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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

Managing Nicely

September 29, 1996|Steve Hochman

Fighting to get Mike Viola public recognition for the "That Thing You Do!" soundtrack is just one of the intriguing things about the singer's manager, Danny Bennett, who has parlayed his unlikely success with one famous client into a burgeoning career as a rock manager.

That client? His dad--Tony Bennett.

It was Danny, 42, who engineered his father's relationship with MTV a few years ago, resulting in, among other things, a 1994 best album Grammy for his "Unplugged" album and his status as the hippest seventysomething crooner around.

Now the younger Bennett manages three younger acts--Viola's Candy Butchers (which is signed to the MCA-distributed Blue Thumb label), the New York group Rasputina (whose debut, "Thanks for the Ether," was recently released by Columbia Records) and singer Janet Lavalley (also on Columbia). None, though, are exactly easy sells. Candy Butchers is a guitar-drum duo with a quirky brand of pop, while Rasputina is three cello-playing women and a male drummer.

"I get excited about things that are different," says Bennett, who started working with his father in 1979 after playing guitar in several bands in the '70s. "That spells career. That's what I learned from working with Tony.

"With any new act, you have to educate people. Tony taught me about earning the next step of success, rather than expecting it. Like with MTV and Tony. That's not easy, but I spent a lot of time making it easy for them."

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