disCOMPANY’s David Salidor on Run-DMC, growing up in Baldwin, and running a PR company
More than 30 years since starting disCOMPANY, David Salidor has worked with many of the top names in the music business. But prior to leading campaigns for the likes of Run-DMC, Madonna and Debbie Gibson, David had worked with the likes of Billy Joel, Genesis, and Hall & Oates as part of The Howard Bloom Organization. Even before that, as part of London Records, David played in a role in projects for The Rolling Stones, Al Green, and The Moody Blues.
Based in Midtown Manhattan, disCOMPANY is not too far from David’s native Baldwin. He remains a New Yorker all these years later, even while many of his clients are based on the West Coast. David kindly answered some questions for No Place Like Long Island about life in PR, and can be followed on Twitter.
Who was your first client as a publicist?
DS: I started my company in 1984 and the very first client was Cory Robbins and his Profile Records, which launched Run-DMC. They were the first rap-group on the cover of Rolling Stone.
That was really your first client?
DS: I was blessed to have them as our first disCOMPANY account. They were great and I used every tool at my disposal as I thought them to be really significant artists. Also, working with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin back then was pretty terrific, too. Managers and producers like that, who take chances, are not the norm.
How did you know that PR was the career for you?
DS: Both my parents were in the business. My father worked for Decca Records and my mother owned a record store. Suffice to say, I went into the family business.
A lot of celebrities came from Baldwin, were you in high school alongside any of them?
DS: Believe it or not, I think Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. I was up at Atlantic Records -- when we repped Debbie Gibson -- one day and he came in, in full make-up, and came up to me. It was an odd moment, to say the least. But, it was Dee! Debbie comes from Merrick. So yes, Long Island has followed me around.
Baldwin, when I was growing up, had Nunley’s. Are there any spots that you miss from your childhood?
DS: Honestly, I miss Roslyn and the North Shore. I went to C.W. Post and worked at WLIR and My Father’s Place, so all those areas hold special me meaning for me. When I lived in Baldwin, I loved Nunley’s too.
What was the first concert you attended? Was it on the Island?
DS: 1967, The Who, at the Lido Beach Club in Long Beach. My father asked me if I wanted to go and I did. It was a magnificent moment for me as I knew I wanted to do what those guys were doing. Never will forget it!
What keeps you based on the East Coast? Plenty of your clients have ties to Los Angeles?
DS: I guess I’m at East Coast guy at heart. Although, to tell you the truth, I’ve wanted to move to the West Coast for decades. I started here and I guess I’ll end here.
Who is your longest-standing client?
DS: We repped Debbie Gibson for something like 11 or 12 years. We’ve been with Micky Dolenz for 11 as well. I like to say that what we do is personalized PR. We like to work closely with a client; not only what their new product is, but assess what they want to do. We visualize it and make it happen.
Who else is on your roster at this time? Anyone with ties to New York?
DS: There’s a brilliant young writer/performer from Long Island called Dominick DiPietrantonio. We just had him at Arlene’s Grocery and he was stunningly good. He’s a terrific writer and we want the right producer for him and label. We’re also working with a brilliant artist called Ingersol. She came out with a superlative debut album late last year and we’re getting her up and on the road this summer. Brilliant material and presentation.
When you're not busy with your company, how do you like to spend your free time?
DS: Really unwinding, although I must admit that I’m always working. This past weekend, we had Micky Dolenz at the Chiller Theatre Expo in New Jersey and Dominick at Arlene’s in Lower Manhattan. It never stops. When it doess, I guess I too will stop.
Do you have a favorite restaurant on Long Island?
DS: Actually I do, Frank’s [Steaks] near Westbury Music Fair. Awesome food!
Finally, what do you wish more people knew about Long Island?
DS: That the Island has, and has had, such a rich, musical legacy. From Debbie Gibson to Billy Joel, to the late Nassau Coliseum, My Father’s Place, WLIR, and Ultrasound Studios. It’s quite a legacy.