10 Questions with ... Art Phillips
July 15, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Put KILO/Colorado Springs on the air in 1975 - MD and afternoon drive; Album Network Music Director 1983-1990; Hollywood Records, RCA Records and Vanguard Records until 2011. Started Art Phillips Music Marketing in 2012.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
After many years at KILO radio in Colorado Springs and then a good run at the trade publication Album Network, Brenda Romano gave me the opportunity to head up the promotion department at Hollywood Records and I took the leap. It seemed a natural progression to go from radio to the trades to record promotion.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I was lucky to grow up on Philadelphia radio. WIBG (Wibbage) featured Hy Lit and The Geator - Jerry Blavat. Then WFIL signed on and also did a terrific job of playing the hits. I was lucky to be exposed to radio that didn't compartmentalize. Looking at a 1967 WFIL Famous 56 singles playlist, you had the Beatles, Bobby Gentry, The Doors, Jay & The Techniques, Supremes, Boxtops, Hollies, Peter Paul & Mary - such diversity! And of course, real underground radio a few years later with WMMR.
3. Tell us about your days at radio.
Signing on KILO in the mid-'70s was a thrill. Nobody in Colorado Springs was really rocking, so we quickly filled that void and became the No. 1 choice. Pulled a 19.3 share 12+ one book! We reacted to everything around us, taking chances, flying by the seat of our pants, with a mission to be trusted. We played everything from AC/DC to Elvis Costello. It was a fun time and we truly owned the market.
4. After your experience at various record labels, what prompted you to step out on your own?
After the 11 1/2-year run at Vanguard and good years at RCA and Hollywood, it was time to hang out my own shingle and take what I'd learned to become my own boss - to have the flexibility to work projects I was excited about. I didn't realize how much I'd enjoy working for myself; it was time.
5. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
Affecting popular culture has always been the big payoff for me. Hearing Alabama Shakes "Hold On" on the radio ... I never get tired of having helped make that connection. Helping to develop bands to become part of the fabric of a radio station; there's nothing more satisfying.
6. What is the toughest part of your job?
Getting people to LISTEN. There's so much music available, just convincing people to check something out can be challenging.
7. What has been your biggest career highlight?
Rescuing Bruce Springsteen from the Loaf and Jug in Woodland Park, CO, after his and his crew's jeeps broke down, and delivering them to Barry Fey's house in Denver, was pretty amazing. What a night! Bruce told some great stories on the ride up (and we broke down two more times!). Meeting U2 on their first U.S. tour was also very special. As was shaking Keith Richards' hand. I was so nervous, I spilled my drink. Keith said not to worry; he'd been around spilled drinks before.
8. Biggest change that you'd like to see in the business?
Really loved what Tom Petty did at Henry Fonda Theatre in LA - a series of small shows. Seeing bands you love in small venues makes the music experience so much more intense. The big stadium shows seem so passé now.
9. What would surprise people most about you?
I'm a big-time fiction reader. I've always got a book going. I guess it was the million miles I did on United doing promotion. Strap me into a seat and put a light over my head, I'm going to read.
10. If you were to leave the record business today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
A book "ripper." Reading novels to develop into screenplays for movies - I would love that.
Last non-industry job:
I can't remember. Wait! I was a cab driver in Colorado Springs before I officially got into radio.
First record ever purchased:
I think it was a Four Seasons album. Might have been The Stones "Satisfaction" single.
Soul Survivor at the Lambertville Music Circus. Expressway to your Heart!
Favorite band of all-time:
The Rolling Stones
Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
Fresh ground coffee.