[laughs] Right. We're like the stepping-stones to get there.
Somebody has to do it. I would say that most of the shows that I've done, I've had a good time at. I try to only hire bands that I want to see and work with. I try to avoid the prima donnas. I try to not to deal with assholes. Unfortunately they're out there. Overall, I'd say I've had a pretty good career. I've met a lot of good people and put on a lot of good shows in the Albany area.
I feel like that really resonates with people. You know you're going to a good show in Albany. I was just thinking about that with the recent moe. show you did. You could feel the excitement to have moe. in Albany on a Saturday night. People always have a great time when they come to town. That says a lot about the vibe that's created. I think people say that, you know, every time we go to Albany, it's a ridiculous weekend [laughs]. Maybe I have a bias because I grew up there, and while I was in college in the mid-90s, Albany was such a great place for live music.
Not to toot my own horn, but I think I had a lot to do with that first renaissance. A lot of the bands that came up at that time met through me. They'd played at Valentine's with me and then run into each other in different parts of the country. Bands like Conehead, moe., yolK, the Seapods -- bands that became pretty good friends with each other. They all pretty much met in Albany. And anyone who was coming up through the jam band scene at that time was coming through Valentine's or Bogie's. The only thing that's not good about that is that I sort of got pigeon-holed as the "jam band promoter," so I don't always get offered shows that I'd might like to do. People don't realize that my music tastes are much broader than jam bands.
That's the common misconception about being a jam band fan. By its nature, you're going to like all kinds of music.
Yeah, people don't realize that. At one point or another, everything feels like a jam band -- jazz, blues, every genre of music seems to fit into that. There was a point when being called a jam band was an insult to certain people, which I never understood why you would be insulted to be put into that scene because it's such an eclectic scene. You know, all of a sudden you're at a festival and Elvis Costello is playing with Levon Helm -- how cool is that? Elvis Costello came out as a New Wave artist. I think the jam band scene has gotten a bad rap over the years, because I don't think people realize that it's just a music scene with a lot of people that listen to a lot of different types of stuff.
Yeah, I felt that with running a magazine and a web site. It's all just marketing. It never seems to have anything to do with sound. It's kind of irritating in a way because it's a lot of work figuring out the market instead of celebrating the sound.
Recently, I was talking to an agent out in California and he was offering me an act that I wasn't that interested in and I asked about someone else on his roster and he said, "You're probably not interested, they're not a jam band." I told him I do a lot of shows that aren't jam bands and he kind of was laughing and saying, "Yeah, yeah right." I've done Rufus Wainwright, Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Allen, tons of stuff that wouldn't qualify as a jam band. It's just weird that after twenty years of doing a wide variety of shows, that people still think I only do jam band shows.
I will say this about that perception: jam bands are always fucking busy. They're always touring. So, if you're into that, there's plenty to talk about, write about, shows to book, etc. [laughs]
It's not even a bad thing to be pigeon-holed as a jam band promoter; it's just weird that people look at it as a negative thing. Basically, jam bands have made my career. I can't deny that. And many of the jam bands I've worked with have become some of my closest friends. I think the community is pretty tight.
Yeah, in its purest sense. There's always a lot of collaboration and camaraderie.
I noticed that with a lot of younger bands these days, instead of demonstrating the community among the jam bands there once was I see a lot of competition. Like, "We're better than that band." So, I don't see as much support for one another as I used to.
That's a good point.
Back when I started out, pretty much all the bands were friends. They played together a lot. They would jam together. They would go see each other play. I don't see that as much as I once did. It's still there to some extent, but not as much as it used to be.
Things go through cycles. Maybe now is a cycle reminiscent of 15-20 years ago.
I definitely feel that way. Maybe because I'm getting old and coming toward the end of things. I don't know. It's not as easy as it was being out until four or five in the morning as it once was, you know? [laughter] For 19 of the 20 years that I've been doing this I was also teaching full time and doing the shows. So at least now, I'm not teaching. You would think I would have more time to rest, but I don't seem to. I still try to go to every show that I put on. I know a lot of promoters don't do that. I would say in my twenty years of promoting shows, I haven't missed more than ten shows that I've had my name on.
Wow. That's amazing.
And the ones I missed were because I was either in the hospital or because someone died. Even some of those I made [laughs].
Years ago we talked about how Bill Graham was an influence on the type of vibe and shows you wanted to put on. Going back to what I was saying before, like this last moe. weekend -- there's now a certain expectation that it's going to be a really great time. It's going to be a memorable weekend. From a promoter's perspective...
I do really care about the vibe of the show. I really want people to be excited. I really want people to be comfortable. I want people to be happy. There are promoters out there that are only concerned with the ticket sales. They don't care about what's going on in the venue. If you see me at shows, you see me running all around the place because I'm trying to make sure there are no problems and to make sure anything that needs to be taking care of is taking care of. I think the vibe of the show is important. I think a lot of people like the fact that I go to all my shows and that I'm basically experiencing the same thing they're experiencing. I'm not back in some office sitting over a laptop. I'm out on the floor making sure everything is going right. Making sure the sound is right. Making sure there are no assholes starting problems, you know? I think the vibe of the shows is one of the most important things. A lot of the shows I put on do have good vibes. I think that's one of the things I'm best at.