That is an amazing story of persistence and dedication. It worked out well? LP:
You have to know about Soft Machine and be a fan of this seminal band to understand the dynamics and excitement that propelled our conversation. We had, in hand, four former members of the band, representing different periods of the band between 1969 and 1975. After talking to just a few people and several journalist friends, we realized that this would be something more than merely "special." And after some brainstorming, we decided that the name "Soft Ware" should be changed to "Soft Works." I immediately communicated our good news to the three musicians in London, who were all very excited. John Marshall actually phoned Allan, and the two spoke for a really long time.
I was already thinking ahead and eMailed Masa Matsuzaki in Tokyo. In a matter of only 15 minutes, I received an eMail screaming with excitement: "PLEASE, PLEASE, MAKE IT POSSIBLE!"
A few days later, we received an official offer of a $50,000 record advance, with an additional sum available for a potential live record from Japan whenever the band was ready to tour there. Ken and I quickly formed a small joint company in LA and in a matter of weeks received half of the advances. What a deal! We had funds before the band rehearsed one single minute, played one single minute or even met, because three gentlemen lived in London and one in Southern California! We flew to London in June 2002 to record the album Abracadabra
So "in a few words," that's how I started both MoonJune Records and my main business, MoonJune Music Bookings, which covers my bookings, management and general schmoozing and dealing in the music business around the globe. Once the Soft Works album was recorded, it was licensed to Universal Japan, to Mascote Provogue in Europe, and to Shrapnel Records in the US. The band played its debut gig at "The Progman Cometh" Festival, in Seattle, August 2002. They toured Japan a year later; toured Italy in January and February 2004; and played their last show at BajaProg, in Mexicali, Mexico, in March of 2004. In the meantime, I toured Japan, South and Central America with PFM
in 2002, and that's how I became a tour manager!
As is the case with most everything I've done in my life, nothing can really be explained fully in just a few words or a few sentences. What happen with Soft Works, which became Soft Machine Legacy and how I started working with Allan Holdsworth, is a huge chapter in my life. And how I started being a label, booking rep, tour managerit simply cannot be explained in a few sentences, paragraphs or pages. It's more like a book, and a thick one. My life has been filled with magical and completely unpredictable moments! AAJ:
You have literally seen, and recorded, performers from all around the world. Who are some of the artists you've seen perform the most? LP:
I was very lucky to see so many shows: first as a fan, then working with musicians and booking their gigs. Booking some of my heroes was both satisfying and fun. I actually counted all the Allan Holdsworth shows I saw, and saw him perform 245 shows.
A few years ago, I took over booking duties for Tony Levin
's Stick Men
with Pat Mastelotto
and Markus Reuter
, so I've seen them close to 100 times. I saw many shows by Soft Machine Legacy. I saw the Italian prog legends PFM a lot as well. Among individual musiciansbesides Allan Holdsworth and Tony Levin, whom I have seen perform live almost 150 times across many bands and projectsthe musicians I've seen the most are probably Jimmy Haslip
, Gary Husband
, Chad Wackerman
, Jimmy Johnson
, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto, and Scott Henderson
. That's one of the best parts of working as a booking rep: In the course of working with these great musicians, more often than not, they wind up becoming my friends. Most everything that I have done has arisen from necessity, to help friends. AAJ:
What's the difference between a good performer and great performer? LP:
It's all relative, I believe. I was just talking to a friend of mine, a fairly well-known musician, who said that sometimes he does amazing shows then reads a review and the reviewer said the show sucked, and vice versa. This is a very relative thing. Take Allan Holdsworth: He almost always complained about how he didn't perform well, when, in reality, his performances were often quite brilliant. It's very subjective. What does "a great show" mean? It's very difficult to say. To me, a great performer is the one I liked and enjoyed during his performance. Basically, that's it. We all have different perspectives. Sometimes I can feel that a performance was not very good, but another person may think it's the best show they ever saw. Musical performances are a personal experience for each listener, and everyone's tastes and evaluations are different.
Of course, certain performances suck. In recent years it has been painful to watch one of my all-time favorite progressive bands, Yes
. I will not comment further other than to say that, for me, it's sad. Even so, many YES fans believe they remain an incredible, great group. Music is truly a most subjective art.