Explain the infrastructure of Gamelan Interactive:
GIG bookings is the booking agency that represents Soulive, Jiggle
the Handle, Dr. Didg, the New Deal, Living Daylights, John Brown's
Body, Babatunde Olatunji, Shuman, and Karsh Kale. Todd Walker runs
the booking agency, and Lee Seelig is his assistant. GIG management
represents Jiggle the Handle, John Brown's Body, Shuman, and will
announce some additional signings in the near future. Andrew Stahl
handles all the Jiggle the Handle management affairs; Todd handles
most of the JBB and Shuman affairs and relies on the infrastructure
that is in place within GIG management. Gamelan Productions remains
intact as the talent buyer producing many events throughout the
Northeast. Andrew does the talent buying for Gamelan Productions.
GIG marketing carries out all the publicity for GIG bookings and
all the marketing for Gamelan Productions. Howard Turkenkopf oversees
this department, while Steve Robinson (aka Stevie Wonder) oversees
our grassroots campaign. Jennifer Reynolds is our office manager
and the glue to our organization. God bless her soul for putting
up with us. We also are partners with the High Sierra Music folks
in the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival. Throughout half the year
we set up a separate staff for that event.
How old are you and what college background do you have?
I'm 30 and i went to the University of Hartford for 2 years and
received a BA in Economics from Northeastern University.
How did you get started in the biz? Were you a musician?
I never played in any bands, but I started playing music when I
was 9. I started out trying piano then moved into harder things
like electric guitar. I played classic rock & hard rock like Led
Zeppelin, Hendrix, Judas Priest. Currently I play mandolin and acoustic
guitar. Although I did play in a band for a week when I started
my business. The band was called Grandma's Secret Recipe.
Tell us about the first show you ever promoted:
About a year before I got out of college I started Gamelan. The
first event was at this place called the Barmuda Triangle outside
of Kenmore Square in Boston. I made $15 off the show, and got a
$20 parking ticket. That was Gamelan Production's first month's
Why did you decide to manage a band?
It just sorta happened. I started booking and promoting shows throughout
Boston, and was approached by the Groove Tubes. I really enjoyed
their music, and said, "Sure, why not?".
What's the best piece of advice you have ever received in this
Here's a few: Success is a journey not a destination. Get out while
you're still alive. Be nice to people on your way up because those
are the people that you'll be passing on the way down. Baby steps.
Always wear clean underwear.
Explain the evolution of Gamelan over the years:
I was scared shitless to get a job for anybody else. The year before
I got out of school, I came up with the idea of bringing people
together through music, and I just went for it. I first started
booking local acts in Boston into different venues around town.
I then became the exclusive booking agent for Thursday nights at
Ed Burke's. After about a year and a half I became the Thursday
night booker for Harper's Ferry, and right about that time I started
promoting shows at Bunratty's and the Middle East. Eventually that
evolved into full blown promotions at most of the venues in the
Boston area. One of our big goals and dreams is to produce events
around the world. In the mean time we will continue to grow the
different facets of our company one foot in front of the other.
How did you meet Jiggle the Handle?
I used to book Jiggle at the Ed Burke's when I was doing Thursday
nights there. Gary & I became good friends very quickly. I was managing
another band called the Groove Tubes, then they became Elements
Watson. They broke up, and I was contemplating whether or not I
wanted to stay in this psychotic industry. In the peak of my indecision
I was approached by Gary. He's such a virtuoso on the guitar, and
one of the best human beings on the planet. How could I say no?
Care to enlighten us with any horror stories from the road?
The summer before last, Jiggle the Handle had one crazy adventure
on their first national tour. In four short weeks the band: got
side-swiped by an 18-wheeler, dropped their transmission six times,
dealt with a hotel that was on fire while they were in it, had their
guitarist almost break his finger, got two flat tires, got flooded
out of a festival show, had two band members get food poisoning,
saw a tornado, had a wind sheild smashed, and on top of all that
played their asses off. Musical highlights included a great set
at High Sierra, a private party for the Further Festival in Colorado,
and played a water park in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. The previous
story was true, and believe it or not some positive things came
from it. The band got incredibly tight - both personally and musically,
and this wacked incident inspired the album "In It Again"
Do you ever feel you have too much on your plate to deal with?
Or do you feel it creates positive synergy-all this activity working
together as a whole?
Never. I have a big appetite. All kidding aside, we are picking
and choosing the projects we are really excited about, and staying
focused on those. Our team is really committed and we have divided
the labor well. It wasn't always the case, but we're getting to
a point where we're really organized.
You guys have a new live album on Phoenix Presents...
We really like the album a lot, and it's catching a huge buzz especially
Tell us about The Berkshire Mountain Music Festival?
I had been trying to organize a music festival for quite some time.
I attended my first High Sierra in 1997. Mike Luba (SCI's manager)
introduced me to Roy Carter at the event. Roy & I had known each
other because I had tried to get Jiggle the Handle on the festival.
He also really dug our artwork and the shows that we promoted back
east. I asked Roy if he had any interest in partnering up to do
a festival back east, and he said, "if you find a site, give me
a call". We kept a telephone rapport, and in early 98, we found
a site in the Berkshires. We decided to meet at SXSW to discuss
the possibilities, and the rest is history... Our West Coast partners
are our long lost family.
What can we expect from this summer's Berkfest?
I'm writing this from the High Sierra office where we have been
meeting all week. We have big plans for this summer's festival.
We're not at the point where we can announce it, but brace yourself
for the best festival yet.
Some words on the fire and how you're managing to regroup?
It was a huge pain in the ass. Although I'm thankful that no one
in our organization was hurt, we busted our butt for the last two
weeks to re-coup our data, and relocate. We have found a new office,
and are back on track. It brought our team closer together.
What's the game plan for Jiggle in 2000?
Southern tour in April, Northeast in May & June, we'll be recording
a few songs in the early summer. Gary will be having a baby in mid-June.
We will fly out to do High Sierra. Summer plans include festivals
and writing. Northeast in early fall, and full-blown national tour
mid-Fall. Look for a new album in 2000/2001. In general, we will
continue to pursue bigger industry opportunities. The band continues
to build and strengthen their team. We have recently acquired a
well-respected business manager who represents some of the biggest
names in the industry.
How do you structure band meetings?
We meet at least twice a month, sometimes more. We have a great
division of labor. I run all the meetings, and the meetings are
very interactive. The communication is very open and honest.
When it comes to submitting feedback. Are you hands-off and
let them do what they want or do you voice a more authoritative
opinion on their songwriting and live shows?
It's always difficult to be critical of somebody's art, but because
of our closeness, the band as a whole is very open to feedback,
especially negative feedback. The band is always striving to improve.
Where do you see this 'jam-band' scene heading years from now?
There will always be bands out there that enjoy the art of improvising,
and who like to tour, and there will always be people to listen.
I do believe we are unifying collectively, and as long as we keep
the communication open, we will have the ability to promote the
music that we love. It is my hopes that the scene will unify to
make a positive impact on the environment. We certainly have the
Anything else you would like to add?
God bless Bob Marley....