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Rockin' a Hard Place: Flats, Sharps & Other Notes from a Misfit Music Club Owner

Rockin' a Hard Place: Flats, Sharps & Other Notes from a Misfit Music Club Owner

ISBN: 9781891885990
Publisher: Hub City Press
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John Jeter was a burnt-out journalist living in Florida when his younger brother, who once saved Jeter's life by donating one of his kidneys, telephoned with life-altering news: he found the perfect spot in Greenville, South Carolina, for the concert hall they always dreamed of opening--a nearly abandoned cotton mill fluttering with pigeons . . . and potential.

Rockin' a Hard Place is the story of The Handlebar, an intimate listening room that has presented thousands of artists--John Mayer, Joan Baez, Zac Brown, and Sugarland among them--and hosted a quarter-million fans since its opening in 1994. A promoter's memoir, this is the story of a naive plunge into an industry that Hunter S. Thompson once called a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free.

With a wry and irreverent voice, Jeter describes the concert business from the bottom of its food chain, where one band's backstage demand includes one hamster dressed like Indiana Jones, one dressed like a police officer, where a landlord seeks to evict him over an ice machine, and where he is reduced to standing in the dark behind his club with a decibel meter.

Singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor tells him at the grand opening: Never book anyone just because you re a fan. But for this cantankerous club owner, it's often Art before Commerce, financial risk be damned. After all, it's the small clubs where the likes of Springsteen, Jefferson Airplane, and even the Beatles got their start where real music is made.

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