Adam Weiser on getting started in the music industry, Long Island restaurants & more
I first encountered Adam Weiser at The Vanderbilt -- a Plainview concert venue that hosted Maroon 5, Taking Back Sunday, The Strokes and The Backstreet Boys -- in the the early 2000s. After working with WLIR and The Vanderbilt, Adam moved on to The Downtown in Farmingdale. In 2005, Adam moved over to Warner Music Group, where he helped develop emerging artists. Adam made a return to the concert world in 2007, taking a position at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, where he is now Senior Talent Buyer. The AEG concert venue holds over 120 events per year and constantly ranks in the annual list of North America's best-selling concert venues of Pollstar Magazine.
No Place Like Long Island caught up with Adam about how he got his start in music, which goes back to his high school days. Adam may now be based in Jersey, but as discussed within the Q&A, he still has his Long Island roots intact.
For even more info on Adam, check out his appearance on a WRAT podcast: http://wrat.com/episodes/ep1-senior-talent-buyer-of-aeg-live-adam-weiser.
What was the first gig that you had within the live music world? Was it at The Downtown?
AW: You're starting with a very loaded question! I would actually consider my first gig to be back in high school. At POBJFK, they had an incredible radio program. Throughout my four years of high school, I was completely engaged with the station -- often missing other classes just to learn more there; thanks Stock for the hall passes! I took advantage of "working in radio" and started getting press access well beyond my age/skill level. I remember freshman year interviewing members of the New York Mets in the dugout before a game. I also interviewed Smash Mouth at Roseland Ballroom!!
After high school, I began my college education at Nassau Community College. Across the street on Stewart Avenue was Long Island's alternative rock station WLIR/WDRE. I began an internship in promotions during my freshman year. The station was also involved at The Vanderbilt -- 2,000 capacity concert venue -- in Plainview, I used every opportunity to get myself involved with concerts; mopping floors, pushing road cases, driving bands around, etc.
My internship turned into a job at WLIR, however I really gravitated towards the live side. That's where my first true job began. Dave Glicker was the programmer for The Vanderbilt. About a year into my time at WLIR/WDRE and The Vanderbilt, Dave left to open The Downtown. Shortly thereafter I went to work for Dave, and thus began my career in live music.
What exactly inspired you to pursue a career within the concert world? I mean, most people interested in a music business career seem to go towards management or production, it seems...
AW: Well, I have no musical talent whatsoever. I also have no knowledge of gear, since I don't play. Production is foreign to me. And management, I can't manage my own life let alone a group of musicians.
Understandably no two days are the same for you at AEG. But what does your job mainly entail you to do on a show day?
AW: Show day is the fun day for me; the hard work has been done. Being in a major market like the Tri-State area, it often means spending time with agents, managers and guests. Regardless of the outcome of the show, you want show day to be a great and easy day for everyone. I like to research the artists and company to see if they like specific food, drinks, and activities so we can make their day memorable.
AW: Everything -- that's what the movies and TV are for!
Is there a professional accomplishment you're most proud of?
AW: Brand New and Modest Mouse at Forest Hills Tennis Center. To date, it's the biggest headline show I've produced. I was/am a huge fan of both bands. When the opportunity presented itself to work with them on this homecoming show, it occupied my life. We sold out, 14,000 tickets instantly. I've since worked with both bands on several occasions; as we speak I'm flying home from Portland, Maine after an amazing show with Brand New and two amazing new bands, The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball.
Are you still in touch with a lot of people from your early days on Long Island?
AW: Very much so. Long Island was my home. Always will be. My first employers at WLIR/WDRE are still very good friends and we still work on projects together. Coworkers from The Downtown were at my wedding. Those years of finding myself were the best years of my life.
Is there anything you miss about living on Long Island?
AW: NOT THE TRAFFIC! I mean, it's home, it's comfortable, it's what i know best. I miss lots of things. However, going back and seeing how much has changed over time, I know it's not the same. The people, the places, everything has changed over time...
When you go back to the Island, is there a restaurant or spot you always try to make it out to?
AW: Vincent's Clam Bar in Garden City. My absolutely favorite spot -- all time.
Finally, Adam, any last words for the kids?
AW: Nothing comes easy. Nothing comes quick. Put your work in and absorb everything you can from those around you. Don't worry about the short-term, focus on long-term. This industry has a lot of outlets to find yourself in. If I stayed on a straight path I'd probably be in radio still...and well, radio...
Also, remember it's not about you, it's about the artist. We are just part of the team.