Mark Hyman Interview
(Booking Agent To The Stars)
Mark Hyman is the “Booking Agent To The Stars”.
When I interviewed him in 1986, he was working for D.M.A. (Diversified Management
Agency). His clients at that time included some of the best known “names” in
the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal World.
These days Mark works for Paradise Artists whose clients include Eric Burdon,
Bad Co. Golden Earring, The Fifth Dimension, John Kay And Steppenwolf and Tommy
But, let’s travel back in time to 1986, for a behind the scenes look
into the inner workings of the music business.
Q – Mark what acts does D.M.A. book?
A – The agency represents roughly 40 major international touring attractions.
My personal responsibilities are for Autograph, Quiet Riot, King Kobra, Kick-Axe,
Tony Carey And The Romantics, The Guess Who and Urgent. The rest of the roster
consists of John Parr, Alvin Lee, Scorpions, Golden Earring, Angel City, Armored
Saint, Duke Jupiter, Bullett, Export, Nick Gilder, Grim Reaper, Highway Chik,
Gene Pitney, John Mills, Le Mans, Poison Dollies, Girlschool, Tarzen, Tobruk,
Santers, Nazareth, Ya Ya and Urgent.
Q – How much of a role does an agent play in the
success of one of his clients?
A – Principally, our job is to comprehensively book the bands in personal
appearances that not only expose the highest rate of visibility each attraction
consistent with it’s popularity, but, also to book them in such a way
as to enhance the future of their careers. So, what we try to do is pick and
choose those kinds of tours or we package in-house; one act with another, so
as to develop the career through personal appearances in-tandem with the release
and development of record product of each artist. The whole key is coordination.
It really is team work. A lot more than most people realize. The personal manager
is like a chess player. He’s moving certain pieces on the board. One
piece is the record co. One piece is the agency. One piece maybe the public
relations agency and of course the band is the key. The bottom line is, it
varies from attraction to attraction how much input and direction will be taken.
D.M.A. is very fortunate. Our clients, almost without exception really listen
and pay attention to the professional input of the agents at D.M.A. You’re
talking about people who maybe have over 100 years of experience!! You’ve
got a considerable amount of experience and background on all levels. I was
part of the backstage crew at the Woodstock Festival for God sakes. I go back
a long way. I was Journey’s agent for a couple of years. I was booking
E.L.O., Average White Band, the original Guess Who. I’ve been with D.M.A.
since 1978, and I find the agency to be one of the most well organized, hardest
working groups of people that I know of in the business. I’ve worked
at Premier Talent, William Morris, Associated Booking and the Heller-Fischel
Agency. In answer to your question, I would say we have a considerable amount
of input and direction. We really address ourselves to the teamwork concept
and really spotlight in our thinking the careers of all of our artists.
Q – What can you offer an act that William Morris,
and I.C.M. (International Creative Management) can’t?
A – In Show business, there are different kinds of agencies. I.C.M.,
William Morris, are probably the only existing old war horses from the old
school of agenting around. They really make the bulk of their income on motion
picture and television packaging, and literary fields. They are agencies that
are involved in a number of aspects of Show business. These people are power
brokers for the most part. You’re talking about I.C.M. and William Morris,
about agencies that have offices if not all over the country than indeed all
over the world. As a result, because of their largeness, the more personalized
and specialized treatment is totally, shall I say de-emphasized. You gotta
be a Big Fish in that Big Pond or the likelihood is you’re not going
to get total satisfaction. We are more like the brain surgeons of the world.
We specialize. We are specialists in one field and one field only, and that
is Contemporary music through the format of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Q – What do you need to know before you’ll
sit down and talk business with a promoter?
A – That the promoter is professional enough, credible enough and financially
secure enough to do a proper job for the client you’re risking putting
in his hands for one or more nights.
Q – And how-----do you find all of that information
A – You do so by research with a new guy. Obviously, we endeavor to work
with established guys. We will, on rare occasion, because we don’t like
to limit trade, but, we like to be loyal, work with new promoters. New promoters
are like up and coming rock ‘n’ roll stars. You can’t live
without ‘em. A great promoter is a very rare breed of animal and maybe
a dying breed some would tell you. An excellent promoter can take my hat over
here and make it the most exciting thing in the city of Detroit. That’s
what a marvelous promoter does. There are very few of those people. Mostly
today you have producers, people who buy ‘names’, run ads, and
sell tickets. There are a good 20, 30, 40 promoters who if they believe in
something can really take and interest and do something for an artists’ career.
New promoters are seriously researched and quite frankly it becomes trial by
fire. The first time out, we make not unreasonable, but, I would say somewhat
exceptional demands of that promoter. For example, we require 100% of the money
up front because we don’t want our acts sitting out there not getting
paid. There with us for that kind of protection. And with the established promoters
we require 50% of the money in advance. Now this is money that goes into escrow,
payable to the act after their performance.
Q – How do you know what city to book an act in?
A – We attempt to go to market places where the record sales pulse or
the radio airplay pulse or preferably both are either existent, building, or
strong. We work with the record co. and management. We watch the press. We
have a lot of sources of information. We may have to introduce the band and
take the risk that business is not going to be sensational. You gotta take
the gamble. If you don’t scratch the surface, you can’t get into
Q – If you can’t get along with a group’s
management, will you continue to work with that group?
A – It is germane to the successful career that an agent and manager
be able to work productively together. That doesn’t mean that you’re
always kissing and hugging. There’s a lot of give and take-----and push.
I’ve had managers raise their voices to me-----and vice-versa. That happens.
That happens in any relationship, including marriage, especially in my marriage.
(Laughs). It happens a lot. If the results are productive and we’ve realized
some sort of significant growth and success, it’s what I call upwardly
mobile relationships. Its upwardly mobile programs. There’s no such thing
as standing still in this business. If you’re standing still-----you’ve
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