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Musician, Club-Owner, Manager; What Can't Gary Taylor Do?
The Man Behind Gary Taylor Management
by: bill aicher

Gary Taylor has been in the music and entertainment business for over 40 years now. He has done everything from being in a band to running and owning clubs to managing bands.

If you are in the New York City area in on April 26-27 (2000) be sure to check out the Gary Taylor Management showcase at Arlene Grocery. The show is free.

When I got a hold of Gary Taylor on the phone, the first thing he told me was he was fasting. This wouldn't be surprising if Mr. Taylor were nutritionist or on a religious mission. However, this is obviously not the case, or I wouldn't have mentioned it. Gary Taylor runs Gary Taylor Management, a band management company based in Vancouver.

It turns out Gary fasts every week for 36 hours, starting on Sunday night. His reasoning is solid enough. "I'm 58. I'm a pretty solid health fanatic. I always look after myself because I've been in the nightclub and entertainment business all my life and I've seen so many people age quickly and go down and die; screw themselves up."

Gary hasn't always been a manager. However, as he mentioned, he has been in the entertainment industry for his entire life. And for this story, as in most others, it is best to start at the beginning and end with the end, mentioning the important, exciting details and leaving the rest behind. Luckily, Gary has had a life full of important, exciting details.

Originally from Vancouver, Gary went to school through grade 13 with plans of being a lawyer. As per usual, life is not so easy to plan. A few years earlier at a friend's band practice, Gary had caught the music bug and bought himself some drums. By the time he was done with grade 13, he had already decided he was going to be a musician, and a musician he became.

His band, The Classics, played a mixture of R&B and Rock. The band landed a job playing for a Canadian national television show called "The Let's Go Show" after auditioning with a few hundred other bands. "We got the show, so we became television stars at a very young age."

After a few years, the band broke up, as do most bands. A few of the members went on to form other bands, but Taylor decided he would build his own nightclub, King of Clubs, in Vancouver. With the help of three new partners, the club brought in bands to cater to an older crowd. Acts such as Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, and the Coasters all played there. His partners sold their share after a few years, and Gary decided to leave the club after the new owners changed the name and the club itself.

So, Taylor moved on once again. Over the years he ran clubs including Gary Taylor's Rock Room, Gary Taylor's Show Lounge, and a piano lounge.

Eventually, Taylor's career brought him to Madison, WI. In this college-town in middle-America he bought a club called R&R Station, which he reworked and opened as The Paramount. The club became one of the premier Madison clubs in the mid-to-late 90's, featuring artists including Cheap Trick, Hole, Branford Marsalis, The Fugees, Bush, and Henry Rollins.

"We had a great club, a great sound system. All of the acts wanted to play there. We went there with a purpose of building the club. Great location, great town, at least we thought it was. We started having all our troubles when we started bringing hip-hop bands in there."

Once the trouble for the new club began, things started to snowball. The police forced him to increase security and cut capacity. "They really, really put the screws to us. Rather than help us they just totally drove us out. I went through hell and high water there man."

So eventually the club closed down. During these last few years in Madison, Taylor had become a sort of a legend with the city and the students living there. He ran the Mifflin Street Festival (one of the biggest block parties in Madison) one year, the year before it met its end. "They gave me the keys to the city. I was the only guy to get a beer garden for something like 15 years." Just after this festival was around the time the club was having problems. He left Madison within a year of closing the club.

Not surprisingly, Taylor had become disheartened with the club industry. He had received a few job offers booking various clubs, including The Rave in Milwaukee. Taylor's answer was simple, "I wasn't about to get back in the nightclub business and go through all the bullshit."

So Taylor went on to start his own management company, Gary Taylor Management, which he still runs to this day. He currently has a roster of eight acts and is working with a couple of producers. One of his bands, Torben Floor (review), has been working with Taylor for over three years. His company has gotten to the stage now where Taylor doesn't need to look for acts, instead acts are coming to him.

Over the last two years Taylor started shaping the company into what it is today. On April 19, Taylor will be leaving for a Gary Taylor Management Showcase at Arlene Grocery in New York. Two of his bands, Torben Floor (Chicago) and Muzzy Luctin (Madison) will be showcased along with other associated New York bands. It is an open show with free admission. Muzzy Luctin will be playing at 7:00 p.m. on the 26th and Torben Floor takes the stage at 9:00 p.m. on the 27th.

So why does Taylor keep doing this? What is his goal in all of his work? What does he really want?

He sums it up nicely, "Develop bands, get them signed, and just keep moving on."