The same applies to the music and nightlife in Detroit. Instead of having a hard time finding something to do, we are usually asking ourselves which fun event should we attend. Here in Detroit, there can be too many things to do on a random Tuesday in December. We forget how lucky we are to live in a place where live music is so prevalent and we take for granted all the work that goes into making it possible.
I have always been interested in talking to the people that put together the shows that we attend. It takes everyone from the sound man that caters to our ears to the bartenders that cater our drinks to guarantee that we all have a good time. Today, we got a chance to talk to an up and coming booking agent named John Collier. He started booking shows about a year and half ago and has grown his brand pretty quickly. He's not as recognizable as some of the other companies that we love, like Black Iris Booking or Fusion Shows, but I have a feeling that soon enough he will be.
I asked him a few questions about himself and his craft. Check out what he had to say and make sure to follow Cthulhu Entertainment to keep up with what's next.
HID- What made you decide to get into the booking business?
John Collier- "I was sitting on Pandora actually, about 3 years ago and found a band I really loved. I saw that they were playing in Cleveland in a few weeks and I decided to make the drive. I fell in love with them! A year later they announced another show in Cleveland and went again. This time at the show I asked that band if I could bring them up to Detroit to share them with everyone. It took a little bit of work finding a venue and line-up but I ended up getting them up here and I kinda fell in love with the whole thing. I haven't stopped ever since."
HID- What is the first show that you ever booked and how did it go?
John Collier- "To kinda add onto that previous question. It was If These Trees Could Talk (The Cleveland band I fell in love with) along with The End of the Ocean (Columbus, Ohio) and Gifts from Enola (Richmond, Virginia) who the Trees told me needed a show on their tour so they added on. Locals were Man Mountain and Sunlight Ascending. It was honestly amazing. We had a line of 60 people outside waiting to get in and we had around 120 people attend total. I couldn't ask for a better show. It still to this day is my favorite show ever booked for sentimental reasons."
HID- What would be your dream lineup?
John Collier- "Dream line-up would be:
Metal Show: Between the Buried and Me, After the Burial, The Contortionist
Indie/Rock: The White Stripes, City & Colour, Iron & Wine"
HID- What Detroit venue would you love to have a Cthulhu Entertainment show at?
John Collier- "I'd love to book a show at the Magic Stick or at the Majestic. I really admire Black Iris Booking and I'd love to follow in their footsteps and work with them in the future."
HID- What the hell happened to Paycheck's?
John Collier- "A bunch of things. Just a lack of respect from the attendees and the fact that the owner just is starting to want to get out of the music business after about 30 years of work. If you know anyone who would donate me $200k I'd surely love to take it over!"
HID- What upcoming shows are you looking forward to?
John Collier- "The Ying Yang Twins! I still can't believe I'm bringing in a nostalgic hip hop group from when I was younger to a small bar like Paycheck's Lounge. Everyone who attends will certainly be in for a wild night!"
HID- How can people follow what you're doing and keep up to date with what shows are coming up?
John Collier- "If you add me on Facebook, you're certainly in for a bunch of promoting antics from me. You can also follow our company page on Facebook, our Twitter or Instagram account. You can also find me at shows trying to persuade you to buy tickets and posting flyers up in Ferndale and Detroit."
HID- What does Cthulhu stand for or mean?
John Collier- "It's actually a mythological creature that is has the body of a human, head of an octopus and wings of something that I can't even compare to. The creature was made up from a short story named HP Lovecraft who was a very popular horror/mystery writer from the early 1900's. I suggest you reading it! Amazing author."
HID- What is the most frustrating and rewarding parts of booking bands?
John Collier- "Most frustrating part...almost all of it. Being able to keep in contact with bands and promoting it to as many people as possible. Rewarding part would be those moments that you meet people who you find out there that are just so grateful to see a band that they love. That's what makes it worth it for me. The enjoyment of others."
HID- Why do you think that there's a stigma against coming to and playing in Detroit these days?
John Collier- "I think one of the hardest parts about booking here is mostly the competition. Our market is just so big. There are tons of large venues that take away the spotlight from smaller promoters. A lot of out of town bands have obviously heard of Detroit's reputation from the national spotlight of being dangerous, but I think once they get here they realize it's just like every big city. Our fans are certainly dedicated and go hard with the best in the world."
HID- What Detroit bands are you listening to these days?
John Collier- "I don't want to sound typical, but everything! I have been on and off with a bunch of folk music. I like listening to banjos and violins. I listen to a lot of progressive and technical metal. I pretty much am day to day and a lot of it stems to the type of bands I get offered or the shows I've recently attended."
HID- Anything else that you would like our readers to know?
John Collier- "Music is certainly a huge industry/business but it's supposed to be fun. Music brings people together. I love having the power of bringing a group of people together with the same interests. At the end of the day, if you aren't enjoying what you're doing then you need to question yourself."