Unhappy Together

Why doesn't KOOL want Barry Fey's money?

By most objective measures, the KOOL Koncert's bill is superior to Fey's: Warhorses such as B.J. Thomas, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and Paul Revere and the Raiders are supplemented by Little Richard, the Box Tops (led by cult favorite Alex Chilton) and the Raspberries, whose original members are back together for the first time since their 1975 breakup. Even so, Fey says Hilles's logic left him feeling "disappointed and bewildered. All I was trying to do was put on a good show at a really cheap ticket price for Father's Day -- and if you buy my ticket, it doesn't preclude you from going to their show. After all, it's only $3.50." Prices for the KOOL Koncert aren't quite that cheap, but they're far from outrageous. Seats will go for between $20 and $40 -- a tag that includes all fees other than Ticketmaster charges.

In the meantime, House of Blues is promoting the Jammin' 92.5 Father's Day Funkfest, co-starring the Commodores, Kool & the Gang, and Morris Day and the Time, at Coors Amphitheater on June 19 -- the day after Fey's concert. Fey concedes that the Funkfest is aiming for a different crowd than he is, but he can't help but be suspicious about the scheduling of another oldies concert on Father's Day weekend, with promotion by an Infinity station. "There's a reason why they're doing that," he says. "I'm sure Infinity's behind anything they can do to hurt me."

That's news to Jason Miller, House of Blues' newly named senior vice president. "I didn't even know Barry had a dispute with Infinity," says Miller, who worked with Fey during the latter's House of Blues tenure and describes himself as an admirer. "No one at Infinity has made any mention of Barry's situation to me. We're promoting the show totally independently, and seemingly with no issues."

The campaign for "A Salute to Dad" hasn't been nearly as smooth, and Fey's feeling the heat. "There haven't been many times I've been an underdog, but I feel like a distinct one now," he says. He hopes that whoever replaces Hilles at Infinity will change the company's policy and let him buy advertising for his concert. The only thing that will happen "is I'll give them money," he allows. "And what's wrong with that?"

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