Relix Live Music Conference 2019, Day Two: Warren Haynes, Seth Hurwitz and More
“Gov’t Mule has always had one foot in the jam world and one foot in the rock-and-roll world,” Warren Haynes told journalist David Fricke on the Brooklyn Bowl stage during the second day of the third annual Relix Live Music Conference on May 15.
Throughout the discussion, Haynes traced his past as a self-described “peace-loving hippie,” through his tenure with the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule. He even reflected on the only day job he ever had, working at KFC at age 15, and name dropped Tom Waits, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page and Neil Young as artists he’d like to perform with.
“I, from the very beginning, thought [music] is what I’d do for the rest of my life,” he said at one particularly powerful moment.
And that passion was echoed throughout the RLMC’s second day (read a recap of day one here). Several facets of the music industry were explored, from the country-music boom to merchandising to hospitality.
A day after announcing the Americana Music Awards’ first all-female nomination roster for Artist of the Year, Executive Director Jed Hilly proudly emphasized the breadth of the genre’s performers. “The beauty and strength of Americana is in its diversity,” he told Relix Assistant Editor Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta. Hilly later stressed that Americana is a “horizontal, not vertical” genre, with artists like Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson defying its perceived sounds. “If Emmylou Harris, next week, makes a record with Skrillex, it wouldn’t surprise me,” he laughed.
After a quick break for lunch, the RLMC’s ticketing panel explored the industry’s ongoing tension between the primary and secondary markets. Panelist Curtis Cheng from DTI Management explained the “evolutionary state” of the ticketing business, adding later, “I don’t think we as an industry have solved these problems.”
Another highlight was a conversation between Relix publisher/Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro and 9:30 Club/The Anthem owner Seth Hurwitz. The two live music gurus discussed their musical roots and explored their mutual passion for the business.
“I don’t like going to shows that aren’t mine,” Hurwitz joked at the beginning of the chat. “I don’t like being told where to stand.”
Later, answering an audience question, Shapiro imparted advice on finding balance through changing career tides. “Dont get too far up, because you’ll be screwed. Dont go too far down because you need to focus on making it work because that’s all that matters.”
Hurwitz boiled down the sentiment to, “Don’t do stupid deals and think they’re gonna turn out okay.”
For the final panel of the RLMC, Fricke returned to the stage to moderate a case study on The Bowery Presents, with partners John Moore and Jim Glancy.
The trio touched on localized issues like NYC’s L train shutdown and venue accessibility as well as big-picture projects like a new partnership with AEG to create a 3,500 capactiy venue in Boston.
When the topic of conversation turned to the presumably ill-fated Woodstock 50, Glancy revealed that while The Bowery Presents does not usually partake in the festival sphere, they did hear that the event was searching for a new financial partner.
“We were aware that there were opportunities if someone wanted to jump in and save it… We had no interest in getting involved in April for an event in August,” he explained.
Later, after Moore flashed the Grateful Dead “Steal Your Face” logo on the back of his denim jacket, they discussed incubating smaller acts in the high-speed world of globalized music.
“The amount of money and energy we’ve invested in rooms under 750 I don’t think anyone has done anywhere… Maybe you never grow out of Town Hall, and we say we’re happy to stay with you in Town Hall,” Glancy said.