Live Nation boss fesses up on his punk past (The

"Live Nation boss fesses up on his punk past" (The Jun 16 2011, by Greg Quill.

Booking punk bands under false names into legion halls and suburban youth centres in Vancouver in the late 1970s isn’t much different from what Gerry Barad does now: organizing massive tours for U2 and the Kings of Leon and Peter Gabriel.

“The only thing that’s different are the numbers — they’re bigger now,” Barad, the Vancouver-raised chief operating office of the world’s largest concert promotions outfit, Live Nation, told the Star in a recent phone interview from his home in Chicago.

Barad is the one talking head who seems out of place in Bloodied but Unbowed, Vancouver filmmaker Susanne Tabata’s affectionate documentary memoir of the vibrant and unique punk music scene that thrived in her hometown between 1978 and 1981, and anchored a West Coast punk phenomenon in those years that stretched as far as San Francisco.

Alongside the movie’s “stars” — legendary survivors of Vancouver’s punk phase, including D.O.A.’s Joey Shithead and Randy Rampage, the Modernettes’ Mary Jo Kopechne, Paul Hyde and Bob Rock of the Payola$, The Subhumans’ Gerry Hannah, The Young Canadians’ Art Bergmann, among many others — and luminary commentators/witnesses such as Henry Rollins and Guns N Roses’ Duff McKagan, Barad comes across at first as a ringer, a suit without a suit, offering sideline testimony.

But it’s not long before Barad’s place at the centre of that chaotic scene becomes apparent. He was the facilitator, the front man, the subversive “straight” who booked the venues, calmed down local authorities, greased the media, made and sold records, put up posters, cleaned up messes, made things happen.

“I was at (promoter Norman Perry’s) Perryscope Concerts, I had a small record label and a record store, and it was just a little small-town scene, our little secret, when suddenly everyone started getting into it,” recalled Barad, who, as one of the top executives at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, now controls more than 80 percent of the North American live performance/recording market.