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Mining Gold

September 28, 1997|Steve Hochman

The L.A. concert promotion firm Goldenvoice rose from small punk and rock shows in the early '80s to become a powerhouse force when that music became a dominant '90s presence. Now the company is hoping to work the same magic in the record business.

Goldenvoice Records is set to debut with the Oct. 28 release of "The Fury of the Aquabats," an album by the ska-rooted Huntington Beach band the Aquabats. The new label will be distributed by BMG via Time Bomb Records, the label started last year by Offspring and Social Distortion manager Jim Guerinot.

"We see a lot of good bands that wait a long time to get signed," says Goldenvoice co-owner Paul Tollett, 32. "As promoters, we get to see bands pretty early in their careers and can often see that they're due to get into a studio to record so they can go out on tour. It's hard to tour if you don't have a record out for people to hear."

Still, Tollett says, the venture will be built slowly.

"We've just got the one band, and have no plans to even sign another act right now," he says.

While a promoter branching into the record business is not common, it's not unprecedented. The late Bill Graham owned both Wolfgang Records and Fillmore Records, and last year the New Jersey-based Metropolitan Entertainment added a label to its concert promotion and artist management enterprises.

"It sounds like [Goldenvoice] simply found some talent they believe in and want to get the music out to the public," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of the concert business publication Pollstar. "As far as any potential conflicts of interest, there are less chances for that than when managers run labels while negotiating artist contracts, and that's not uncommon at all."

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