Know Your Local - Jeff Greenberg
Owner, The Village Recorder
How/When did you get your start?
I got started when a friend and found a band. It was the late 60's. The band got the largest deal in history at the time, $500,000 non recoupable advance from Liberty Records. The band was T.I.M.E.. They were wonderful. Al Schmitt produced and they were on fire. They played every night at a club of Sunset called Thee Experience. Eric Burdon, Alice Cooper, Hendrix, Canned Heat, and even Zeppelinwerethere all the time. The drummer got shot, and we replaced him with Russ Kunkel. The industry insisted we stop and let the poor guy recover. We did, and that was that. Our agent, Jim Rissmiller had a concert company and he let me fill the dressing room buckets with ice and that is how I got into the concert business.
What was the most interesting experience you’ve had while working?
There are many. Booking and producing shows at the Greek Theatre and Nederlander venues. Every night was an interesting incident. Producing Cal Jam 2 and winding up with around 350,000 people when we were only expecting 25,000. Being an agent at ICM and representing the best talent in the business, James Taylor, Aerosmith, Nick Lowe, Heart, Santana among others. Here's one: The Who at Anaheim stadium. Since the kids sleep over night in the parking lot, why not have the USC Marching Band wake them up with Tommy! The sky turned black instantly with shoes, milk cartons and garbage. Not a good idea...
Who is the most interesting person you’ve worked with and why?
T-Bone Burnett. He has an internal truth compass that really informs his music and the artists he works with. the result is always authentic and beautiful.
Who is someone you would like to work with and why?
Dylan. Because he is Dylan.
How does a band or artist become a brand?
The band or artist is competing with a huge cloud of other good talent. It's like running for president. You have to be an invitation to fans, which means you have to authentically live a life that is honest, clean, healthy and sincere. It starts there and then you are enrolling everyone you meet or play for to join in and spread the word. You have to be better on stage than anyone else out there and to do that you can't compromise. If the guy on bass keeps showing up late or is just OK, you can do better. You have to be atomic to get noticed.
What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?
The vintage Neve console in our Studio A. It has the biggest, warmest sound on the planet. You can hear it on the two recent Oasis albums, or Jet, Wolfmother, or The Chili
Where/how do you hear about new music?
Friends, ITunes, Rhapsody, and Nic Harcourt and KCRW.
What’s the best part about the Los Angeles music scene?
The people. there are all these great musical communities and many young players are seeking each other out and starting great new projects...
What artist or band should people know right now?
Blessed Le Strange....check 'em out!
What book would you recommend as a must read for someone?
Outliers: The Story of Success
What 5 albums would you say are a must listen too for everyone?
1. Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
2. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchindananda
3. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited
4. Pink Floyd, Momentary Lapse of Reason
5. Any Beatles
What’s a piece of advice you’ve learned that you wish someone had shared with you?
How are emerging technologies changing the music industry in general and specifically your field?
New technology has made the creation of music democratic. Great artists are emerging from bedrooms and garages using sophisticated affordable recording platforms. That is very exciting. The new digital distribution and collection paradigms are still developing, but I believe free enterprise will determine a successful marketplace in the near future.
What are your favorite performance venues in Los Angeles? Other?
The Greek, Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, The Echo, Spaceland
What are your “secrets to success?”
Show up. Be a good host. Do what you love. Be honest. Restraint of tongue and pen.
Do you believe mentorship is important? Who were your mentors early on in your career and what impact did they have on your experience in the business?
My Early mentors were the great concert promoters, Bill Graham, Wolf and Rissmiller, Jimmy Nederlander. Later the great agent Tom Ross of ICM and CAA who I worked for as an agent. Also Felix Pappalardi, the producer of Cream and the leader of Mountain, who I managed. My Grandfather and Father too. these people taught me the importance of relationship, integrity and service.
Who are your favorite new artists right now?
Blessed Le Strange
Mumiy Troll (A great Russian band)
Most of the new bands on KCRW.
What is your favorite GRAMMY Moment?
They are all very talented and clear about their futures. It is always inspiring.
Also the year John Mayer, Dixie Chicks and T-Bone won most of the awards and we worked on the projects at The Village.
How has social media influenced your career?
Social media has enhanced my career and reputation by making it more widely known.
How has music education played a role in your life/career?
I fell in love with music as a kid. I was lucky to have a Dad who was a very talented pianist. I was in Jr. high and High School orchestras (French horn) and loved every second I played.
Why do you think it is important to be a member of The Recording Academy?
The Recording Academy is an organization that supports musicians and music makers in many ways, from the ability to meet and network with my idols, to allowing me to take part in helping young musicians and composers and be involved in charitable efforts in the musical community.
It is a must for anyone in the profession of music.