music morsels fiorenza June 2006 

INDUSTRY PROFILE - Joshua Dick of The Agency Group
by Mark E. Waterbury

“If you call my mother playing Bob Seger records in the house growing up a musical household, I guess you could say I grew up with it,” Joshua Dick muses. “I’m the kind of person who always had music on when I went to bed at night and again when I woke up in the morning.” Born in Queens, New York, both of Josh’s parents were school teachers, and as a result, they thought he should embark on a career he truly loved. Even though he had an original dream of pitching for the New York Yankees, Josh always loved music although he hadn’t pursued the performing side except for a brief foray as a vocalist with a band while attending Binghamton College in upstate New York. What he did pursue was a degree in literature, at first thinking that he may want to write about music for a living. He wrote music articles for the school’s student paper The Pipedream and became the music editor during his senior year. He also took some classes involving working with synthesizer music and production, where he enjoyed his final exam, which required actually composing a piece of music. After graduating he tried to get a job in journalism, taking a roundabout route in attempting to work at a music magazine. “There was a job opening at Us Magazine which shared the same offices with Rolling Stone. I actually inquired of Us about what went on over at Rolling Stone, and didn’t get the job because they thought I was going to use them just to get to (Rolling Stone.) Journalism is really tough to get into and I know people who have degrees and can write head and shoulders above me who are only writing free lance and not really making that much of a living at it yet.”

When an opportunity came along for Josh to become involved with the music industry, it came from an unlikely sector. While substitute teaching to make ends meet, he went to a Deltron The 30/30 concert at New York’s Irving Plaza. He ran into an old friend from college who was working for The Agency Group, one of the larger booking agencies in the world. They had an internship available and she asked Josh if he would consider it. “I took the internship mainly out of curiosity. At the time, it was not my dream to become a booking agent. I wanted to see what this was like and if it was something that I enjoyed doing.” Josh started working for The Agency Group three days a week so the rest of the time he could substitute teach to have some steady income. He started primarily as a typical gopher; doing ticket counts, making copies and running general errands. “Some of what I was doing I was gaining some knowledge from, but most of it was paying my dues. It became a situation where I really dictated what I learned. They provided me with an opportunity and the resources, but it was up to me to utilize them. I was really active with it, pushed people and asked a lot of questions.” When school went on Summer break, Josh started working full time for the agency. After nine months there, a greater opportunity within the company presented itself through the president Nick Caris. Josh tried to get the full time paid position as Nick’s assistant. Nick however did not think Josh was experienced enough yet, so when he offered the position to someone else, Josh decided he would start looking elsewhere for a full time job. On the last day of Josh’s internship, Nick decided that the assistant he had hired was not working out so he offered the position to Josh. “We look back and we laugh about it. He gave me a shot and it has turned out to be a great thing for me. Nick was my mentor and if I said anything different, he would come and get me!”

Even with Nick’s tutelage and Josh’s gleaning as much experience as possible from all the talent buyers at The Agency Group during his internship, he soon found that actually being involved first hand with artists' bookings was the greatest way to gain experience with it. “Until you really live everything day by day, follow bands, see everything that goes on, and develop relationships with promoters, that is the way you really learn. It is definitely a baptism by fire.” The Agency Group was started twelve years ago by Neil Warnock and is known worldwide with offices in New York, L.A. Toronto, London, and Sweden. They represent acts in all genres ranging from popular modern stars including The White Stripes, Nickelback and Sum 41, to classic acts like King Crimson, Joan Jett, and the Scorpions. Josh soon began to really enjoy what he was doing. “I was sitting there thinking, I’m twenty-three years old and I’m working in the music industry. I originally was thinking I was happy to just be getting paid and getting some benefits. When I started realizing that with putting acts into venues as a booker you are instrumental with everything that is going on with that, you start to feel a real sense of accomplishment. That is when I started to really enjoy it, thinking that I made the right decision.”

Josh continued to work as Nick’s assistant, and soon he landed his first personal booking client, overseeing solo performances and tours for Kip Winger. After Josh was at The Agency Group for four years, Nick retired and was replaced by new president Steve Martin. Josh continues as Steve’s assistant, working with their own stable of clients including Dream Theater, The Gin Blossoms, Billy Bragg, and David Gilmour, among many others. Josh found he is focused on being as good an agent as he can be. Although he does not have the official title of “agent” yet, he does feel that it is forthcoming soon.  “The more experiences and the more challenges I get here every day are really rewarding. This is a great company that promotes within and gives people the graduation cap per se. Once the agents feel comfortable with you, they let you start taking over more responsibilities and running with the ball with more artists. Overall, I love it when a show is successful and everyone walks away happy. When the bands are happy, the promoters are happy, and the fans are happy. The reason I am here is because I am a fan first and I go to a lot of shows. When a tour is done, and I can go home knowing I have done a good job setting it up, I feel I contributed to getting something out there for people to enjoy.”


Josh Dick’s advice for musicians: “It’s very tough because when you are trying to book your band, you have so many people competing for limited slots. It’s all about relationships. You first have to become successful in your own hometown, get a good relationship with your local promoter, and build a good fan base. That way, when a national act comes to town, you are the one they are going to call to open for them. Then you can try to build a relationship with that band and their manager, and maybe you can get your press kit to them. It is all about who you know here and also if you can sell yourselves in your hometown. If you start your own buzz, something will happen. :->

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