Welcome to another episode of The Future of Music Podcast where we explore the future of the music industry. Today, we have the privilege of featuring an exceptional guest whose transformative journey has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Often overlooked yet undeniably influential, our guest has charted a remarkable path, from a self-sufficient 14-year-old struggling touring musician to a highly accomplished titan in the music business.
Bernard Porter’s multifaceted career spans several decades and includes collaborations with music legends like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. More recently, he has added contemporary stars like Jason Aldean to his roster. Not merely content with traditional roles, Bernard is a quintessential entrepreneur, forming high-impact joint ventures across both corporate and private sectors.
As a renowned authority in Artist and Repertoire (A&R), Bernard is also the Chairman and CEO of PCG Universal—a conglomerate with interests in record labels, talent management, and artist development. His astute business strategies have not only earned him appearances as an entertainment expert on NBC but have also made PCG Universal an industry leader in nurturing both established and emerging talents.
In our comprehensive discussion with Bernard, we’ll delve into:
– His remarkable life journey: How he ascended from a challenging early life to become an industry mogul.
– Common pitfalls for emerging artists and strategies to avoid them.
– Proven tips and tactics for succeeding in the modern music industry, based on Bernard’s extensive A&R expertise.
We are profoundly grateful to Bernard for taking the time to share his insights and experiences with us. This conversation promises to be an enlightening guide for anyone looking to understand and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry.
Stay tuned for an engaging exploration into The Future of Music Podcast, all from the vantage point of someone who has not only witnessed but actively shaped its transformation.
Thank you for joining us in this riveting conversation.
From Tragic Beginnings to Musical Salvation: Bernard’s Early Years
Our conversation with Bernard Porter reveals a profoundly resonant and humbling origin story. “For the most part, I was fatherless,” Bernard begins, delving into the tragic circumstances that shaped his early years. His experience meeting his father was a fleeting moment, one that ended in a heartbreaking loss as his father died suddenly of a heart attack while they were together. “That’s one of the few memories I have of my father,” he tells us.
His upbringing was further complicated by the absence of a consistent maternal figure. His mother, a “very beautiful, caring, loving person,” was often absent, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have to worry about my mother,” he reflects, highlighting that he was practically raising himself during these formative years.
A Guitar and a Turning Point
Amid this difficult landscape of his childhood, filled with worries and uncertainties, a transformative moment came in the form of a gift from his mother: a guitar. “That guitar changed my world,” Bernard says, describing how the instrument provided a much-needed focus and a respite from the chaos that enveloped his daily life.
The guitar was more than just an object it became an emotional anchor, a sibling, and a barrier against the dangerous temptations that surrounded him. “That guitar kept me from the things of the world that probably would’ve already taken me out,” he observes, alluding to the harsh reality that might have ensnared him otherwise.
The Power of Perspective
While Bernard managed to evade the risky influences of gang life, he developed an understanding of the “street mentality” that informs many lives. He asserts, “It’s easy for someone to say, ‘Oh, I would never get into a gang.’ But when you’re in that culture, they become your family, your protector—everything.”
This range of experiences, from the tragically personal to the socio-cultural, equipped Bernard with a multifaceted understanding of life’s complexities. “It’s almost like God put me through a series of events to show me all types of different scenarios,” he notes, adding that these experiences gave him the unique ability to relate to people from all walks of life—from investment bankers on Wall Street to individuals involved in street gangs.
Navigating Through Complex Paths
Bernard’s early years serve as a powerful testimony to resilience, adaptability, and the transformative power of music. They paint a picture of someone who has not just survived but thrived amidst overwhelming odds. As we explore Bernard’s subsequent rise to industry mogul status in the following parts of this series, it becomes evident that his early experiences provided a rich tapestry of life lessons, shaping his career and allowing him to guide others through their own labyrinthine journeys in the music industry.
Here’s part 1 of the interview with Bernard Porter:
Jonathan Boyd: So today’s guest is actually probably somebody who most people wouldn’t know about, but by the time you hear his story, you’ll be absolutely blown away.
So today we’re gonna be talking about how our guest went from being literally on his own, living his own life at 14 years old and touring as a broke musician for years, and somehow managed to become a super successful music industry mogul, who has literally worked with little Richard. Jerry Lee Lewis, and he even recently signed Jason Aldean among a lot of others.
So we’re gonna be diving into how the heck did he do that in his absolutely crazy story. Common mistakes a lot of artists coming up today make, and also, of course, some proven shortcuts that you can take for making it in the new music industry.
A seasoned entertainment executive with decades of experience, man nationally renowned for so many things, but a lot of it is, is also in that a and r expertise that you have. Super successful entrepreneur as well. A lot of high profile joint ventures across corporate and private sectors.
I mean, you have literally appeared as an entertainment expert on N B C. You’re the chairman and c e O of P C G, universal. I mean, you have so many affiliated companies including labels, management, artist development, and I know we’re gonna talk a little bit about that as well with one of those P C G Artist development, which is a true leader in career and artist development for established and emerging talents.
But again, I could go on and on. I’m just gonna instead say thank you for being here. We really are excited for this. We’ve been looking forward to having this conversation with you. And thanks for being here, Bernard. We appreciate it.
Jonathan Boyd: So, Bernard, you mentioned, you know, where you got to, how you got to where you are, and I really want to, there’s so much to talk about here. There’s so much to unpack and I really want to.
Have you kind of walk us through how you very first got started even getting into music, what got you into music in the beginning? What led to, you know, one thing obviously led to another, what happened along the way, and then how are we sitting here right now having a conversation?
Bernard Porter: Okay. Well, I for the most part I was fatherless.
I didn’t, I didn’t really know my father. I only met him a couple times. And I and then on one of the times that I actually was with him he tragically died from a heart attack in my arms. So the story starts out pretty tragically and I didn’t really know what was going on and unfortunately that’s one of the few memories I have of my father.
I could tell my father loved me. And I wish I had had the chance to get to know him, but my mother and he were separated at the time and I was over visiting whether one of these epi been, this episode happened. So I, I really never had an adolescence either because I had to go directly in from being a child to being a man.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have to worry about my mother. My mother was a very beautiful, caring, loving person, but for her to be able to take care of me and herself she had to work multiple jobs, so I didn’t see a lot of her either. So I ended up raising myself luckily you know, to kind of fast forward Through a, a lot of tough, tough years.
You know, I remember not having heat. I remember having to be in one room with blankets over the doors to keep warm. I remember worrying excessively just about everything. Until that day, my mother bought me a guitar, and that guitar changed my world. That guitar became my focus, that my, that guitar became my brother.
That be, that guitar kept me from the things of the world that probably would’ve already taken me out because all around me was where people doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it’s easy, you know, it’s easy for someone to say, oh, I would never get into a gang. But you put yourself in that culture when they become your family and your protector and you everything that they become a family to you.
I luckily was able to avoid that side, but I understand it, I understand the street mentality. You know, it’s almost like God put me through a series of events to show me all types of different scenarios so I could speak to it, you know, whether it be an investment banker on Wall Street or somebody that’s in one of the more popular street gangs.
I, I believe I could sit down with either one of them and have a conversation and make both of them think that I was real. You saying so? Mm-hmm. The, the guitar I was a natural. I put in a lot of time on that guitar. We lived out in the co we moved from Virginia to a small town in Kentucky where my mother remarried a master sergeant in the army.
That was an I awaken experience, guys. To go from no structure to a guy that’s whipping your butt if you don’t clean your plate. You know? But, you know, there’s parts of that that I appreciate it because it, any, any any, any corrections that I need to, to make on my course and me kind of trying to be the man that I thought a man was supposed to be, even though that was only a couple years they were together, it really kind of dialed me in a little bit more because of that structure that he provided.
It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t an easy situation at all, but I can tell you that I put so much time into my guitar playing that you could, people would give directions off of me, meaning they’d say, okay, I want you to go down here and take a left. You’re gonna see a farmhouse on the right. You’re gonna see a young boy on that.
You’ll see a young boy on the steps playing a guitar. That’s how you’ll know that’s the right house. Take a left. That’ll take you to town. Hmm. That’s awesome. That’s how much I was in it, you know? But from that point, we ended up moving back to Virginia because of that divorce, and I kept still active on this guitar, right?
Mm-hmm. At this point, I’m 14 years old and everybody to tell me I get, I get a job as a stock boy at a grocery store and people know I’m a guitar because I’m very proud of it. I’ve got the guitar on my t-shirt, you know. Hey, you play guitar? Yeah, I play guitar conversationally. Mm-hmm. And everybody says, you know what?
You look like a guy named Sid Hudson. That’s like he’s like the musician in Virginia, Sid Hudson. Are you his little brother? I said, no. I said, you need to look this guy up. You look like him. And he would be a good mentor. So over time, I ended up looking this guy up and we really hit it off and he really becomes my first mentor in my life.
Hmm. Now, Sid Hudson ended up being Barbara Mandrell. So in the 1970s and eighties, she was the equivalent of Carrie Underwood in the country world, and he was her musical director. So he was going back and forth into Nashville so that I had hit the jackpot with a mentor that had, who, who was the protege of Joe Pass.
Oh, wow. That’s amazing. Mm-hmm. And I know you guys know who Joe Pass is for sure. Oh, for sure. Yeah. So that’s, he would, he was basing his curriculum off of studying Charlie Parker licks saxophone, you know, Going in learning bebop, but applying that into jazz and country. And it just, his, his knowledge, and then he ended up studying under buddy Emmons for steel.
And whenever he would come into Nashville and, and what they called the super pickers would play back in the days of old Nashville when Demon’s Den was down there and all the players would get together. SSID would be up there with Phil Ball on drums and Ben Brogden on Bass and Buddy Mond Amazon guitar.
And they would take you to school, brother. They would take you to school. Okay. So one thing led to another kind of drifted up as I grew up formed cover bands. Mm-hmm. Back in the 1980s, guys, it was a vibrant time for bands. You could work seven days a week because culturally, in the 1980s, For, even from a corporate level, people would get off work on Monday and go to a club.
Mm-hmm. That was part of your life. So the bands were having a heyday. Mm-hmm. To give you a perspective on that, I was running a cover band making anywhere from five to $7,500 a week for my band with rooms in some cases. So this afforded me that I went out and bought my first silver Eagle tour bus. So here I’m big dog in it, man.
I got my own tour bus. I got my own tractor Trailer Hydraulic Light Systems. I was really investing, if I knew what I knew now about investing in that equipment, man, I had a fortune in equipment. And we were going up and down the East coast playing Orlando Myrtle Beach nags Head up in Baltimore Eastern Shore, ocean City.
And, and that was my life. I was living on the road, living in that bus, playing music, doing what I love to do to a degree. But here’s where the shift came, because I was the bus driver, the manager, the sweeper, the consultant, the problem solver, you know future man. I don’t know if you guys knew who Future Man of Bella Flack.
Yep. Mm-hmm. Okay. Oh, yeah. They’re from, they’re Virginia boys too. Victor, Reggie. I know all of them. Grew up with ’em. Okay. So when I saw Future Man in the Garage with first version of the drum guitar, I took that first prototype on the road with me. Here’s Roy Wooten back there triggering two qx, one sequencers back in the 1980s with our band.
And I’m, I’m gonna tell you gentlemen, musicians worshiped us. Most of our audience were musicians coming out, seeing what we were doing, seeing what gear we were using. How do you get that sound? How do you get that tone? We ruled out there during that time we caught the attention of Clarence Clemence from Bruce Springsteen, the sax player, God bless his soul.
That happened when we played a, a benefit show and they had to pick a band that would best be able to support him. ’cause he was coming in cold. He was a headliner. We would support band. When he got a load of us, he couldn’t stop talking about us. Matter of fact, he, when they interviewed him, he was talking about us more than he was the charity.
Like, I don’t, I’ve, I’ve seen stuff here I’ve never seen before, you know? Mm-hmm. Yeah. So things were going really well back then. And he was, he was going to introduce and introduced us to Michael Nor De Walton, who was producing Whitney Houston at the time. So we’re talking about the quintessential top producer in the industry now that’s getting ready to be brought in, into what we’re doing.
Here comes my second mentor. It was a guy named by the name of Nabeel Kasier. Nabeel. Casser brought foosball from Europe to America. Nabil Cass brought the Iron on T-shirt Business to America. If you remember in the 1970s and eighties, there was a time when we were all wearing these goofy shirts that said, let’s Boogie and all this stuff.
It was Iron On, I don’t know if you guys remember, but that that was, that was him. So he came here as an immigrant and made him himself into a very successful entrepreneur that owned hotels and restaurants and nightclubs. And I knew him because one of the major nightclubs that he had in Virginia Beach, which everybody wanted to play ’cause it was a big room, 1200 seats.
It was, you know, used to like, you know, van Halen played there on their first tour when they were just getting started. So I used to admire this guy because he, when he walked in the room, and it wasn’t all the time, but he had a presence about himself. He was stylish, he commanded respect when he walked in.
It’s almost like Nabil is here. Nabil is here. Mm-hmm. It was like a wave in the room and whenever I got the chance, I would speak to him and he’d always give me some good advice till one day I wanted to get paid and he was in the room with his manager of the venue. And he said, Porter, I’ve been wanting to talk to you.
And I go, yes, sir. Is everything okay? It kinda scared me that he was in the room. I thought one of my guys had done something wrong, wrong. He said, no. He said, I’ve been thinking and I wanna start my own company, an entertainment company to service all the venues and hotels and restaurants. I don’t know anything about music and I want you to be my partner and I’ll pay you this much money a week.
Hmm. I’ll, I’ll give you in health, good health insurance on your wife and new baby. Hmm. Change, same change going on there. And I’ll, I’ll even help you with a down payment on the house to get you settled and was like, whoa. So within two weeks I went from a long hair, makeup, wearing rock and roll, going at it music, you know, I mean, I was like, nobody would ever think that I would’ve left that to short hair suit at a desk.
Just like that, that’s, that happened now. It wasn’t the music that I was moving away from. It was the travel and the mother and the janitor and the bus driver and the pro that, that was killing me guys. Mm-hmm. It was killing me. I was six, I was six foot tall, 135 pounds. Now I looked in, I looked incredible on stage, you know, that was rock and roll.
Yeah. But it was not healthy. Sure. Mm-hmm. You know, I was burning the candle both here. So that’s kind of the first chapter. We can keep going, but I want to just see if you guys have any questions about that or…
Jonathan Boyd: How old were you at that point when you made that change?
Bernard Porter: I was 23 years old.
Jonathan Boyd: Okay. So this is pretty young still.
So how long would you say you were out there touring and playing and, and living that lifestyle?
Bernard Porter: I. I was living that lifestyle and from about 15 years old until that time. Okay. Yeah. And I, it was intense. I literally was not even home. I was like living, I was living like a gypsy. Mm-hmm. Just, just everywhere.
Just on the road full-time. My home base was still with my mother whenever I was there. Mm-hmm. But it, it, it was, it, it was like getting, going in and getting a good hot meal, getting a good night’s sleep, and right back out at it again. That’s how intense it was back in those days.
Jonathan Boyd: And that makes sense.
That makes sense of why you said, you know, you didn’t really have necessarily much of a childhood. You were actually working. I mean, you were, and you know, I know it was fun, right. Playing music is all about having fun. But you were out there on the road. You were out there doing the thing, and then 23, this big change comes along.
So take us through what happened next.
Bernard Porter: Well, I did, I did that for three years and there was one venue. Nabeel always encouraged me to get venues outside of his ownership because that would bring us additional money, like trying to go in and be a talent buyer for another type venue, which I did. We had one of the last supper clubs in America, and a supper club is a club.
It used to be a big trend from the 1960s that kind of died out in the eighties, but it’s when you would take a date to a very nice white tablecloth dinner and you would have a show, dinner and a show. That’s what a supper club was. Very, very, very ic you, you dress up. So I was booking things like the platters and the coasters and the drifters and different things for this venue.
There was a, a remarkable owner of that established, his name wasJon Paris and this is, this is another venue in Virginia Beach. SoJon and I became friends and, and we started a, a kind of a, a ritual that I would come by every Wednesday. He was Greek and we would do a, we would do a little teaspoon of minced garlic with lemon on it.
He was always healthy and he just professed that that was his secret. So on Wednesdays, I would find myself going by there doing this shot of garlic with him every Wednesday, and we became buddies and we would check out whatever act we had on stage and make sure I’d make sure everything was running good for him.
And that was kind of the ritual. So one of these on one of these get togethers, he said, you know, bin Bernard, you remind me of a guy that used to do exactly what you’re doing for me right now about 25 years ago. And he said, he’s in Hollywood right now and he big time represent all, he represents all the Hollywood stars.
He said, I was thinking about would you like to meet him? I said, yeah. So he calls him on the phone and so, He hands the phone to me and he, his name was Robert Williams. And Robert said, any friendJon’s told me a lot about you. And he said, any friend ofJon Paris is a friend of mine. If you ever wanna come out to Hollywood, come on out.
You just stay with Deborah and I, I’ll show you around ’causeJon said you, you’re a pretty ambitious guy. And I said, wow, thank you Mr. Williams. I would really love that opportunity. He didn’t know me very well because two weeks later I was there
and here I am hanging out with Jim Carey, Damon Williams all of the people on in living color. Yeah. ’cause he represented them. And just the, the, the Warner Brothers lot. I mean, it’s the first time I went to LA what a, what an incredible time way to go in and being able to experience, he lived in Marina del Rey and big, beautiful home.
And it was, you know, I didn’t wanna leave. I mean, it was like, wow. You know? So at the end of it I thought, wow, this has been a great experience. I guess that’ll, that’ll be all, that all she wrote we’re at dinner and he reaches over and he touches me on my arm and he says, you want a job? And I go, yeah. So Hollywood, here I come.
So Robert brings me out, allows me to stay with them. I started training. He had a company called Spotlight Limited Enterprises, and Spotlight was the premier comedy company, probably ever. I mean, they had everybody I. Sherman Helmsley of Good Times, Jimmy Walker, Paul Provenza, they had some musical artists like Jose Feliciano, Harry Blackstone who was like the Frank Sinatra of Magic.
They had a very primarily comedy. The focus was primarily booking comedy clubs, corporate events, and then taking those personalities, which were comedians and brokering television deals. They were masters in that world. JP Williams, who is Robert’s nephew, is the one that created the whole redneck comedy deal with Jeff Foxworthy, labeled a ca Carry.
Wow. That was, they were all clients and JP became he, he hit the big one for that. Great guy. Still a great friend. Did a favor for me a couple years ago. But iconic in that world with brokering, you know, everything from movie deals to TV deals to that type of thing. So I did that that was in 91 now, and then all of a sudden, not 19 90, 19 91, the LA riots broke out.
So that may be in thinking of me moving my wife and child there. Mm-hmm. You know, I, I loved LA and I probably, if it had been just me on my own, I probably would’ve just, you know, been fine. But I didn’t know what was going on with the city at the time. There was a lot of turmoil going on in the city.
At the same time, Mr. Williams decided they were gonna start a Nashville division and that he was going to move to Nashville. Because he knew I had a little bit of insight into Nashville because of my relationship with Ssid Hudson, my first mentor. Mm-hmm. Going into that town with him. And you know I knew Nashville pretty well at that time.
I decided that was the right move for me. So that’s how, what brought me to Nashville in 1991. So I worked under his direction as an associate partner for three, three and a half years, and then I decided I wanted to start my own company. And so I started a company called Big Fish Entertainment and went out on my own.
And that was the first time I had really ever done that. A little scary. Mm-hmm. But and, and this, this is what it gets into some of the mentoring now because that’s Tiger Charlie guys. Sorry about that.
Ryan Withrow: That’s all right. I’m a dog man. It’s okay.
Bernard Porter: And this is why I a lot of people are shocked that I pick up my own phone, you know?
I’m I’ll, I’ll determine how long I’m on it. I’ll always be nice to people, but if it’s something that I can’t do anything or it’s, I just look, good luck with you. This is not for me. Mm-hmm. And I’ve gotta go, you know, because, you know, time is our, one of our greatest assets, guys. So with that being said, when I started my new company, company, I took a phone call from a woman by the name of Sandra Swift and I didn’t know who she was.
Picked up the phone. She said, Mr. Porter, somebody told me that you could help me with this. She said, my boss has just handed me something. And he does this all the time to me and I really am not qualified, but I still have to handle it. I thought it was gonna be like booking a little birthday party or something.
I didn’t know, you know? I said, well, what is it? And she said, well, we have a company called Associated Publishers Group, which is a book publishing distribution company. We just started. We are going to be doing an event for the books Sellers convention in Los Angeles, which I’m familiar with LA at the Bonaventure Hotel.
And we, I need to produce an evening of excitement that will draw every small book publisher to our party to put a visibility on our brand so we can sign our, our objective is to sign up people to distribution. ’cause all of those people there, the young, the young book publishers are candidates for our distribution.
She said can you help me? I said, well, let me think about it. And I, so I thought about it and they wanted to get down rock and roll, have fun energy. I thought of Little Richard. Oh man. So I ended up contracting Little Richard to perform a 90 minute set at the Bonaventure Hotel. And then on the front end as an opening act, I put a group, a cover band called The Blues.
Other Brothers, think of The Blues Brothers.
Ryan Withrow: Blues other brothers such a good name, such a good name. It’s incredible.
Bernard Porter: And they were a killer corporate act, and I’m talking about horn section. And their song, their, their, their, their, their playlist is just made for dance, dance, dance get down.
So I figured the two of that, I couldn’t go wrong. Mm-hmm. So I pitched the deal. They went for it. I ended up producing everything from the the, the ornaments on the table to the security, to the production, to everything, you know, the whole look, lighting, everything. Did it all, it, it, it was close to over, over, it was nine months of my work, but they, it was about a million dollar in investment.
So from that call, about a million dollar investment. So I made, my company made about a hundred thousand dollars off of that, 10% of that. But here’s the real kicker. My mother was a huge little Richard fan and when I got his catering writer. You have a technical writer, guys, and you have a catering writer.
When you get strong out there with your career, then you can start asking, you’ve, we’ve all heard about the m and ms and that kind of thing with, with Van Halen. Mm-hmm. But when, when you get into that, you know, little Richard had certain types of teas that he wanted and certain types of honey. He wanted a piano in his suite.
And a lot of times with somebody like that, if you’re paying him what he’s asking, a lot of times they won’t blow the contract. ’cause you won’t get him the tea. He won’t, you just, you know, it’s a negotiated thing. Well, I, I gave him everything he asked for, including the piano in his suite out of respect for my mother.
Okay. And I didn’t know, you know, I, I didn’t, it wasn’t my objective to meet him, that kind of thing. I would’ve loved to have met him, but I didn’t push it. But all of a sudden, at the end of the event, the road manager comes down and said, little Richard wants to know who is the man that respected him here today.
Wow. And I said, well, I’m the one that did that. And I told him the story, but I did that for my mother. He said, well, he wants to meet you. I said, great. So we went up to the presidential suite of the Bonaventure Hotel. There he is, on all his glory. He was already at the piano, had a few people in the room, and, and, and we met.
From the moment we met, we clicked within the first 10 minutes we were singing together. If you don’t know me by now, I can remember, I can hear it right now. I was harmonizing with one the king of rock and roll, you know, and he said, but Bernard, you just, he said, we have to, we have to continue to talk. So that led me to over 12 years of doing business with that man.
Wow. Amazing. He would pick up, pick up the phone, Bernard, I need you to handle this for me. Bernard, would you call this person? You know, it, it, you know, you could say I was his manager, but there was never any kind of formal. Agreement. But yeah, I would be places with him. I’d go and you know, he still did things outside of me, but it, that’s just the way it works.
He came from a different way of doing business. So from that aspect, Richard goes to Europe with Jerry Lee Lewis in a package in about, he didn’t tell me he had done this for me, but I get a call at the house and he said this is Jerry Lee Lewis and I’d like to talk to Bernard Port. I hung up on him.
I thought it was my buddy Kevin pranking me. And then when he called back, I realized, oh my God. I said, Mr. Lewis, I am so sorry. I said, I thought that you were my buddy, Kevin Neal. He’s always, we’re pranking each other and he’s a good impressionist and he is. Oh no, that’s okay, man. He said, well he said, Richard told me Richard Penman told me all about you.
And he said, I need some help. He said, would you come down and come down to my ranch and talk to me? And I said, yeah. So I flew into Memphis, Tennessee. He had a car waiting on me, and we drove down to Nesbit, Mississippi to his ranch. And I remember them putting me in his living room. Nobody, I didn’t see anybody but the person that let me in, and he walks out with his, he had a pipe and he hit it.
It looked like he had just taken a shower. So he had his white bathrobe on, and all he said was, I want you to take over. That was it. And in my mind, it’s going, it’s gonna be crazy. This is gonna be crazy because, you know, I knew the reputation, you know, and so I had to have an honest talk. I said, look, you know, Jerry, I, you know, of course I, I want to do it.
I mean, how could you, how could I turn this down? You know? I mean, but I said, you know, we, we’ve got a lot of things we have to fix. Jerry, you have a bad reputation of not showing up. And I said, or you’re gonna promise me that you’re gonna do your best, that we can be consistent. Because he was banned at that time, gentlemen.
He was banned from Las Vegas. Wow. Not because of talent, not because of ticket sales, because he would not, they were worried he wouldn’t show up. He didn’t show up for someone one, and they banned him. So over the next three months, in addition to to, you know, getting him all kinds of events and corporate things, I was able to talk the Tropicana Hotel into giving them another chance.
So we went in and did four shows, sold ’em all out just like that. Boom. Broke, reopened Vegas again. You know, so to make a long story short, so here I am with my big fish entertainment. I am developing some young artists that, you know, I believed in. But I have these iconic artists that I’m doing business that are keeping me alive, and the light’s burning, and I.
You know, making life better. And I came up with a brand called, from Richard’s conversation. I put together a package called the Architects of Rock and Roll with Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. And this is was the angle when, when everybody, the marketing people would come and say, well, we don’t know if we’re gonna be able to sell.
You know, that’s an older audience. I said, well, it’s not an older audience in Europe because everybody’s educated. I said, you have to focus your press on the education of who these cats are. The fact that the Beatles got into the music industry because they heard little Richard go, woo, woo, woo. Because of j Jerry Lee Lewis being the first artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
This is for all intents and purposes, Abraham and George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington mm-hmm. That are still living. And when you put the focus on the media, on the educational side of what these guys brought to the table, that’s how you’re gonna fill the room. We sold out every one of those events because of that.
Stay tuned for our next installment, where we’ll delve into Bernard’s metamorphosis from a self-taught musician to a leading figure in the global music landscape.
Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and follow the Future of Music Podcast to stay updated on the latest episodes and discussions. Join the growing community of tech enthusiasts, musicians, and curious minds who are shaping the future of music in the digital age. The journey is just beginning, and you won’t want to miss a moment of it.