Alan Stewart has worked with the band as part of the management team since 2003. He’s had a multitude of roles and most recently began managing the band’s official fan community. He also consults for NFL Football teams, wineries and runs Matt & Kim’s “Scream Team." Also, he is pretty darn cool.
You’ve had an illustrious music business career- how did you get started?
I walked into a bar while in college and the guy performing (solo acoustic) blew me away. I started attending his Tuesday night shows and befriended him. Little did he know I had an angle: I wanted to manage his band. However, I had no idea what I was doing so I read Donald Passman’s book “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” and asked if he would meet me for lunch. I impressed him with my incredible knowledge of the business (ha!) and he hired me to manage his band. Within a year I had secured them a record deal with Epic Records and we were in Nashville recording with the legendary Peter Collins. The band never tore up the charts but did sell a respectable 250,000 records, signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, were part of the HORDE festival and toured with a number of amazing artists. The band was “emmet swimming”. (They still play and have a sold out 930 Club show in DC this summer). I haven’t had a “real” job since then and have been fortunate enough to travel the world working with a number of amazing artists over the past couple decades.
Were you a fan of the band growing up?
Yes! My brother was a drummer and I (poorly) played bass. He let me sit in every once in a while with his band. I used to play “Panama” by Van Halen. It’s basically just thumping the E string and was pretty easy. My REAL introduction to Duran was my brother telling me that I had to learn “Rio” for a show they had coming up. I found out later it was just an evil ploy to get me out of the band because there was no way I could learn that song! Anyway, I was BLOWN AWAY by how incredible John’s playing was. Obviously I was very familiar with their music but I had never really analyzed it and I immediately had a huge appreciation for their musicianship, Simon’s sense of melody and clever lyrics and the overall vibe the band had. True rock stars. I’ve been a fan ever since.
Tell us a little bit about your job - a broad overview
I’ve been working with the band since 2003. Initially I coordinated the film/tv licensing of their songs and assisted in creative projects such as tour sponsorships, special packages, private events etc. My role has evolved into managing the fan community when we brought it “in-house”. My team and I are always trying to do our best to add value to membership. We added a “Gold” package which includes exclusive merchandise (that if purchased at a concert would be double to triple what the package costs). It’s a lot of fun working with the band and the management team to come up with items that (we hope) the fans will like. We are currently working on a very special new GOLD package that will be released this summer.
In addition, I help to put together all of the touring VIP packages which can be a major challenge when a show (or run of shows) gets added last minute and I have a day or two to put together everything. There are so many moving parts (the agent, the management, band approvals, liaising with the concert promoters, coordinating with ticketing partners etc.).
Finally my team and I handle all of the customer service questions that come into the website. I always encourage fans to reach out directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) rather than “tweet” or post questions on FB. We’re usually very quick to respond.
What is the coolest show or event you’ve gotten to attend with Duran Duran?
This is an easy one. Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko booked DD to play a private event on Liberty Island. The band and a few members of the team (including myself and of course you Katy) were picked up in Manhattan by a NYC police boat and ferried over to the island. It was a beautiful night and the Statue of Liberty was absolutely stunning. We were dropped off and escorted into a ridiculous backstage which included amazing caviar, vodka and a variety of gourmet delicacies. I ended up talking to Helena Christensen about Duran Duran and how beautiful NYC at night is. Now that was memorable. A close second is when the original five played a tiny venue (the China Club) in NYC when they first got back together. I had JUST started working with them and I was blown away by how amazing the show was.
Since you know the guys pretty well, how would you describe each one of them in ONE word?