LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Veteran independent talent buyer Ken Phebus, long a fixture in the southern California music scene, died of a heart attack on Saturday. He was 64 at the time of his passing.
Over the course of his career, Phebus promoted more than 7,000 shows, including 104 shows with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame artists.
"I think he was one of the most prolific bookers I ever knew — he just did so many deals," manager Jim Guerinot told the Los Angeles Times. "I used to tease him that he booked by the pound."
Phebus made a name for himself through the 1980s and 1990s booking talent for two well-known venues in Orange County; The Coach House in the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana. More recently, Phebus booked the 1,200 seat Sun Theatre, later renamed The Grove, as well as some independent festivals.
In one incident, recounted by the Los Angeles Times, Phebus presented a list of potential bill of artists to the board of the Orange County Fair's summer concert series. The fair's board accepted all the artists save one, whom one of the board members did not recognize.
"One of the board members said she didn't recognize the name and neither did any of her friends," said veteran L.A. music journalist Jim Washburn. "It was Norah Jones, and that was right before she took home a boatload of Grammy Awards," Washburn said. "They had egg on their face for missing out on that one. I was always amazed at what he was able to get done in spite of people." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers