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ILMC 32: The (Late) Breakfast Meeting with Peter Rudge

Over the past week the UK media has been filled with stories alleging that minister Priti Patel has been bullying bureaucrats. And were it not for The Who’s rock opera, Tommy, it might even have been Peter Rudge who ended up being in the firing line.

In what was billed as Ed Bicknell’s valedictory Breakfast Meeting, the veteran manager revealed that he had had planned to take the exams to become a civil servant, but took a job at Track Records while he waited for the date of the test.

However, the career in government administration was jettisoned when he was dispatched to New York, tasked with finding a venue to stage Tommy. Still in his early 20s and with no contacts in the Big Apple, he consulted the yellow pages, found the number for the Metropolitan Opera House and then managed to get a meeting, which led to the prestigious concert hall hosting the show,

A hand-written proposal penned on a flight then resulted in The Rolling Stones hiring him to run their 1972 US tour. But despite the flying start, his unexpected career was hardly an easy ride.

The interview included stories of infantile demands by entitled artists, coming to terms with the fact that he was originally due to be on the fatal flight with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and being the focus of the Hell’s Angels’ grudge against The Rolling Stones.

He was originally due to be on the fatal flight with Lynyrd Skynyrd

After a gang member called ‘Big Vinnie’ hung Rudge from the sixth-floor window of his New York office (while “Mick Jagger hid in the toilet”) – and in a separate incident, two bikers sandwiched his son’s pram between their Harleys – he was persuaded by the FBI to wear a wire and entrap his tormentors.

“They [Hell’s Angels] were talking about how they were going to boil me,” he recounted of the fateful meeting with the gang at their Lower East Side HQ. “I look back and think, ‘What the fuck was I doing?’. I was 28 years old. ‘Why trust the FBI?’”

Rudge stressed that his sense of humour had kept him going through some of the challenging times and the inevitable separations with several clients.

Having managed Il Divo’s rise to multimillion-selling act, his refusal to entertain the notion of one member becoming the next Justin Timberlake let to the end of their relationship. And his split with Alfie Boe arose from his inability to appreciate the performer’s quest to realise his rock pretensions.

When Rudge was unable to get a publisher or label interested in what became Duran Duran’s comeback hit, ‘Ordinary World’, he took the decision to walk away, only to see Allen Kovac triumph where he had failed.

“The Hell’s Angels were talking about how they were going to boil me”

Bicknell recounted a more short-lived relationship with the band, when the original line-up got back together. “John Taylor said, ‘Do you think the audience will scream for us?’ and I said, ‘Only if you’re really, really bad.’ And then I lost them.”

In talking about his long-term clients, James, Rudge displayed a deep admiration and fondness for the Manchester band he has worked with for decades. He also revealed that he was inspired by Elvis’s manger, Colonel Tom Parker, and that Bob Dylan was the one artist he would have liked to have worked with.

“A manager earns his stripes when he is confronted by his artist’s failure,” he mused, describing the job as “very lonely”. “The industry moves on. You’re left with that artist and have to pick them up… and then you have to motivate the record company.”

With regards to the modern industry, he ruled out signing young acts to major labels, and believes the live industry could have ended up looking very different.

“If Bill Graham or Frank Barsalona had lived longer, I don’t know if there would be a Live Nation now,” he said.

And if Peter Rudge had taken those civil service exams, some of the world’s biggest acts might never have enjoyed global success.

 


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The final countdown: ILMC week is here

The 32nd International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is kicking off tomorrow (3 March) in London, welcoming top music industry professionals for a wide range of panel discussions, keynote interviews and networking events.

The 2020 edition of ILMC features the conference’s most wide-reaching agenda yet, with sessions looking at the agency, ticketing, venue and festival sectors, as well as exploring green touring, mental health, the Insta-generation and life after losing a star act.

This year also sees the return of Futures Forum on 6 March, a forward-looking discussion and networking event created by young professionals for the next generation of live music industry leaders.

Highlights of the ILMC agenda include the ILMC Breakfast Meeting, which sees Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell site down to interview fellow legendary artist manager Peter Rudge, and the Futures Forum keynote, featuring Team Mumford & Sons – founding band member and venue owner Ben Lovett, manager Adam Tudhope and booking agent Lucy Dickins.

The 2020 edition of ILMC features the conference’s most wide-reaching agenda yet

Elsewhere, ILMC’s main opening session The Open Forum: Universally challenged will consider the impact of Covid-19 coronavirus on the business, as well as other key topics; agents line up to discuss recent strategies for both emerging and established artists in The Agency Business 2020; urban music’s meteoric rise is examined in the Urban Legends: Hip hop on top panel; and the industry’s duty of care towards its workforce forms the centre of conversation in the Mental Health: Next steps for live session.

A packed ILMC workshop schedule will look at the impact 5G is likely to have on live music, the benefits video-sharing platform TikTok brings to the business, how to maximise the potential of digital marketing and the advantages of digital ticketing.

The first day of the conference shines the spotlight on live music production at the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) and sustainability at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI).

Outside of the conference programming, the best and brightest of the industry will be crowned at the ILMC Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner on Thursday night and delegates will go head to head in a series of activities including the It’s a Copout game show night, as well as staples of the ILMC night-time programme table football and karaoke.

ILMC takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London from 3 to 6 March. Companies supporting this year’s conference include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventim, Universe, Livestyled, Tysers, Joy Station, Mojo Rental and Showsec.

 


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Team Mumford, Peter Rudge confirmed as ILMC keynotes

Legendary artist manager Peter Rudge and Team Mumford & Sons and  have been announced as the keynote speakers at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March.

The ILMC Breakfast Meeting (Wednesday 4 March) this year features two titans of the artist management game, as Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell sits down to interview Peter Rudge, whose roster has included the Who, the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Duran Duran, Madness, Ray Davies, Anastacia, James, Imelda May and Ball & Boe.

The Futures Forum keynote, taking place on the final, youth-focused day of the conference on 6 March, will see Team Mumford & Sons interviewed by Radio X DJ John Kennedy. Founding band member and venue owner Ben Lovett will be joined by manager Adam Tudhope (Everybody’s) and booking agent Lucy Dickins (WME) to reflect on Mumfords’ journey from banjo-plucking west London folkies to global superstars.

The ILMC Breakfast Meeting features two titans of the artist management game

Elsewhere across the ILMC conference schedule, guest speakers include CAA co-head Emma Banks, UTA’s head of global music David Zedeck, Live Nation’s executive president of international touring Phil Bowdery and SVP Marketing Jackie Wilgar, Book My Show CEO Ashish Hemrajani, AEG President and CEO Alex Hill, Oak View Group co-chair Jessica Koravos and O2’s head of sponsorship Gareth Griffiths.

Last year’s Breakfast Meeting saw the Who’s Roger Daltrey take to the stage to discuss the band’s beginnings, crooked managers and his oft-strained relationship with Pete Townshend, whereas the inaugural Futures Forum keynote featured double grammy winner Dua Lipa talking about the challenges faced by women in the industry, alongside her father, Dugi.

ILMC takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel and The Baglioni Hotel in Kensington from 3 to 6 March. The invitation-only event sells out annually, with 1,200 delegates from over 60 markets attending the main conference, and a total of around 2,000 professionals expected at ILMC events across the week.

 


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