncle Cracker. We're giving people
value for their money, you know, two headliners. And so
that's Kenny's shows more or bigger than Kenny himself because
he turned them into events and it's sort of an
annual thing that people are It's kind of like Coachella.

People are going to Coachella because they're going to Coachella
because it's fun. You know, it's an event. Kenny shows
are events, even when they play the amphitheaters. You know,
it's kind of like Buffett had it. You know, people
look forward that was their one day vacation every year.
You know, they're in town vacation. And that's how Kenny is.

You know, Like we go to New York. I mean
he sold at MetLife Stadium. He's the number one selling
artist in the history of Metlight Stadium. I think he's
number three and over all the Old Giants Stadium and
MetLife behind Springsteen and the Dead. I believe that's in

New York City on Jersey. That's amazing. Stady in Philly, Pittsburgh,
all these markets that he's built, Tampa. I mean, he's
just built built this brand. You know, No Shoes Nation
is real.

Speaker 1 (47:50):
So other than Taylor, who can sell as many tickets as.

Speaker 2 (47:53):
Kenny, George at Sharon, who else do I have up there?
Eric Church is going to be there, The Lumineers is
going to be there. I don't know. I mean they

all have their own you know, like no one's going
to be his biggest tailor. Ever, no one's going to
be the biggest tailt she believe it or not, she
hasn't even got to where she's going I always tell it.
I tell her that every year. She hasn't even got
to where she's gone yet. She's amazing. Idre George, you know,

he's in this thirty fifth year of touring and still
on top of the world. He doesn't tour seven shows
a year, eight shows a year, so he doesn't tour.
People said he retired, and he goes. I never, He
never said he retired. He retired from doing an organized tour,
but he goes, I'm always going to do shows, special shows,

and you know we do seven, eight, nine shows a year.

Speaker 1 (49:01):
How did the Stapleton George straight thing come together?

Speaker 2 (49:04):
Well, George has respect for Chris. Chris has a respect
for George, and you know it was magical. I mean,
Chris opening for George because he loves it. They do
great business together and probably that's the only act Chris

would ever open for. But it's out of respect and
they're magical together. But you're not the promoter for Chris. Correct, No,
I'm not yet.

Speaker 1 (49:38):
Yeah, as they say, a matter of time, Okay, you
walk with these five acts.

Speaker 2 (49:41):
Now the no.

Speaker 1 (49:42):
Compete is over. Who's the next act?

Speaker 2 (49:44):
Well, the act that I took on tour was Nickelback
and I did like one one tour, but it was
like five cycles of that one tour, and we sold
that everywhere. I mean we sold that everywhere, every every
arena across the country. And then you know, and then

they got the goofball offer from I think it was
it might have been still Clear Channel back then, and
or it might have been Live Nation, not sure. And
I remember when I was with their manager and I
was with my Wiki and Randy Phillips, and they told
the number that they were getting, which was more than

the band was actually grossing. And like Wiki and Randy goes, oh,
we have to have it. We'll match the off. I go, no,
we're not. I go, not a shot there. I go,
we didn't evengross that And you want to match the offer?
What are you insane? And so anyway, that was another
case where actually there's a resurgence Nickelback now, but they

just ran that act in the ground, you know, because
same thing, they had to play X amount of shows,
you know, they had to work off that debt, and
that's not how to build a career.

Speaker 1 (51:04):
How'd you end up going to business with ag.

Speaker 2 (51:08):
Well, I knew I needed I had a good run
with Pace. I mean I started Pace Concerts with Alan,
and like I told you earlier, Meglin worked for me
at Pace Touring. Then he left because he and I
got the first Spice Girls tour and all the agents

were uproar, and I remember Sillimon telling John and I
y'all got y'all can't do the Spice Girls. And we went, yes,
we can, and and and John basically says, I quit.
And then then Syllomon just told Meglin. He goes, oh,

we'll just get Louie to do it. I go, nope,
I'm not doing it, you know. And so John left
and started Concerts West with Paul Gongaware. And I literally
happened to be walking in La and Beverly Hills and
I'm walking across the street and I see John and
Paul and I've known them forever, I mean, as long

as I've been in the business. From the original Concerts West,
they go, you should come to work with us, I go,
y'all can't afford me. So I knew Tim my wiki
through early on days. His brother used to work at
the back of the Summit with the Arrows, and so
I knew Tim and I met with him when I
left Pace when Clear Channel excuse me, or it was

Clear Channel then, and then of course they were threatened
to be sued for tortuous interference. And then my wiki
said just come back when you deal's done, you know,
And I don't know. I felt like I needed to
have an infrastructure and the finances to do what I
wanted to do where I knew I could run a

small company but not play on the on the scale
that I wanted to play. So, you know, so I
went with Tim. It was, you know, probably owned company,
and I loved him. I mean, he's a he's a
rain maker, you know. And and Randy Phillips, who I've
known forever. It was just a great match for me.

So I went into business with them.

Speaker 1 (53:23):
Okay, subsequent to nickelback then what comes?

Speaker 2 (53:30):
Wow? Man, now you're making uh making my head spin.

Speaker 1 (53:34):
Now, let me ask a questions differently the acts you
have now, Yeah, because now you're in the career business.
How many other acts did you promote that you no
longer promote in your post Clear Channel world?

Speaker 2 (53:54):
Oh shit, all but I promoted almost every act all
but you know, all but the twelve acts I have,
I pretty much promoted everybody you know that started with
anybody that was on the road before the year two
thousand I promoted. I mean, you know.

Speaker 1 (54:13):
I'm talking after that. Now you're done with Clear Channel.
You're in the Louis Messina business. You're in the career business.
You did work with nickelback, they took the big money
from Live Nation. Did you work with anybody else as
a tour promoter who you no longer work with?

Speaker 2 (54:29):
Yes, and no longer work with the Chicks, only the
same thing. They were paid a lot of money and
God bless them, they're my dear friends. With McGraw, the
only time I worked with him was doing So to
Soul because he plays the amphitheaters. And that's the only two,

the only three acts that I could think of that
I had and I don't have anymore.

Speaker 1 (55:00):
Okay, who's the first act subsequent to the Big Five
that you signed that you still work with?

Speaker 2 (55:11):

Speaker 1 (55:12):
Okay? So Taylor is opening for George straight right, right?
How do you decide that?

Speaker 2 (55:19):
Well, George always likes to have a female on his show.
Ronnie Millsap was the middle act, and Taylor had a
song Tim McGraw, and we just put her on and
simple as that. I mean, the luckiest day of my
life when you know, I heard a song on the

radio and I go, what about Taylor Swift? And George went, yeah,
let's do it. So we put Taylor on our eighteen
or twenty shows run and no kid. By the third night,
I knew this girl was going to be a superstar.
She was a first one. Her work ethic was unbelievable.

By the third song every night, she had a George
Straight audience in the palm of our hands. Here is,
like I've said the story. Here's a seventeen year old
girl singing about high school breakups and boyfriends and to
a George Straight audience. And she had them, like I said,
in her palm of our hands the whole time. And

she was the first one in the production office every
morning after she went to radio, writing notes to people
around the country. She was the last one to leave
the building every night signing autographs. So she was from
seventeen years old on the like I said, she just magical.

That's that's how I met got involved with Tail. I
just saw the magic.

Speaker 1 (56:49):
Okay, you were convinced. How did you convince Taylor and
Scott Swift.

Speaker 2 (56:55):
Well, the good thing they got to see me and
my company work with George Straight and so on Mike Chaos,
which they are used with most people used so they
see a nice calm backstage, you know, me walking around
with a drink in my hand, and you know, everybody
having a good time, and everybody's relaxed. And and I
remember Scott Swift would would ask me questions every night,

what about this? What about that? How do you do this?
How do you do that? You know? And I got
to no tailor, and and Andrea, you know, I just
we just became friends, that's all. And then I was
such a big believer in her. And and then it's

so funny. I'm shocked that I have it because then
I convinced Kenny to put a put her on his
tour and and she was so excited, she said, you
know the day I told her, we're in in Fresno
in Texas, uh at the soccer stadium she had opened

for Kenny that weekend. And I negotiated the deal with
back then Scott Borshadow was the manager with Scott and
to be on the tour, and Taylor came up the greatest,
happiest day of my life. And then a couple of
months before the on sale, we just saw in this

massive deal with Corona Beer. Massive, I mean Buffett had
just left. And then and so they called me and
said who is opening for Kenny? And I said, proudly,
I say Taylor Swift and they go, hold is she?
I go, well, she's gonna be eighteen in December. Go well,

we can't have that. And I tried everything to keep
her on that tour, but didn't work. Her eighteenth birthday,
I was in Nashville at her birthday party, and she
locked eyes with me. See she walked in the door,
and she made her way, you know, besides saying hello

and hugging everybody directly towards me, put some arms around me.
And he goes, Louis, no one's ever broken my heart,
but you broke my heart. I go, well, this is
the end of my career. A tail square, you know.
But we had a nice little gift for her a
matter of fact, and it was her lead story in
the Time magazine how she said that Kenny gave her

this big check. You know that we all chipped in.
Kenny and I chipped in together. And she goes, you know,
and she's referred to me as Kenny Chesney's promoter, not
who was also my promoter. But I wasn't back then,
and then she was just blown away, that's all, you know.
And then when it was time for her to ready

to go on tour, you know, they met with their
agent and then the next day they called me, can you
come to Nashville? And so I met with Scott Andrea
brushetta business manager, and we had a great meeting. Andrew says,
come with me, hop in a car, go out to

their house and Taylor is at home in a pajamas
and played me to Fearless record and that was it, man,
you know, end of story. I mean, it was just magical.
It's always been magical. And I'm lucky guy.

Speaker 1 (01:00:38):
So Ed Sheard ends up opening for Taylor, you end
up becoming his promoter. How did he get on the
bill and how did you become the promoter?

Speaker 2 (01:00:47):
Well, Taylor picked him out, I'll be honest. I didn't
know who had Sharon was okay? So so I same thing.
I saw him the first night because I'm always watching
I'm always out watching the audience in the autist and
so I'm watching that sharing and places going crazy. I mean,

he was not big in the United States at all.
I mean, he had the A team and that was
sort of a hit over here, and and I just
saw the audience going crazy for him, and he and
I just became friends. I mean, he would ride my
bus every night, you know, because he had nothing to do.
He was my drinking buddy back then. And he did

forty five minutes and you know, Ed Edward play five hours.
He would play another two hours on my bus every
night or three hours. And we just, you know, I
just we were in we were in in Jersey, I
think at Prudential and it was rainy and cold outside

and ed was literally sitting on the sidewalk and I'm
on my bus. What Sarah went to who works with me,
and Haley mcallis there. She sees Ed's just sitting on
on the sidewalk and she goes, what are you doing?
He goes, I missed my ride. So he's just sitting
there by himself in the cold, in the rain, smoking

a cigarette. Come on the bus, have a drink. And
Susie walks on the bus. I looked at him and go,
you don't know this ship. But I'm going to be
your promoter. And then and Sarah goes, I'm gonna I'm
going to market to your whole tour. And then I goes, seriously,
you want to take me on? I went, hell yeah,
And I'll never forget. The next day, Stewart Camp goes,

I understand that you were talking to my autist. I go, no,
that wasn't me, that was Jack Daniels talking to him.
You know, I would never you know, And so so
anyway we struck up a conversation and I'll never forget.
Ed and I are talking and Taylor walks up to

the two of us and he goes, what do y'all do?
And I go, I just you know, bssen And Taylor
looks at it and he goes, is Louie trying to
hustle you? And Ed goes, yeah, he is. Actually she goes, well,
you should pay attention to him because I've never made
so much money in my life, you know, since I've
worked with him, and he's really the best, so you

should you should pay attention to what he has to say.
And you know that was it, you know, I mean,
we're we're still best of friends to this day. I
mean Ed and I've been together, I know, it's like
ten twelve years, and he's just he's adorable man. You know,
he's like my son, He's like my best friend. And

I just love him to death. I love his manager,
you know, I love his parents. It's just one of
those things.

Speaker 1 (01:03:53):
Okay. Earlier in her career, did Live Nation make one
of those stupid offers to Taylor.

Speaker 2 (01:04:00):
Were to d or any early late in the middle, Yeah,
they did. But Tail always bet on herself.

Speaker 1 (01:04:08):
Okay, betting on herself meaning.

Speaker 2 (01:04:12):
She's going to control her career and not that's it.

Speaker 1 (01:04:19):
Okay, you end up making a deal with Eric Church.
Eric Church is Q Prime Nashville, but it's part of
Q Prime in New York with Cliff and Peter, and
they really don't like these deals. How did that come about?

Speaker 2 (01:04:38):
Eric opened for Kenny in the stadium and Kenny told me, Louis,
you need to get involved with him. This guy's going
to be a major star. And the same thing. You know,
I got to know Eric and Catherine, his wife, and

watching him perform, you know, every weekend, and we just
became friends. And and then I met with him and
Pete's his manager, and one thing led to the other.
That's it, you know, And I said, I want to
be a promoter. He had a promoter at a time,
but it wasn't Live Nation, but Live Nation went after

him big time. But that's how it went, you know.
It's just like he saw the work I did. Eric.
I remember one night he told me, he goes, I
never thought I'd want to play stadiums Louis, But what's
bigger than the stadiums? And I go, We'll figure it out,
you know. But you know, I've been with Eric for
ten plus years, you know, and trust me, he I

almost lost him, you know, because you know, one company
offered this ridiculous amount of money. But after I explained,
after I explained to him that he's getting paid with
his own money with a really high interest rate. And
Eric's a smart guy. So soon as he saw the

math of things, and he knew the passion I had
for him, I mean, and he knew where he went
with me, and so he stayed with me. I thought,
you know, for a minute, I thought it was it
was a jump ball, I mean, but it was throughout

friendship and him knowing how devoted I was to his
career and to him as a person.

Speaker 1 (01:06:38):
Now if you listen to Rappino, he has other revenue
stream sponsorship, etc. And certainly they're paying more money in
certain cases. Aren't there cases where they can just pay
more money than you can?

Speaker 2 (01:06:53):
Well, they do, but they don't. I mean they do
pay more money. They pay once again this fantasy money,
you know, non not just down but other companies too,
non recoupable bonuses, full non recoupable advance bull. All they're
doing is, you know, the autists are not sharing in

the rebates. They're not as much as the rebates they'll
share be shared in the taste. All of a sudden,
your ticket's on TM plus, you know, like happy inventory
on TM Plus. And you're right, they have so many
revenue streams. The amphitheaters. You know, you look at every
person that goes in there, besides the cost of the ticket,

everybody that's in there, you can their netting must probably
be sixty to eighty dollars ahead on people that walk
into amphitheater. So you have fifteen thousand people times sixty
or eighty dollars ahead. That's so much money they're making
on the amphitheater. So yeah, they have all this monopoly money,

and so they're pretending they're given to you in a dance,
but they really are. They're just giving you your own money.
And autists don't understand that. I lost two autists of
one stadium artists and because I had the deal, handshake deal,
but all of a sudden they came in and go,

here's this check. And the artist called, He goes, Lookias Harts.
Decision I had to make in my life. But I can't.
You know, I couldn't say no. I go, have you
already committed? He goes, yeah, I had to because they
made me commit. I go, well, best of luck to you,
you know. And you know, I mean, when someone's given

this massive check or not at one time, but they're saying, here,
we'll guarantee you this, it's hard to say no unless
the artist is smart enough to peel back the layers.
And I just just now this year, not too many
months ago, I had this artist done and we shook

hands everything, and all of a sudden, five million dollars
non recoupable signing bonus, you know, versus a ninety five
to five, And you know, and I went, what the
hell are y'all doing? I mean, why you know, like,
you can't make that much money, and they're gonna see

where half their tickets are going to be on TM
plus half they're too you know, it's it's just not
it's just not Live Nation. And you know, my partner's
ag they play the same game. But you know, autists
just don't understand where there's no such thing as free money.
There's no such thing as free money. And that's what

autists have to understand. But it's hard when they go here,
here's this money, but you don't have to pay it back. Well,
they don't know I could steal so much money from
every artist every night. They wouldn't have a clue, you know,
but I don't.

Speaker 1 (01:10:00):
And let's assume you did. Where would you steal it?

Speaker 2 (01:10:03):
Oh, everywhere building deals rebates. I mean that's where I would,
you know, that's where I would get it. Instead of
get X amount in rebates, I would give the audits
a taste and keep the rest. And instead of you know,
giving them discounted rent, I would charge them rec rade

on rent and just keep the rest. But that's not
how I work, but that that is how other companies work.
I know it.

Speaker 1 (01:10:36):
So the acts ever come to you and you say no,
I don't want to work with you.

Speaker 2 (01:10:40):
There's been a few I just didn't want, you know,
I didn't have I have to be passionate about the act.
I have to. I have to be passionate about it,
and they have to be passionate about me too. They
have to want to work with me, and I have
to want to work with them, and they have to
invite me into their world, because if they don't, I

can't do them. I can't think what's inside their heads.
I just can't think what's inside They have to tell
me what's inside their heads. If they let me into
their world, I'm just going to try to make it
bigger for them. That's what I tried to do. But yes,
so there's been acts. They're going, what do you want
to do with me? I go, I don't know what.

Let's talk about it. You know, I don't know what
let's talk about You know, what is your plans? I mean,
you've known what you want to do since the first
time you picked up a guitar or you know, played
a one note on a piano or saying one note.
So yeah, I've passed on a bunch of acts. If
you want to honestly, probably I passed on two three

acts a year. I'm just not don't think I can
run with it.

Speaker 1 (01:11:54):
Okay, you talked about your bus and edge Sharon riding
in your bus. Your acts go on the road. How
often are you with the show?

Speaker 2 (01:12:02):
I am one year, I was on the road like
two hundred and sixty days. Most of the time, I'm
between one d one hundred and fifty days a year
something like that.

Speaker 1 (01:12:18):
And you do you own a jet.

Speaker 2 (01:12:21):
I don't own a jet, but I've got you know,
I've got to deal with net jet. That's what I
deal you know, a you know, a card, you know,
on a fractional share. Right, Yeah, So your acts are
on the road. Are you in the bus or you
flying in for the gig. I'm usually flying to the gig.

Then I go on the bus. You know. If I'm
doing multiple nights, I stay on the bus. I never
get a I never check into a hotel, you know.
So the bus is my home, my office, you know,
and that's that's what I do. Then I'll fly home.

Speaker 1 (01:13:01):
Okay. Do you have your own bus like Willie Nelson
or you get a new bus when you're on the road.

Speaker 2 (01:13:06):
No, I have my own bus, and how.

Speaker 1 (01:13:09):
Is your bus fitted out?

Speaker 2 (01:13:11):
It's pretty cool, you know. I mean it's you know,
it's a double slide out. It's got a front lounge,
it's got two bathrooms, four bunks, and a queen's size
bed in the back, full shower. I mean, I know,
it's got everything. It's like, you know, everything but room service.

And I got room service anyway, because I go to show,
I call the runner as I go pick me up
a hamburger or something. So and you know, there's a
refrigerator of microwave oven on my bus, so I can
cook on my bus too.

Speaker 1 (01:13:45):
So when you're on the road, you're on the bus.
How many people are on your bus?

Speaker 2 (01:13:50):
Most of the time it's just me, or if someone's riding,
you know, I mean, I could have my staff riding
with me, or somebody needs a rod, you know, time
it's me.

Speaker 1 (01:14:02):
Okay, you talk about eating a hamburger. We're in our seventies. Now,
How is your health and you're eating this road food?
Tell me about that.

Speaker 2 (01:14:12):
Actually, my health is really good and I don't eat
that much. Is very red I eat catering, you know,
and most of the time I just order out. You know,
from a restaurant, you know, if it's you know, if
it's Eddy V's or you know, whatever the good restaurant

is that's close to the venue. You know, I'll just
order out and have a good meal. It's very rare.
I'm you know, schlupping down pizzas at the end of
the night, you know, and just eating junk, junk, junk.
It's you know. And then I stopped drinking over a
year ago, so that's that's made me a lot better
and more coherent. So my health is great. You know.

I'm you know, just wear and tearing my body. That's all,
you know, knees them back.

Speaker 1 (01:15:02):
Okay, the being goes off the stage at eleven. They're
playing the next night somewhere. What's your routine?

Speaker 2 (01:15:12):
Usually routine is, I'll hang on the bus in the beginning,
have the building come up, you know, do a little
you know, song, and dance with them. If then it
depends on the act, if it's George or Eric or Kenny,
I'll go hang out with them for half hour, hour,

two hours and you know, just shoot the ship and
talk about life. That's what I do. And then if
we have a show next night, I'd just go back
on my bus, go to sleep, wake up at the
gig the next day, and do it all over again.

Speaker 1 (01:15:49):
Okay, gigs over at eleven? What time would you be
in your bus?

Speaker 2 (01:15:57):
Eleven oh two? And then I know I'll go usually
go on my bus and then let the autist you know,
cool off, and usually they have their little you know,
their gassed and then then you know, I'll go go
on their bus or they'll come on my bus and
we just hang out.

Speaker 1 (01:16:18):
If the dig is over to eleven, at what point
do you put your head on the pillow?

Speaker 2 (01:16:22):
Could be twelve, it could be four o'clock in the morning.

Speaker 1 (01:16:27):
You know, inherently on the road it's hard to sleep.
So how's your situation with sleep?

Speaker 2 (01:16:34):
I have a comfortable bus. I mean it's good. I
don't know, you know, since I stopped drinking before, it
wasn't sleeping, it was just passing out. But I sleep
good on the bus. I love my bus, you know.
I mean, it's a queen size bed. I've got a
tell you know, huge TV back there. I mean, it's

it's definitely home away from home. I love it.

Speaker 1 (01:16:58):
Well, are you looking forward to getting home to a
normal life or do you do you feel like you're
burning your candle on both ends on the road or
could you stay on the road indefinitely?

Speaker 2 (01:17:09):
Now, this year I picked and choose because I had,
you know, Taylor, ED and Straight playing at the same time.
So I was only gone, you know, like two days
a week because I couldn't go to because they all
played on Saturday night, you know. And and so I

would go to George one weekend, Taylor one weekend, ED
one weekend, and you know, That's what I did the
whole summer. You know. So this summer, as busy as
I was, it was probably was the lightest the least.
I think I was under one hundred shows this year
because I didn't stay at all seven Taylor Swift shows
or six shows.

Speaker 1 (01:17:51):
Okay, do you watch the show?

Speaker 2 (01:17:54):
Absolutely? Absolutely watch the show, you know, I mean, do
I watch one hundred center of this show? Not every night?
But am I out there. That's where I'm getting my education,
and that's where honestly, I'm watching the opening acts, I'm
watching and I'm watching the artists. I mean, I know
George's set list by hard, Taylor is set list by heart. Kenny,

I'm always you know, and you know, and yeah, that's
what I do. I mean, I have nothing else to do.
I really have nothing to do at a show because
my job is done. You know, I'm working on next
year in a year after. And my team you know who,
because I assigned a team to every autist. They're the

ones that are doing all the work to day of
the show. I always say, if I got something to
do day to show, I didn't do my job. And
so I'm there really bored as crap at the show.
But the only thing I have is the entertainment, so
which I love because when I walk into a sold
out stadium, I'm I'm a pre o Papa man. You know.

I always say, that's my Academy award, that's my Grammy.
When I see, you know, fifty five, sixty thousand people
or fifteen thousand people in an arena, I just there's
nothing like nothing more exciting than seeing that energy in
a facility.

Speaker 1 (01:19:21):
Okay, you go to bed in the bus. What time
do you wake up?

Speaker 2 (01:19:25):
It could be eight o'clock in the morning, and now
that I don't drink anymore, usually it's eight o'clock in
the morning before who knows.

Speaker 1 (01:19:35):
And you wake up, what do you do you immediately
jump on the phone.

Speaker 2 (01:19:40):
You know, most of the time I'm on it. It's
the weekend. Yeah, I'm on the phone. Coffee building, people
come on in and out, my people on in and out,
my bus all day, you know, to my staff if
it's the building. But yeah, I'm doing phone work. I'm
doing you know, you know, responding to emails and doing

all that stuff and just hanging out. But most of
my show, you know, most of the time, it's the weekend,
so there's you know, it's kind of quiet as far
as the business goes.

Speaker 1 (01:20:15):
So how many people do work for you?

Speaker 2 (01:20:17):
We have total between here and Nashville, only forty five people.
I think it's around forty five.

Speaker 1 (01:20:25):
And when you talk about your team on the road
with the act, are those full time employees?

Speaker 2 (01:20:31):
Yeah? All my employees are full time.

Speaker 1 (01:20:34):
So are they only working on one act or they
work on multiple acts?

Speaker 2 (01:20:40):
Most of them just work on one act the marketing
people use. Sometimes we'll work on two or three acts. Max.
It's very rare that the acts that work on overlap
with each other. You know, where Kate only to actually
works on is George Straight and Kenny Chesney. Kate McMahon

Sarah went to She works on Ed Taylor and Illumineers
and that's it, you know. Rachel Powells just works on
Eric and Blake, you know. And that's how I divide
it up. I mean, and then I have like Mike
Dugan All he's president of the company, but all he

does is Taylor, you know, that's his only act Rome.
All he does is Kenny Chesney. So you know, I
my road people, they're really only really have one or
two acts max that they work with and never at
the same time, Let's.

Speaker 1 (01:21:42):
Say I call you and I say we're getting on
the jet. We're going to this island where there's no
cell service, no internet for two weeks. And let's just
assume you're enticed by the trip. Can you go for
two weeks without being connected to your people?

Speaker 2 (01:22:00):
If Christine allows me to go. Yes, I've got a
great team. I'm not kidding I in what I've done
with everyone here, I've empowered everyone to make decisions on
their own. They know what they know the difference between
right and wrong. I don't have any gunslingers here. We

know they know my model, I know their model. You know.
It's like they know the autos so they can make decisions.
I mean, if something really crazy, they would find a
way to get to me. But the answer is yes,
I could turn I could. Like last week, I just
I said, screw it, I'm not you know, I went

to my ranch, my ranch by places dripping springs and
got on my skits theer and I pulled up ceedar
trees for three days because I just had to get away. Man.
You know, I just you know, I just I wanted
a mindless job to do, and that's what I did.

Speaker 1 (01:23:00):
If you're in town, does it ever shut down? Or
is somebody going to be calling you all night? Or
you're going to pick up the phone?

Speaker 2 (01:23:07):
No, I won't pick up the call. I mean I
will if I have a show on the road and
the phone rings. I was looking to see who's calling.
But if it's after seven o'clock, I'm not picking up
the call. I used to I used to be a
phone junkie, but not anymore because they'll be there tomorrow.

Speaker 1 (01:23:37):
So why'd you give up drinking?

Speaker 2 (01:23:39):
I just decided, you know, it wasn't healthy for my
personal relationship with my wife and family and my you know,
I'm getting up in the age and I just had
a good run with Jack Daniels. I just I got
tired of drinking.

Speaker 1 (01:23:59):
Have you quit the four?

Speaker 2 (01:24:03):
Not seriously? But it was never dependent on a drink,
you know. I always say I'm only drinking when I'm drinking,
you know. Oh that's why they call it drinking, because
once I have won, the party starts. But if I
don't have a you know, I would go a month,
two months without a drink. But you know, you know

my environment, I'm usually the first one. I start the
party and I end the party, you know. But I
just you know, I mean shit, holding Court. I mean,
this is gonna be my first Grammys without my first
Grammy sober. And you know, the Chairman's lounge was was
that was my roost man. I ruled that that was

my lounge, you know. And I did more business in
the Chairman's Lounge than I did, I mean anywhere around
just you know, just holding Court, and that's where So
this could be. I don't know. I survived the Kenny
Chesney Taylors with Ed sheeran George Straight tour without a drink,

without a drink. I think I can survive the Grammys.

Speaker 1 (01:25:11):
So what have you noticed has been different. Now since
you stopped drinking.

Speaker 2 (01:25:15):
I can remember what I said the night before.

Speaker 1 (01:25:21):
Okay, to what degree has this gig affected your personal life?

Speaker 2 (01:25:30):
It's tough, man, you know a lot. I mean, you know,
it's just when I'm on the road so much, and
it's a disconnect between myself and my family. And that's
why I made a commitment that I won't travel as much.
But this is after fifty one years of doing this,
so yeah, it's you know, it's affected my life. It's

really hard to be married to me or to be
a child of mine because I'm gone to be. Like
I told you, I was the workaholic guy. That was NonStop.
I mean the time I woke up in the morning,
I mean, you know, a cup of coffee in one hand,
cigarette and the other hand, and just jam and jam

and jam and jamming. And that was all day and
all night. And I couldn't do it. I just didn't
want to do it. When when Christine and I got
together was you know, it's over twenty years ago. I
even though, I mean I would cut the phone off
at a certain time. That's why I started, but I
still my traveling and it was tough. I mean, we

we we had a tough time, you know, keeping all
keeping our relationship together. And that's why I had to
change things. And you know, that's why I made a
life change decision as far as drinking, as far as traveling,
and just I just wanted to change and because I

love my family and I love what I do and
I want to do this for a long time.

Speaker 1 (01:27:03):
How many times you've been married in how many kids
do you have?

Speaker 2 (01:27:06):
Oh? Man, okay, I'll be on the four. I've been
married four times. The third one didn't count though, And
I have.

Speaker 1 (01:27:15):
Six kids, and what are those kids up to?

Speaker 2 (01:27:19):
See? My oldest son. He teaches jiu jitsu and mixed
martial arts in Katie, Texas. He's got he owns like
four gyms. Lewis Junior he works here. He oversees Sean
Mendez in different other projects. Christopher's on the road. He

works with Todd Stewart who does events, staffing and chairs
for stadiums. That's what he does. And Barack is in
transition right now. He just just finished the course. He's
going into UH as an analyst. That's what he's trying
to get a job. Is an analyst who with a
company and My oldest daughter's eighteen. She's graduating this year

and she'll be going to Sarah Lawrence and she's gonna
study film. And then Gabrielle is fourteen. She's gonna be
a superstar on the theater one day, and she's a
freshman in college in high school.

Speaker 1 (01:28:23):
So what's your philosophy in terms of financially supporting your children?

Speaker 2 (01:28:28):
Man, that's a tough I don't really I mean my
sons I don't support. They're on their own. I mean,
Lewis is here. I don't know that that's you know,
you know, when you're talking about estates and stuff, do
you give it? It's so funny. When I started Pace Concerts,

I didn't have two Nichols to rub together, right, And
I moved to Texas, I mean didn't have a penny.
And everybodybody else they're around me, they were all like
trust fund kids, and they all had a head start life,
you know, and I started with negative. I had to

pay off my parents's debt, you know, even though I
had three other siblings, I'm the one that paid off
the bills. And I always made a commitment to myself
that my kids will never be in that situation where
I'm going to always you know, they're going to get
a head start life. Well now that I'm here, I
mean now I don't want to, like, I don't want

to enable them to not be driven. You know, I
don't want to be their retirement. Let me say that.
But it's a tough one to go. You know. Do
I give all money in the charity? I don't know.
You know, they're all doing good, so I don't know.
I'm not supporting my kids. Let me just say, but

anytime they need something, I'm always there for them.

Speaker 1 (01:29:59):
You talked about working twenty four to seven earlier in
your career. Yeah, if you hadn't worked twenty four to seven,
would you be where you are today?

Speaker 2 (01:30:08):
Probably not? You know, probably not. I mean I had
a lot of good Alan Becker taught me a lot
about business and life, so I owe him a lot
of gratitude. But I was always driven. I was always
always driven, and I never I've never reached my goals

of my whole career because whenever I get close to
a goal, I always raised the bar. And I think
that's why the artists I work for are so successful,
because I keep on convincing them to raise their bar.
And you know, my line is tell me your dreams
and I'll dream you. And I just want to keep them, always,

never getting to a goal, because if you reach your goal,
where is there to go to? So I keep on moving,
I keep on moving.

Speaker 1 (01:31:05):
The line tell me about paying off your parents' debts.

Speaker 2 (01:31:09):
Simple as that I had to pay it off.

Speaker 1 (01:31:11):
Were your parents still alive at that point?

Speaker 2 (01:31:14):
No, no, no they no, no no no. I only
have one on one sister that's still alive. My oldest
sister passed and my brother, oldest brother has passed away,
and both my parents are pasted. You know, they're gone.
And so you know, I've got one sister, a lot

of nieces and nephews in New Orleans and then my family.

Speaker 1 (01:31:39):
Okay, so you grow up in New Orleans in the
fifties and sixties. They even have a different legal system.

Speaker 2 (01:31:45):
In Louisiana, they didn't have a legal system.

Speaker 1 (01:31:48):
And it's not like they had internet and they don't
have cable TV at the time. What was it like
growing up in New Orleans? And how is that different
from how other people grew up to the degree you know.

Speaker 2 (01:32:01):
Well, let me say this, my family integrated the neighborhood
where we were the only white family, like in a
three block radius or two block radius. But growing up,
you know, I say, I'm just a kid from the

streets of New Orleans, and I really am. You know,
New Orleans was tough. I mean it was tough town.
I mean it's it's a tough town today. I hate
going back there, you know. I mean I like going
back there. I have a show and I'm just going there.
But man, would I have a move back there? No,
not a shot. It's it's filthy, it's it's corrupt. It's

still corrupt, and doing business there is like you know,
the big things where you from where you at. You know, please, man,
you know, but it was tough. You know, I don't
have a lot of great memories from New Orleans. Uh.
It's it's one of those things that there's no looking

back there.

Speaker 1 (01:33:09):
So you'd say it was tough. Was it personally tough?
Like you getting beaten up and surviving.

Speaker 2 (01:33:16):
Well, I've had, you know, I'm given a few black
eyes and I've got a few black eyes, and yeah,
I mean it was tough, you know. I mean, uh,
my grandfather was an Italian immigrant. My mom and dad
hated each other, and it was it was miserable, you know.
I mean I had a terrible childhood, you know, and

you know it's just there's not there was never fund
found memories of of my childhood. You know. There's a
lot of therapy. I'm still going to to to work
through my through all my craft, even at my age.

Speaker 1 (01:33:58):
So do you go to therapy?

Speaker 2 (01:33:59):
Oh? Absolute?

Speaker 1 (01:34:01):
So how did you decide to go to therapy?

Speaker 2 (01:34:04):
Because I knew I couldn't handle this by myself, you know,
I mean, I've got this thing. I think Richard Lewis
was the comedian who said this problems. Sure, I've got problems.
I have fresh problems flown in every day, you know.
And that's kind of me, you know. I mean, you know,

trying to balance work, personal, you know, and myself. It's difficult.
It's being Lewis is a hard time. It was a
full time job.

Speaker 1 (01:34:38):
So what have you learned in therapy?

Speaker 2 (01:34:46):
The biggest lesson I learned in therapy about everything is
be true to yourself. Is too don't make any commitments
that would you wouldn't make te yourself, meaning like when
I stopped drinking, I didn't promise Christine or anybody else,
I would stop drinking. I promised me to stop drinking.

You know, when I wanted to do what I'm doing
now at Messina Touring. This is what I wanted to do.
I made a commitment and I stayed on my path.
I didn't try to you know, I'm not still not trying.
I've got the hottest hand in the business right now,

right I really do. And I'm not trying to sign
every act that that's coming my way. You know, it's
still my model. It's one act at a time, and
the act that I have to believe in personally believe in,
and my team has to believe in it too. Because

it's so funny that last week I was I was
in Nashville, and because I was a big Milltown fan,
and I met Barry Gordy Son and I went, oh,
my gosh, he was excited to meet me. And I
was like, you know, I grew up and I remember

reading I mean, there was this documentary with Barry Gordy
and Smokey Robinson how every week they would, you know,
people would bring in their songs in and everyone would
have to agree upon the song, you know, and that's
kind of how I am around here where my whole
team has to agree upon the acts that we work with,
where we're just not going, Oh, Nickelback's coming back out,

I'm going after them. Oh, I'm going after you know so,
and so that's not the case. It's got to be
like I'm staying on course. You know, we believe in
something and they believe in me. That's what we want
to be in business with.

Speaker 1 (01:36:50):
So what kind of kid were you growing up? Did
you have friends? Were you good at school? Were you
good at sports? None of the above.

Speaker 2 (01:36:57):
I was pretty good at sports and basketball and baseball,
and I had tons of friends. I was very mediocre
or terrible at school because I hardly ever went and
and literally, Bruce says, I've learned more from a three

minute record that I've learned in school. And you know,
I grew up on the streets, I really did. I'm
very you know, street savvy. Uh, And that's it was
tough in New Orleans. I mean no, Yeah, I had
tons of friends, I had, you know, and I played
sports year round. But then you know, I couldn't hit

a curveball, so that was the end of my baseball career.
And I could, you know, and white men can't jump.
So I was in my basketball career too.

Speaker 1 (01:37:52):
So you know, New Orleans has its own unique musical sound.
Was that something you were aware of and connected to
growing up?

Speaker 2 (01:38:01):
Yeah? Yes and no, I mean, of course I listened
to You know, my dad had a friend, uh, Barry McKinley.
He had a radio station. He worked at radio station WYLD,
and he was a disc jockey. He was also a
concert promoter and he brought in all the our you know,
R and B acts, and so whenever James Brown would

come to town, you know, it would be me and
my six white friends at the James Brown show. And
so you know me growing up with you know, Fats Domino,
Ernie Cato, Erna Thomas, and you know those great New
Orleans artists back then. I mean doctor John and you
know that was later on. But I grew up listening

to music and loved it. And so, uh, you know,
we lived downtown. I lived right by them Miscal Auditorium,
right about three blocks from the French Quarter. And uh
Mardi Gras day, like the Mardi Gras Indians would start
right in front of my house. And so it mean,
you know, music was always around and I always loved music.

I mean when I was seven years When I was
seven years old, I saw Elvis at the Municipal Auditorium
and that's what got me hooked.

Speaker 1 (01:39:12):
Man, Okay, you saw Elvis, other than the acts you've
worked with. Now, what are the two best shows you've
ever seen?

Speaker 2 (01:39:22):
Oh? Man, I can't answer that question, you know, I mean, uh,
you're gonna you.

Speaker 1 (01:39:30):
Know, well, a couple of memorable shows.

Speaker 2 (01:39:37):
My most memorable show, it was not even a live show.
It was the Monterey Pop Festival. The movie That was
my most memorable show. That show and the Tammy Show,
those are the two shows that man, that blew me away,
you know. And I remember one year or so Dick

Clark's Cavalcade of Stars in New Orleans, and that also
blew me away because everybody was just doing like one hit,
you know, to do the house band and everybody doing
two three songs, and you know, Den it's hard to say.
I mean, I get off on every show. I mean,
you know, say, like when I'm at a Taylors show,

there's nothing like it. And of course then I'm at
a George Straight show There's nothing like it, you know,
And Kenny's show, I mean, I just love what I do, man,
so I can't say this is you know, this show. Yeah,
seeing Elvis made the most biggest impression on me when
I was a kid. But I just I don't know everybody.

I look around my look at you know, pictures on
my walls, sea, watching the illumineers grow from where I
first got involved with them to where they are today.
They're all memorable. Now when you know, the first time
we played that stadium in Denver, that was memorable. First
time I put George in the stadium in Phoenix back

in ninety six or so, that was memorable. And you know, Taylor,
I've got a picture, right, I got an autograph. I
was up for a Promoter of the Year or something.
Just you're my promoter. Thank you, Thank thank you for
believing I could sell out stadiums, you know. And you

know her playing Foxborough on her first tour, you know,
ending a tour at Foxborough, you let stadium and sold out.
That was memorable. You know. So it's hard, you know.

Speaker 1 (01:41:41):
So how'd you get into this business?

Speaker 2 (01:41:44):
So you Elvis, you know, high school, I was promoting
local bands, local dances and uh and I was on
a mission to do exactly what I'm doing today on
a mission.

Speaker 1 (01:41:56):
How'd you get into it?

Speaker 2 (01:42:01):
I went to work. I knew I wanted to do this.
I had no money, had no nothing. I went to
work at a radio station WWM Radio in New Orleans
also known as Mother Radio, one of the first FM
underground radio stations FM station, and so I took a
job there as a salesman and I started meeting people there,

you know, meeting record reps and stuff. And I finally
through this record rep with Warner Bros. Introduced me to
Joe Sullivan. He was a promoter out of Nashville. He
had a company called Sound seventy Productions and he came
down to New Orleans. We met, He had a run

of dates with Curtis Mayfield and BB King. We did
the show together and that's how I really got started,
you know, with Joe sol then taking a shot with me.

Speaker 1 (01:43:02):
And how did you end up putting together Texas Jam?

Speaker 2 (01:43:06):
Uh? Data Crabs was doing the cow Jam and he
calls me up and he goes, I want to what
do you think about doing the show? Silma is their
speedway in Texas? I go, yeah, there's one in Brian, Texas.
And then I went to the cow Jam the year
before and it was a It was a cluster, man.
I mean people were knocking over as Ontario Speedway. People

were knocking over the fences and all that stuff. And
I'll never forget. I Lone Star Beer had a commercial
and it was it was taken at the fairgrounds at
where the Cotton Bowl is. And I saw where the
hall these rides in the stadium, and I go, screw

doing this at a at a racetrack. I want to
do the Cotton Bowl. And so I convinced Crabs and
that's when he met Aerosmith and Ted Nugent instead of
playing a racetrack to go to the Cotton Bowl. And
then we used entire fairgrounds. I mean it was We

had a skateboard exhibit. We had the world's biggest rock
and roll movie theater where we were showing concert films
all day. We had the rock and roll Warehouse where
Del Ferno, he was our merchant guy back then. He
brought all his inventory so you could buy almost any
T shirt you wanted there. And we would allow people

to come in and out the stadium. And we had
we had had we had second stages, third stages. It
was quite the event, you know, And that's how the
Texas Gym started. You know, even in New Orleans, I
always loved the event. My first concert stadium concert was

called the Bayou Boogey Festival. Black Oak, Arkansas was the headliner.
I had Frampton, Peter Frampton on the show, Bob Sieger
on the on the show, Wet Willy on the show.
And this is when before Frampton came alive. Seegar was
just starting out, and that was at City Park Stadium.
And yeah, black O'cackansas, Jim Danny to the rescue.

Speaker 1 (01:45:17):
What was the name of the manager again.

Speaker 2 (01:45:20):
Butch Stone.

Speaker 1 (01:45:21):
Yeah, we'll leave it at that. So how are the
economics at Texas Gym?

Speaker 2 (01:45:32):
They look good? I mean the first year I did,
I had the Texas Gym one day and Willie's picking
the next. I never made so much money in one
day and I never lost so much money in one day,
all within the twenty four hour time period. But overall
it was good. I mean it's not. I mean, I mean,
ticket prices were twelve dollars, you know, and I finally

got up to twenty dollars. And I mean, if you
look at today's you know, with the value of today's money,
it was totally chump change back then. You know, if
I made one hundred thousand dollars, I'd have sold eighty
thousand people. I was a ton of money, you know,
And but they were good. I just ran out of talent,

you know, That's what happened. And it's just and I
got in the amphitheater business, and you can make more
money selling fifteen thousand tickets that I could sell in
eighty thousand tickets.

Speaker 1 (01:46:31):
Why did the Fourth of July picnic fail?

Speaker 2 (01:46:35):
Not enough people showed up?

Speaker 1 (01:46:36):
Oh really? Why did why? You know that's a legend.
I'm not that Texas savvy and he did it for years.
Was that one of the initial ones? Or are they
all challenging?

Speaker 2 (01:46:48):
But you know what, the Willie Picnics were all challenging,
you know, Oh, mostly artistic successes, you know. Then there
were financial successes because I did a couple of picnics
outside of the Texas Jeff. It just didn't work. I
mean it didn't work, that's all. I mean. I had

like thirty thousand people there, and yeah, and I had everybody,
Willie Whaling, Christofferson. I don't know, I'd go, I'll look
at the poster outside, but it was the Star of Stars.

Speaker 1 (01:47:26):
You know, So what if one of these festivals, which
pay more than anything, calls up and wants one of
your racks to headline the festival, what do you say?

Speaker 2 (01:47:38):
How much? You know? I had George Straight headline ACL
festival maybe four years ago. I was there and watching
and Casey Musgraser was playing and I leaned over and
I said, we need to have George Straight do this.

And I told George about it. Don't forget I go, George,
it'd be a really cool thing for you to do now.
And George goes, you don't think I'm cool enough now?
But and we took a haircut doing the show. I mean,
you know, but I thought it was a cool thing
for him to do. And he did it, and it

was an ACL crowd. It wasn't a typical George Straight crowd.
And everybody was singing every word to every song. It
was amazing. I mean, just Charles A. Tall says still
to this day, you know, probably the best headline he's
ever had.

Speaker 1 (01:48:35):
Okay, Taylor Swift, they wanted to headline Coachella. You say,
good luck, you know, I mean, why is there a
number where you would say, yes.

Speaker 2 (01:48:49):
Here's the deal. If Taylor wants to play Coachella, she'll
call me up and say, hey, what do you think
about playing Coachella. She won't call me, but Robin will
call me or Andrea call me and say, Taylor wants
to do some festivals. No, there's no, there's no You
have no idea. How what ridiculous offers I get for

Taylor and for George and for all my artists. You know,
but it's always got to be the right thing. You know.
If Taylor wants to do a movie, you do a movie.
You know. If she wants to play festivals, she'll play festivals.
It's like, but you're not gonna Money's not going to
drive her to make a decision.

Speaker 1 (01:49:33):
Okay, So let's say, since you've planned so far in advance,
and you're in the career business, let's say hypothetically Taylor
never had another radio hit, how do you, as a promoter,
plan for the future.

Speaker 2 (01:49:51):
Taylor is only going to get bigger. I mean, even
if she never has another hit, which is impossible because
she always outdoes herself musically. I just know that where
we're at now, is not the height of where she's

going to be. That's all I know.

Speaker 1 (01:50:16):
Okay, Kenny used to have more radio singles than he
does today. Has that affected his business?

Speaker 2 (01:50:23):
No, because people are there for Kenny now, you know.
You know, they're there for the show. They know they're
getting their money's worth, and we always, like I said,
we always load up the show. So yeah, if he
happens to have I mean, like when American Kids was
you know, a number one song that there's definitely a bump,

you know, but it's not a game changer.

Speaker 1 (01:50:48):
Okay, you mentioned David Krabs. We've mentioned some other managers.
Let's be specific, John Land, Allen Springsteen. Okay, Springsteen hadn't
toured for years, and that's really Land that was one
big act and therefore he didn't know, in my viewpoint,
the landscape as well as somebody who's in the business
every day, whether it be a promoter or a lawyer

who's making these deals. How savvy are the managers today?

Speaker 2 (01:51:17):
Well, the good managers are real savvy, you know. I mean,
I'll start with thirteen. Management is there's no one manager
because it's all tail is self managed. But there's basically
a committee. I mean, Andrew being number two, then Rob It,
you know, and so they're very savvy, you know, Stuart

Kemp Edge manager, very savvy. The Lumineers manager, George really
is self managed. You know, irvs's manager. They've been together
forty years. But you know, you know, John Petz is
very savvy. He's very creative with with Eric. Uh and

I'm just looking around, you know.

Speaker 1 (01:52:07):
Okay, let me you know, these are all acts you
work with. Do you find today's business is so complicated
and changing so much that unless you're doing it every day,
you don't have a good feel for it.

Speaker 2 (01:52:22):
But that makes a lot of sense. I mean, I
think you need to be involved. But so that's a
good question. I hate when people say it's a good question.
Why would you ask a bad question? You know, because
I'm not. I'm only focusing on the acts that I'm
focusing on. It's like, you know, so I'm not like

paying attention and going to concerts everywhere or going to
clubs and stuff like shit out of the blue, Zach
Bryant popped up. I'm going, what the hell did this
come from? You know? I mean, and but you know,
my younger staff goes, oh yeah, man, he's amazing, you know.
And my daughter, my fourteen year old song came on

on her playlist. I go, who is this? She goes
Zach Brian. I go, holy crap, this is really good.
You know, this is like amazing. I mean, I haven't
heard of the guy before. So business savvy, I don't know. Yeah,
you've got to be in the business. You got to
be in the business. But as far as me grinding

out the way I used to, as far as listening
to every new song, you know, every time a new
album anybody would come out, I have to put it
on or go to a club and watch him. I
don't do that anymore. I go watch opening acts.

Speaker 1 (01:53:43):
Okay, in the old days, forget you know, Frank Barcelona
and Loyalty. In any event, you worked your way up.
No one started at the top. Seam Smith had a hit.
First tour was Arenas. Okay, Zach Bryan's going to be
playing stadium soon. Although we paid a few dues along
the way. You're in control of one of these acts.

What do you say, go for the money or is
this going to hurt you in the long run.

Speaker 2 (01:54:12):
I always say do what you're supposed to do. The
money will always be there, you know. We know. I
try to convince everybody, never go for the money to
do the right thing, you know, That's what you know.
Sometimes I'm wrong, but I never chase the money, and

I you know, because the money will be there.

Speaker 1 (01:54:37):
And if you're deciding where to play, do you say, well, listen,
I want to play this building because I'll go clean
and it's a good look as opposed to another building
which may not sell out. How important are the optics
to you, I.

Speaker 2 (01:54:56):
Think is you know you're going to play the right
act in the right building for the right ticket price.
A lot of times it's a jump ball where if
I'm going to get a better deal for the act
at somewhere else, then that's that's where I'm going to go,

you know. And and you know, but I'm not going
to put an act in a stadium unless I believe
they could sell it. I'm not going to put an
act in an arena unless they think I think they
could sell it out, you know, or come close to it.
So it's a matter of knowing who your artist is
and and with the right steps to take. Sometimes I'm wrong,

you know, But most of the times I'm right, and
they're right.

Speaker 1 (01:55:48):
Tell me two mistakes you made in the last year.

Speaker 2 (01:55:58):
I don't know. Last year was it was almost like
a perfect strong for me.

Speaker 1 (01:56:03):
Tell me two big mistakes you made in your career.

Speaker 2 (01:56:09):
Man, I made a lot of mistakes. You know. That's
the time. I can't you put me on the spot.
I don't know, you know, I really don't know. Don't
know what mistakes? What big mistakes? I mean, I never

made a mistake that was so that was so bad
that what was I thinking? You know, I did some
I don't know. I don't know. I can't answer the question. Sorry,
I mean, I don't know. Drank too much.

Speaker 1 (01:56:48):
What's your philosophy on money? I'll give you an analogy.
In the old days, everybody used to pay agents ten.
Now that's negotiable, so you're making to deal with somebody
in general. I know you have these acts you work
with a long time. To what degree are you firm
on the money. What's your negotiating style?

Speaker 2 (01:57:10):
Oh, believe in yourself and you'll make more money. And
it's so funny because none of my acts that I
work for are charging me guarantees, you know, but they're
getting the line share of everything. Where they see every penny.

It's not that I won't pay a guarantee. It's just
that I will advance autist money, you know. But I'm
you know, I'm not going to. I'm not going to.
But everyone feels everyone, like I said, that's on themselves
and they see every dollar that they see that piece

of every dollar. And that's that's my philosophy, you know, transparency.

Speaker 1 (01:58:02):
Well, you've been doing this a long time and a
lot of different capacities. There's an old line there are
no no bad shows, only bad deals, right, So what's
your philosophy on deals in general? In terms of your
fifty year career.

Speaker 2 (01:58:16):
I'm not going to buy my way into a relationship.
I think it's total bs. You know, when you know,
when you the autists don't even know who they're working for.
They're just taking the deal and then they regret it after,
you know, And I'm not gonna I'm not going to

chase an act with money that won't happen. So that's
that's how I operate. I mean, I don't I'm in
my own lane. I'm not in the ag lane. I'm
not in a live nation in that lane, you know,
I don't go after their acts, and most of the
time they don't go after my acts. Every once in
a while, you know, one of their promoters get greedy,

and then I have to, you know, I have to.
I have to, I have to get a little New
Orleans on them.

Speaker 1 (01:59:07):
Okay, the landscape today is totally different. As I'm referenced earlier,
the acts tend to be built by record companies. In radio,
there's a lot of acts can tour that are not
on the radio, don't even have record companies. By the
same token record companies, the three majors have almost an

impossible time breaking new acts. So where's it going?

Speaker 2 (01:59:34):
Well, this new acts breaking every day, you know, so
maybe the record companies need to get in with the
program instead of trying to control their acts, trying to
figure out different ways how to promote their acts, instead
of you know, the same thing, instead of a cooking
cutter thing where they find an act, they find a
hot act and then they go all in for it.

And you know, but if you don't make the great
eight out of the box, you're not going to get
any interest. You know, my son's band was signed to
a major record label, right and they did nothing. So
I mean, you know, they did nothing. I you know,

I was out there getting radio stations to come, shows
to come, I was getting the taste makers to come
to shows, but the band didn't go anywhere. You know,
two albums on a major label. I don't think they
pay enough attention to the artist and they're kind of
like whatever sticks is who they're going after. So I

think if they signed less bands, and if they sign
a band, they need they have to believe they could
take it all the way to the top, and they
need to get involved and not just hiring somebody just
and do generics posts. You know, Hi Denver, how are
you you know from autist X where they they are

engaging with the artist audience and not controlling what the
audience is having, what the artist is having to say.
I think they just need to be in tune to
what's happening in the same way I need to be
in tune to what's happening. That's why I have such
a young staff and I grow my digital department every day.

I think that's what record companies need to do, or
any kind of companies. Yeah, you've got to get to
the people you.

Speaker 1 (02:01:31):
Came up with what would be called a social media
post showing a certain amount of savviness. But to what
degree do you personally look at social media, whether it
be Facebook, Instagram, TikTok? And to what degree are you
personally computer savvy?

Speaker 2 (02:01:52):
On computers savvy to a certain degree. But I don't
live on the computer, you know, I'm just doing emails.
And so I'll just go to to my team and say, okay,
tell me about the growth of this act, you know,
tell me where they were five years ago. Tell me
what their socials look like. Tell me what their audience

looks like, you know, break down the demographics. And that's
that's how I'm computerist. I always say I know where
I want to go, but I don't know how to
get there. And that's why I have the people that
I have working with me, because I know what I
want to do, but I just not savvy enough to

do it. That's why I hire people that is much
smarter than me to get it done instead of me
doing a half assed job of it. You know, I
rely upon them to feed me with knowledge. I ask
good questions, though.

Speaker 1 (02:02:48):
What's more important? Data or gut instinct?

Speaker 2 (02:02:52):
Combination of both? I mean data. Sometimes you know, you
got you have people that have you know, ten minutes
followers but can't sell out you know, my car and
you know you you know, sometimes you just have to
feel it, you know, you just have to feel it
like this is going to happen. And I think you

need a combination of both. The you need to know,
you have to have a feel for the audience. You
have to have a feel for the music. You have
to have a feel for the connection. But you also
have to have the savvy to knowing how to get
to the audience and knowing how to send the right
message to the audience and and to connect the artists

and the audience. And and sometimes the artists don't even themselves,
don't have enough belief in themselves, where you have to
kind of give you know, you have to you have
to give them your enthusiasm. And that's kind of what

I do, you know, like I'm a tap dancer, you know,
like I put I'm mister bo Jangles, you know, And
just you got to have both. You've got to have
a great team around you that is savvy and every
which way, but you've got to have a gut feeling.
And I think that's what has been the key to
my success is that I have a great feeling I

could see town, you know, I feel I could see
where there's that connection between the artis and audience that
I think that's my biggest gift.

Speaker 1 (02:04:33):
And what would you say to young people wanted to
get into this business?

Speaker 2 (02:04:39):
Uh, dive in man, you know, follow your dreams. You know.
I do a class every semester at ut and and
you know it's always like forty to fifty students in
my class. And uh, it's just just called the you know,
the making of a concert where I kind of go
through the whole steps from signing the and all the

way through load out. And I always encourage people to
follow their dreams. And I'm not going to say, oh,
you know, it's such a shitty business. It's not a
shitty business, you know, if you have the drive. I mean, yeah,
it was a shitty business when I started because I
didn't know what the hell I was doing. But I

kept on asking why why, why? Why? Why do you
do this? Why do you do that? And I always say,
don't have a tate no for an answer. On the
third note, it's a maybe, you know, just keep on
moving forward, keep on moving forward. So yeah, I would
encourage people. I encourage my kids, you know, to go

for it. You know, my daughter wants to go into film,
I go for it. You know my other my fourteen
year old daughter, want to You know, she's got an
incredible voice, she's got such charisma, but I don't think
she has the drive. But I encourage you every day.
And last night eleven o'clock I heard her playing piano

and and so that was pretty cool because that day
I go, why'd you stop playing piano? And because I
don't know? And then last night I was in bed
I could hear her play, and then it was pretty cool.
So I'm always encouraging people to follow their dreams.

Speaker 1 (02:06:21):
So how much longer are you going to do this?
You're going to do this till you drop, or you're
going to retire at some point.

Speaker 2 (02:06:26):
Probably do it till I drop. Uh Uh. I love
what I do. I still love what I do. You know,
why would I do? I can only pull up so
many cedar trees, you know, And and I really love
what I do, And I don't know, I wouldn't know
what else to do. I mean, he has to sit

at home, and you know, I'm not going to write
a book. I'm not gonna you know, I've traveled. I've
traveled my whole life, and so it's not like I
want to try, you know, And I don't know. I guess.
I used to say, when George retires, Our retired, when

Kenny retires, Our retire, when Taylor retires, I'll be dead.
And that's basically it, you know me. But when I
signed a new van and see them go to the top,
I just love it. When I have George Strait thirty
years is still at the top of it. When we

set a tent, we set gross records everywhere we played.
I mean somebody sent me somewhere all highest gross. Number
one was George Straight, Number two was George Straight, number
three and four would Beyonce. I don't know what publication
that was, but somebody sent it to me and went,
holy shit, and that's pretty cool. And every night, you know,

where single night attendance record ed was breaking every night,
And what Taylor has done, it's like mind blow. I mean,
I'm part of history. I'm living in history with Taylor,
you know. And shit, after fifty one years of the
business and still having a hand as hot as I
have and still have artists and still have you know,

a brain, and I'm pretty lucky, and why would I
want to give it up? I don't.

Speaker 1 (02:08:26):
Okay. You say you're in the business and making dreams
come true. You say to the artist, what is your dream? So, Louis,
what is your dream beyond what you've already accomplished.

Speaker 2 (02:08:39):
I don't know, Find the next artists, bring them to
the stadiums, you know, and just see my team grow,
my kids grow up, but seeing the younger people of
superstars on my team grow, you know, my son Lewis

and Haley McCollister and you know, Sarah Winter, and just
see them becoming stars. That's that's my dream, you know.
That's what I want to do. As far as watching
the growth of my family and watching the growth of
the individuals here, that's what I like to do. That's
what I want to do. You know, I don't want

to you know, people say, oh, Louis, if you drop dead,
you have no company. That's bs you know, I mean
Taylor because of Mike Dugan, because of Sarah, because of Haley,
you know, Illumineers because of Haley and my niece Margo,
you know, and Kenny Chesney is because of Rome and
Kate McMahon. You know it's not yeah me, I am,

you know the song and dance man, but you know
they're the people. They're the mechanics that just get the
job done. But I'm making them song and dance I'm
making a lot of them song and dance men too.

Speaker 1 (02:10:03):
Okay, Louis, I want to thank you so much for
taking this time to talk and educate my Owdens. Really
been great, always hilarious talking to you so insightful. Thanks
so much.

Speaker 2 (02:10:15):
All right, thank you, my man, Bye bye.

Speaker 1 (02:10:18):
Until next time. This is Bob Left sets
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