Daniel Stanton is the brains behind Coallier Entertainment, a New York-based full-service artist management company whose whose client list has included over the years Dee Snider, Adrenaline Mob, Loudness, Foreigner, Dee Snider, Bonnie Tyler, Lizzy Borden, Joey Belladonna, Sebastian Bach, Jeff Scott Soto, Steven Adler, KILLCODE, Adam and the Metal Hawks…the list goes on and on. Danny’s got a million stories to tell going all the way back to hanging out with Kiss in the ‘70s (check out his Three Sides of the Story interview on YouTube), but more importantly for us, he’s got a ton of experience duking it out in big league rock ‘n’ roll.
What was your path into artist management?
I used to be in several bands myself. I had a record deal at the age of 17 with a band called Takashi, played shows with Metallica, Twisted Sister, Ace Frehly and others. From there I was in various other groups. Ninja, WIld August and more. I’m also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and did a Dr Pepper commercial (which was also Macaulay Culkin’s very first TV appearance, I’m told), appearances on Law & Order, background movie stuff and more. I was able to see the industry from within, get a taste of the “truth,” the money, lack of money, etc. Eventually I decided to go behind the scenes and form a company that handled artists and also protected them from the pitfalls of the industry. Coallier Entertainment was born and my first signing was Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.
How do you help your clients?
Every client is different. For example, we handle just about everything for Dee. Between three people on his management team, we handle all of his touring, record deals, publicity, TV appearances, flights, scheduling, and if you know Dee, there is a lot more.
What’s a typical day in your life like?
Lately it feels like February 12th, 1993. That’s the day the movie “Groundhog Day” came out featuring Bill Murray. Every day just repeated itself. Same feeling now for a lot of us dealing with this global pandemic.
But, like most peoples’ schedules in the entertainment industry, I can tell you it’s far from “typical”. There is no such thing as 9-5, 5 days a week. My day gets started about 6:00am. We’re based out of New York and by then it’s already noon in Europe, where a lot of our business dealings take place. We need to work within several time zones. There are always contracts to be drawn, negotiations to be made, tour dates to be booked, rescheduling dates due to the pandemic, working on new record releases, and so much more. Even now, it’s nearly midnight here in New York and here I sit knocking out this interview. After this, I’ll send out about 20 more emails, maybe get 4-5 hours sleep, then wake up to responses from those emails sent and begin my day all over again. Yes, I’m a work-a-holic.
Do you get involved with what’s going on inside the group?
You mean, babysitting for adults? Yeah, it happens from time to time. Your artists become your family. You help them when and where they need it. You guide them and try to help them avoid the pitfalls and demons that are out there, for sure. I’ve bailed people out of jail, settled arguments and differences, mended relationships and more. Did I mention babysitting for adults? And trust me, this too gets old, fast! So you try to work with artists that carry less baggage and have less drama.
What do you look for in a band you’re considering?
There is a certain “It Factor” when you see a band, they either have “It” or they don’t. It’s a rock star quality that you know this artist is going to make it with or without you, one way or another. Those are the artists I want to be a part of. It also doesn’t have to be genre specific. It could be rock, metal, country, pop… If they have what it takes, then watch them closely and try to strike a deal. You need to remember, there are only two types of music, good music and bad music. Always go for the good!
What turns you off from a band?
Bands that don’t have their own identity. They need to be original. When an artist is too influenced by another artist, or just copies what’s out there and trending, they may as well just be a cover band or a tribute band.
What red flags are you wary of?
Drugs, being late, time wasters, other priorities… That list can go on forever. NEXT!
How does a band know if they’re ready for outside management?
It’s always important to be represented. You always want your band to be perceived at a certain level, on a pedestal if you will. If a band member is the one making the calls, responding to the emails, or the direct voice to the industry, they may not appear to be as big as they are or should be. If you’re too approachable and accessible, there’s no mystique or value. A manager, management or agent handling an artist gives them more clout.
How does a band find a manager?
More often than not, the manager finds the band. But a band can showcase, reach out to management companies or agencies, send links, etc. For example, the band KILLCODE reached out to us. We watched them for nearly 6 months before taking them on. We needed to watch their growth, see how they held up. Now they tour all over the world and have returned to Europe and more several times over.
How should a band expect to pay or compensate a manager?
Every deal is different. Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, took 50% of everything! But the standard is between 10-20% of the deal made for the band, i.e.: touring, record deals, sometimes merch; a lot of times, points on a record. Artists: Get a lawyer!
What should a band pay attention to when talking to a potential manager?
The deal itself. The percentage/terms they may need give up. What the manager will actually do to earn their keep. Does the manager represent himself well? The manager’s credibility and ability are equally important.
Any advice for self-managing bands?
Focus on your songwriting, your goal and your social media. Stay away from negative people, non-believers and band members who ride your coattails. Don’t worry about tomorrow, worry about today.
Do you see common stumbling blocks for young bands?
Many artists bail out too soon, quit, get discouraged. People say “Rock is Dead.” No, it’s not! You just need to know where to find it, how to work it, and how to let others hear it. Determination and the willingness to suffer along the way is the only way to prevail. It’s not easy. If it was, even more people would be doing it.
What’s expected of a band when they grow from local/regional to national/international?
There is a ton expected, and always expect the unexpected. Your life takes on endless hours of work, touring, recording, interviews, travel, and more. Many bands break up, implode, fail. Maybe it’s the excess, drugs, money, a wannabe rockstar lifestyle. Many relationships fail, break up, divorce…. But there are bands that survive, and if you stay focused, breathe, work hard, and know when to say no, your success can be the ultimate reward you were seeking.
At what point should they start taking publishing seriously?
From day one. Publishing is your future. The less you give away the more potential income you have coming in. Hold on to your rights.
Any general advice for bands on publishing?
Try to retain as much as you can without giving it away or selling your soul for it. Get a lawyer. Don’t jump into a deal. Negotiate. That’s why the key for all bands today is to stay viral. We are in a social media-driven world. I’ve taken meetings wtih record companies that won’t discuss anything unless the members are under 23 years old and have at least 1 million hits on all of their social media platforms. This is why I also tell artists that the record deal may not be as important as your publicist or publicity team. You need to promote and stay viral. If you are already in demand and have a following, this may help sway a record company more and the ball will be more in your court.
What’s happening with booking right now?
The entertainment business is unfortunately in a horrible situation. Most, if not all, tour dates from 2020 will be a copy and paste to 2021, maybe even 2022. There will be a ton of new schedules, and new rules because of COVID-19 and social distancing. COVID-19 won’t just disappear on January 1st, 2021. It’s not like it knows a calendar date. Like it or not, we are all in for the long haul. I truly don’t believe things will get back or close to the normal we know for several years. My biggest concern is really for the crew guys, techs, stage hands, sound engineers, lighting engineers, agents, managers, dancers, singers, up-and-coming musicians, etc. The fight and struggle to survive is real.
What should bands be doing right now when they can’t play shows?
Multi-task, parlay their success, stay viral (there is that V-word again). Try to maintain a business game plan and always look for a new strategy. Some examples: Live concert streaming, release or re-release material, sign up for Cameo to interact with your fans. There are ways for artists to bring in income. I recently signed several major artists to a company in Malta called Metal Reels (www.metalreels.com), an online casino company that makes online slot machine games for artists. Twisted Sister is one of them, and several more soon to be announced. This is new revenue and great timing for artists who are currently off the road.
Any advice on productivity and keeping things on track?
Make a schedule, take all of your overwhelming challenges and spread them out. Put one or two in a box per day; don’t look at all of them at once. Tackle them one day at a time.
I once spoke with a very famous artist who told me he couldn’t function without a schedule. His entire life was always attached to an itinerary: When to wake up, when to eat, what time to be at sound check, what time to be on stage, what time they should sleep in order to do it over and over again. The artist was told what days they would be off, what days they would be working, when they would or wouldn’t be home for the holidays. Imagine that? Your life, your surroundings, your everything dictated by a schedule and then one day, it stops. Maybe someone died, maybe the band broke up, maybe COVID-19 hit. Now what do you do? You panic, stare at the walls in your house when you were used to the hotel walls, or your bunk on the tour bus. You watch too much TV, or worse, too many news channels. You overeat because you don’t know when to eat. Your sleeping pattern is off, you hyperventilate… It’s a living nightmare. Stop! Think. Refocus. This person needed to actually make a schedule in order to survive life off the road. Mondays would be run errands to the post office, the bank, the supermarkets. Tuesdays would be paperwork, bills, contracts, etc. Wednesdays would be follow up calls. Thursday, cook three meals. Friday, eat out. Saturday, clean the house and do yard work. Sunday off, go out, play golf, visit friends. The moral here is to always keep busy. Downtime is the devil’s time.