Born in Toronto, Tommy Wilson could have taken a left turn at any time and ended up on the wrong side of the law. Instead he rose to become influencer in the Canada's nascent music biz in the '60s and early '70s as a successful and powerful booking agent that followed a stint as a successful musician and an artist manager. This is his story. I Am Tommy is an easy read through the years when the music business went from infancy to a billion-dollar industry. In it, he shares his personal and business life through the journey cover to cover that will keep the reader’s interest with stores of romance, drugs, mafia, payola and rags to riches rises to stardom for some of the artists.
Why he wrote the book
"By sharing my stories, I document a lot of the history of the Canadian rock and roll business. The book took me four years to write about what took me a lifetime to experience. The biggest challenge was to stop writing. There are so many people and so many stories to tell. I think I accomplished my goal of making the book interesting not just for people in the music business but as well the much broader audience that would find the topic interesting and entertaining. I believe there is desire to be a performer in all of us.
"I hope you enjoy reading it and will let me know what you thought of it."
Excerpted from I Am Tommy with permission from the author.
Agents & managers. What the hell do they do?
Agents and managers were a creation of the inability, lack of knowledge or sometimes lack of interest of most artists/musicians to take care of their own careers. All we wanted to do was play. To a lot of them, and that includes me, at first, it was all bewildering.
Extend that to all the other support people required, and there are a lot of them.
Managers, lawyers, accountants, engineers, producers, equipment stores, road managers, road crews, sound technicians, publishers, writers, record companies, recording studios, publishing companies, television, radio DJs/hosts, media reps, photographers and on and on and on and, oh yeah, agents! Also, very important, the promoters and last but not least the fans who, along with the artists and bands, paid to keep the industry humming along.
Sorry if I missed anybody.
All had the same goal ideally. Take care of the artists; make them famous and successful (not necessarily the same thing.) All of these services cost money that, if they all do their job right, the fans and the artists get to pay and support a future multibillion-dollar industry. On behalf of the musicians, I think Les Emmerson from Five Man Electrical Band said it best: “The only thing I hate about the music business is the business.”
Contrarily, a lot of musicians made the transition from musician to the business side or managed a combination of both. The one thing that a lot of people forgot was an elementary point. Without the musicians, those of us that chose to be in the business side of music would have nothing to do.
Sometimes that reality got lost in the shuffle.
-- Buy the book on Amazon.ca here and listen to Little Caesar & the Consuls with their 1965 CHUM No. 1 hit in the YouTube upload below.