The Man Behind the Music: Capitol Theatre GM Tom Bailey
You’re originally from the West Coast, right?
I was born in the San Francisco Bay area, I grew up in the Midwest (Minnesota), went back to the Bay Area at 17 to attend college, and now I live in Port Chester.
Have you always had a career in the live music industry, or have there been other careers/jobs along the way?
I dabbled in the Internet computing business as a consultant, but I always preferred working with people to working with computers.
You started your career with Bill Graham Presents. What was that like?
Nobody knew the concert business like Bill Graham. His company was the best place in the world to learn it.
What did you do after leaving Bill Graham Presents?
I left in 2004 to move to New York City, when my girlfriend took a job working for music legend Clive Davis. In New York, I managed at the Knitting Factory in TriBeCa for a year before I accepted the GM job at the Blue Note, where I spent six years.
Do you or did you ever get to work directly with musicians, or do you deal with just the agents and managers?
Sure. The production department generally handles the talent directly in the bigger venues, but most musicians are nice folks. At the Blue Note, I dealt with them all the time, every night.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
I like working in a business where, when people are happy, they are really happy. Every night, everything is different than the night before. The worst part is that everybody wants to have the best time possible and if something isn't working out, he or she will let you know it. So it's a very demanding thing. Very dynamic.
Do you have a favorite artist, group, or genre? Anything you can’t stand?
I appreciate good music of many styles. I hate bad sound quality.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?
No matter how I answer this, I can't do justice to the thousands of great performances I've seen. Off the top of my head, some standouts are Jane's Addiction in Bochum, Germany in 1990; Tom Petty's 20-night run at the Fillmore in 1997 in San Francisco; Neil Young's Bridge School Benefits in Mountain View, California; X at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City in 2010; Radiohead on July 27, 1997, at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco; Ryan Adams in 2001 at Foley's Cellar in San Francisco; Steve Morse at Stanford in 1991; Blues Traveler in September 1990 at Wetlands—the list goes on...
Does the Capitol Theatre have a core audience?
We are developing one. I see a lot of the same people at most every show, and it makes me happy that this core audience seems to be growing...
Why was Dylan chosen as The Cap’s inaugural act?
He's a legend. Need I say more?
Who would you like to see at The Capitol that hasn’t been booked yet?
I can't tell you without tipping my hand, but there are some amazing offers in the works, and we will land some more great performers—trust me!