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“One of the great minds and great guys in the music business” is how talk show host Jimmy Kimmel introduced Glassnote Entertainment founder and fearless label leader Daniel Glass at the Hollywood Roosevelt on Tuesday morning.
The occasion: 2013’s Musexpo, a gathering of international music industry professionals looking to learn from each other, at which Glass was being honored as the International Music Person of the Year. In attendance: several of the industry’s veteran power players, including Irving Azoff and Seymour Stein, as well as those who aspire to be.
And there’s really no better place to start than with Daniel Glass, attendees soon learned, as the former DJ-turned-promo man-turned-CEO-turned international taste-maker regaled the crowd with stories from his early days in the business — topics Kimmel, who served as interviewer for the hourlong session, was happy to indulge.
Among the highlights: the tale of Huey Lewis and the News’ Sports, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. When Glass, then “the skinny guy with the afro,” was brought in to guide the record following a contentious legal dispute, he says he “had no idea what to do with this … bar band from Mill Valley, California.”
His solution? “I had to galvanize the staff to work this record,” said Glass. “We sold in its first run 7.3 million albums in America alone … five no. 1 singles.”
Cracked Kimmel: “I could go on about Huey Lewis forever and no one gives a shit besides me and you.”
Other wild tales from the music biz of yore included Glass recounting a Get Him to the Greek moment with Billy Idol involving himself, bags full of weapons and drugs and a Canadian airport.
Asked who’s the most difficult artist he’s worked with, Glass blurted: “Sinead O’Connor. The most destructive. The most masochistic.” As it turns out, Glass, a senior executive at Chrysalis in 1992, was at Saturday Night Live the night she tore up a photo of the Pope on the air. “Nobody knew she’d do that,” he recounted, seemingly still somewhat traumatized. “There was silence and the cameras kept rolling. It was a TV moment.”
Kimmel hit the nail on the head when he told Glass, at the end of their chat, that, “the reason you’ve got so many important people here listening to your story today is because you’re so well-liked.”
The compliment prompted the mild-mannered New Yorker to lash out at the “paranoid, egotistical, insecure executives in our business” who came before and have handicapped the industry moving forward. “I say shame on them for not giving us the future,” said Glass, a big believer in mentoring and philanthropy.
The Q&A was followed by a lunch in Glass’ honor at the Hollywood Hard Rock Café. There, he asked the crowd, which included attorney John Frankenheimer and Jay Cooper, Universal Music Publishing Group president Evan Lamberg and Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich, to travel the world, take in new sights and smells and get involved with culture beyond music.
“We went to Marrakesh (Morocco),” he said of a recent trip with his wife, Deborah (also in attendance). “I encourage you all to go out and get inspired.”
Indeed, “inspiration” is the word of the year at Glassnote, and Glass, whose career included significant runs at EMI, Chrysalis and Artemis, connected it to the ultimate event that led to him creating the label: The death of Warren Zevon. Spending the last few months of Zevon’s life with him in turn made him realize — with his wife Deborah’s encouragement — that it was time to start his own enterprise.
“Warren left us,” Glass said, “ but he left me with such inspiration.”
Glass was being congratulated as much for hits with Mumford & Sons and Phoenix as he was for his mentoring abilities and passion for music.
“Your good karma account is overflowing,” Musexpo founder and president Sat Bisla said of Glass at the lunchtime ceremony where proceeds were divided between two of Glass’ favorite charities, City of Hope and Lifebeat.
Barry Dickins, director of International Talent Booking Agency, which handles Mumford & Sons and fellow Glassnote act Little Green Cars overseas, flew in from the U.K. to present Glass with the trophy. He had spent little time with Glass, specifically at the O2 in London at a Mumford show. “He reminds me of Jac Holzman, Jerry Moss and Chris Blackwell,” Dickins said.
Following the presentations, recent Glassnote signing Foy Vance entertained the crowd with two songs that will appear on his debut, which is slated for a late summer release. Vance, a folkie from Ireland, has been championed by Ed Sheeran for the last few years.
The Glassnote family was well represented at the event with Chris Scully, Marc Nicolas, Nick Petropoulos, Alex Dunne and Bianca Bhagat chatting with the likes of the Recording Academy’s Bill Freimuth and Barb Dehgan and Jimmy Kimmel Live producer Scott Igoe, who took a break from his week of outdoor shows — Rod Stewart was Monday, Goo Goo Dolls Tuesday and Fitz and the Tantrums Wednesday — across the street from the Hard Rock.
Booked for next week’s Kimmel, appropriately enough: Huey Lewis and the News.
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