Category Archives: ECE Culture

From the Desk of Doug Daniel: How ECE’s CEO Blends Work + Passion

I love music. I really do. It’s why I do what I do. I love listening to it, watching it live and playing it. My everyday is full of at least two of those. I love the bands we represent at ECE. I am constantly blown away by the musicianship and entertainment of them all. I’m sure many of our presenters are busy dancing and socializing and that’s what we want, but I see ‘em! I hear ‘em! That tiny, very insignificant little drum fill or bent note… I hear those, too. And it’s the best. It is an honor every day to come in here and help lead a team of the best people we can assemble to take care of our artist family, who then, in turn, takes care of their families.

I was hooked at an early age. Saw some bands, learned how to play drums and guitar… and I was ruined for life. I can still remember the shows I saw as a teen at the old Charlotte Coliseum. Standing on seats, waiting in line (because all shows used to be festival seating back then !@#$), and coming back home so deaf that it took a couple days to bounce back. In fact, as an adult, they eventually renovated that coliseum. I bought those seats to look at every day as a reminder of how it felt to be a kid leaving my house for this other world that rolled into my town and having my hair blown back.

But as fun as all of that is and as lucky as I am to be able to make a living associated with the very thing that knocked me out as a kid, we all need diversions. We all need that time to take a deep breath and listen to the air coming in and going out. Because working in your passion often requires you to grab a few more passions as a break. For me, there are three things. Guitars, reading, and movies.

I keep guitars in absurdly conspicuous places at home and at the office. I figure if they are in the way and I have to walk around them, then I may as well pick one up and play it. Playing is the true definition of meditation to me. My brain goes to that place where it is in idle. Not off and asleep and not going 100 mph like at the office. But idle… completely engrossed in that moment and blocking out all of life around me.

Reading does the same thing for me. I get to go to another world, live in a story, and be taken to a place that is far away. Now, as weirdly poetic as I’m trying to make this sound in my crude writing style, I have to admit that I am not reading any high brow masterpiece that promises to save the world. Remember, I’m still just a musician, so my favorite books are all about bands, musician biographies, old Hollywood, Bowery punk scene in NYC, etc. I could go on and bore you forever. But that’s the stuff I like.

I want to tell you about the book I just finished because you need to check it out. It was Noel Monk’s Runnin With The Devil. He is the former road manager for the Sex Pistols, then Van Halen, and later became Van Halen’s manager. Now, whether you like or ever even knew of Van Halen, you gotta still read this book. I could tell you about the road stories of excess and indulgence and those are great. I could tell you about the sheer goliath task of making it in the record business and then even greater task of staying there and that’s great too. But you gotta read this book because it is a testament to grit, hard work, patience and the political line I think we all walk each day to survive in our careers. Go get it or download it. Go ahead. Seriously. I’ll wait.

Ok, you back? So speaking of grit and hard work, you have to check out The Defiant Ones on HBO. I know I said earlier that movies are the last part of this three-headed relax and chill part of Doug Daniel. I count documentaries as movies. And, like I mentioned earlier, the music ones are the best. If you haven’t heard of The Defiant Ones yet, it chronicles the professional and personal lives of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. From Jimmy’s beginnings in the studios with the likes of John Lennon and Springsteen to Dre’s childhood and NWA to the founding of Interscope Records and their partnership in Beats, this four-part doc series covers it all. And it will knock you out.

Like the book above, there is plenty of splash. From a front seat to the whole East Coast/West Coast thing to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, the piece I keep coming back to is this meaning that continued to shine through. The meaning of two people who found success by having an unbelievable passion for music and an insane work ethic. That’s what separates these guys. Their unwavering conviction and drive to make their lives what they were passionate about. And I loved it.

And maybe that’s a good place to wrap. Like the famous quote from the legendary basketball coach, Bobby Knight: “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Those dudes had it. And in my attempt to relax and be diverted, I ended up coming right back to being inspired to be great. To play the game and to play it fairly and with integrity, but to play to win it.

So that’s it. Until next time, my wish for you is that you listen to your soul and feed it in times of needed relaxation. Also, that you know what has that ability to do that for you so you are able to then go out and do it. You might even find inspiration that you were driving 100mph in the daily grind to reach.

Later!

Stephanie Flury

As the marketing director for ECE, Stephanie is a strategizing, storytelling, analytics-loving, brand ambassador.

Say Hello to ECE West Palm Beach!

Big news today! We are thrilled to announce the opening of our fifteenth office in West Palm Beach, FL! While we have been booking entertainment for corporate and private parties in South Florida for years, we are excited to finally call this region home.

Our new office is a result of a partnership with South Florida entertainment company, Powerhouse Group. Powerhouse Group books entertainment for a variety of events worldwide. Their signature band, Powerhouse Band, is one of the most popular dance bands in the country and has performed for many celebrities and dignitaries.

As part of the partnership, the Powerhouse Group will take on the ECE name and brand while Powerhouse Group executives, Alan James and Tiffany Guttenplan, have been appointed to leadership roles within ECE and charged with spearheading the West Palm Beach office. The Powerhouse Band will become an exclusive artist on the ECE roster.

“As we explored our expansion into Florida, it was really important to us to find a partner who would be a great fit both professionally and culturally. In Tiffany and Alan, we have two exceptional new friends who perfectly mirror the ECE philosophy of combining the best talent with amazing customer service and integrity. It is hard to express how excited I am to have them part of the ECE team,” says Doug Daniel, President and CEO of ECE.

“Alan and I have been industry colleagues with ECE for almost two decades and have worked together on many shows and events over the years. When we decided we wanted to expand our business we knew that partnering with ECE was the next obvious and natural step. We couldn’t be more thrilled to join this great team and are excited to provide our clients with a vast and impressive roster of new talent,” says Tiffany Guttenplan, Location Managing Director of ECE West Palm Beach.

ECE Agent Life: Executing a Multi-Day Corporate Event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

There are many meccas in this world, but, to music-lovers like myself, none is more important than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve dreamed about walking the halls, experiencing the formation and progression of modern music, and being a mere glass pane width away from inanimate objects that were present at pivotal moments in history. I recently got that chance to make my dreams a reality thanks to a corporate client who planned their annual sales awards banquet in those very hallowed halls. Following is a recap of my epic pilgrimage.

DAY ONE
After several months of collaborating with dynamite event planners, Crystal and Caitlin, at Amazae Events, researching entertainment options, hustling and long hours, it was finally time to put boots on the ground for this annual corporate event. I hit the ground running for an early morning flight from Richmond to Dulles to Cleveland. After scooping up a rental car, I headed for my downtown Cleveland hotel. I’m mostly oblivious to pro basketball or football, but it was hard to miss the multi-story banners touting the accomplishments of Lebron and his boys. I checked into my hotel and was excited to find a 180-degree view of the riverfront and FirstEnergy Stadium – home of the Browns! There was little time for rest as I headed over to Vault, a century-old bank vault beneath the Cleveland Trust Rotunda that has been restored and converted into a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge.

Later that evening as guests exited their awards dinner, they were greeted by two models in 1920’s flapper attire and two cigar girls passing out signature cocktails. They were shown down into the vault where they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks and an atmosphere like none other! As they made their way through the vault, they discovered a quartet playing upbeat jazz/swing. The female vocalist was decked out in a Gatsby-era headdress and pearls with the guys looking sharp in black tuxes. At the end of their tour, guests were met with brick wall – both literally and figuratively. Guarding the only closed door in the place was a Capone-era gangster who required a password for entry into the speakeasy room. The flappers had been dropping hints all night and the guests who were smart enough to put it all together were granted access to Vegas-quality blackjack and roulette tables complete with green visor wearing dealers and a private bar. Fingers were crossed that the party didn’t get raided by the men in blue!

As the laughter died down and the desserts dwindled, we called it a night and I headed back to the room for some much need sleep. The next day’s events were at the Hall of Fame. It was almost like Christmas Eve!

DAY TWO
The big day arrived! I sprung out of bed and raced to the valet to get my rental car. After a small hiccup where the valet couldn’t find my car (for 45+ minutes!), I drove a few short blocks to the gleaming, all glass Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I entered through the “VIP” entrance and began my solo walking tour. I passed under the CBGB awning and strolled past historic stage outfits, artist contracts from events like Woodstock, a motorcycle owned by Elvis, and so much more. I spent close to 30 minutes soaking in the energy from the Beatles exhibit. One of my favorite bands!

Soon enough, it was time to get down to business. I watched as Simply Irresistible’ s bus pulled into the parking lot. There couldn’t be a match more made in heaven than a tour bus full of eleven musicians and crew unloading in front of the memorial to all that is rock ‘n roll. We shared warm greetings and high fives as they loaded in, set up and sound checked.

In addition to Simply Irresistible, the evening’s entertainment featured a surprise special guest vocalist to join the band in the middle of the set to sing three hit songs. Who was this mystery guest? None other than Mark McGrath of the massively successful 90’s rock band, Sugar Ray. When he popped on stage during sound check, the entire museum lit up. A crowd of quiet strollers and school-aged children were treated to a living rock legend in the flesh! Only in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could an unexpected surprise like that be possible.

While Simply Irresistible finished setting up, I headed outside as attendees arrived to find a heated tent with a bar, four food trucks and local musician, Nate Jones, on acoustic guitar. He mixed hits of every decade with hometown hero songs from bands like the Black Keys. Just as the attendees’ hands started to turn numb, we opened the doors to the Hall of Fame and Simply Irresistible kicked in.

Inside, attendees were treated to two floors of food, multiple bars, Hall of Fame exhibits and one of the top party bands in the nation! Simply Irresistible played three hours of continuous Motown, R&B, classic rock, and Top 40 hits. Vocalists moved constantly across the stage and the band put everything they had into the performance. Their trumpet player blew notes until he passed out! That’s commitment.

Midway through the night, the band paused to announce the surprise special guest. As Mark McGrath bounded on stage, the crowd went wild! People who were resting their sore dancing feet streamed to the stage from all corners of the venue. Simply Irresistible performed like they had been playing with Mark McGrath for years despite meeting him only hours before! The rock star belted out favorites “Fly,” Someday,” and “Every Morning” to a roaring crowd.

Around 11pm, the band announced their final song. Once wrapped, tired attendees headed for their shuttles. I hugged the members of Simply Irresistible and gave Mark McGrath a ride back to his hotel. I passed out in my bed around midnight.

This event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I have absolute respect for the ballrooms of the world, but a chance to produce an event in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with one of the nation’s most elite party bands, a true rock legend, and a client who trusted me to create an unforgettable entertainment experience was mind-blowing!

Rock on, fellow music lovers!

Brad Strouse

ECE Richmond agent, Brad Strouse, began his music industry career touring the country with seven smelly metalheads. He left the road and spent time working on the record label side of the business before transitioning to his current booking agent role. Brad is an avid vinyl collector, music listener, endurance athlete and Auburn Fan.