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Music Manager Dean Kasparian Brings Music Back to the Valley

IN THE November 21 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andMusic,
andSteven Sanchez,
andWeb Series & Vlogs
SECTIONS

by Steven Sanchez

Having worked in the music industry for the past five years, I can guarantee that every person employed in the field had the same reaction I did when the pandemic happened:…s***! Once the virus hit and the lockdown went into effect, the immediate activity banned was concerts. How can it not? All those people in an arena or bunched up in a club. So the venues shutdown, and the promoters, roadies, techs, staff, and musicians were left scratching their heads. How would the music industry be able to thrive when the outlet that makes the artists and record labels money—which is touring—was eradicated?

Not only was the concern for those who call music a career, but for those, such as myself, who enjoy going to a show. The year 2020 started out with such promise that its lineup of performances would’ve made this a pinnacle year. There were Tool, Pitbull, and Korn with Breaking Benjamin in the beginning. Had the year gone according to plan we would’ve had Lynyrd Skynyrd, Michael Bublé, Matchbox Twenty with The Wallflowers, and a reunion of The Doobie Brothers, to name a few.

The absence of live performances put a damper on everybody’s mood in the Valley, and as if dealing with no concerts and Covid wasn’t enough, there was political upheaval with the protests and the election. To add insult upon injury, there were the forest fires that burned up and down California. The Central Valley experienced the worst of it. No shows, no going out in public, bad air quality, and the list goes on. With no end in sight, can any good come of this? Enter Dean Kasparian.

Dean, a music manager and promoter for PB&D International, has made it a priority to bring music to the place he’s called home for all his life. With a client list that consists of Damon Johnson (guitarist and singer) from Brother Cane, Buck Johnson – keyboardist for Aerosmith, Rod Jackson – singer of Slash’s Snakepit, and Niko Chatziantoniou – bass player for the band Scars on Broadway from Daron Malakian (guitarist of System of a Down), to name a few, he’s proven that he’s well connected in the rock ‘n’ roll world. He’s brought these artists to the area plenty of times. No matter how intimate or what venue it is, as long as these artists play here, goal accomplished. But now the music serves a much more important purpose.

With the wildfires, people lost their homes—some have lost their lives. Even the firefighters combating the flames have suffered in many ways. It’s been tragic for both sides whether you were a resident or a smoke jumper. They need help, and Dean saw this as a call to action. The Valley experienced some of the worst effects of the fires, as both sides of the San Joaquin River near Mammoth Pool, Shaver Lake, Big Creek and Huntington Lake were up in flames. Other areas were destroyed by the blazes as well. Not one to sit around, Dean thought what way he could contribute on a humanitarian level in a way he knew how, and how could he provide something that people in the Valley have been aching for since the beginning of the pandemic: music.

He’s brought in his clientele to construct a song for the sole purpose of raising money for the Western Wildfires Relief Fund. He plans on bringing a long roster of notable talent to contribute to the song: Fred Aching, drummer for many A-List artists from around the world; Holly West, guitarist/bassist for the female tribute band for Led Zeppelin, Zepperella; Ryan Roxie, guitarist for Alice Cooper; Billy Sheehan, bassist for David Lee Roth; Kenny Aronoff, drummer for more than 60 Grammy nominated recordings; Alessandro Del Vecchio, Italian multi-instrumentalist and producer; Todd Sucherman, drummer of Styx; Orbel Babayan, guitarist for Scars on Broadway; and Ginny Luke, electric violinist and singer. Dean recently filmed a music video for the song at Maximus Media in Fresno, a music studio that’s known as the largest production facility between Los Angeles and San Francisco. (Note: details about the song, the release of the single, and music video will be announced in the near future.) Not only has he been able to form a supergroup all in the name of charity, but he’s got a knack for attracting guests to talk about their lives and careers on his video internet show, On the Patio.

Dean Kasparian, doing his thing behind the scenes, directing the music video

In his words, “On the Patio is a show that I started over two years ago to showcase very well-known and talented artists, actors, and people in the sports communities, who do not necessarily have household names, but are good people and very talented.” He’s given them a voice with which to speak. His guests include: Greg Watermann, photographer for System Of A Down, Pitbull, Linkin Park, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice In Chains. Josh Hayes, four time Superbike champion. Grant Mohler’s band, Crushing The Deceiver, who we featured earlier this year and who owns the Clovis based restaurant Cravings. His most recent interview was with Captain Albert Papikyan of the Armenian Army to talk about the reignited conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that’s taking place right now.

A music man, a philanthropist, a proud Central Valley resident, Dean was not going to let the virus stop him from bringing music to the community. In the meantime, he’s been fulfilling our thirst for music during this musical drought we’ve been dealing with.

Kings River Life had the amazing opportunity to chat with him about his passion for his hometown, whether the local music community can thrive post-Covid, and how he’s able to juggle his musical endeavors while hosting a show.

KRL: You’re a music manager, promoter, content maker, and all such things. What is it that Dean Kasparian can’t do?

Dean: There are many things that I still want to do, and believe if you make the time and set a goal anything is achievable. It also takes a team to reach your destinations. I’m grateful for those people in and around my team.

KRL: You have a family legacy here in Fresno. With your background and with what you do, what has made you want to stay here instead of going someplace else?

Dean: On my father’s side, my grandparents were extremely hard working raisin farmers who knew only about hard work and hardship to be successful. My father has been a professional musician and pharmacist for all of his life. Even at 87 years old he doesn’t know how to stop. My grandfather on my mother’s side, was an Armenian genocide survivor, and eventually settled in downtown Fresno with his grandmother after fleeing Armenia. He was a well-known artist/sign painter and community leader for his entire life. He grew up with close personal friends such as William Saroyan, Ansel Adams and other very well-known people who are a huge influence to the area and the world. He built a great reputation and business on less than a third-grade education, and with [only] one relative [to help]. He never quit nor did he ever stop believing in himself. I’m grateful to my family and my culture/ancestry to be Armenian. Fresno has been my home and familiar fabric for my entire life. It is my community and it is full of great culture and history. I stayed here because I want to contribute back to the culture and community and keep some level of input to its core. Fresno is and always will be my home!

KRL: What will it take for the music community to match the same prestige and support as other cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco?

Dean: Fresno once had a great vibe and was on fire for live music. The pay to play situation has to be altered and artists can’t go home with owing the venue money or taking home $20.00. It is not just Fresno; it’s like that everywhere. Many venues around the world are suffering and closing. The music scene in Fresno can match the Bay Area and Los Angeles again. It will take time and some serious effort from the venues, the community and everyone involved. There are some great talents already in Fresno and so much talent wanting to come to Fresno. We have to all come together to make the formula come to fruition. It is totally within reach. It will just take time.

KRL: You manage Damon Johnson from Brother Cane, Buck Johnson from Aerosmith, Rod Taylor from Slash’s Snakepit, and others. That’s quite a client list. What’s the story on how you were able to interact with these artists and have them become clients?

Dean: The list of clients that you mentioned are not just some musicians, singers and songwriters that I happen to work with or been on tour with. These people that you mentioned are superior, kind, generous human beings who are like family to me. I have been given beyond the best gift to be around such genuine and authentic people. I have been at this for a number of years now, and working in the industry long enough so that the intersections and dots usually connect as the industry is really a small network of people. For the record, I will state that I’m grateful to the artists that you named, for it takes a team; these people are incredibly talented first as people and then as musicians second.

KRL: With the artists, you manage to find a way to bring them here to the area whether it is for concerts, music videos, or recordings. What’s their initial reaction when you say you want to bring them to Fresno?

Dean: Ironically, most of these artists that I work with and bring to Fresno and the Valley have had some interaction or connection to the area, as Fresno was once “The place to stop and do a show” back in the day. Some people will know and remember what A-List acts, artists and bands would come through and play in Fresno on a large-scale tour. Ratcliffe Stadium, Selland Arena, and …venues such as Warnors Theatre, etc., would host many well-known international names. So, having Fresno on the tour schedule has never been an issue or a hard sell. Very grateful to always come back home to Fresno and bring a great talent to my hometown.

KRL: A lot of people and communities were hit hard by the pandemic, and the music scene can make a good argument for it being hit the hardest. Do you think the music community can recover from this, and if so, how?

Dean: Music was the very first industry to stop and will be the last to resume. These artists, their managers, techs, support staff, assistants, PR staff, venues, and the list goes on, have one bloodline in their veins, that is to play, support, and perform music for their fans. Everyone during this time is dealing with major challenges mentally, physically, financially, musically. But, these artists are relentless and fierce. Nothing will stop them and the music will return. In the meantime, the format and delivery will be unconventional and the matrix will be in a safe manner as well. Both the fans and the artists will find a way to connect, either by social media, mainstream media, livestreaming or in person concerts. It again goes back to having a team, and the team is worldwide!

KRL: You have the musicians on your roster, and now you’ve got a group of models. In this regard who are they and what do they bring to the table?

Dean: “The Patio Girls” are a group of local women who are part of the team for On The Patio.
Let’s face it, not everyone wants to stare at my face all the time. Side note from fact though, you will see more and more interaction from “The Patio Girls” as the show evolves. They will be part of the show with guest interaction, promoting the show; some of the girls are professional actors and singers as well. Each and every one is extremely talented, kind, and insanely easy to work with. “The Patio Girls” are a great compliment to the show, and again, it takes a team. I’m grateful to know and work with these women on the show.

Drummer Fred Aching, singer Rod Jackson, guitarist Holly West, bassist Niko Chatziantoniou, and in between them are the On The Patio girls

KRL: You have a lot on your plate. How do you manage all those things?

Dean: Time and priority management is key, having a solid routine, and also being able to adjust and adapt to schedules out of your routine, are all important to be prepped for. Having a busy schedule and maintaining a balance can be complex and complicated at times. However, when you have a formula and apply it properly, the results are worth the long days and countless hours of networking and putting business into motion. My businesses are not standard nine-to-five gigs. I don’t believe that I would want it any other way

KRL: On The Patio is your show. In your own words how would you best describe it?

Dean: The show has been in production and live for over two years now. The formula is extremely simple but there is a strict guideline that I adhere to. I hand pick the guests who are top shelf in their profession, not always house hold names, but usually they are extremely well known in their inner circle of business, industry, sport or otherwise. The formula works and the guests are absolutely great to work with. Some of them I have known for many years, and many of them I have worked with. I really enjoy putting the show together and I’m honored to have these wonderful people to be a part of it.

KRL: What’s the process like when choosing guests for your show?

Dean: Usually speaking, I reach out to the guest or they mention seeing an episode and then the conversation takes flight from there. I have a bias towards musicians because of working in the industry and knowing quite a few people, of course. But the process and the roster are not formatted only for the music industry. I also listen to the fans and receive quite a bit of email and social media response to point the needle to who will be on next or in the future. The baseline for choosing someone or a group to be on the show is not necessarily top A-List, Hollywood, or well known entities. The premise is to pick great people doing great things who haven’t always been in the spotlight or might have not have a platform—yet. This show is not about glamour and fame. It’s about the person or people behind their craft or talent.

Dean joins in with the musicians and models

KRL: It’s tough not to be biased, but out of all the interviews you’ve conducted which one to you stands out the most?

Dean: I wish that I could answer that with transparency. Each one is my favorite. I will say that each interview/conversation that I have had, was an honor, because these people are taking time out of their day, schedule, etc., to spend time doing the show. Sure, it helps with them getting press or coverage, but really these people are not in it for that. They are doing the show to help build a brand and a flavor for me and my team. There are many conversations and interviews in the pipeline that are going to air soon. With that being said, I think the press, media, fans, and followers will agree that each and every segment is a favorite.

KRL: You once told me that the show is a platform for voices that aren’t heard much. In your opinion which group of people out there need their voices to be heard the most?

Dean: There are so many musicians, hired guns, techs, actors, humanitarians, sports figures, etc., that never make headline status or the spotlight because they are the side people serving the artist or the project. The list of these people and the scenarios are endless. Not everyone can be the star quarterback and have all the fame. But they are the fabric, the glue, the support staff, the spokes that make things happen. They get the show set up, and torn down. They support the band, the artist, the group. Can’t imagine Disneyland with only one staff member. So, all of the people who are not internationally known or otherwise, are beyond worthy and worth the time to dive deep into their talents, career and personalities. The platform is simple: everyone needs a platform. Some people support it and some people stand on it. Our show is a little bit of both. And ultimately it is about the people!

To watch the show:
http://onthepatio.rocks/

More information about the show:
https://www.facebook.com/onthepatiorocks
https://www.instagram.com/onthepatiorocks/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoWTQFIDSTubFWk8ILqaJEQ
https://twitter.com/on_patio

For more information about Dean:
https://www.facebook.com/dean.kasparian
https://www.instagram.com/deankasparian/?hl=en
http://www.paulbenjamindean.com/

Steven Sanchez is a film graduate of UNLV. He’s a filmmaker, writer, photographer, and music manager. Obsessed with movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A football fanatic, big fan of the Oakland Raiders. Enjoys reading and collecting vinyl records. If there’s a rock show in town more than likely he’ll be there. Loves his grandma’s home cooked meals. He has a twin sister and most people call him the pretty one. You can learn more about Steven on his YouTube channel and on Instagram @stevensanchez5807 photos and videos.

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