The Long Goodbye

After thirty years, Barry Fey is stepping down. Sort of.

*In December 1992 Fey scalped 2,000 tickets earmarked for a Grateful Dead show. Representatives of the band found out about it, but because of their long relationship with Fey, they ultimately chose to overlook the matter.

Fey's response: "Absolutely not. Besides, I don't have to skim tickets. It's my show. All I have to do is take them."

*The MGM-Grand Casino in Las Vegas caught Fey on videotape taking tickets from the box office prior to a Rolling Stones concert in 1995 and then calling a well-known scalper in Los Angeles, where the tickets were ultimately traced. Again, MCA covered up for Fey.

Fey's response: "There were some problems at those shows, but they had nothing to do with me."

*At a 1994 Pink Floyd show, Nate Feld, who had worked with Feyline and Fey Concerts on and off since 1968, was running the T-shirt concession when he discovered that Fey's son Geoffrey had stolen approximately $2,000 from the proceeds. For this sin, Feld fired Geoffrey--and when Fey found out about it, he sacked Feld. Shortly thereafter, Feld filed a lawsuit against Fey that was ultimately settled in Feld's favor. (Feld, who now runs an area liquor store, confirms that he sued Fey and won, but he declines to comment further, citing an agreement not to discuss the case that was part of the settlement.)

Fey's response: "I can't talk about the settlement, but I can tell you that it didn't have anything to do with Geoffrey. During intermission, Nate went on the P.A. and started hawking the T-shirts, and Pink Floyd was livid about it. So when I found out about it, I got Nate on the phone and said, 'What the fuck was on your mind?' And I ended up firing him. He then in turn sued for age discrimination. MCA decided they didn't want to fight it, so they made a settlement with him."

*At an Olympics-themed event in 1996, Fey arrived at a backstage area without the proper passes. Security personnel on hand did not recognize him and refused to grant him access, so he walked to his car, grabbed an automatic weapon and brandished it at the security guards. Fey's own people had to restrain and disarm him.

Fey's response: "Nonsense. I don't even have an automatic weapon. And I've never pulled a weapon on anyone in my life."

*Fey regularly carried a loaded pistol into his office with him. Given his proclivity to throw violent tantrums, the presence of the gun terrified his employees. The situation wasn't resolved until MCA ordered him not to bring the weapon to work with him anymore.

Fey's response: "That's almost true. I've had a permit since about 1971, and then when Alan Berg got killed, I was told basically that it would be a good idea as a high-profile Jewish member of the community to carry it with me. But MCA's risk-management department had a policy against weapons, so I stopped carrying it. They wrote me a little letter, and that was that. But I don't think anyone in the office was ever scared of it."

That may be, but Fey certainly frightens plenty of people not employed by him. The only Fey critic contacted for this story who would allow his name to be used was Rob Marshall, the head of Road Home Productions, the most prominent promoter of Christian musical events in the area. He once worked regularly with Fey and says, "Doing dates with Barry and Chuck Morris basically exposed me to the mainstream, through B.J. Thomas and Amy Grant and Stryper. But I was also exposed to their way of doing things. And my eyes were opened when I saw how Fey abused his employees--really good employees who he subjected to verbal abusing and unbelievable screaming and yelling. So many of his people have quit over the years because they just couldn't take it anymore. And I understand why. I took my children to his office with me one day, and he really frightened them. When the building began to shake, they jumped from the reception area into the elevator. I guess they were very sheltered children; they had never seen an adult act that way. But most people haven't."

For Marshall, who refers to Fey as "the anti-Christ," the last straw was a Michael W. Smith concert approximately four years ago for which he had agreed to serve as a consultant. "But Fey reneged on the deal--a signed deal. And that was it," he says. "Everyone in the industry encouraged me to sue him, but I didn't. I just walked away, because I hadn't lost any money. But so many of his partners aren't that lucky. Barry Fey doesn't share the pie like a regular partner should. His profit centers and streams of revenue are extraordinary, and they're not shared with the venues, the artists or the partners the way they should be. And at a certain point, that just can't be ignored. He's the most self-centered, out-of-control, egotistical person on the planet."

When told about Marshall's comments, Fey denies treating him unfairly and seems unconcerned about the other characterizations. "I always thought Rob Marshall liked me," he says with affected surprise before dismissing him as "an absolute flake." But he concedes that he was not always so magnanimous when he heard such criticism.

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