June 07, 2006
Steve Einzig: Making Dreams Come True
Bon Jovi in your Barbados backyard? No problem. 50 Cent entertaining the guests at your daughter's bat mitzvah? No sweat. The Beach Boys, singing poolside about surfin' in the USA at your Southampton summer soiree? Sure thing.
Anyone with a secret fantasy of having an A-list celebrity perform at a private party, corporate function, public concert, or fundraiser need only make one call: Steve Einzig.
Einzig, who books some of the biggest names in the entertainment business, is a bonafide class act. In the ten years since starting his company, BookingEntertainment.com, Einzig's dedication to creating a perfect event from start to finish, with unerring attention to detail, has earned him a great reputation in the field.
The glittering list of clients on Einzig's celebrity roster is a testament to his hands-on commitment: Cheap Trick, booked for a Southampton event this month, Melissa Etheridge at The Waldorf.
The bottom line is that if you want a big name, Einzig delivers - at a price. Events, he said, can cost anywhere from $25,000 into the multi-millions.
One flat fee, though, ensures that Einzig and his employees will attend to every detail from booking a date with a celeb to arranging flights and transportation. "It's one package," he said. "We'll take care of everything. We give 120 percent."
Meat Loaf. Jackson Browne. Ray Charles. Just the celebrity wow factor of Einzig's client list is enough to give one pause. But for Einzig, it's all in a day's work: "The celebrity side of things doesn't affect me."
Instead, he says, it's all about building up a lucrative business founded with friends, many of whom he's known since his teens, and garnering a reputation that's rock solid. The secret, claims EInzig, is simple: "To do good business, you treat your clients and your acts right," he said. "How could you fail?"
Einzig, who grew up in Westbury and spent summers in Amagansett, was innately drawn to the "old school" business aspects of the music industry. That single-minded determination, coupled with some plain old good luck gave him the start he needed to catapult to his current level of success: his Madison Avenue-based company produces
more than 100 events and generates more than $3 million in sales annually.
While still in college, Einzig traveled to Hawaii for a school break and met an RCA rep who told him if he was truly serious about breaking into the business, he'd meet him for lunch in Los Angeles. Einzig dropped everything and boarded a plane.
After graduating from college in 1992, Einzig moved to Chicago, where he interned at Alligator Records before heading to New York. Once there, he applied at every record label and began temp work.
Showing up earlier than all the other temps each day paid off: soon, Einzig won a plum position at Atlantic and realized that he wanted to follow in the golden footsteps of his self professed "idol," concert promoter Bill Graham.
The next stop on Einzig's ride to the top was a stint with legendary concert promoter Richard Nader, well-known for his huge rock-and-roll revivals at Madison Square Garden. Together, the pair produced shows at Carnegie Hall, Nassau Coliseum, Continental Arena, and MSG.
In 1994, Einzig took on a new gig as rock icon James Brown's agent and, over the next two years, booked "The Godfather of Soul" in engagements worldwide.
With both agenting and production experience under his belt, Einzig was ready to embark upon a new phase of his career. In 1996, he jumped onto the magic carpet of the Internet, and started his new business, Booking Entertainment.com, on a site he built himself.
A self-proclaimed "blues nut," Einzig has had awe-inspiring experiences, such as organizing a "Legends of Blues" festival at Lincoln Center that featured the great Stevie Ray Vaughn.
And there have been life-altering moments, too: in 1999, Einzig got a call from a prospective client in Bulgaria, who wanted to bring Western music to a country that only ten years before had been crippled by communism. Individuals who had been living under the threat of time in labor camps if they stepped out of line had a taste of newfound freedom at the concerts Einzig staged.
With acts such as Kool and the Gang performing only four miles from war-torn Yugoslavia, over 5000 guests paid $15 of their average $100 monthly salaries to enter the venue -and experience a whole new way of life.
"Even if they knew no English, they knew all the words," said Einzig, who said the sight of the crowds of fans, holding lighters and singing, touched him forever. "You could just feel the music - it meant so much more. It stood for freedom, for western values and a democratic society. It was the most powerful thing."
Highlights of a star-studded career include driving on a bus with Eminem over the Mexican border one Memorial Day weekend and a 1996 show featuring James Brown and Ray Charles at a horse farm in Montauk: Those who attended ranged "from 8 years-old to 80," he said. "It was spectacular."
Einzig is married to his college sweetheart, Wendy, a chocolatier; they have two children, Ben, 4, and Jack, almost a year, whose tastes in artists run more toward The Wiggles.
Plans for the future include Einzig's steadfast commitment to his clients: "As long as we can keep our clients and the artists happy, everything else is gravy."
Most fulfilling for Einzig is being able to do something he loves while still able to "affect people with live music."
Einzig looks to his idol, promoter Bill Graham, as the measure of ultimate success. At the end of the day, Einzig says he'd be content "if that could be my legacy, to say that every one of our shows has been perfect."