I got my start in the mid-90′s playing in bands. I eventually ended up in Gainesville, FL for college at UF and my band landed a gig at The Covered Dish (RIP) which was the best venue in the city at the time. There were tons of awesome shows there like Jawbreaker, Elliot Smith, Afghan Whigs, Frank Black, etc. After we played there a few times, I got to know the owner Bill Bryson who gave me a job putting up flyers around town, working the door, taking out trash, etc. I was willing to do whatever to get my foot in the door. I started putting together some shows around my band and learned a bit about booking. On the road with my band, l started to learn about touring Dominobet Android.
My band broke up and I later moved to Orlando where I helped open a small music venue downtown called Back Booth. I really didn’t have a ton of experience at the time but the guys opening the venue liked my band and the venue I had worked at so they gave me shot. I did all the booking there for 3 years and as a result of that, I learned a great deal about agencies and how to book talent. We landed a lot of good shows like Damian Marley, Atmosphere, Of Montreal, Peaches, Melt Banana, etc. It was a struggle though because there was a competing venue with a larger capacity, better location and longer history of doing shows. We put up a good fight but we had to get creative to fill our calendar. We started doing some novelty events for a couple reasons – one because we needed events so we could sell drinks to survive and two because it was fun. So I started booking insane shit like Ron Jeremy stand up comedy, Howard Stern personalities, Corey Feldman, wrestling, burlesque shows, circus entertainers, etc. People went crazy for it and we kept selling out shows. It was kind of an inside joke really but it worked xsmb.asia .
I was working with this guy Ryan Marshall at the time and we both booked events at the venue. We were always trying to one up each other with the novelty bookings. He had this idea that we should call up Suicide Girls and see if we could get a few girls to do a burlesque show to punk music. This was 2003. The site was gaining popularity but the whole modern tattoo culture was still building. It was at least nowhere as big as it is now. At the time, it was kind of unusual to see these beautiful girls with tattoos. We had hosted more traditional burlesque shows but this was taking it to another level and something that was more relatable to our venue’s audience. Well the show sold out and there were a huge amount of people who couldn’t get in. I told Ryan “we gotta take this on the road.” I called these agents that I did a lot of shows with Christian Bernhardt and Ryan Craven, both at The Agency Group now (but then at Kork Agency) and pitched them the idea. They liked it and SG said ok so we took the thing on the road. For a couple years, we sold out venues all over N. America, UK and Australia. There was a film made about the tour that was released on Epitaph and aired on Showtime. I learned a lot about promoters, deals and touring.
After that experience, I was itching to get back in music. I left the tour and started managing some bands. I also co-founded this label called Fighting Records. We put out some albums by Astronautalis, Whole Wheat Bread, Grand Buffet and some others. I did that for a few years. I learned a bunch about marketing, distribution, the whole process behind making and releasing albums. It was valuable experience. I also kept booking shows and put together an indie music festival with some friends called ANTI POP in Orlando. We did that for 5 years with acts like The National, Hank Williams III, Aesop Rock, Lou Barlow, Bob Mould, Mute Math, Trail of Dead, Conor Oberst, Pete Yorn, etc. performing.
I decided I wanted to get really serious about managing bands. I had a few bands who were getting on tours and building but I was more known as a promoter at this point. This manager I knew from booking shows Mark Mercado and I met up for lunch. He had recently left another management firm and was on his own. He was working with this band Paramore who had released one album on Fueled By Ramen who were starting to build. He knew this other guy Randy Dease who worked with him at this other management firm but had gone on his own as well and co-managed Alter Bridge for awhile. He was leaving that so Mark and him were talking about linking back up and doing something. They were working Agen Sbobet Bola out of Mercado’s home office at the time. I had an office so I invited them to move in my space. We really had no concrete plan at the time. We just liked each other’s ideas and figured “what do we have to lose. let’s share an office and some resources.” Paramore released “Riot!” which went platinum and was a huge success for Mark. I learned a lot watching him steer that ship.
We decided to form Fly South Music Group and operate under a new umbrella, although at the time our collective clients were individual and we were really mostly just sharing office space and an email address. We knew we all wanted to work together though and figured having a business name was a start. We started co-managing some bands. I was still booking shows and was hired by Firestone Live (1500 capacity venue in downtown Orlando) to handle all talent. Af Firestone I booked a bunch more cool shows like Passion Pit Judi Online Terpercaya , Bad Brains, Girl Talk, Gogol Bordello, Wiz Khalifa, Crystal Castles, Animal Collective, etc. I did that for a couple years.
Mark learned A Day To Remember was looking for management. I went and checked the band out. I thought they were amazing. We met with them a couple times and they hired us. I would imagine them picking us had a lot to do with Mark’s success with Paramore. It was a great opportunity for me though. Mark and I finally got to really work together on something and the band has been super successful. We’re coming up on 2 years now working with them. Through those guys, we met The Devil Wears Prada. Mark and I now co-manage them with Randy. Mark and I also recently signed Falling In Reverse (Epitaph Records) and I just signed The Ghost Inside. I’m really excited about our bands and what we have going on. Fly South has become a true collective effort working as a team with our artists and we are doing awesome things.