10 Questions with ... Ed Brennan
July 8, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- October 01-March 04: Elektra Entertainment Group, Pop/Operations Assistant (NY)
- March 04-April 05: Atlantic Records, Pop/Operations Assistant (NY)
- April 05-February 06: Artemis Records, SW Regional (Dallas)
- March 07-December 12: Wind Up Records, Mid Atlantic, later Northeast Regional (Richmond, VA).
1. How did you become interested in the record business?
Rock music was absolutely the first love of my life. When I was 18, I got a summer internship at Elektra and part of the job was to pass out the release schedule. Every time I went down to promotion, it always had so much vibe. I knew I wanted to work directly with artists and go on the road but I had no idea they paid people to get songs on the radio. When I graduated college, Jon Lewis and Rana Kaplan gave me my first job as an assistant and I am forever grateful to them.
2. What stands out the most from the past seven years at Wind-Up?
Being completely honest (and cheesy), the mentors I've had. When I was hired, I was out of the business for over a year after being downsized at Artemis. I only had 10 months of regional experience so I was basically a rookie. When working for Shanna Fischer and Lori Anderson you better have your stuff together but they both command respect with class and grace. I am a better promotion person for having worked for them. Alan Galbraith and Drew Hauser were part of the promotion team who gave me my shot and now they are GM and SVP, respectively. I joke that Drew is the "big brother that I never wanted" but that is a testament to our close relationship. He is not only a boss but a mentor and friend as well. Alan is a role model who started as the Texas Regional and is now GM. Both men are well liked and I remain very humbled by the opportunity they gave me. I also want to give a shout out to Lorraine Caruso for being a "cerebral assassin" along with Fred Shade &and Michael Starr for taking me under their wings.
3. What may surprise people the most to learn about the label?
That we're privately owned by one person. In 2014, Ed Vetri became our sole owner after being with the company for almost 10 years. He still believes in the rock music but he is looking towards our future. We're not the "Creed" label anymore. While we're proud of our history, we are determined to be well balanced at all formats and break artists that sound contemporary. We're really excited about our roster of young artists such as Civil Twilight, Young Guns, The Griswolds, Jillette Johnson, The Revivalists, Crobot and many more.
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
Getting an add and hearing one of our artists on the air. With playlists being so tight along with corporate consolidation and nationalized programming, there is less space dedicated to new music. Radio doesn't just look to see who else is playing the record when making weekly decisions on music but they also consider what sync opportunities the band has, the tour they may be on, stream/Shazam numbers, etc. As a label comprised of mostly "baby" bands now, it is extremely important to be competitive in all aspects.
5. What is the toughest part of your job?
Not only are promotion departments smaller but our friends in radio are now wearing so many hats. Years ago, programming consisted of a PD, MD, APD, and AMD who were all off air. In the current climate, most PDs are programming two stations plus an air shift and are LUCKY if have an APD or MD. Additionally their on-line/social networking initiatives are just as important as the on air component. When you factor in that they have a fraction of the staff they used to, traveling is more important than it's ever been. With territories getting larger and budgets getting smaller, it takes much longer to build quality relationships.
6. Where is your favorite market you like to visit and why?
When I am on the east coast that would be NYC and Philly because that means I am close to home. On the west coast, I love San Diego...no explanation needed for that one!
7. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______?
IPhone and coffee
8. What has been your biggest challenge since being promoted and moving out to the west coast?
When I was hired there were 14 of us and now our department consists of five. This is still a relationship built business and from early on, I learned that relationships get built on the road and not through emails and phone calls. My first year at Wind Up, I was on the road constantly but since the territory was much smaller I was able to visit radio without having to sacrifice the work/life balance and stay close to budget. I feel extremely fortunate to have an owner & GM that understand the importance of being on the road and I've done A LOT of traveling this year. With the West Coast region being so large as well as National Alternative duties, I haven't been able to spend the amount of time with my new programmers as I'd like to.
9. What do you like best about living in Los Angeles?
I was here five days when I called my mom and told her that I was "never coming back." All the clichés: the weather, beach, the pretty ladies and while it's more laid back than NYC, it has a similar "pulse" to it.
10. What would surprise people the most about you?
I like loud/heavy rock music, have multiple tattoos, and come across like a typical New Yorker at times but my values are pretty traditional.
What are your hobbies?
Hanging with my dog, going to the beach and concerts, watching the NY Yankees win championships while the Buffalo Bills constantly find new ways to break my heart.
Last non-industry job?
In 2006 after we got laid off at Artemis, I sold sub-prime home loans at Countrywide.
First record ever purchased?
Skid Row's self-titled debut
Guns N Roses, Metallica, Faith No More on 7/29/92 at Giants Stadium
Favorite band of all-time?
Guns N Roses. I still remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Welcome to the Jungle.
Where were you the first time you heard Welcome To The Jungle?
I was 10 years old and listening to Paula Abdul with my sister. We had just gotten a CD player. My stepdad came home and asked "what is this crap?!" He took out a disc, I heard the first few bars of Jungle and I was hooked. It's why I bought "the white leather jacket."