On Wednesday, March 6, Barry Fey will be inducted into yet another hall of fame, this one the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. In honor of his induction, we'll be running the stories that didn't make his memoir all this week. Today, Pam Moore shares what it was like to work with the Man, the Myth, the Legend.
By Barry Fey
Pam Moore (1978-1998), Co-owner of Vashon Island Productions Pam came to me because Bill Graham was a jerk to her. She was working in Hawaii with Steve Wolfe, an agent, and had told him she wanted to get in the concert promotion business. He told her there were only two places to go: Bill Graham or Barry Fey. She flew into San Francisco to see Bill. He made her wait and then gave her five minutes. Then she flew to Denver, and I spent the whole afternoon with her. There was just something about her, so I offered her a job. It took her six months to learn where to hang her coat, but she turned out to be a monster. She did everything, starting with advertising and then she moved into booking. It got to the point that people would rather talk to me than her. That shows you how tough she was! She was great, just the greatest.
When I arrived at Feyline, I sat between Barry and Chuck and was told I'd be spending half my day with Barry and half my day with Chuck. That was kind of funny at times, and not funny at times. It was very chaotic, and Barry would fly off the handle quite often, unloading on a lot of people and throwing things. We each had sliding glass windows in our offices and Barry's were often open, through which various items would sail. Once a salesman had come to the office and as Chuck and I were escorting him to one of our offices for a meeting, we had to go by Barry's window. Just as we told our guest to duck, a potted plant came flying over his head.
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Barry was very good to me. He didn't scream and yell and throw things at me, probably because he knew I wouldn't put up with it. I'd just leave. Once I was sitting across his giant semi-circle desk from him in his office. He was on the phone with somebody and was really mad about something. He grabbed at anything that was close, which happened to be a stapler, and threw it. It bounced off his desk, hit me on the shoulder and whizzed past my ear. I was so pissed off; I stood up and said, 'That's it! I'm leaving," grabbing my things and started walking down the stairs.
Barry -- and this was really the only time he yelled at me -- followed me down the stairs and yelled, "What are you mad at? Why are you leaving? You can't leave me!"
I said, "I'm out of here. That's it. I didn't sign up for this." And I'm yelling at him. He's yelling at me. I turned around again and said, "Don't you yell at me. I'm the one who's pissed at you!" We argued for a while about who was mad at whom. He settled down and said, "Come on, come back up here. I wasn't throwing it at you." We made up.
I had a great relationship with Barry. It was -- and still is, to some extent -- very much a man's business, and it was just a great position for me to be in.
It was a big operation. We did hundreds of dates a year. We did more AC/DC dates than any other single promoter, and did so successfully. We weren't the ones that had the death. We had more U2 dates -- more dates of many major acts -- than any other promoter. It was very rewarding, and I had a very good relationship with Barry. It was a relatively small operation, a family business, if you will, where I had a lot of input. It was a colorful family business, like when kids and dogs came over the office after Cindy had taken them to Wendy's and the kids had shared their food with the dogs and all of them, kids and dogs, got sick and threw up all over the office.
It was an insane asylum type of atmosphere, but it was fun, too, because back then -- in the rock concert business -- it was the Wild, Wild West. We were in a good position because Barry was very powerful and controlled several big markets. We were in the center of all of this activity in the music business, and we were a big, big part of it. It was very exciting.
Within our small office, we had everything you could imagine, from wacky characters to the sex and drugs that went with the rock 'n roll. Now and then somebody would bring a gram of coke to the office and a few of us would split it. The bathroom mirror was fairly small and could be taken off the wall. We'd lay it on the sink, and that's where we'd line it all out, line the coke all out. And we'd take turns going into the bathroom, and somebody would stand guard.
One Friday afternoon, we didn't clean the mirror off very well and hung it back on the wall. Barry didn't notice. He was oblivious to all that. But the next day, we had some big wigs in town from Columbia Records: Jack Craigo and Jonathan Fasino and some others.
Fasino came out of the bathroom laughing and laughing and laughing and said, "Barry, what do you have going on in your bathroom?" Barry said, "What do you mean?" And Jonathan shows him the cocaine streaks on the mirror.
So on Monday morning, Barry calls an office meeting and starts ranting about how embarrassing that was and whoever did it was going to get fired and somebody better come forward or he was going to fire everybody.
Nobody admitted anything. We're all trying to keep from laughing. That night, when we we all get home, we call each other. We all had to have telephone conferencing because of all the work we did from home. So we conferenced each other in, and Chuck conferenced in Barry where he was presented with the confession that we all did it. Well, we were all laughing, but he was fuming, but he couldn't fire all or any of us.
We worked hard, and some of us played hard. We had long, long days with a ridiculous amount of travel, but it was a magical time.
Barry is one of the smartest, wittiest, quickest thinking men that I could have worked with. I think often times he thought he controlled me, my life, but he's one of the best promoters that ever lived. He sold more tickets than any promoter in history because he wasn't a cookie-cutter promoter. He thought of every different angle to promote and sell tickets. He was a fighter. He protected his territory and did whatever it took to do that. Barry would go further than anybody else, and everybody knew that, or learned it. There was really no winning against Barry. He was one of the best there is and was.
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