Ty sent the first rockers into Matt’s office immediately. It was business as usual. Matt smiled. He knew these musicians instantly as one of the bands he’d put in the ‘has potential’ pile when he had been sorting demos.
He smiled cordially at them. “I assume Ty has given you fair warning.”
The young guitarist looked at him warily. “About what?”
He chuckled. “About how I do business. you see, I put you in the ‘has potential’ group. That means that I am willing to work with you to hone your style and abilities. It also means you have work ahead of you.
“You will want to listen to me as I help you. Refuse to listen, I can’t help you. Listen to me, and you will become Grammy worthy artists who’ll go platinum. It’s just that simple.
“I have been in this business longer than you’ve been alive. I have probably been in the business longer than your parents have been around as well. I have watched the ficklness of the industry eat hundreds of bands like yours alive and spit them out once they lost their flavor.
“That is why I advise young bands not to be too quick to choose popularity over uniqueness. Originality. Fuck being the next Five Finger Death Punch or Hale Storm. Be yourself. Do your own thing.
“I started out as session. I did a little of everything that came along, even doowop and rockabilly. I came up, as a solo act, the same way most bands do. I worked my ass of in bars and clubs, even playing in places where I was looked down upon. I have played everything from jazz and blues to heavy metal.
“I know good music when I hear it. I know potential when I hear it. I also know how to help you hone your skills and lay out your future for you. What is popular today is passe tomorrow. Understood?”
The young lead vocalist smiled. “Understood. Originality and professionalism are keys. We follow your lead and you’ll make us all stars.”
Matt smiled at the last part of the singer’s comment. “No, I will make you nothing. I will help you reach your goals. If you listen to me, you will earn stardom on your own. It will be how much you are willing to do that decides where you go and how well you do.
“I will only help you along the way. Teach you valuable lessons. Help you avoid pitfalls. Hell. I will even help you get around the distractions.
“As long as you are in this for the music, the music will reward you. Forget about the money, fame or the girls. Those are added amenities. Strive to be unforgettable, to give the masses unforgettable songs.”
So there it was. This was not going to be instant fame or fortune. Matt was telling them not to focus on those things they’d thought were the coolest aspects of their chosen careers. Instead, he was telling them to focus on their careers.
The guitarist looked at him. “We’re in.”
Matt handed them the contract. “I will act as your manager until you are strong enough to handle your own careers, then I will give you a choice. Stay with me, or manage yourselves. Once we get an album of top songs, we will release it. Those that don’t make it can be reworked and readied for release later.
“Once we get it worked up, we’ll see which songs are best for singles. I’ll get Devin to loan me one of the television crews to produce your videos. They’ll give you the run down and get you comfortable with acting. I’ll begin booking you gigs at some of the best clubs. I’ll even get you spots as opening acts.”
By the looks in their eyes, he knew they were hooked. He smiled. He only hoped that the rest would be this easy to negotiate with. But he knew they wouldn’t be.
He watched them sign the contract. He would be manager, agent, engineer, producer and mentor. By the end of recording, they would have an amazing library of demo music plus their first real album. If all went well, they would also have a little more experience as well.
The lead singer handed him the contract. He smiled at them. “I will get this down to legal. In the mean time, I want to see your song sheets. Your lyrics. We’ll start developing those and go from there. ”
They all shook hands and he watched them leave. He had a good feeling about this group. They were bright. They were eager. More importantly, they were ready to learn.
He had potential hit makers in them. He couldn’t wait to meet the others. He was suddenly excited about work. A new generation was eager to learn from him. It made it all worthwhile.
He turned his attention to the contract. He picked up his phone and hit the extension key for the legal department. He waited until there was an answer. “Yes, this is Matt. I need you to send someone up for a contract. Yes. Thank you.”
He hung up. It felt good to be in control again. He should have returned a long time ago. Lord, how he’d missed it all. He should’ve never left.
His next clients walked into his office as he waited for the legal rep to appear. He looked at them. “I’ll be with you in five. Please wait outside.”
He knew how this was going to end before he even began. These were going to be trouble. They had no respect for boundaries. Hell. They hadn’t even knocked or asked permission to enter.
Nor had he called for them. He hadn’t had time to. They had just entered. Not the best thing to do when going for a possible contract.
One of them sneered as they left. It was almost as if he’d asked them to do something beneath them. Definitely not the best first impression. Definitely not professional.
Legal came and retrieved the contract. The young lady looked at him. “It’s great to have you back, Sir. Is there anything else you need?”
He nodded. “Come back in about fifteen to thirty minutes. I might have more contracts. Or just camp out at the door and wait until the group outside dissipates.”
She smiled. “Yes, Sir.” She walked out of his office.
He picked up his phone and hit the key to his receptionist’s phone. She picked up immediately. “Send in the band who came in earlier.”