By final count, BottleRock had piled up about $8.5 million in unpaid debt. It turns out one of Graham's close friends loaned the promoters bail-out money after the festival ended. Tapping into his financial genius to help his friend, Graham got a chance to take a look at the books and "saw a little opportunity there."
So in late January, he and his new partners in Latitude 38 Entertainment started booking bands — lining up headliners Outkast, Eric Church and the Cure — and now BottleRock 2.0 is only a few weeks out.
Taking a break from neighborhood awareness meetings and paying artist fees well ahead of time, Graham took time out to chat about his new music promotion career and his diverse musical background:
BottleRock Napa Valley 2014 Lineup
<strong>Q: Did you worry that maybe the name BottleRock was too tainted and you'd be better off starting from scratch?</strong>
<strong> A:</strong> We thought about that a lot and in our due diligence we found out that it was very much tainted within the music industry and in Napa. But outside Napa, people were like, "Yeah I heard about that festival and it sounded awesome" or "I went and it was awesome." We heard it time and time again.
<strong>Q: Give me a sense of your musical tastes and your musical history.</strong>
<strong> A:</strong> Well, you won't believe this — my dad was a World War II vet so I grew up listening to Glenn Miller. I can quote you songs like "In the Mood." So I transitioned from that to Elvis when I was 5 or 6. I remember the day he died. From there I got into KISS when I was 8 years old. When I started liking girls, the timing was perfect for Prince and "Purple Rain" and dance music. Then in high school, I kid you not, I was hardcore NWA — I know all the lyrics by heart. Then I got into rock in college — Black Crowes, Weezer, you name it.
<strong>Q: Do you see any of this reflected in the lineup this year?</strong>
<strong> A:</strong> For sure with bands like Sublime and Weezer. I started listening to Sublime in 1992 when I was at UCLA. But I also have to admit to being a huge Deadhead as well.
<strong>Q: What can you tell me about the booking process?</strong>