The Agent Business

Ten years ago after playing the Ironwood Stage in Calgary, the owner, Patrick, was hard to contain after the show. He liked it a lot and didn’t understand why I didn’t have an agent. (I booked it myself, usually did). Like the other acts he usually received he thought I should have more corporate representation. Appreciating his enthusiasm I thanked him but explained that none of the usual agents like me, don’t like my work or they don’t like me personally.
 
He said no no no you have to meet Fred (not real name) at the Agency he’s different. Next day Patrick wrote an introductory email for Fred and me and Fred responded inviting me to contact him. I followed up with a phone call.
 
Hi Fred, Bob Wiseman here.
 
Hey Bobby how are you? Love your stuff!
 
Thanks.
 
Bobby I got to tell you we’re pretty full up right now, it’s a tough time.
 
No sweat I was just honouring the introduction Patrick made.
 
Look Bobby let me know next time you come to town, I want to see your show.
 
Toronto?
 
Yes.
 
I live in Toronto. I’ll be playing the Tranzac Wednesday.
 
Shit Wednesday I have racquetball but any other Wednesday Bobby I’d really like to know.
 
How about the 27th?
 
Shit that’s POP Montreal.
 
Ok.
 
I gotta go Bobby but do keep in touch man, for real ok? And please please please let Patrick know we spoke?
 
I will.
 
I called Patrick, tried to not act all I-told-you-so but he just changed the subject – you gotta talk to Shelly (not her real name) at Paquin entertainment. She’s so great and she’s really different than the others yada yada. Within the hour he made another email introduction. I wondered if his confidence stemmed from his relationships, like if these agents encourage club owners like him, who are pivotal, to believe they have sincere friendships and that their opinions are taken very seriously by the agents or if that was just an act, something they hi five each other for back in the office after the client hangs up. My guess is the latter, so far I didn’t think I was wrong. A couple days later I was talking with Shelly.
 
Hi Bobby, sorry for the delay it’s a zoo around here. I am very familiar with your work, so what are you doing these days?
 
Just the usual, making records, touring.
 
Nice real nice. So what can I do for you?
 
I was following up to your response email after Patrick from the Ironwood wrote to suggest you work with me?
 
Oh ya, right. Thanks yes ok. So who do you work with now?
 
Just myself.
 
Right ok yes well I would love to help where I can. Unluckily though I am just too busy to take on any more artists. I would not be able to spend enough time on the project to do it proper justice. I mean it’s really really “really” hard you know what I mean?
 
I know.
 
Why don’t you send me your work?
 
I thought based on the exchange with Patrick you might want to work with me but I’m actually I’m ok, I’m good. I don’t have the things in place that probably are preferable for you like an ordinary manager or an ordinary record company-
 
You have no label support?
 
No I don’t.
 
Oh.
 
Ok well I’ll get going.
 
Ok sure, thanks a lot for calling Bobby and please let Patrick know we spoke . Okee dokee?
 
Okee Dokee.
 
I called back Patrick and told him what happened, now it was almost a week after the show that excited him. I expected him to give up by now but he did it again. He said Bob Wilson at Live Tour Artists you have to speak with him. He’s different. (How many people can be different?) Ok sure I said. Once again he wrote an introductory email but then my phone rang.
 
Hi Is Bob there?
 
Hi I’m Bob.
 
Hi I’m Bob Wilson I got your number from Patrick at the Ironwood, I remember you from years ago. You want to meet for a drink and discuss what you’re doing now?
 
Sure when’s a good time for you?
 
Tonight?
 
See you tonight.
 
And he was great and we did a bunch of work over the next 3 years and he got me paid much higher than I do by myself and then my daughter was born and I rearranged my life to be a stay at home person. She just turned 5, I might be due to try again now.

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