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  Industry Profile




Industry Profile: Ron Brice

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess)



This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Ron Brice, owner, 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill, Nashville.

The 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill arrived in Nashville's SoBro district two decades ago as a progressive wind began to blow throughout the cityís music community.

Along with a handful of small, independently-owned local music venues like The Basement, and Mercy Lounge, 3rd & Lindsley took a sizable risk in supporting emerging local artists long before corporate outsiders broke ground in Nashvilleís fertile live music market.

In its former life, 3rd & Lindsley was a Mexican restaurant named Jose's. A former commercial real estate player, Ron Brice, and a buddy purchased it for dimes, and decided to fix it up as a music venue.

At first they figured they'd flip the restaurant for a profit, but they had so little capital tied up in the purchase that they decided to see if they could make a small music club thrive.

Celebrated since for delivering top-notch music programming, 3rd and Lindsley has hosted shows by Wilco, Train, Sheryl Crow. Goo Goo Dolls, Bernie Taupin, Patty Griffin, Rodney Crowell, Jars of Clay, Ray Lamontagne, Lucinda Williams, KT Tunstall, Indigo Girls, Richard Thompson, Grace Potter David Gray, the Avett Brothers, Glenn Tilbrook, Lady Antebellum and many others.

The 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill may sit up the hill from the sea of neon lights of Nashville's glitzy Lower Broadway that draws hoards of tourists, but locals and visiting music aficionados know that this this is a venue that discovers, promotes, honors, and develops what could likely be the next wave of musical talent in America.

Has Nashvilleís competitive live music scene become oversaturated with more and more independents opening new rooms, and with Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Live aggressively courting the market?

Iím an indie. I donít align with anyone, specifically. Is it getting saturated? Yes. There are bigger corporates that are moving into town. They (promoters) are putting music venues in bowling alleys, a venue in a golf-driving range. Everybody is doing their thing. Some of the bigger boys are looking to have a discovery place, a 500 to 1,500 seat venue, so they can develop an artist. Like we do, actually.

[While Live Nation Entertainment sporadically promotes shows at 3rd & Lindsley, The Cannery Ballroom, and the Ryman Auditorium, the mega-promoter supercharged its Nashville presence in late 2013 by winning a bid to operate Ascend Amphitheater as part of a package that included partners Red Light Management, the Nashville Predators, and the Nashville Symphony. Also Live Nation inked a deal late last year to book the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel, the 4,500-capacity natural outdoor venue on the old estate of country singer Barbara Mandrell.]

After a year of negotiations Chris Cobb decided at the final hour not to sell Exit/In, and Marathon Music Works (and their two attached bar businesses) to Live Nation Entertainment earlier this year. Lawyers and accountants were reportedly standing by to finalize the sale. Chris was said to have thought back to his days at Exit/In putting up playbills around the city, a time when working at a local club wasnít at all about money.

Well, I certainly am not opposed to making money, but money is not the 100% of it. I get a lot of satisfaction out of, ďOkay, we liked that show.Ē We booked that show and then everybody comes in and sees a show. Thereís a moment where everything is firing on all cylinders. The band is rocking, heads are bobbing, and everybody is having a good time. That feels so good. Itís not always like that. Sometimes the bathroom will overflow or thereís a problem here and a problem there. Thatís why I like bringing bands to other venues. I took a show to the Ryman a couple of months ago. I went in, and I sat around. I didnít have anything to do except hang out, and write a check. I thought, ďThis ainít a bad way to goĒ because I didnít have to worry about bar sales. I didnít have to worry about the kitchen or anything else going on. ďThis is great.Ē

Live Nation Entertainment co-president Bob Roux has indicated that the company is seeking an appropriate opportunity to open a midsized club and restaurant in Nashville to further develop new artists, with a capacity between 1,500 and 2,000.

Yeah. Quite honestly, I donít pay much attention to it. I will tell you why. I just constantly tell my people, ďHey listen, do what we do.Ē

You donít have a concern because 3rd & Lindsley offers something unique?

Do I think I offer something unique? You know what? I donít. I think what we offer is quality. I donít think that itís 110% about the artist. It (the club experience) goes deeper than that. Iíll throw a great cover band out there with studio guys, and they will do the Eagles better than the Eagles. Itís not all that serious. People will come out, and theyíll hear songs that they like, and they just want to have fun. Itís more of creating an atmosphere, and making sure that it sounds great. From a production aspect, I would put our room up against anybody on sound quality.

3rd & Lindsley has been operating in Nashville for 25 years; Exit/In for 45 years and there are other great local clubs like The Basement, and The Mercy Lounge also supporting local artists. If you stick to core values, if you do what you do right, you are going to do okay?

Yeah. As you probably know Lower Broadway is just hopping these days. Itís just killer down there. I talk to some people down there, and they tell me that so and so is opening up another three-story, 10,000-foot place. They will open it up, and everybody will do the same. Itís growing there. One place opening up really doesnít seem to hurt another place. They continually all grow.

Lower Broadway, as with Printerís Alley, primary attracts tourists.

No question. I will tell you that as that is growing, I now see a little bit more tourist flow than Iíve had in the past. Primarily, itís because I do the Time Jumpers on Monday nights.

Thatís Vince Gillís swing band.

They are the best of the best. The killer fiddle players, keyboardists, drummers, and guitar players. They have a really cool show that they do every Monday night, and everybody gets it. Itís seriously laidback. The people who come out and play with them are phenomenal. Itís amazing.

After 25 years, 3rd and Lindsley also has strong word-of-mouth support.

Yeah. Do you know what the difference is? Back in the day when there were a lot less venues around, I would have liked to have a place that no matter what you did, people knew it was going to be good, and they showed up anyways. You see that in a lot of different towns. You donít really see that in Nashville. You really have to pay attention, and put a product out there that is the hot thing at the time, and be on the cutting-edge; rather than lay low with a bunch of stuff, and expect people will come. It just really doesnít work like that in Nashville.

Nashvilleís club scene is hardly the bastion for country music that people think. The scene is incredibly diverse musically. Sometimes itís hard to find venues featuring country music.

I think that you are 100% right. Itís a very diverse musical community. Thereís just so much talent in the town. Luckily, in the first years of 3rd and Lindsley, there was just this little pocket of killer musicians with great fan bases, and they were typically all sidemen for big artists. It was either people with side projects or guys just getting out and wanting to perform live.

Certainly, the success of the music industry in the city has created a vast pool of talented players, country and otherwise, who are there for the work.

I agree with that. Itís a music town, and itís a music community with lots of different people hereóbetween producers, songwriters, and session players and all that. They come here and try to find work, to dial in their craft, to hook up with bands, and to create. Bottom line is that there is so much talent in this town. If you canít find something great to put on your stage every night, then you are not doing a very good job.

Of course, the work of discovering, promoting and developing local bands has traditionally fallen in any market to smaller clubs that are independently owned. Thatís certainly true in Nashville.

Thereís no question. Even today, we get some of our biggest kicks out of finding a band, and developing a band and, all of a sudden, they are gone. Itís like boom. You find something that you like, and you put them in front of as many people as you can, and you work and promote them. And then all of sudden, everybody gets it. Then, itís like boom. They move on to bigger and better things, and become stars. Thatís a fun thing to do.

In the big scheme of things, Iím not getting any younger at 60, and they (emerging artists) are almost like my kids. And thereís a bunch of them. 3rd and Lindsley is very close to Music Row, and to a lot things happening down there. All of the agents and managers will feed us their talent for showcasing. Like, so and so needs a deal, and ďWe are going to showcase them at your place.Ē Itís a 6 oíclock thing where everybody comes over from the Row right after work, and they (the act will) do a quick 40-minute set, and they show everybody what theyíve got. We will probably do 6, 8, 10 of those showcases a month. Thatís how you load up your talent. Thatís how you figure out what is what.

Showcases are an indispensible A&R resource for you. You immediately find out about any act that is about to happen.

Absolutely and with the location of the venue, and the production aspect of it, itís a great place to showcase new artists. We seem to be dialed into that thing, and we have been for quite a long time. It has always been that way.

Speaking of children growing up, the first time Train played 3rd & Lindsley, they played to 50 people. The next time, it was 200 people. The next time, there was a line around the corner.

Absolutely. I think that we got Train from (FM radio station) WRLT.

A band can become too popular to play 3rd & Lindsley.

I do shows at other venues through my promotion and booking company, Backstage Live. We will take an artist out of 3rd once they have reached a point where they have sold that room out two or three times, and they are ready for a bigger venue. Rather than to lose them to another promoter or club owner we will just carry them on. Weíve built a relationship with their management, and their team. Iíve taken shows to the Ryman. Iíve taken shows to The Cannery, and to Marathon (Marathon Music Works). Itís the same thing that those guys (Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Live) are looking to do.

3rd & Lindsley has had a long-running partnership with WRLT which launched as Radio Lightning around the same time the club opened.

We were a year after them. Looking back, Nashville had the country and western thing going, but after Garth Brooks country and western went into the tank. It was super flat. I wanted to have a place that had more diversity. That I could do any kind of music; anything that came down the road that I liked. We could just do anything. WRLT gets us. We kind of feed off each other a little. It works so well.

The thing is, coming out of the chute with their Triple AAA format, and the organization over there, they are progressive with what they are doing. Well, thatís the same thing that we do. We want to be coming out of the chute with new music. We want to discover new artists and be the first to be doing them. Thatís their exact thing. So we kind of married each other very early on.

[For two decades Lightning 100 has blurred musical genres, helping to break hard to categorize artists such as Ryan Adams, Train and Jason Mraz while its staff-curated playlist supports emerging Nashville artists.

While 100.1 on the FM band has been operating as WRLT-FM since 1961, the progressive station's birth can be traced to 1987 when the fledgling Rebel 100 blazed a trail as one of the nation's first alternative rock stations. Following an ownership, and a format excursion as "Nashville's Lite 100" in the late 1980s, the station was reborn as Radio Lightning in March 1990.]

Of course, WRLT has been rebranded as Lightning 100.

Yeah. They are excellent. They are just a great outfit. Over the period of time I have seen probably 5 or 6 program directors come and go there. Right now, they have a great crew there, and (Tuned In Broadcasting president) Lester Turner is a really brilliant, and dedicated guy. Heís a very hands-on type of guy. They are just such nice people to work with.

For 20 years WRLT have been doing Sunday nights shows from the club.

John Conlon, who worked at WRLT (as program director), and I sat down over beers, and we created that. The first artist we did was Junior Brown. Itís a Sunday night staple now. If you are looking for something cool to do on Sunday night, itís a no-brainer. You know that you are going to see something really cool, progressive, and really good. Weíve had a number of different people through the year sponsor that for us and come through. They get it and they want to be in front of it and promote their product. So it has just really worked out well.

3rd and Lindsley is also involved with a number of community music series including Tin Pan South, the Americana Music Festival and Conference, and the CMA Music Festival which bring so many people to Nashville who are in the music industry. If they return to Nashville, they are likely to return to the club. They wonít want to go to the tourist clubs.

Thereís no question that when you have opportunities to put a lot of out-of-town people in the music business who get it into your building, and they see what you do and they see your show, people talk. And people that are knowledgeable about its workings, who are knowledgeable about how it is supposed to work, and how it is supposed to sound, and feel, they get that. Once again Iím lucky to have it coming our way. Summer NAMM is coming up (June 23-25). We are very very fortunate having all of those conventions to feed off of.

Being based in Nashville you have greater pool of talent choices. A club in, say Syracuse, New York, has to rely on whatever acts are touring. You can afford to say ďpass.Ē Thereís always another act around the corner.

Thereís no doubt about that, but I think the booking agents know, based on capacity and style of the room, that our room is the best fit for their artist.

Still you have to know what will work or wonít work in your club. You have to know your pressure points. Are you a tough negotiator?

Iím not scared to say no. But you get a lot of different shows for a lot of different reasons in Nashville that you might not get elsewhere. There are so many bands based out of Nashville. We did Sheryl Crow a few years back. She was dialing in her band for her tour. ďWhy not do a couple of live shows in a small place, and get them dialed in, and then we are heading out?Ē Wynonna (Judd) the same thing. There are tons of them (artists) like that. We call them the whales. We just did Miranda Lambert. What is she doing playing a 500 or 600s seat venue? Well because it was a charity thing. She just wanted to come out with her girlfriends, sing some songs, and have fun.

As well, most artists started their careers in small clubs. Playing in front of 50,000 is a buzz, but playing a small club where acts get that intense feedback from the audience along with the beer flowing and the fan humming is unbeatable.

No question. Like I said before when itís firing on all cylinders, when you are doing something special like that, it is just an awesome thing. It gives you that satisfaction. You walk away. ďThat was great. What are we doing next?Ē

Santos Pouella has been 3rd and Lindsleyís talent buyer since 2011. How has your role changed with him there?

It has taken years to really develop a rhythm with Santos. Heís a younger guy than me. You have your ways, and you have your connections and relationships. Over time, you turn them over, and you feel like heís got that one down, so you move on. Then heís got that one down. I pretty much take care a lot of the local stuff coming through management, labels and things of that nature. He primarily takes care of a lot of the national acts, and a lot of the straight-out touring, ďsend-us-an-offerĒ kind of stuff. Stuff is coming through. They (agents and managers) know that it (the act) fits the room. They know where they want to play. ďLetís do a deal with them.Ē So he pretty much takes care of the national acts, and things of that nature.

How do you handle your own bookings?

I donít do any deals on the phone anymore. Iíve got to do them online so I remember what Iíve done, and have a written thing to go back to.

Santos is trying to talk you into digital booking. Whatís that?

You just keep your calendar online so itís up-to-date and current. I still use the old fashion way. Just write the booking down in my book and itís there. Something changes you white it out, and put something over it. We will match books up every few days.

Quite a change from when you first started booking at the club.

I remember bookings bands...well, we probably had the first website ever created. Iím serious. Thatís how far back we started. I had all of the agents trained to call me between two and five every afternoon. That was the only time that I would book. It was more of a physical thing back then. You had to talk to people on the phone, write the deal up, and theyíd send you a contract. Now itís, ďSo and so is coming through, send me your offer.Ē Okay. Thereís no doubt that it is way less personal than it used to. But the other part is that because of the information era the (talent) pool is so much bigger. There are so many more things to choose from, and more artists to book.

Well, at your age, you canít be that ďstreetĒ anymore in checking out what talent is available.

Iím 60 years old. Day-to-day, Iím typically a noon to 7 oíclock guy. Iím not the guy who is going to be down there late at night. Typically, my thing is that I will go through the load-in process and talk to the bands and greet them. Maybe, hear them at sound check, and get a feel for them. Once the doors are open, thatís kind of my cue (to leave). I have great staff to take over from there. Itís a nice piece of rhythm. It seems to work.

Do you still like the music?

Absolutely. Thatís the best part of it. Absolutely.

3rd and Lindsley has presented so many incredible acts including Wilco, Goo Goo Dolls, Patty Griffin, Jars of Clay, Ray LaMontagne, Lucinda Williams, KT Tunstall, Indigo Girls, and Grace Potter. Acts that when they are great are truly great.

No doubt. I think that a lot of it is my connections with radio in the country market and with WRLT. I think that artists really understand the club is an artist friendly environment. They are going to come in, and they are going to have a really good time. They are going to be promoted very well. They are going to sound great, and they are going to make a lot of money. If you can make all those things happen, it just seems to work. Itís just like anything else. With artists, you develop a relationship with an artist manager and, all of a sudden, heís got another artist to take care of. The same thing with booking agents--CAA, William Morris, and APA--everybody we work with. They have the confidence of knowing that when they send their artist to us, we are going to promote them well, and everybody is going to walk away happy.

Was the first band that played 3rd & Lindsley the Bobby Bradford Blues Band?

The first band was Bobby Bradford. The second night was DeFord Bailey Jr. Unfortunately, Iíve lost track of both of them. Bobby was a really a cool guy. He did straight up blues. I think he had just moved back from Nashville from Austin a few weeks before we opened up. I put out a few feelers. ďHey, you want to do this?Ē He said, ďSure.Ē

Lady Antebellum was the Tuesday night band at the club for a year?

I wouldnít really say that they were a Tuesday night band. They were shopping a bag of songs for their first record for awhile. Every time that they wanted to showcase for someone we would do it on a Tuesday night with some regularity over a period of time. Not every Tuesday but, you know.... That first record (the self-titled debut album released in 2008 that debuted at #1 on Billboardís Top Country Albums chart) just killed for them. It was a great bag of songs. They are an all-Georgia outfit. They had moved to Nashville. Hillary (Scott) is local. Her mother lived down the street from my sister in Nashville. But they shopped that record with everyone for awhile. They had killer management and, all of a sudden, they hooked up with their (Capitol Records Nashville) deal, and that was it. They are big stars now. They put out great music.

What are the standout shows for you over the years?

Well, Chris Stapleton used to play me every Halloween. Iíve got Margo Price coming up (June 25th). Sheís the next of that kind of thing. Looking further back, we did Bernie Taupin one time. Sheryl Crow too. I was a huge Sheryl Crow fan. Why would she ever play a 500 or 500 cap venue? My buddy at William Morris said, ďWe want to book two nights is that okay?Ē I was like, ďOkay.Ē Sheís a really nice lady, and I have always been a fan. Gary Clark Jr. sticks out in my mind. Thatís just my style of music. I really like what he does.

Black Oak Arkansas also performed.

I remember that they were old guys wearing leather pants in the midst of the summer in Nashville. We were like, ďWhat about these guys?Ē

A year ago, Aersomithís Steven Tyler dropped by the club.

Itís funny, but I was not there that night. A friend of mine Alyssa Bonagura invited him out. Of course, he got up there, and did a set with her. I think (Aerosmith guitarist) Brad Whitford lives in Nashville now. Thereís a whole connection through his son Harrison (another guitarist) and Alyssa. Steven came out, and played 30 minutes. I wasnít there. I was like ďGod, I hate that I missed that!Ē Two months later, we put together a couple of shows with his ex-wife Bebe Buell, Livís mother. She had moved to Nashville (in 2014). Sheís just out there doing stuff for fun. Steven came to one of those shows which was kinda cool. But I missed him again. I saw him in New Orleans though. I used to see Aerosmith when I was a kid in Detroit at the old Masonic Auditorium. I was like a junior in high school. We were like some of the original Aerosmith fans. When you had the 8-track tapes in the car. Oh man. Thatís how I got my whole music thing. We saw anything and everything coming through. I saw Elvis. We saw everybody.

Back then Detroit was home to great music and great radio.

They had a FM station RIF, (WRIF-FM), that was my station up there that I listened to back in the day. Oh boy, there was Cobo Hall, and the Masonic Auditorium. We mostly frequented the Masonic. Just a bunch of shows there. Of course, we caught our big shows at the Cobo Hall down on the river. I think I saw George Harrison at the old ice rink there. I always loved Traffic. In fact, (Steve) Winwood has played here a few times. Never as himself, but he sat in with other people. He was living in Nashville for a while. Frampton. I just bought those $8 concert tickets, man.

You were born in Detroit?

Yeah. Iím from East Detroit, which is like a suburb. Iím a Detroit guy. Eight Mile Road, man. Ten Mile Road. Bob Seger and Ted Nugent both played my high school gym at East Detroit High School. Thatís how far back I go. I grew up in East Detroit.

When did you move to Nashville?

I moved to Nashville in 1976.

Why?

A woman. There was a gal. I was in college in Detroit, and I was playing hockey and living in a house with about 50 guys and freezing and riding buses on road trips. I was just an average hockey player getting the crap beat out of me. This galís dad offered me a job at $300 a week in 1976. That was in the era of the first video game push when everybody started playing Space Invaders (arcade machines). So I came down here and kind of monitored his arcade business for years. Then that just went away.

What were you studying in college?

I canít even tell you that I was a good college student. I was at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan on a student life scholarship. It was a small community college. I got a student life scholarship that said that I had to play a sport or be involved with some criteria to keep the scholarship. So I checked out all of the things. I was way too small for football or anything like that. I was always a pretty average hockey player in the day. They had a hockey team so I started playing with them. I played, maybe, a year and a half with those guys. Like I said I was there but I really wasnít there. I wasnít dialed into the school thing.

You realized you were no Gordie Howe.

Absolutely. No doubt about that.

You were in real estate before you bought the business that became 3rd & Lindsley cheaply at an auction? Why enter such a competitive club market as Nashville?

I really didnít sell real estate. I did lease work for some properties that were family-owned. My office was in a three-story office building on Music Row, which was full of artists and producers and music business types. So I pretty much spent my days trying to chase them down to get paid. But I did own a country and western venue (the Murfreesboro Road honky-tonk), The Stagecoach Lounge, in the late Ď80s. In the Garth Brooksí era when everybody was doing the two-step.

So you werenít a stranger to the club business?

No. The original country and western thing with The Stagecoach Lounge was my first taste of the music business, and the bar business. I bought that place off of a wrestler. There was a guy who used to work out in the same gym that I did. It was right when WWF wrestling (World Wrestling Federation rebranded as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2002) was becoming famous. He was from Czechoslovakia. He was a really big dude, and he owned this country and western bar. He came into the gym one day, and he said, ďIím getting ready to go out on the road with the WWF, and I need to sell this bar.Ē I was like, ďWell, thatís not for me.Ē He said, ďI need you to have a look at this.Ē So I went over and I talked to some people. He quoted me a price, and I offered him about half of that, and he said, ďOkay, sold.Ē

Despite paying half of what the owner wanted, why would you even think about buying a club?

Well, I had a lot of other things going on at the same time. I was probably a little naive going into it but I looked at the numbers that he was doing. Basically, in that little era of time in Nashville, country music was hot. That was in the era where everybody in the whole world was wearing cowboy boots and two-stepping and all of that nine yards. It was one of those kind of venues. They had a few hundred people and they had a huge dance floor and there was line dancing. That was a big deal back then.

All of us in the 1980s saw John Travolta and Debra Winger in ďUrban Cowboy.Ē

No doubt. No doubt. It was huge. Don Kelley was the house bandleader at this venue, and he had every stellar artist, guitar player, fiddle player...stars today, playing in his band. It was a cool vibe.

3rd & Lindsley had been a Mexican restaurant, Joseís?

No doubt. The location was, maybe, a mile from where my office was at the time. We would go over there in the afternoon, and hang out just with our friends. One day we went over there for an afternoon, and the doors were padlocked. There was a sign on the door saying that they were going to do a bidded auction with the government for the location. Myself and a buddy of mine, we bought it. We sent them an offer, a stupid low offer. We were going to auction off the equipment, and go onto to something else, and make a real profit

You two were going to flip the business?

Yeah, we were going to flip it. We were going to just take the restaurant. We had been in there enough to know the restaurant equipment alone was worth what we had gotten it for so. Then when we got in there, there was still stuff in the coolers. The landlord approached us with a deal saying, ďI would rather see something happen here rather than closing. I will let you guys get on your feet before I start charging you rent.Ē We kind of looked at each other and said, ďYou know, we ainít got much in it. Letís throw some more into it, and take a run at it.Ē

Who was your partner?

His name was Jamie Carver. He was a guy I had grown up with in Detroit. A great dude. We had shared some business things in the past. One of my best buddies. Unfortunately, it didnít work out very good. Over time, a year or so, I just bought it. Then I was on my own.

The club has had the same head chef, Willie Ewing, and doorman, Nelson LeClair, as when doors opened in 1991. And as we talked about earlier the same talent buyer since 2011.

Thatís true. Well I donít know how to describe it, but we have never gone out there, and said, ďWeíre the best.Ē Thereís not a lot of fluff regarding this venue. Itís got a lot of substance. I think that the locals and the people that are really endowed with music in town get that.

Would you agree with the description of the original club as a little hole in the wall?

We had it in our minds to do music from day one only because we both liked it. At the time, hole in the wall? I think it was a step past hole in the wall. I would hate to call it a hole in the wall. Maybe, it was one step up from that. We spent some money, and made it nice. It was tiny. I think the fact that the bands drew so many people that it was packed all of the time. Maybe, it got that description from that more than it was a dump. I donít think it was a dump. I would say that it was one step above a honky tonk. We always served food, and it has always been a restaurant day and night. So I donít know about that one.

The club has had two major renovations since.

It went from about 150 to 300 seats to about 600 seats. All of the renovations were basically because the club was so packed. Itís in a strip mall, and with each of bays, we would pick up another 2,500 feet. We moved the stage back, and we moved it again and again. It used to have a real odd layout in there. It was kind of a corner stage which we cured with the last change. The bands got so big that we built a stage extension and then we built another stage extension and another stage extension. We would build a stage right over the other one. It was a continuing growth thing.

The early sound system you used was somewhat low-grade. You later brought in Jason Spenceís J Sound Services to devise an impressive new system.

Music is our product, and we have to make it sound good. I had been introduced to NEXO (PS 10 and PS15 R2 loudspeakers) which was kind of like a European set of boxes which we ran top and bottom. They were pretty good in the day I thought. Over time, we replaced much of that with upgraded compressors, and computer systems, and what not. Right now, Iíd say that the sound is as good as any around. Itís good. Weíve spent a lot of money on sound.

After the sound upgrade you made the comment, ďWe went from a bar that had music to a music venue that happens to have a bar.Ē

We are much more a music venue now than anything else. We are a lot of different things to a lot of different people. We service our neighborhood all day long for lunch and happy hour. Then we lock the doors, load in a band, and we become a music venue.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record.

He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book ďMusic From Far And Wide.Ē

Larry is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry. He is a board member of the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, and a consultant to the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta.

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