Seven Questions for Bobby Reynolds, Show Booker for The Joint

Reynolds on Round 2 with Mötley Crüe, his residency wish list and the honest truth about dealing with Axl Rose


Bobby Reynolds

Most of us grow up with a short list of dream jobs. Few of us actually end up landing one of them. Bobby Reynolds is one of the lucky ones. At age 17—about four years after being “blown away” at his first rock concert—Reynolds got a job at The Ritz, a Manhattan nightclub owned by a friend. He worked security and served as a production runner, among other tasks, until college took him away. A couple of years later, boredom brought him back, and after rising through the music entertainment ranks across the country—he opened several House of Blues, including the one at Mandalay Bay—Reynolds, 37, ascended to his current position: vice president of booking for AEG Live Las Vegas, which includes bringing acts to The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Acts like Mötley Crüe, which returns for a second three-week, 12-show residency—dubbed An Intimate Evening in Hell—from September 18-October 6.

This is the fourth rock residency at The Joint in 18 months, and rather than book a fourth different act you decided to bring back the Crüe. Why?

We had great success with them the last time—the fans loved it, the band loved it, the [Hard Rock] really enjoyed it. It just fit really well. When we were in the middle of that first run, the band said they wanted to come back—they enjoyed being on a Mötley Crüe campus, if you will. I think they appreciate being in the same place and continuing to perform, continuing to do their art, continuing to feed their fans’ need for Mötley Crüe music, but doing so in the same city.

Of course, when you’re going back to do a deal, it’s like, “OK, is it going to work again? It definitely worked the first time—over 36,000 tickets sold. Great business. But can we repeat it? Can we make it better?” So far, knock on wood, our sales are better in every way than the first time around.

What do you say to the skeptic who’s convinced that, because the first Crüe residency was so over the top, the sequel can’t possibly be much better?

I don’t know. Those guys have been working for a long time—there’s a reason this band’s been touring for more than 30 years. So why not give them the benefit of the doubt? In a town like Las Vegas, with this venue at this property, give it a shot. And I’ll tell you, you don’t have to sell that kind of stuff. People came here [in February 2012] and enjoyed it. If they didn’t, our sales wouldn’t be where they are right now. The proof’s always in the pudding in that way.

You’ve booked Joint residencies with Carlos Santana, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses and now Mötley twice. But what’s the one band or artist you most want to bring in for a lengthy stay?

Short list: I’m a huge Dave Matthews fan, and I think that business would be amazing out here. Roger Waters would be absolutely incredible. AC/DC would be awesome. And I think someone like a Zac Brown would be amazing.

We probably have five or six sticks in the fire right now. And while we’re in conversations with rock acts for sure, we’d love to land a country residency. Kenny [Chesney] has performed here [at The Joint] so many times—he loves the place … and he’s an artist whom we’ve talked to, and it would be a great thing. But when he’s working, he’s working, and when he’s not, he really enjoys his time off. So I respect that. But that would be a great nut to crack right there.

Tell the truth: How difficult was it dealing with Axl Rose for three weeks last December?

Honest to God, man, it wasn’t so bad; it really wasn’t. You know why? Because there’s a history that this guy has. So you’re expecting the worst, and you’re assured by the agent and by the manager what’s going to happen. And you know what? What they said was going to happen pretty much happened.

If we had said doors open at 7, show is at 8, Guns N’ Roses goes on at 9, we would’ve set ourselves up for failure. So we started later and included an opening act, and we were told Axl was going to come on between 11:30 and midnight. And for 10 out of the 12 shows, he was on time. Once he was a half-hour late; once he was 20 minutes late—in rock ’n’ roll time, that’s nothing.

We knew he was going to play long, and a couple of times he played longer than we thought he would. Oh well, big deal. It wasn’t like, “I’m not coming to work tonight,” or he called in sick and you realize he went out and went bananas until noon the next day. There was nothing like that. We knew what we were getting into, and we got what we expected.

At the same time, after that 12th and final GNR show ended, how much sweat did you wipe from your brow and how much beer did you drink?

That was a long night! That was one of those nights where you’re like, “Whew!” And that residency ended on a Saturday, so we went crazy.

What’s the first rock concert you attended?

Rush at Madison Square Garden. I was 12, 13 years old, and I went down with a bunch of friends. I had never seen a spectacle like that before in my life; I was completely blown away. I’m not the world’s biggest Rush fan—I like ’em, I respect what they’ve done, they’re a great band. But even that night, I was just absolutely mesmerized by the crowd and the interaction and the relationship the artist had with live music.

I’ve never worked for a record label—never wanted to. But I love live music; I love watching it go down. There’s nothing better than when there’s a show in here, and you watch the crowd really enjoying themselves, and knowing you had something to do with it.

Along those lines, is your gig as fun as it looks from the outside?

Yeah. More. It’s awesome. Best job ever. I’m not going to be the shortstop for the Yankees, so I might as well do this.

Read more interviews from Seven Questions.

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