I have managed bands for over thirty years and currently look after Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimmy Page, Muse, Josh Groban, Dawes, and others. I am Peter Mensch AMA!
edit #1: Grabbing lunch with Cliff and then doing some work, haha. Might be back in a couple of hours.
edit #2: Done for today. Thanks for all your questions, guys
Hey reddit – Peter Mensch here, back for another AMA. Had fun last time (http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1cmn1x/we_are_a_music_management_company_that_represents/), wanted to give it another go.
Image Verification: http://i.imgur.com/IMfsdUV.jpg
Smashing Pumpkins by a country mile
Muse all seem like really great, funny guys. Any fun stories?
Matt is endlessly curious. I was regaled several nights ago with a list of what constitutes Treason in England as regards the queen. This came out of the news of the new royal birth
Is there a secret Jewish cabal that controls the music industry from a hidden pile of gold like in Smaug's lair?
That Cabal was taken over by Orcs
Who has been the most humble or down to earth artist/group that you have worked with?
Is Lars still as pissed about pirated music as he was in the 90's or has he lightened up a bit?
I'M PISSED OFF ABOUT PIRATED MUSIC. Lars has lightened up.
If John Frusciante decided he wanted to play with RHCP again what do you think would happen? Would Josh get pushed aside or would they have two main guitarists?
that's an interesting question and way out of my pay grade. I don't think JF is ever coming back to the music business
I was recently told by [someone in touch with Led Zeppelin] that the band performed rare tracks (likely only once in earlier tours) fans have never heard live before as they were never bootlegged (such as "Hey Hey What Can I Do", "Livin Lovin Maid", "Travelling Riverside Blues" [NON-BBC], "Houses Of The Holy", and possibly others). Would JP consider releasing these in some form? (in addition to the rare live "Out on the Tiles", "Friends", "Gallows Pole", "Four Sticks" that are only circulating in bad bootleg quality). (There is also rumoured to have been a Pro Video from the Pontiac Silverdome in 1977, a historic show that broke concert attendance records. I doubt JP would be able to locate this, but if he did it would be the definitive video document from that tour [particularly the last encore]).
man, you know way more about Zep than I will ever know. I couldn't even attempt to answer these questions
Are big record companies a dying breed?
yup. sadly so. what no one really understands is that the artist by himself does not achieve worldwide success without someone financing his/her record and more importantly gets into the hands of the media who can help spread the word. just how do you think one becomes big in Germany if one is a SF based metal band? it doesn't happen by osmosis
How much of a role does the music industry have in creating tastes and trends, instead of just gauging what the public wants and finding artists that fit that criteria?
the music industry has tended to act like a filter. just like film studios, TV networks, book publishers. the best people in each of these industries relies on their own taste and then hopes that their taste will work for the mass audience out there. look at arrested development. died on Fox and came back on Netflix. Or who would have thought a show about a bunch of NJ Gangsters or even early 20s Jersey somethings would be successful and game changing.
Do you personally like the music of all the bands you manage?
I like all the artists I manage. I don't necessarily like all the songs they write or record. But I like enough of them
Josh Groban parties the hardest right?
sure. can I have some of what you are on
Mr Mensch, (Regarding the future Led Zeppelin releases) Would Page finally open up to releasing entire tours of unedited Showco soundboard tapes (from 1971 through 1977)? Even if only as expensive limited editions, lots of collectors like me will still buy them. They would not need mastering work as Rusty Brutsche (the Showco owner and sound engineer) did a fantastic job mixing the sound.
What lurks in the mind and vaults of Jimmy Page, only he knows.
What was the worst thing you ever had an artist under you do?
The most critical you were about a piece of music?
Which artist in your career surprised you most with their ageeeability?
nothing comes to mind on the worst thing. we sometimes try things which don't work but "worst"...I don't think so. critical enough for the song not to be recorded or finished.
We wouldn't manage them if they were not agreeable
Why can't Robert Plant and Jimmy Page just get along and do a tour with John Paul Jones on bass and Jason Bonham on drums? I'm sure it has to do with financial reasons, but care to shed any light on this for me please?
It goes back way further and way deeper than anyone of us can imagine or discover
Which band and/or member was the best to be around? The worst?
best bands to be around are all the current clients as for the worst client: look at the list of clients we no longer manage...actually, just some of those. i'm still in contact with Brian Wheat in Tesla who is killing it out there as their self managing bassist
What do you think about Spotify and would that be a possibilty for Led Zeppelin / Jimmy page?
anything is possible
Hello, Mr. Mensch, thanks for doing this AMA!
As a huge fan of Metallica and a mod of /r/Metallica, I have a couple questions.
What are some common misconceptions that people have about the band or members of the band? (i.e., Lars is an asshole after the whole Napster ordeal)
What is one of the best experiences you've had with the band?
Do you get to know them on a personal level, or do you just work with them? If you get to know them personally, do you have any stories that you'd like to share?
Lars was standing up for artists copyrights. now ask anyone remotely involved in the music business and they will admit we were right. 10 years early. now the business is dying for artists and people like me who loved music and couldn't play a note. the best experiences are when your band's record is on the radio and you hear it. plus doing something special live. for the first time
I'm a huge RHCP fan. Any awesome stories you can share?
Me too. A couple of years ago, they played did 3 shows in Hyde Park in London to 255,000 people. It doesn't get better than that as a performer or a manager
What do you think about normal people that say "i want to be a band/celebrity manager so i can be rich and hang out with famous people" when they know absolutely nothing about it?
THAT THEY KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT.
What was it like working with Def leppard in the 70's? Any stories from when they toured with AC/DC?
I was 26, they were like 18. I was living in London (my spiritual musical home for all the bands from the 60s/70s I loved). It was a blast. I became their manager while they were on tour with AC/DC. I was managing AC/DC at the time.
Whom, among all the acts/people you've managed, has the most sheer musical talent.
John Frusciante Matt Bellamy Josh Groban this is under the concept of writers, players, singers, arrangers. Flea is an amazing bassist. Hetfield kills as a singer and a rhythm player.
I could go on
I have noticed recently that the media and industry has given up on new talent. They are simply pushing new albums all the estbalished groups that hit the scene 10 years ago. Shinedown, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, etc. etc. I feel like this means we will are setting ourselves up for a whole time period that won't be remembered for new type of music (unlike music of the 60s, 70s, etc). I just wondered if you had observed the same thing and your thoughts on it?
we desperately seek out new bands who want to be successful. but since we don't hang out in clubs at 2am, we usually have to wait for someone to call us up and ask for help. most new acts have managers. most new acts fail. do the math
Hi Peter! How are you?
Thanks a ton for doing this AMA, I've been pretty excited. Anyways, not to sound like a broken record but saying Led Zeppelin and specifically Jimmy Page have been important factors in my life would be an understatement. Years ago, the first time I heard Zeppelin, my life had changed. I started playing guitar because of it and my love and passion for all things music really started with them. Now, I was born in 1991 and was sadly too young to have seen Zeppelin, the Page and Plant tours, and Jimmy with the Black Crowes. I have tried everything, failed to fly out for the o2 show, tried going to the NY premiere of Celebration Day this past Fall just to see them, and tried going to the Kennedy Center. I live in Michigan so travelling to Europe would have been difficult.It is increasingly frusturating to hear Page say on a yearly basis how he wishes to tour and release a record and see nothing come of it.
Basically, what I have been dying to know- What are the chances Jimmy will tour or at least play in the United States again, if not for one last time? He seems eager to play but after hearing this year after year, I am losing hope.
welcome to the world of managing Jimmy Page. I wish I had answers for you. I saw LZ in 1976, 2007 and JP play one song with Beck at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That's it. And don't get me started on the Yardbirds Live at the Anderson theater album
Who is your favorite musician off stage?? I love hearing about famous people who are genuinely good guys.
would be Lars. talk movies etc. But also Gary Lightbody, Matt and Page. basically, anyone who wants to talk about a book, a movie, a play, ways to commit treason in England. kids, school, sports. Lightbody is a demon on pop culture
Hi Peter! Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. I have a few questions right now (all of them Page/Zeppelin-related) -- if you're unable to answer them, I understand. :)
First: Has Jimmy shown any interest in selling either of his website releases ("Lucifer Rising" or "Death Wish II") as CDs?
Second: Peter, would you be able to confirm or deny whether or not the "Physical Graffiti" demos posted on Jimmy's website were vintage (i.e. dating to 1973-1975) or re-recorded?
Third: Are you able to provide any information on the "Mastered for iTunes" tracks that were released last year?
Following on from these questions: Should we consider the example of "Celebration Day," released in several formats (including BR-A and hi-res digital download), as a harbinger of things to come for the remastered Zeppelin catalogue? Have the group members indicated any interest in releasing archival recordings in a manner similar to other artists/bands (like Robert Plant himself, or along the lines of the Rolling Stones Archive)?
we should sell those 2 as CDs. not a bad idea
i have no idea about those demos
as for mastered by itunes, it's better sound than normal itunes stuff. but let's be frank, sound on itunes blows compared to cd or vinyl
What's the most badass rock n roll escapade you've ever been sucked into?
Dream on. I'm the clean and sober manager. i go to sleep way earlier than any of my artists. although I did go to a Queen party in London in the late 70s...
Is Rick Rubin as cool as his beard is in real life?
Also, you're awesome.
RR is cooler than his beard.
I want to work for your company! I came to the talk at Royal Albert Hall and was inspired ever since! I want to look forward to Mondays at work. I want to work with reputable bands with real talent.
I messaged the UK HQ the day of the talk and received no response.
I will work for minimum wage if it means me at least getting the chance to see if I am up to the job!
Oh and seen Foals this weekend at Latitude and had my head flung back in happiness for a good majority of the set!
Have you ever heard a song from a band that you manage, that was so new, so different, that you weren't sure if the song would "work"? What songs would this apply, and what was the tension like in the room when first approached w such a song?
Cliff and I are never 100% sure when we select tracks to promote on radio. the biggest flyer we ever took was picking Knights of Cydonia as the first US single for Muse. "No One's Gonna Take Me Alive"
Hi Mr Mensch! As someone who probably knows the industry better than most, what advice would you give to a rock artist or band looking to make a viable career in the music industry? Are there specific genres or tactics that are more likely to be successful? Thanks for your time!
man, that's a tough question. Best thing to do is get your songwriting chops down. IT's all about the MUSIC. not the playing or the clothes. the songs
Dude, can you please get Metallica to do a US tour sometime soon, maybe next summer?
THEY HAVE TO MAKE A RECORD FIRST. NO MORE TOURING UNTIL A RECORD.
First of all I'd like to thank you for doing another AMA. Jimmy Page is my idol and I was really pissed that I missed the last one. I have one serious question and one random question.
Are there any new bands out that you and/or Jimmy are excited about?
Is Jack Daniel's Jimmy's favorite drink, and if not, what is?
Page doesn't drink at all. I don't know what new bands he is listening to. as for me, I tend to wait until I hear them on the radio.
How much input did you have in the Orion festival and Through the Never?
Do the band (that's Metallica, for those that don't know) basically say, we're doing this, can you help us out with some stuff?
Do they say "is this a good idea, should we go ahead with it or not?"
the idea for a festival came out of our office. so we would have some input. the band was deeply involved in the talent selection and all the side shows
Hi, Mr. Mensch. Thanks for this AMA.
What is your take on the music game phenomenon?
Muse and the Chili Peppers seem to have embraced it, while Metallica and Jimmy Page still don't seem to care a whole lot. Do you think their opinions might change with games like Rocksmith, where the player has to use a real guitar?
Um, did you miss the Metallica guitar hero game?
Thanks for doing this AMA. You have an amazing career. My question is how does a "producer" get a job in the industry? I make musical backing tracks and have my friends sing over them, but they just sit online and garner no attention and I'm not sure where to take it next.
find someone with a connection. usually a lawyer or someone who has a connection. I wish it was easier. no one listens to unsolicited tapes anymore. you've got to write great songs (not ones your mother tells you are good), play live and keep doing it. somewhere someone will find you
Dear Mr. Mensch... as an Artist I'm well aware of the nature of Creative Projects to take on a life of their own - evolving beyond their original inspiration and intentions. Can you comment on Jimmy Page's Original Inspiration for reissuing the Led Zeppelin Catalog on Vinyl?? Beyond the success of The Song Remains The Same and the Mothership Project... has Jimmy ever expressed his awareness of the Vinyl Renaissance in Full Swing and the HUNGER for Zeppelin Vinyl? And has it been his intention to release the LP's in their Original Chronological Order... One-at-a-time and is that how you see the current project unfolding?? Lastly and MOST important... when do you think we might get a Definitive Release Date for the first installment??? Thank you very much!
b. truex ~ Hungry for Zeppelin Vinyl Reissues :>)
let's start at the top:
1) vinyl - the previously issued vinyl was ok for the time, this will be way better 2) page loves vinyl. always has. always will. collects it. as for how quickly we release the vinyl and in what order, it will be either all at once as a box set or individually in chronological order
3) as for the release date...well, it's a moving target. LZ Time is like no other time I have ever seen
Of all the artists you have managed, which album was the best? (in your opinion?)
too many to count. seriously. The one record I wish had done better was Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche. Also Screaming Trees Sweet Oblivion. Amazing record
What is working with these popular bands like? And which guitarist out of all the bands listed do you think is the best?
it's the best day job i could have ever imagined. it's my life. not going to pick guitarists. gets me into trouble.
Hello! Do you personally handle their tour arrangements? For example, did you negotiate the RHCP deal to headline Coachella? If so, can you describe how that experience is?
In this case, I made that deal fresh off a plane from Australia over a mexican meal with Paul Tollett somewhere in Hollywood. it didn't take long. but that is a rare occurence
Any Spinal Tap like moments?
proud to say we've avoided most of the Spinal Tap moments. but if you have a theory there, let it rip
A lot of musicians get sober after battles with addiction, what's the most amazing transformation you've seen.
all members of any band I have managed have always wanted to perform. start with your memories of having to stand up in Miss Taylor's 3rd grade class and read or do something. Some of you loved it, most hated it. band members loved it and usually have something to prove or say so they like performing. usually off stage they take off the cape and tights and become normal people
Who would be your dream band/artist to manage? Past/present, dead or alive!
I'd like to see Led Zeppelin play another show
Hey Peter! It seems you've worked with a lot of talented people that have been through a lot. Out of all the people you've worked with, what's the craziest story you've heard or witnessed?
when bands were doing loads more drugs and booze, stories were generated.
Hi! I was just wondering how you actually get gigs for bands. When I went to the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans last year, Green Day dropped out, and Metallica filled in (super awesome). Did the promoters of the festival approach you, or did you approach the promoters?
it was the promoters. because as you so acutely point out, they were short a headliner. have rock, will travel on short notice. happened again at this year at Roskilde
If you could manage any band you wanted, wich band would you manage?
I can't give that away. Other managers would hate me
I am a 19 year old guitar player trying to start a band and make music my career. I want to bring back badass in-your-face rock n' roll to the mainstream. What advice can you give me? I expect nothing to come of this, but if there is any chance you would listen to a song I've recorded to see what kind of sound I am trying to achieve it would be greatly appreciated. All I am looking for is some constructive criticism.
find a singer with the charisma and talent of an early Axl Rose or Plant or Ronnie Van Zant. it kills me that there are very few singer/guitar bands. I'd kill for a band with a singer who just sung.
Hi Peter What are your thoughts on audio and/or video streaming of concerts like Phish has been doing? And, do you see any of the bands you manage doing something similar? I know Metallica already records and sells live shows afterwards.
why not. RHCP does it. you have to be big enough because believe it or not it costs the band money and unless you sell enough of them to break even, it isn't worth doing. also you need to have a good audio and or video setup on tour.
How did Josh Groban get thrown into that mix?
Also those are some great acts you get to work with. What is MUSE like in person, they've always seemed chill in interviews, etc. (I'm seeing them for the 5th time at ACL in October, can't wait!)
Thanks for doing this AMA, you've got a bitchin' job!
I do have a bitchin job. And everyday I pray to every god you can imagine and some you can't thanking them for it. We've managed Madonna, Shania Twain and Josh Groban. And Gillian Welch. We just love music and musicians. And funny ones. Josh Groban is hysterical as well as musically incredibly talented
First of all, thanks for returning to do a second AMA. Your first was really interesting. I asked you some questions about Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin before, so here's a few more.
3 months ago you said that you hadn't heard the contents of the new Led Zeppelin box sets. What's the progress with them now? Can you share anymore about what's in them (video, physical items, studio outtakes, live shows)? There's been talk that they are in the final stages of being mixed. Is Eddie Kramer involved?
Last time you were you said that there was 'no progress' with Jimmy Page's solo album, has that changed at all?
And a final one from me: it's been nearly two years since Jimmy last played live, which was at the Royal Festival Hall with Roy Harper. With Roy performing another special one-off concert there in October, will Jimmy be tempted to join him again?
what's in them: studio outtakes, different mixes. and eddie kramer is not involved.
still no progress on any solo work. also i don't know if he plans to play with roy again. he hasn't played much recently!
What are your thoughts on the 'loudness war' (eliminating dynamic range in favor of maximum loudness)?
certain people mix and master their records too loudly. we don't like that. and that's all I will say.
Hi Mr. Mensch! Two questions:
1.) How difficult do you think it is for someone with no connections to get into the music industry?
2.) Bonnaroo or Coachella?
you have to start at the bottom. Interning either in LA or NY or trying to get a job with your local promoter or club. COACHELLA BY A MILE
Are you the guy who handed me a free front-row ticket at the Spectrum in '96 for Page/Plant when I answered your Led Zep trivia questions correctly?
what personality/characters traits and other skills are necessary for someone to do what you do?
brains, compassion, love of music, trust your gut (a learned skill by the way)
Hi, Mr. Mensch.
A lot of questions will probably relate to the severe changes the music industry is undergoing. Among the groups you manage(d), some are well known live tour de force, some others (not mutually exclusively) have taken a public stance against mp3 (be it legal or not).
(1) As a manager, would you say that the ineluctable future for music lies in live performance vs. album, which will increasingly turn into a promotional medium?
(2) What's your take when a person you manage goes public on something that is clearly not appropriate/PR friendly/plain damaging for the image of the band? What was the most difficult of such situation you encountered?
(3) Also, are you planning on a tell-all autobiography someday?
Thanks for this AMA.
if you don't eventually sell music (usually in album form) you will never get the level of success that you might have dreamed of (selling out arenas). if you don't care how successful you can become as a touring act then you don't have to worry about albums. I can't run a business managing club acts who are permanent club acts most difficult situation: death of a fan at a gig or death of a band member
No tell all biography. just these conversations
Were you dealing with Metallica pre-Some Kind Of Monster? Whether yes or no, has their dynamic changed since?
been dealing with Metallica since 1985. dynamic has mostly stayed the same. the process around skom made everybody more aware, but we still function in the same way
What's the worst experience you had with a venue?
hall manager in lubbock in 1978 on July 4th
Hello, Mr. Mensch. Thank you for doing this AMA. You've had an amazing career and have worked with some of the people who have inspired me the most in the entire world.
I currently play in a band that has been playing locally for the last couple of years. Our plan for the next year is to step it up and start touring regionally. We've got some good contacts and a great fan base that is super supportive of us. We even started a local music festival that is intended to expose and develop the fantastic music scene we have here in my home town. We are about to release our first studio EP which we will pimp out to as many music blogs as possible.
I would ask you for advice, but it seems that your advice is to keep doing what we are doing and hope that someone discovers us one day. I'm a little more pro-active than that, but it'll do.
So my question for you is the following:
What are, if any, your favorite music blogs or podcasts to find new music? If not, then where do you go to find new music?
What is your favorite new act that is playing now?
you've got it down. pimp your music out to as many blogs as possible. just make sure that someone you trust says the stuff is great. not just good or very good. but GREAT. there is no room anymore for anything else. favorite new act (not so new) is Florence and the Machine. she has a real stage presence. I miss real stage presence. I want to be led by a singer
Of all the artist managers with whom I've worked, Q Prime (especially Holland back in the day) were the most real people of all. So thanks for contributing to that culture. Is it difficult to keep the ruthlessness of the entertainment business out of the everyday relationships with vendors and designers and such that support the more mundane aspects of your world?
it's easy to keep the ruthlessness out because you know how it feels to be on the other end. especially with vendors and designers. shit, they do stuff I could never do
Hey, great bands! My grandfather used to be a concert promoter (Robert Lewis- he did the Rolling Stones first concert in the US, worked with Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, ect.) and he is FULL of crazy stories. What is your favorite crazy story?
Settling up a show with Bill Graham as a tour accountant for Aerosmith
The night in Lubbock I first saw ACDC
Hi, Peter -- thanks for returning here. Not sure if you can comment on this or not, but Jimmy's social media presence has been a bit sporadic the last 6 months or so - his official twitter and facebook accounts have been a bit quiet ... everything ok on that front? Do you know if his team will get back to it -- maybe hopefully with some exciting news?
See answer below. Welcome to the world of managing Jimmy Page
I love Dawes! Make them perform in NYC more! Please?
trust me, we're trying. we're playing Port Chester (NYC suburb) tonight. see you there. I'm the bald guy.
Can you please convince Jimmy Page and Zep to do a US Reuinion tour?!!!!!!
I don't even have a flip answer for this. it is a tragedy
How do you get started managing a rock band? I have a buddy who does it (and has become quite successful at it) while I do "real people" things and daydream about being involved in the music industry. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS
get close to a good band. and convince them that you know things they should do that they haven't thought of. be a fan
How did you get into the industry and what do you suggest to someone trying to break into it? Are there internships, etc? Or is it mostly a 'who you know' kinda field.
there are internships and sadly it is a bit of who you know. but there are local radio stations, college radio stations, local clubs. people will usually take people looking to work for free or dirt cheap
What is the best show you have been to?
acdc in Glasgow. highway to hell tour and LZ at O2.
My friend just started a band and its taking off pretty well. I have some business acumen and he is wanting to get a band manager for his band because my friend is shouldering all of the work + a day job. I want to volunteer for this duty probono until they start making money. Am I foolish, is there something I need to know before stepping into this? Any advice is appreciated
make sure he respects your talent as much as you respect his. and make sure your ambitions are in Vulcan mind meld as well. often baby managers get flushed when the band out grows the manager
How many people have asked you for a job in this thread?
fewer than you would have thought
Hello Mr. ÜberMensch :)
Black Sabbath is touring again. Would you recommend seeing them?
sure, why not. I was never the biggest Sabbath fan, but they are legends
What advise would you have for a small Texas band that is starting to get play on smaller local radio stations in Arkansas and Texas to get to the "big time"?
FYI we are not on a on a record label and are totally self financed thus far.
call the guys at C3
Do you party with your clients at all / often? If so, who is the most fun to be with after a show?
Do I go out for dinner after gigs yes. do we party, no.
Which band has been the most difficult to work with?
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