CLEVELAND (CelebrityAccess) – Jim Rissmiller, premiere Los Angeles concert promoter who helped to usher in the city’s era of arena rock, passed away in Cleveland Wednesday (April 3) as a result of a stroke. He was 76.
His death was confirmed by now-retired veteran promoter Larry Vallon to the Los Angeles Times.
Born July 25, 1942, Rissmiller was a graduate of Ohio University. After serving as a lieutenant in the Army from 1963-1965, he got his start in the entertainment business as a booking agent for the William Morris Agency. It was during this time that he met future business partner, Steve Wolf.
Wolf, who got his start in entertainment working in the Universal Studios mailroom, had, alongside LA radio personality Bob Eubanks, been integral in bringing the Beatles to Los Angeles for shows at the Hollywood Bowl and then Dodger Stadium.
To those who worked in and around the concert promotion business during the late 1960s, it was becoming clear that pop music was poised to make the leap from local level clubs, theatres and concert halls to much bigger stages. For this reason, the three men decided to join forces and form Concert Associates in 1967.
Though the company was sold to Filmways Corp. two years later in 1969 when Eubanks wanted out to pursue a burgeoning television career, it was under the Concert Associates banner that Rissmiller and Wolf got their feet wet as arena promoters booking sold-out concerts for everyone from Diana Ross & the Supremes at the Inglewood Forum to the Who at Anaheim Stadium.
But, it wasn’t until Rissmiller and Wolf formed their secondary venture, Wolf & Rissmiller in 1975, that they truly established themselves as leaders of Southern California’s burgeoning arena concert market. The formidable duo went on to host some of the most historic and lucrative arena concerts of the era from Jethro Tull, Elton John and the Rolling Stones to the Who, Pink Floyd, Queen and numerous other acts.
Recognizing the importance of helping younger artists develop into the stars of tomorrow, Rissmiller and Wolf were also integral in assisting acts like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to make the transition from local clubs to larger capacity venues.
Unfortunately, the pair’s partnership came to an end in 1977 when Wolf was tragically killed at home by an intruder. A 19-year-old man was later convicted of second-degree murder in the case.
Following Wolf’s death, Rissmiller continued in concert promotion, putting on the massive two-day “CaliFFornia World Music Festival” at the L.A. Coliseum. Headlined by Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Van Halen, the concert drew a crowd of 80,000 people but regretably fell short of its anticipated 160,000 mark.
Rissmiller is survived by daughters Trisha, Glynnis and Neile, and two grandchildren.
h/t Los Angeles Times