Andrew McManus Andrew McManus Presents


established 2000; eighteen employees; $80 million turnover

It turns out that all the stories are true. Sometime Motley Cr^ drummer Tommy Lee really is the hardest-partying man alive.

Rock promoter Andrew McManus has the bruises to prove it. 'Tommy and I hit it off last time they were here and we got lost for three days and nights,' McManus groans. 'He just wanted to keep going. 1. He was too good for me. I had to put the white flag up—I just could not continue. Normally I hold my own with these guys, but he's a character and a half, that one.'

Drinking with—and trying to rein in—the baddest boys of rock is all part of the job for McManus, but he says the hardest partiers he's ever handled are not rock stars but wrestlers. Back in 2000 he and the manager of Kiss, Doc McGee, saw an opportunity to take wrestling to Europe. They scooped up fifty-eight 'big, kooky guys, including a guy called Big Poppa Pump, some midgets and some female wrestlers' from World Championship Wrestling.

'They party really hard—how they do it has got me,' McManus laughs. 'And then they have to go to the gym and train during the day. After the wrestling, they're just on this huge high and they go and hit the clubs. Boy, do they hit the clubs.'

McManus and McGee basically bought WCW and enjoyed twelve months filling arenas in Europe before the ka-ching king of wrestling, Vince McMahon, realised they were eating into his potential and started sending his A team over. 'We were like a twenty-pound monkey fighting a 500-pound gorilla. He just ate us up,' McManus says. It was one of the few times in his high-voltage career that McManus has been forced to take a backward step.

Surprisingly, McManus is not a frustrated rocker. 'My uncle had a pub, and from the age of twelve or thirteen I just wanted to be a hotelier.

I really liked the lifestyle and his ability to come and go and make money.' At seventeen, he enrolled in a four-year trainee management course and so impressed his teachers that he was fast-tracked, graduating after two years to become an assistant manager in Townsville. At twenty-one he was given the Rose Bay Hotel to run, making him the youngest licensee in the country. 'It was mine for eighteen months and I was loving it. We took it from doing twenty-seven grand a week to sixty-something grand. But I outsmarted myself. We were making so much money the owners sold it out from under me, and I was out of a job.'

Fortunately, one of McManus's bookmaker contacts heard of his predicament and set him up with a job at the Coogee Bay Hotel. 'They rang me up and said, "Do you know anything about music?" And I said, "Absolutely nothing," and they said, "Neither does the guy who's running Selina's. When do you want to start?" ' That was 1981. Over the next seven years McManus grew the live-rock venue into a Sydney land- mark—and a huge money-earner for the hotel.

In 1985, one of his regular bands, The Div- inyls, asked for help because they weren't seeing enough profit for their hard work. 'They told me they were doing all this work but never making any money,' he recalls. 'I said, "Give me three shows and I'll show you how to make money. You get $20,000, and I'll keep anything we make over that." They didn't believe we could even make twenty, but we made $47,000.' He went on to manage the Divinyls for seven years—during which time they had an international hit with I Touch Myself.

By 1995, McManus was ready to move on. He took a year off, his first real holiday ever. 'I just wanted to chill out and I could afford to do that, but I certainly wasn't a millionaire yet— nowhere near it. The Divinyls thing was just part of the training,' he says.

During his long break, he considered his options. 'I had no degrees or schooling. The only thing I had was my little black book, so I rang some friends and asked them what to do next.' Someone suggested becoming a promoter.

Crooner Barry Manilow happened to be in need of one, so McManus established the International Touring Company. ITC became such a success it was bought out by Abigroup, which then sacked its founder in 2000. 'I remember thinking, It's my company, how can they do that? And forty-eight hours later I'd set up Andrew McManus Presents.'

The next year, McManus came up with the idea for Kiss Symphony. That was his breakthrough, he says: 'the highlight of my career, and when I made my first million'. Fortunately, he was already mates with Kiss. 'Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley] are great businessmen. They jumped at the idea of putting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Kiss make-up and going orchestral. We made the first million that night and I was very proud to get 37,000 people along to one of my shows,' McManus says.

The promoter, who nominates a white Rolls- Royce as the first extravagant thing he bought, believes most modern rockers take the Pearl Jam approach and run their bands as businesses. Some never grow up. All they want is drink and drugs. With bands like that, 'you can't give them too many days off because they'll go and get on the soup, so you might lose them'.

McManus has also seen his share of weird riders over the years (the list of demands an act sends out in preparation for a tour). 'Stevie Wonder just loves to take the p***. He always asks for purple and orange towels, for example. Stevie Nicks wanted a certain running machine on a certain floor of Crown Casino so she could look out the window while she was running and see the view.' Of course, he was more than willing to accommodate the whims of her band

Fleetwood Mac, who ? Stevie Wonder just loves provided his com- to take the p***. He always pany with its biggest asks for purple and orange ever earn: $14 million towels> for example from fourteen soldout shows. McManus's other proud record is for the biggest take from Sydney's Acer Arena in one night: $3 million, thanks to Luciano Pavarotti.

The financial crisis has knocked the business around, slashing older audiences in particular.

'They've been hit hard with their income and their super funds, so they're not spending,' he says. 'Youth acts are still going strong because the audience is young and living at home so they still have spare cash.'

McManus has cut back on costs as much as possible and is taking a far more conservative approach to his business than he is used to. 'I should probably have battened down the hatches more quickly, but I booked New Kids on the Block and they failed dismally, even though my research suggested they should do well. We took a big hit there,' he says.

'Now I am being more careful, and more sen-sitive about the price we charge for tickets. You can put people off even the biggest names by charging too much.'

McManus says he is now expanding the business, focusing heavily on 'viral' marketing campaigns, which are cheap but enormously effective when they work well.

The promoting game is not all hanging out with famous people and scraping the cream off their profits. 'It's a very risky business, and there are too many promoters at the top level. If you won't pay enough for a particular band, someone else will,' he says. 'It's all about the money—no loyalties in this business—and you can find yourself paying too much and losing money. And yes, tragically, that's happened to me.

Bands like Kiss and Fleetwood Mac are different, he says: 'They have a loyalty, and I know what they're going to need financially. I'm not going to say I'm blessed, but I've had a very good run, and made some very good friendships, and it's from them that the opportunities come.'

Besides cars—he has a Bentley and a brace of Benzes to go with the Rolls—McManus's other extravagance is gambling. Just last weekend, he won $154,000 on the Geelong/Melbourne Storm double. He is, it seems, a man who just can't lose— unless he goes drinking with Tommy Lee.

Stephen Corby

golden rules

You are what you think. No matter what, have no regrets.

Never look back, only forward.

Money alone will not make you happy. The biggest thing, outside of the comforts that money can bring, is friends. Surround yourself with good people and you will be a wealthy person.

Be innovative with your marketing.

Life is full of choices, and you are the only one who can take responsibility for those choices.

Be flexible and ready to change along with the economic climate.

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Источник: Nick Gardner. How. I made-.my first million. 26 self-made millionaires reveal the secrets to their success. 2010

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