From the End of the World

I like documentaries better than almost any movies. And I like non-fiction and history to read.

Showtime had really a great documentary on tonight:  From the End of the World, about the final tour last year of one of the world’s most popular groups.  It didn’t glorify them as indiviuals, and by the end you felt great compassion for them as they disbanded.

After having virtually nothing to do with the music business other than enjoying it during my Derby years, it virtually became my life and lifeblood for over 25 years that I was in the computerized ticketing business. I wanted to know all about it, so I made friends and worked with virtually all the clubs, venues, and promoters in Northern Califonia.  I heard Huey Lewis and the News at their very first date at the Old Waldorf, saw Prince at the Keystone, and the list of acts could go on and on as at the time most performers and groups played the clubs or the smaller venues like the Fillmore or other places where promoter Bill Graham presented them.

Then for some unkown reason I was asked to be ticket manager and advance person for the secret Roller Thunder Revue tour through the Northeastern US, featuring Bob Dylan (actually the promoter), Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn and others and saw the mechanics of a tour, so different from when we toured with Roller Derby.

And when I was back in the Bay Area I tuned in to what the FM stations and AM rock stations were playing and subscribed to all music publications so I would know who the artists were, often before they even toured so they could either be our clients or we could sign up the venues they might play in……I can honestly say that there wasn’t an artist from Rhythm and Blues to jazz, Rock and Roll to Punk and Country that I didn’t have a good idea what their popularity and ticket selling potential would be.

I would pour over the weekend papers and counter-culture publications to get an idea of who would be the next big act, and at that time the club scene provided a huge share of our ticket sales.  And through the popular club (long gone) Keystone Berkeley, the Hells Angels found me and for several years I promoted their outlaw country acts:  Willie, Waylon, Merle, etc.

Well finally in the late 90s my days ended with BASS and Ticketmaster, and I purposely wouldn’t look at the publications or listen to the radio to keep up with the music scene……I loved he fabulous Days on the Green, seeing Prince at the Forum in LA, Madonna at Madison Square Garden, backstage with Elton at the Universal Amphitheatre, but it was because my work required it…

I still listen to the music I like, and when the Stones tour I try to see them but damned if I will pay $500 for a ticket.

So that what was so strange about this wonderful documentary I saw; it was about a group of ex-djs who played electronic music that was rave oriented and drew crowds of 30,000 to 60,000 everywhere they went on this final tour.

Their name was Swedish House Mafia, and I had never heard of them.

So I guess my abdication was effective.

Who is Fernando Reguerio and what is his crazy marketing scheme?

This last week I was in the Chicago area for Brown Paper Tickets.

And a highlight was certainly my visit with the (USARS) Chicago Red Hots and their general manager Fernando Reguerio. After a great career as a professional soccer star, he had a long relationship with the Windy City Rollers, and his wife is the fabulous Kola Loka, but that is not what this is about. I do not intend to reveal all of his marketing strategy, but he intends to use so many interesting techniques and programs to increase interest and attendance for the team’s games. He also has found a way to eliminate drama, allow the players to make some money and more, but you have to contact him to find out about that.

And he has reached out to both Brown Paper Tickets ( and me to utilize the services that we provide to everyone (but so few ask!). And of course as a former Roller Derby promoter (hello, out there!) I will do as much as I can personally to help him succeed.

Do you know who Bill Graham was (no, not the televangelist Billy Graham), but the man who invented the Rock and Roll concert and touring business. As head of BASS Tickets I was fortunate (?) enough to have worked with him, and he never took his eye off of the ultimate object. Here is his quote about the concert, entertainment and sport business:

“It starts with the ticket. I ask myself how I would like to be treated when buying a concert ticket…and EVERYTHING else evolves from there”

I am not going to get involved in the argument of whom the teams are skating for: themselves or the fans. I will only quote the genius of Bob Noxious who has worked with dozens of leagues in many countries: “Once you have decided to charge admission to your events, you are in the entertainment business”.

Now we at BPT will work with you if you ask for help in promotion, marketing, donations, fundraising, maximization of your tickets sales and more and more. And we have been judged the best ticket company to work with (and it doesn’t cost you anything!) by a number of independent organizations, and our customer service is unmatched. We recently received an “Oscar” for our 24-hour live service from the organization of ballet companies in the San Francisco Bay Area (we are not just about Derby).

Now to Bill Graham’s quote: have you carefully thought out the presentation of your event, how the public is engaged, the professionalism of your attraction and will the public love it? do you survey, use the resources for in-depth analysis from your ticket company, and on and on.

So, I have promoted over 3000 Derby games, sport events (including soccer), concerts and more. And recently I was asked to help from two different leagues (be still my heart!). And Bob who of course is with BPT also is available, and Michelle Sunnyday with us also skates Derby.

It is absolutely amazing to me that with revenue being so essential to the survival of most leagues that ticket sales, marketing, promotion often are on the back burner……and many of the many hundreds of leagues that utilize us do not maximize our resources……we are so unusual in that the better you promote us, and use us, the more revenue you receive……and I can give you a little secret on how to immediately sell more tickets for your upcoming game after the present one.

And if you are coming to Rollercon do not miss our seminar on all aspects of presenting and promoting successful Roller Derby…Bob and I in room 114 at 2 PM on July 24.

And if you are not using us, I can honestly say as the former founder of BASS Tickets and the Executive Vice President of Ticketmaster, that you are not maximizing your potential reach to customers, old and new.

Yes, today’s Derby for many is “for the skaters by the skaters”, but how about a little help from your friends?

And by the way, when you walk into Fernando’s hideaway in Cicero, the fans are treated so well and are so happy, but the main thing is the game is so exciting all the way through….In the long run, it is the event that attracts, brings in the fans, and hopefully brings them back.

Has your attendance declined? time to re-evaluate.

and here are some photos by Gil Leora from last Saturday’s game at Cicero… players standing around….full engagement by the players and by the fans.


Oh, I am, and Bob is……that is all you need to know, except for

why we all need a Glide

Jerry Seltzer.

I went to church today. Please click the link above to see where I was.

Now if you know me at all you know what I have expressed about organized religion: not all bac, but those that seem to use prejudices to try impose their thoughts on people……whether anti-gay, anti-science, anti-black, whatever; or use a television pulpit to spout their garbage and rake in millions.

I will tell you about Glide Memorial in San Francisco, probably the most unique church anywhere, so we say “only in San Francisco?”

Of course there is a back story. When I came back to the Bay Area after 10 years in Santa Monica with Ticketmaster, I found out I had been “volunteered” to Glide to help with their 30th anniversary celebration. They had on their board the founder of Esprit, VP of Bank of America and more of the same……what they needed was a promoter. So I found a venue, the Masonic in San Francisco, arranged for ticket sales, advised them on promotion and a different kind of fund raising. Cecil Williams (more on him in a little while) was able to get Robin Williams, Bobbie McFerrin, Mayo Angelou and many more and put together a great evening….about $300,000 was raised.

Now Cecil had come to the City 50 years ago, a young Methodist Minister from Texas, where his father had served as janitor in the Church. He was designated to take over Glide Methodist Church in the heart of the Tenderloin (a bad area) in San Francisco….Right away the congregation (what was left of it) could see he was a different kind of church leader.

He took down the huge crucifix in the sanctuary, explaining this was to be a place to worship a living God…..and he did so much more.

For those who saw the Will Smith movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” Cecil played himself as Will and his son, homeless, needed a place to stay and to start a new life….Cecil is the man with the beard who encouraged him.

Today Glide serves the people as a huge community enterprise. The main purpose is to serve all people of the community, no matter what their condition or status. The motto: “Our God loves everyone”. They have a $17.5 million budget….just think what they could do with the $135,000,000 that sleaze of the magachurch in Texas who just resigned had on hand.

about 3000 are served food daily. There is rehab, programs to get people off of drugs and alcohol, women’s programs and shelters for victims of abuse and more…these are headed by Jan Kiritiami, who he married in 1982….and there is a brand new building next to the church for women’s services. And adult programs, and programs for juveniles…..I wish there were 1000 Glides across America…I haven’t even scratched the surface of what they do, with love, and contributions. There are 12,000 members of the Church, including many of the famous, who are likely to show up any Sunday morning.

The service was just marvelous; one of the best bands in the city, the Glide Chorus, and individual singers and speakers made the hour and 1/2 “entertainment” spin by…..No quoting heavy passages of the Bible (yes, some were quoted) to scare the hell out of anyone that if they don’t support their religion they are doomed; it was so uplifting and the wonderful mixed audience of street people, those regulars, and all categories such sang and held hands and hugged each other….not knowing the path that brought them there but just happy to be part of it. And all invited to be part of the wonderful things that Glide does for the community.

In 2000 the Quakes of Rollerjam came to San Francisco to do some press appearances, arranged by the marvelous Rosemary O’Brien from CBS. We took them all to Glide and that was probably their best experience in the City. Stacey Blitsch, the wonderful skater, sat there with tears rolling down her cheeks….I guarantee you that the BAD girls and other Derbyites have been to Glide.

Make it a point to come to San Francisco, go to the corner of Taylor and Ellis on Sundays at 9 am or 11 am. It will be good for you. It was for me.

And for those of you who are harassing or bullying (the subject of so much what I put out here the last few weeks) and employing just bad behavior…..I hope you make a special trip to the city by the Bay.

Thunder Road, Etta James, Judi and me

The good news: Frank Deford’s classic 5 Strides on the Banked Track is coming out as an ebook on March 25, and this was the night he and Willie, and Roger Ebert, The Smothers Brothers, and my “friends” roasted me……too damn many memories to keep track of.

Thunder Road is a teenage drug and alcohol center in Oakland that is so much more.  It includes family counseling activities and training for life.

My friend, Joel Selvin, rock critic for the San Francisco Chronicle went to the center to help establish a music department and ended up being a huge supporter.  He put together an annual “Roast and Jam” at San Francisco’s oldest nightclub and invited local celebrities to be “roasted” and local musicians, who probably had similar problems as the kids, to perform.  He was able to have Van Morrison, Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis, the Doobies, and on and on show up.  And Herbie Herbert, manager of Journey, became a mainstay of the roasters.

Bill Graham, Joel, Sammy Hagar and others were roasted, and I think Joel ran out of victims and asked me to be skewered.  I was an easy target because my computerized ticketing company…

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