Ralph Jaccodine began his career in music promoting concerts in Allentown, Pa. and then as the concert director at the University of Notre Dame working with artists such as: Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Rush, Hall and Oates, Kansas, Styx and the like After running his own downtown Boston commercial real estate company for 12 years, he joined Mike Dreese, the co-founder of Newbury Comics, one of the nation's leading retail music chains, in starting Black Wolf Records, an independent record label.
In 1994 he started Ralph Jaccodine Management guiding the career of songwriter Ellis Paul, and then expanded the business working with several additional artists including: Martin Sexton (Singer-songwriter), The Push Stars (Rock), Flynn(Singer Songwriter) , Antje Duvekot (Singer-songwriter), The Adam Ezra Group, Johnny A(guitarist, rocker), Works Progress Administration (Glen Phillips, Sean Watkins & Luke Bulla), Vinx (World Music/Sting's percussionist), Averi (pop-rock), and Bang Camaro (rock).
What inspired you to want to be a manager?
I started out as a pretty bad musician but I could market and promote the music with passion. I wanted to sell something I really believe in and music was it for music is tied into deep places in my life. At the time I met my first client, Ellis Paul, in 1994, I was running my commercial real estate company for 12 years in downtown Boston. This job was my crash course in negotiating, figuring out how money flows and how to build a company, I decided to commit myself to helping Ellis get his music 'out there', whatever that meant, so I gave up the suits and ties and built a record label and management company.
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
In high school I was president of the Allentown (Pa.) Council of Youth which promoted concerts and then I was the concert director at the University of Notre Dame getting me my first taste of the music industry. I worked with promoting acts such as: Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Rush, Styx, Heart, Dolly Parton, Van Halen, Hall and Oats, Bill Cosby and others.
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
An artist's talent and work ethic is ultimately one of the top determiners if the relationship can have a chance of working so this is also very high on my list. I need to believe the artist's music can change the world AND I need to know if they are good people
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
I need to know: Does the artist's music touch people in a profound way, whether it be their heart, head or groin? The music has to stick and create a powerful force in the listener's life or the artist is wasting their time. We don't need more musicians or new songs in this world... we have enough. You have to be great first, then get paid.
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Being a manger is also being an expert on marketing, technology, promotion, PR and psychology. The rules seem to be changing overnight so keeping up with all of the turbulance and not losing my core values and sanity is a must... and a challenge.
How did your business transform over the last several years?
I used to have label partners with all sorts of money and specialists they would bring to the table, now it is all coming from the team I put together, often with little or no budget.
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
I see the Artist- Manager relationship growing to be an even more important, powerful force in the business and the fans will take more of an investor- ownership role to keep their favorite artists in business
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
The long time manager of Aerosmith, Tim Collins, became a mentor of mine and he introduced me to the 'beginners mind' where you don't get stuck with just one way of looking at things. You should respond to situations with the wonder, interest and humility of a beginner instead of thinking you are an 'expert' at everything... in summary, I learned to always make new mistakes.
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Remember job of a manager is someone who has to throw their body between the artist's foot and their gun.