Just scroll down to podcast titled Danny Zelisko! Fun conversation on Mötley Crüe!
Just scroll down to podcast titled Danny Zelisko! Fun conversation on Mötley Crüe!
Another killer two-for-one Talkin’ Rock podcast episode.
Dorothy Martin is up first to talk about all things Dorothy. If you haven’t heard of her, drop everything and check her out! Great, straight ahead rock and roll!
Today we discuss….
-The multiple guests she worked with for this upcoming album
-The vast amount of music she has to choose from
-An AMAZING story of how she doesn’t fear death
-When she discovered she wanted to be a rock star….and LOTS more.
(around the 26 minute mark) Then it’s concert promoter, Danny Zelisko. His new book is called All Excess Occupation: Concert Promoter. He tells me…..
-His history in the business
-Why he wrote the book
-The relationships he’s made and bands he’s worked with….and more.
Two great listens, one mediocre podcast.
Thanks for listening!
Meltdown on WRIF
I started my journey on WRIF on November 1st, 1995. My first shift was the graveyard shift…..literally. 2am-5:30am. A few years later I would get bumped up to 7pm-Mid. On February 10th, 2009 I took over afternoons and remain there to this day. In over 20 years at RIFF I’ve had the chance to work with legends and some of the industries best. I may have grown up in Buffalo, but I was Made in Detroit. Hit me up anytime.
PHOENIX January 8, 2021 – When concert promoter Danny Zelisko says, “I’ve got some stories to tell,” he isn’t kidding. In His remarkable new book, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter, takes you both backstage and on stage with music’s top stars, recounting his incredible five-decade career in which he has produced over 10,000 concert events throughout the country.
“I say that the book took me four years to write, but it’s really 60 years in the making,” Zelisko says. “Since all this stuff actually happened, the story wrote itself. I just had to be there to decipher it, which was the hard part!”
Along with his vivid, insightful and highly entertaining recollections, Zelisko shares an eye-popping array of never-before-seen photos from his personal archives that might have readers thinking he’s a rock ‘n’ roll Zelig: There’s stories and shots of him with Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, Roger Waters, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, members of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Chuck Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Muddy Waters, Genesis, Tina Turner, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, The Monkees, James Brown, John Prine – as they say, the list goes on and on.
In addition, Zelisko chronicles his lifelong love of sports, his passion for collecting memorabilia and autographs, as well as some of the incredible friendships he formed while in his pre-teens with giants such as Chicago Cubs shortstop/first baseman Ernie Banks and Chicago Bears stars Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers (the bond between the latter two was the basis of the beloved film Brian’s Song). Of Sayers, who recently passed away, Zelisko says, “Gale knew how close Brian Piccolo and I were, and was a great comfort to me and my dad at Pic’s wake. I won’t ever forget his kindness.”
Zelisko also talks about his first impressions and situations that followed with concert business legends Bill Graham and Shep Gordon, who went on to be his close friends and mentors throughout his career.
What message does Zelisko hope readers will take away from the book? “Anything and everything is possible,” he says. “I want to inspire people – whatever they want to do, they can do it. You see a picture of me with Robert Plant or Muhammad Ali, and you might think, how did this guy get there? That’s the story I tell. And it can happen to you, too. You just have to believe in yourself and never quit.”
How does a starry-eyed Midwestern kid go on to become one of the biggest concert promoters in history? Zelisko details his rise from scrappy beginnings to overseeing iconic stadium shows. “A lot of people have no idea what a concert promoter actually does, so that’s something else I hope people take away from the book,” he says. “There’s the great times – hanging out with the stars, the fun, the partying – but there’s awful times, too. And there’s the work. My team and I are responsible for every aspect of putting on a show. Without the great people who have supported these promotions, day in and out, I could never have done it. They are the stars behind the scenes”
At its heart, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter is a tale of friendships. Zelisko’s longtime pal and baseball legend Kirk Gibson wrote the book’s Foreword in which he describes the author as “the straw that stirs the drink.” “I’m very fortunate to have made such incredible friends,” Zelisko says. “I think a big reason for that is because I’m always very honest with the people I deal with. I can admire them and worship what they do, but I deal with them straight and tell them the truth. I think that’s how you last in the business, and it’s how you maintain relationships.”
ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter is available at dzplive.com , you can also get it from Kindle , Amazon and Amazon Print on Demand Danny Zelisko’s ALL EXCE$$ is available all over the world. All shipping included. Additionally, a limited number of first-edition signed copies are available to benefit NIVA’s Save Our Stages (to support music industry employees affected by COVID-19).
With Rich & Casey on WIOV I-105 in PA
The Rich and Casey show can be heard weekdays 5a-10 on I-105 WIOV
After spanning the globe looking for a suitable co-host for Casey Allyn, the popular longtime morning host at I-105, which has consisted of dozens of auditions, interviews and late nights listening to audio, a decision has been made. Casey has chosen the person that has been filling in since the passing Jerry Murphy last Valentine’s day, Rich Creeger. Casey said, “It’s rare to find the kind of chemistry I have with Rich and he was here the whole time, I think I’ll keep him.”
Rich has been at I-105 for the last 10 years as the Afternoon personality and Program Director. Asked for comment, Rich said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to spend each morning waking up South Central Pennsylvania with Casey. She truly is a blast to hang out with.”
Listen to the Green Arrow Radio here:
When concert promoter Danny Zelisko says, “I’ve got some stories to tell,” he isn’t kidding. His remarkable new book, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter, takes you both backstage & on stage with music’s top stars, recounting his incredible five-decade career in which he has produced over 10,000 concert events throughout the country. Along with his vivid, insightful and highly entertaining recollections, Danny shares an eye-popping array of never-before-seen photos from his personal archives that might have readers thinking he’s a rock ‘n’ roll Zelig: There’s stories & shots of him with Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, Roger Waters, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, members of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Kris Kristofferson, Chuck Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Muddy Waters, Genesis, Tina Turner, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, James Brown, John Prine – as they say, the list goes on and on.
In addition, Danny chronicles his lifelong love of sports, his passion for collecting memorabilia/autographs, and some of the incredible friendships he formed while in his pre-teens with giants such as Chicago Cubs shortstop/first baseman Ernie Banks and Chicago Bears stars Brian Piccolo & Gale Sayers. He also talks about his first impressions & situations that followed with concert business legends Bill Graham & Shep Gordon, who went on to be his close friends and mentors throughout his career. What message does he hope readers will take away from the book? “Anything & everything is possible,” he says. “I want to inspire people, whatever they want to do, they can do it. You see a picture of me with Robert Plant or Muhammad Ali, and you might think, how did this guy get there? That’s the story I tell. And it can happen to you, too. You just have to believe in yourself & never quit.”
How does a starry-eyed Midwestern kid go on to become one of the biggest concert promoters in history? Danny details his rise from scrappy beginnings to overseeing iconic stadium shows. “A lot of people have no idea what a concert promoter actually does, so that’s something else I hope people take away from the book,” he says. “There’s the great times – hanging out with the stars, the fun, the partying – but there’s awful times, too. And there’s the work. My team and I are responsible for every aspect of putting on a show. Without the great people who have supported these promotions, day in and out, I could never have done it. They are the stars behind the scenes”.
At its heart, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter is a tale of friendships. His longtime pal & baseball legend Kirk Gibson wrote the book’s Foreword in which he describes the author as “the straw that stirs the drink.” “I’m very fortunate to have made such incredible friends,” Zelisko says. “I think a big reason for that is because I’m always very honest with the people I deal with. I can admire them and worship what they do, but I deal with them straight and tell them the truth. I think that’s how you last in the business, and it’s how you maintain relationships.”
I had the chance to catch up with Danny about this book of tales, some you might expect, some you might not. But the journey feels maGical when I put myself in his shoes through the pages.
Musical set building with tools and resources surprising to find pieced together. I enjoy mixing the music paint can up and getting it out there. I relish my time in the community working undercover as an “agent of change”
Check it out…..it’s THAT SOMETHING NEW you’ve been searching for.
Greenarrowradio…..music for open minds & thirsty ear-holes.
Danny joins Nick Terzo on the Radical podcast:
If you went to a concert sometime in the last thirty years, there’s a good chance super-promoter Danny Zelisko was involved in bringing it to your town. After several years as part of the Live Nation family, Danny decided to return to his independent roots, promoting shows across the Southwest. Flick your Bic and wave it high overhead as Nick and Danny discuss concerts in the time of Covid, Danny’s new book “All Exce$$ – Occupation: Concert Promoter”, and the evolution of the live music industry.
The Radical is a weekly podcast hosted by Nick Terzo reverse-engineering the creative process and pathways to success. In this show, we will take a deep dive into the skills, tactics and experiences of world-class innovators (Music, Film, Architecture, LGBTQ) who have scaled that wall of resistance. If you are stuck creatively or cannot get out of your comfort zone my guests resilience and ingenuity will inspire.
Billy discusses the concert promoting industry with Chicago native Danny Zelisko, being inducted as one White Castle’s Cravers Wall of Fame, a list that also includes John Prine, Alice Cooper, Tommy Shaw from Styx, among others, and promoting shows which included Steve Goodman opened for Bob Seger and John Prine opening for Sting with both John and Steve performing solo. More about Danny Zelisko: Danny Zelisko began promoting concerts in Arizona in 1974. He founded the legendary concert promoting firm called Evening Star Productions, that brought worldwide attention to the youngest state on the US mainland, by the entertainment industry. He became known as one of the world’s best promoters and talent buyers, a true rainmaker when it comes to discovering and booking talent in all sorts of situations. Beginning with promoting concerts at Dooley’s Nightclub (700 capacity) in Tempe, Zelisko and his team promoted hundreds of new and veteran bands in facilities across the valley. Acts such as The Police, Cheap Trick, Pat Benatar, Talking Heads, KISS, Bon Jovi, No Doubt, and Nirvana (among many others) performed at the intimate venue from its opening in 1976, until it closed after several ownership and name changes (aka After the Gold Rush and Electric Ballroom) in the mid-1990′s. Nightclub concerts by recording stars began happening all over the country, with Zelisko leading his territory in this area of booking. In the 1980′s Zelisko’s company and staff grew. He became the state’s most prominent concert promoter, producing hundreds of shows each year, while also becoming New Mexico’s busiest promoter. Evening Star also promoted shows in almost every state in the USA during the 80′s and 90′s, while promoting shows in every venue, small and large alike, all over the southwest, including Vets Memorial Coliseum, the original home of the Phoenix Suns, then America West Arena, now known as US Airways Center. Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney were among the stadium events promoted by Evening Star. In 1990, Evening Star began promoting shows in the Desert Sky Amphitheatre, with its grand opening show with Billy Joel. The facility has undergone several name changes, including Blockbuster Pavilion, Cricket Amphitheatre, Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion, and finally now known as Ak-Chin Pavilion. By the year 2000, consolidation of concert promoters began by SFX, as they bought up many of the country’s biggest promoters, including Bill Graham Presents from San Francisco, Electric Factory from Philadelphia, Don Law from Boston, Pace Concerts from Texas, and many more. Evening Star joined the ranks of these fabled promoters, by selling to SFX in 2001. Zelisko became President of the Southwest office of SFX. A few years later, Clear Channel Communications bought SFX, and Zelisko and his staff became part of Clear Channel Entertainment. In 2006, Clear Channel spun the entertainment division and all of its promoters and venues into what is now called Live Nation, where Zelisko remained as President and then Chairman of Live Nation Southwest, until he left his post in 2011, to begin promoting shows as Danny Zelisko Presents. Zelisko’s focus has always been on putting the right acts in the right places at the right time with the right ticket prices in order to maintain fun and excitement for audiences and artists alike. DZP continues to bring top name acts to the Phoenix area, as well as Las Vegas and Albuquerque.
Prine Time is a monthly podcast hosted by Nashville bluesman deluxe Billy Prine (the younger brother of the late, great John Prine) and roots music producer Michael Dinallo. Prine Time is co-produced by Jonathan E. Mitchell. On Prine Time, we discuss interesting subjects pertaining to music, arts, places, people and things that we have seen and heard. Some we haven’t heard yet. Some we may never hear. But we guarantee you’ll be glad you joined us! We welcome you to get comfortable, grab a refreshment and sit back for the next 30 minutes or so and enjoy a little bit of paradise.
Thursday, 1/14/2021 By: Deborah Speer
Phoenix, Ariz.-based concert promoter Danny Zelisko celebrated his 40th anniversary in business in 2019, just in time for COVID and quarantine. In 2020, he took advantage of the unwanted down time to finish a project more than five years in the making: “All Exce$$ – Occupation: Concert Promoter,” a book recounting his life and career.
He’s got stories – lots of them – from a backstage fistfight between Bill Graham and Shep Gordon after an Alice Cooper concert to helping produce the Sun Devil Stadium concert scenes for “A Star Is Born” with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, to his friendships with Chicago folk legends Steve Goodman and the late John Prine.
And the book is chock full of photos from a career that’s seen him take a fledgling business booking Dooley’s nightclub in Tempe, Ariz., to building a regional powerhouse in Evening Star Productions, selling it to SFX only to see it sold again to Clear Channel Entertainment and spun off as Live Nation. He eventually struck back out on his own as an independent with Danny Zelisko Presents, which he has kept operating through the pandemic.
Pollstar spoke with Zelisko about the hows and whys of becoming an author and why anybody with an itch to tell their own story should.
Pollstar: You’ve talked about writing a book for some time. What prompted you to finally do it?
Danny Zelisko: I’ve had to self-fund my business and, with no shows and no income, we turned our attention to doing this book. And I’m also going to start auctioning off a lot of my memorabilia because I’m getting so old. I don’t want to die with all this stuff. With this being a quarantine year, I’ve never had this kind of time available to me.
It’s not a typical memoir. What do you want people to know about your book and your life?
Anybody could do a book, and some people who read Pollstar should write books, if not just for themselves to gather and have a record of their life. I understood that by doing this, I might inspire or help somebody else to do it.
If I’m going to do this once, I’m going to do it right. It makes it expensive. I’m not making any money on it yet. But, you know, that wasn’t my goal in doing this to begin with. The goal was to put together a fun story.
Danny joined Steven Michael on “Growin’ Up Rock” podcast!
Steven Michael and Sonny “Hollywood” Pooni are first and foremost music fans. We live for music. It’s a part of our lives from our childhood days through adulthood. Music is present in everything we do today. In particular, we love the hard rock and metal music we grew up with in the late 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. We seek out new rock music that reminds us of our youth and takes us away from the long commutes and daily grinds that so many people struggle with each and everyday. Sonny and I share our memories and stories, as do our guests, and we encourage the listeners to take part and tell us their stories.
Growin’ Up Rock podcast is a weekly dive into the hard rock and heavy metal music you loved in your youth as well as the rock ‘n’ roll that is creating the soundtrack to your life today. Your host, Steven Michael, along with co-host Sonny Pooni talks with newer and established bands, industry insiders, and you the fans, to uncover the stories tied to the guitar-driven rock music that keeps your devil horns hoisted far above your head. Sit back, turn it up, and subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss an ear-splitting episode.
By Tom Reardon
Phoenix rock and roll impresario Danny Zelisko has a new book out, and it’s a must-read for both fans of local music lore and rock and roll lovers in general.
Danny Zelisko’s new book, All Exce$$, is really an epic discussion of his wild career as the host of the biggest rock and roll parties in Phoenix history.
As a storyteller, Zelisko has a way of coaxing the reader to believe the wildest tales, even though they are all true and all remarkable. To say the guy has had an epic career is an incredible understatement. What’s fantastic about this book is that Zelisko (and ghostwriter Michael Levin) genuinely captures his voice in a sincere way.
Owner of DZP (Danny Zelisko Presents), Zelisko has been a fixture in Arizona’s (and the nation’s) concert scene since 1974. A Chicago native, Zelisko made his way to the Valley of the Sun while focusing on his rock and roll dreams as a young man in his early 20s. He eventually formed Evening Star Productions and became the biggest music promoter in town. For longtime music-loving Phoenix residents, it’s almost impossible to say that you’ve never been to one of Zelisko’s gigs.
As you read through the stories of Zelisko’s early brushes in his youth with professional athletes while attending Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, you’ll soon realize that Zelisko was destined for greatness. He got to know and become friends with Brian Piccolo, the Bears fullback who died of Leukemia, as a boy and got his first taste of promotion while setting up a speaking engagement for his pal at the tender age of 11. You’ll find this, and plenty of other intriguing stories, in All Exce$$.
We caught up with Zelisko by telephone as he handled some business at his Phoenix office.
Echo: So great to speak with you, Danny! When we last spoke, you were talking about writing a book. Now it’s here. As an old autograph seeker, myself, how did you end up getting to hang out with so many ballplayers as a kid in Chicago?
Zelisko: Wow, you know, things were much different back then. And now I mean, you know, baseball was very popular, of course, in Chicago. But it wasn’t like it is now in the sense that tickets went for hundreds of dollars. I think a box seat at Wrigley Field back then was like $3.50. So, I didn’t have to buy tickets back then because we got snuck in by the ballplayers. They would walk us in by the ushers, and we would find a seat somewhere.
We very rarely ever paid for a ticket because we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Otherwise, we had 17 cents to go each way on the bus, so each of us would have just 34 cents, no matter what, so we could go to the park and go home. Most of the time, we would go the whole day without drinking anything or water. And you know, and it wasn’t like I was living in a garbage can or anything, but most of the time, our parents didn’t even know we were going to game.
Wow. You were like ten or eleven and just heading to see these games on your own?
Well, when I wrote my first letter to somebody to get an autograph back, I had just turned seven. I got a letter back from a (Chicago) White Sox player, and then it was slowly but surely (from there). I would have to go to my mom and get stamps and paper, and envelopes and my dad would go, “What are you guys doing with all this stuff?” and the next thing you know, our mailbox is getting filled up with replies to the people. It was really fun, and it taught us how to correspond. It taught us how to be nice to people and respect and butter them up and get what you wanted. I have a few of these letters, either that didn’t get mailed or got sent back to me, and they’re funny to read.
It seems like you still enjoy getting to be around athletes. Kirk Gibson (former Diamondbacks manager) wrote the forward to your book. Do you think it’s different now for athletes than when you were a kid? Could a young person replicate what you did in your early days?
The people that I know are, (pauses) they’re just good. I don’t know a ton of athletes, but I’m friendly with a lot of players still, and they’re just regular people like everybody else. If anything, what’s different is that I am their peer now and not a kid. They do what they do, and I do what I do, and a lot of them love what I do and wish they could do it, too. It’s funny like that.
I enjoyed the early part of the book, where you talk about these experiences. How did those experiences help you in your music career?
I was definitely used to these special kinds of forces around. It was a warmup being with those big players and moving into the music business. I’ve always been around people who were older than me, and now I’ve caught up with them, but back in the day when you’re a kid, and you look up to these people, you shut up, you listen, and you learn.
Speaking of learning, how was the process of writing the book for you?
It was interesting because when I first thought about doing it and started doing it, I tried to write it in my head before I put it down on paper. I wanted to do it in the order of how I wanted to tell the story, which was basically by the calendar, but the thing is, you can’t remember all that stuff. So, what I did was to get started, and what made it much easier was like you write down or repeat your stories, with no idea where it’s going to fit in with the rest of the stories. And then, when you have them all written, and you’re happy with the way you wrote them, you can move those chapters around any way you want. So, once I figured out how to do that, it kind of unfolded from there and was much easier.
It was fun to hear your voice in my head as I read it. It is clear in the book that you have a strong reverence for your profession. Do you ever feel like it is your job to shield the people coming to your shows from the business side of music?
To a degree, yes. When you’re paying somebody to do something, you don’t necessarily want to know how they did it. You just want to know that it’s there for you to enjoy. When somebody buys a ticket to a concert, I don’t want them to have to worry if the doors are gonna be open on time or anything like that. I want them to be able to just come to the show and enjoy themselves. They paid for a good time, and we provide a good time, and on we go.
There is a chapter in the book where you discuss wanting to put on concerts at Dracula’s Castle in Romania. Tell me about that one.
Derek Shulman, the singer from Gentle Giant, called me up one day, and he asked me to talk to him about this meeting he just had, which was with the Archduke of Romania. I listened to his story and the next thing I knew; we were flying to Romania to see Dracula’s castle. I was with Live Nation at the time, and, unfortunately, they didn’t share my enthusiasm for this. I thought it was a fantastic idea to launch some tours there. I thought it would be great for, like, Alice Cooper or Kiss or Dio and any of those great, iconic metal bands, with that as the backdrop. I thought it was fantastic, but the Live Nation people disagreed with me.
It’s beautiful there, but there were no modern amenities (at the time). The only reason to go there was you had the castle, and we thought it would be great to have a nice place to stay when you were there and restaurants, and we were going to bring that there, but negotiations broke down and went away. It would have been something completely different.
So, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you what it was like to bring bands like Queen to town, especially with the recent release of their biopic. What was working with them like?
They were fantastic. First Class. First Class organization, great people. Freddie (Mercury) was great – I enjoyed him thoroughly. They were one of the best bands ever.
So, what is next for you with so much uncertainty in the music industry due to the pandemic? What’s on your horizon?
I’m hoping that the scientists out there will show us how to do an instant test so that when you go to an event, you can have a result that says whether or not you’re with this shit or without it. And as long as you’re without it, you go on and have a good time, and maybe for a while, you recommend that people wear masks. That’s the only way business and life is going to return to normal. That’s the only way it works is if we have that test.
Give me this part of the solution, which says whether these people are okay to go into a building with other people. That’s what we need to do. And then we have our music back, we have our baseball back, and we have our nightclubs back. And you know, people could still get affected by it, but I think most people are willing to take that risk as long as they feel like the stranger next to them has passed the same tests they were forced to take.