By: Jill Gosche
For the Advertiser-Tribune
Bert Holman has exceeded his expectations for his life. As the manager of the Allman Brothers Band, he said he already has the job he would want.
“I live and breathe the Allman Brothers Band,” he said. “The Allman Brothers experience has been tremendous for me.”
Holman spoke about managing the band at Tiffin University’s Good Morning World breakfast lecture series at Camden Falls Reception Hall Thursday.
A Boston resident, he has been the manager for 15 years. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Jan. 12, 1995.
Holman said he was always a music fan as a child and listed to AM radios while growing up.
“Late at night, I’d be searching the dial, trying to find rock stations,” he said. “I love listening to music.”
He arrived more than four hours early for a Rolling Stones concert.
“I was just so taken by the action at Madison Square Garden that night,” he said. He questioned how he could get involved in that business.
When Holman started taking classes at American University, he joined a committee that worked to bring musical groups to campus. Through this, he helped set up the groups’ equipment and got a behind-the-scenes look at performances.
“As they say in the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ I got to see the man behind the curtain,” Holman said.
He continued attending rock shows throughout his time in college.
“I wanted some more,” he said. “I wanted a say in what was going on.”
Holman was successful in his quest to bring the Allman Brothers Band to his university for a performance, and he said it was a success artistically, but not financially.
As a business student, Holman got to study subjects such as accounting, advertising and marketing, and said music is a business.
TU offers an arts management major, a program Holman said he wishes American University had when he took courses there.
Jelani Connally, a TU senior from Dayton, attended Holman’s speech and said his father met the members of the Allman Brothers Band in the 1970s. Connally is a communication major and said he aspires to be a successful musician, singer, songwriter and producer in rhythm and blues.
“It’s very interesting because I come from a very musical family,” he said about Holman’s speech.
When Holman graduated from college in 1974, his father gave him a subscription to Billboard Magazine. He said he learned everything he could about the music business and the people in it.
“I used to read it cover to cover. I read everything,” Holman said. “I tried to immerse myself.”
In his role as the band’s manager, he is responsible for handling money, filing tax returns in all 50 states and securing national insurance policies. In addition, he needs to ensure the band is marketing itself.
“It’s a really complex situation,” Holman said.
He said his work with the band means a lot of commitment, hard work and pain, and he has missed weddings and christenings.
“It’s a traveling circus,” Holman said. “People ask me what I do, and I say, ‘I ran away and joined the circus.'”
Connally said his father, a singer, worked for the producer of the Jackson 5 and wrote songs for the group and Michael Jackson. He said Holman’s lecture added to his knowledge.
“You don’t have to be musically inclined to work in the music business,” Connally said. “The one thing that inspired me was never give up; don’t get discouraged.”