Heart of Steel: Interviews

Outlaw Entertainment's Tommy Floyd, founder and CEO

Interviewed by JP

Another part of our casual, yet never-ending industry profile interviews I am delighted to bring to you an interview with Mr. Tommy Floyd, founder and CEO of Outlaw Entertainment. Mr. Floyd has along history in the hard rock metal scene earning critical acclaim and recognition for his projects over the past two decades.

 

Welcome to the Show!! (Inside joke) Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your personal history for some of our readers who may not be familiar with your name?

"In 1989 a group of imposters from LA ran ads in BAM magazine looking for a guitarist to complete their new band "Pretty Boy Floyd"?!. At the time, I was amazed that any band would even attempt to capitalize on all of our sweat."

I first started singing for cover bands in my early teens in and around Vancouver, Canada then graduated to original hard rock and metal bands when I was about 17. After touring the US I was hooked. At the same time, I became very interested and involved in the business end of things. I asked a lot of the right questions and became close with several industry veterans. When I was in my early twenties I formed a band called Pretty Boy Floyd (Canada). We put out an Indy EP followed by a full-length album "Bullets & Lipstik" that charted overseas and received critical acclaim from mags like Kerrang, Rip & Burrrn. We toured our asses off, worked incredibly hard and put every penny back into the band. In 1989 a group of imposters from LA ran ads in BAM magazine looking for a guitarist to complete their new band "Pretty Boy Floyd"?!. At the time, I was amazed that any band would even attempt to capitalize on all of our sweat. I called the LA band and inquired about the guitar gig and then asked them where they came up with the name. They openly bragged "some band from Canada!"

 

How did the sale of the name "Pretty Boy Floyd" come about? I hope you took MCA to the cleaners! ha! ha! 

Our band publicity suddenly went from killer to filler. People were writing our fan club and confusing us with the LA band, calling us fags (and by the names) of the LA PBF band members. After a meeting with my manager at the time and our trademark lawyer, we all agreed that enough damage had been done to the name. That even if we decided to hang on to it (as I owned the trademark) there was significant damage done. There was so much confusion in the industry and media that know one seemed to know who was who. But the one single fact, we couldnít overlook was that they were on a "major". Of course, we didnít let on to the LA band that we were no longer interested in keeping the name. We eventually settled out of court with MCA giving us a nice chunk of change.

 

Are you aware that PBF is still kickin' around?

Iíd heard the singer was still flogging the act. The band was never very good to begin with. I was informed shortly after they pilfered the name from us, that they had written very little if anything from their MCA debut. Apparently, they ripped most of the songs from a guitar player that tried out or was in the band for a short while who later sued them. MCA finally did the right thing by dropping them. Fuckers!

 

Enough about the past, let's talk about your great new venture, Outlaw Entertainment. How did you come up with the name and concept? 

Iíd always considered the business of touring and being in a rock & roll band not unlike the Wild West, where Outlaws and gunslingers ran free. We slept late, drank as much as we wanted and got to hang with beautiful women. There werenít really any rules as long as (it was in the name of fun and) you pulled your weight in the band. When it came time to launch the company, it was the only name that really made any sense. And given the type of bands Iíve chosen to work with (outside the mainstream), theyíre true Outlaws in their own right. They do what they do because theyíre driven to, and make no apologies for doing it.

 

When was OE founded and who was your first signing? 

I founded Outlaw Entertainment in January of 1995. Our first signing was a 3-piece hard rock trio by the name of the Cartels. We eventually signed them to Universal. However, the band broke up before they ever realized any bona fide success. Itís too bad, they really kicked ass!

 

What are your views on the music industry now, from the perspective of a musician who was once shopping for deals and now you ARE the guy who makes the deals?

Having been a touring musician and familiar with the dynamics of a band and having handled virtually every area of business that went along with it, I found myself in a rather unique position when it came time to work with bands on a management level and later with our label. I understood very clearly what was required. I also understood, what wasnít. To this day, the last thing I would ask a band to do - is something I wasnít willing to do myself. Itís amazing just how many managers, agents or label owners will do that; put the artist in compromising situations that will ultimately lead to the bands undoing. By the same token however, I wonít work with lazy people or whiners. If Iím going to work with an act theyíd better be prepared to work as hard as I am.

 

I noticed your promotional material is top-notch, well designed, full-color, it is obvious you have put a lot of time and money into this very serious venture. I must ask this tough, but I think fair question. Do you think there is a substantial market for good ol' kick-ass rock 'n' roll in North America? I know the obvious answer is "Yes!" or you would not be doing this BUT...do you think that your roster of older artists, guys like Eric Moore, (ex-Godz) Ron Marks (ex-Celtic Frost), Randy Rampage (ex-Annihilator) and Michael Hannon (ex-Salty Dog) have what it takes to compete in this highly fickle and competitive rock/metal market?

I agree itís a fair question. But, ultimately yes I do think there is a large "rock starved" market in North America. All you have to do is travel a few miles outside the city limits of the big 3 (LA, New York & Nashville) and there are thousands of fans dying to rock. Iíve witnessed it personally. As far as our roster goes, I signed all of these artists because Iím a huge fan of their music and I respect them as people. I donít see any competition. Our signing these bands and making their music available was an absolute necessity. With the amount of crap out there and a new generation of kids growing up without being exposed to "real" rock, I felt it was the very least I should do.

 

A type of follow up question to the last one, are you considered finding and nurturing younger, inexperienced talent in the same rockin' vein or do you plan to work with specifically name artists who have some experience and history?

It just happed that the artists I thought kicked ass - had some prior success. Iím not apposed to working with younger or newer bands. If they rock and genuinely believe in what they are doing, Iíd consider it.

 

Tell us about a typical (if there is such a thing) day in the life of Mr. Floyd and Outlaw Entertainment.

Iíll use today as an example. Although, each day seems to have itís own unique challenges. 

4:30am Ė 6:00am: called overseas labels, licensors, publishers & promoters to set up business meetings at Popkomm (Cologne, Germany). 

6am-8am: returned email & faxes. 

8am-9am: contacted American Dog reviewed album art with Michael Hannon. Contacted art designer, suggested changes. Also spoke with Eric Moore regarding recording sessions and release deadline. 

9am-11am: contacted east coast associates, distributors and promoter at Sturgis, SD. 

11am-11:40am: Spoke with producer for Billy Butcher regarding Pete Parker wanting to redo guitar on all 13 tracks. Heís not happy, but has agreed.

11:40am Ė12:00pm: Treadmill (so I donít have to drink light beer!) 

12:00pm Ė 1:00pm: Lunch meeting with Pete Parker. Peteís not happy with sessions. I agree to attend the studio later in the evening. 

1:00pm-2:00pm: return more email & msgís. 

2:00pm-4:00pm: West coast calls and msg. from lawyer regarding damage at a club & hotel. Promoter withholding balance of payment. Contacted band, then promoter direct. Turns out his girlfriend was at the party with a band member. Damage greatly exaggerated (his pride hurt). Agreed to cover a minor amount of cost. Told promoter to get a new girlfriend! 

4:00pmĖ 6pm: Demo listening session with Suzanne Marie & Mark Bess.

6pm-7:30pm: Dinner w/wife & family. 

8:00pm-10pm: Studio w/Billy Butcher. Things are back on track!

10pm-11:00pm: Review live video footage (American Dog). Made note to call Michael in morning w/comments. 

11:00pm: Watched the Osbornes 

11:30pm: Returned last e-mailís of the day (including yours).

 

What have you got on the horizon, what are your next releases and have you got some tour plans for some, any or all of your acts?

Subsonic is being released as we speak. American Dogís new CD "Red, White, Black & Blue" will be out early Sept. And Eric Moore is in the studio recording bonus tracks for his retrospective "20 Moore Years!" which is scheduled for release this fall. Iím currently talking to promoters about touring several of our acts together on the same bill.

 

Where can people learn more about you, your label and your artist?

www.outlawrecordings.com

 

Do you have any last minutes, comments rants or raves for our readers?

Weíve got some very exciting things in store for kick ass rock fans. Keep in touch with our website and thanks for taking the time to read my rant. Rock & Fuckiní Roll! Tommy Floyd

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