Metalscript.Net recently conducted an interview with music promoter Ute Kromrey. “The mother of the Motörhead family” comments on her music preferences, communication with rock stars and qualities that make up a successful promoter.
– Could you explain the role music plays in your life? Have you ever played any musical instruments?
– I always loved music and I think that music is an important part of life. All different emotions can be told through music and they touch you depending on your mood. I’ve never played any instruments – I’m so non-musical, it’s a shame. I love to sing along but it doesn’t sound good at all. :)
– Do you remember your first acquaintance with rock music?
– I grew up with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis and then everything from the 70’s. From T-Rex to Sweet, Suzie Quatro, Uriah Heep. It was a great time, all new and diversified. I was sitting in front of the radio and listened to all chart plays once a week.
– What rock bands gratify your music taste most?
– Bruce Springsteen, I’m a huge fan! And I love the old Bee Gees!
– Ute, you started working in music business some 17 years ago. Can you enumerate the most significant events in your work timeline?
– I’m not sure if I’m able to enumerate at all? I came into the music business like a virgin and considered it a job; I was never star struck so everything I did, I did it with the focus on getting the job done. Of course, it was exciting when I went to the first concerts of ‘my’ bands and to some award shows later but I could not name anything that was rather significant. My first interviews, I was excited if it worked out properly and if the artist and the journalist would be happy… probably more little things and work related.
– What changes have occurred in the music industry during this time?
– It’s changed a lot over the years. There is not so much time and money anymore to go on extensive promotion tours. Some labels won’t spend the money. Due to modern technology a lot of interviews are done via email, skype or by phone and because of this you don’t have the close contact to the artist anymore being a promoter. Years ago you were on the road with your artist for weeks, doing face to face promotion in almost every country. These days are mostly gone. Promoting a new record is much faster and more about saving money, not spending too much money.
– You have founded your own company promotör – Uncomplicated Koordination in 2009. What difficulties, if any, have you come across going independent?
– None at all. I worked in a record company and when the company went into insolvency I was let go and didn’t really think about what to do next. But immediately some of the artist I worked for called me and told me to go independent because they wanted to continue working with me. I was totally surprised that they were so loyal, that really touched me. And that they apparently liked my work. With this support it was quite easy and I immediately founded my company. Alice Cooper, Loreena McKennitt, the late Dio and Motörhead were the first ones and I’ll be always grateful that they supported me right from the start.
– The list of the outstanding musicians you have worked for is quite impressive. Have you managed to find your soulmates among the world famous rock stars? Do you still keep terms with any of them?
– Yes, I worked (and still working) for a lot of bands. I became friendly with some and I still have contact with some even I don’t work for them anymore. I’m still in loose contact with David Coverdale from Whitesnake, Eric Burdon became a friend and I often visit him when I’m on the West Coast.
All the guys from Helloween are fantastic and I’m in regular contact with Michael Weikath for chit-chats. Moonspell and Sepultura I’ve just met at a festival in Germany and it is always nice to catch up and they are all wonderful people.
When Mötley was playing in Germany I went and said hello. When Tom Petty played Hamburg the management was kind and offered me tickets to go. And of course, with Motörhead I’m always in contact all year round – no matter if they are touring or not.
– We are pretty sure that your life and work abounds in funny episodes, could you recall some of them?
– Yes, for sure some funny stories but you have to be a bit careful about what to tell. It is always fun to be on the road with Motörhead. Phil is so funny and very entertaining. One day – around Christmas time- we were staying at a hotel with a huge reindeer and Christmas tree decorated in the lobby. Later that night Phil decided to jump on this wooden reindeer and not only the reindeer but also the 4 m tall fully decorated Christmas tree tipped over and fell down – in between all of this was Phil on the floor. We were all laughing so hard but the hotel didn’t think it was funny.
– Could you tell us the story of your cooperation with Motörhead? How did you happen to become die Mutter der Motörhead-Familie, as the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt put it?
– I started working for Motörhead in 1998, first I did their German promotion and shortly afterwards their worldwide coordination. I was travelling a lot with them, making sure interviews did happen and somehow it developed more and more and I became part of the Motörhead family. I’ve been with Lemmy through some tough situations and took care of him when some health problems occurred. I guess that all welds together.
I’m always honest and would not put them through situations where they don’t feel good. They trust me and I think this is the most important thing at all. No matter if it is an interview, TV show or else. Phil once said that I knew him better than he would know himself when it comes to interviews and his reaction. And in the end my name ended up under ’management’ in the CD booklet some years ago. :)
– In your opinion, what character traits are essential for a successful music promoter?
– You have to be in balance with the artist, the record company/ label, the management and the journalist. Sometimes it is not easy to satisfy all of them. But for me, the artist always comes first and should be treated with respect but shouldn’t be pampered too much. After all we are all the same – just standing on different sites of the fence. You have to be open, communicative, friendly but also tough, protective but with the view of anything that would make your artist happy.
Being a female in this male world you have to be even more strict and persistent and don’t blush when hefty jokes or talk comes your way.
– As a music promoter with almost 20 years of experience, what recommendations can you give those who have just entered the music business?
– Take your job seriously and double check if you are able to deal with so many different people and their quirks and obsessions. Be honest, be nice but also tough and try to make the artist your friend and also keep an excellent contact to management and the label.
For more on the promoter, visit the website promotoer.de.