10 Questions with ... Warren Christensen
November 30, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Geffen Records for 11 Years, Interscope Records for one year, and the past 11 years at Q Prime/Volcano/Jive Label Group/Mom + Pop
1. How did you become interested in the record business?
My Mother booked all the talent at the Fairmont Hotel in SF, and I grew up going to all kinds of crazy shows that really helped with my musical knowledge. She met my Step Dad Dino Barbis at a show when he was doing local promotion. Soon after I was going to dinner with radio station PDs and MDs of all formats when I was 12 years old. I had to be in the music business I was practically bred for it.
2. It has been an incredible year for you with #1 Alternative songs from Muse, Cage The Elephant, and The Black Keys. What are you most proud of from 2010?
We all love success with our artists as that was it all about, but my favorite part of the year is the team we have built inside and outside the company and how well we all work together. With our killer Q Prime West Coast office of Michelle Munz, Erica Collins and crew, Devin in our Nashville office, Erin Gellert now in Cleveland, and Trina Shafer in NYC it feels like we are so strong! I am excited that we get to hire promotion people in Boston and Texas in 2011. We are now partnering with the dynamic duo of Bill Burrs and Jeff Gillis for all of the Jive Records projects, and I just feel like we have everything so covered on the Jive Records side like a shut down cornerback (that was a football analogy Michelle). The crew at Mom + Pop and Q Prime are the best in the industry and make us look good every day. Then you add the phenomenal relationships we have with all our Q Prime band's labels, like over at Warner Bros with Ron Cerrito, Rob Goldklang, Heather Like and crew is just second to none and beyond amazing. We are able to win because we all work so hard together at such a high level. That is how you hold #1 at alternative for 33 weeks in one year and we still have a few weeks at #1 before the year is out! AWESOME TEAM!
3. What is the toughest part of your job and what may surprise people the most about your day-to-day responsibilities?
The toughest part is just juggling all the priorities from airplay to tours and all the efforts to market our bands. One thing might be the number of calls I get from Lars Ulrich asking me about what song just played on a radio station and I have to check Real-time BDS for him. Aaron Axelsen your New Music Show is killing me! More back selling!! (LOL)
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
Breaking bands and working with such talented people!
5. How has the PPM and MScore changed the way you choose singles and promote your music?
It has just slowed the general process down and everything just takes longer. You just have to go in to any project now knowing a record is going to bounce around a lot more than ever before. You will be up 80 plays every week for four weeks and then down one week and then up 20 spins the next and then up 150 plays following that week. Records just hop around more, but the good thing is that most programmers do not obsess about the charts and believe in the records they are playing.
6. Tell us about the launch of Mom + Pop Records?
This one is easy! Start with the genius of Michael Goldstone (Pearl Jam, Regina Spektor, Rage Against The Machine, Cage The Elephant, Buckcherry, Metric, Tegan And Sara, and a ton of other killer bands) and add a great team around him, throw in all of Q Prime's assets and talented people, and put Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch at the top and you have a force to be reckoned with! This is the most exciting new project I have ever been associated with in my career.
7. What new projects do you have high expectations for in 2011?
Obviously, Cage The Elephant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Black Keys. The bands that are going to bust out in 2011 are Sleigh Bells & Freelance Whales, and new Metric on Mom + Pop, and Foals and The Big Pink on Q Prime. The best part of working here is we add new incredibly talented bands every day to our roster so I may need to amend this at any moment.
8. I think everybody knows how much you love wine so what would surprise people most about you?
I love the weather and have a full tilt Weather Gauge by me with 4 thermostat read outs, wind, UV Rating, Rain, the whole thing! Yes I know I live in LA and the weather never really changes much, but I can't help myself.
9. Do you have a favorite market you like to visit and why?
San Francisco!! My home town and it is only 45 minutes from Napa Valley.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ____________?
Green tea and my assistants.
What are your hobbies?
UCLA Football, Wine, fishing, BBQ (smoking and grilling), working on our house, and just being with great friends.
Last non-industry job?
Sine Qua Non
First record ever purchased?
First concert without my parents was Willie Nelson. I saw Johnny Mathis with my parents at the Circle Star Theater.
Favorite band of all-time?