The L: First and foremost, what's next? I know you've been doing some shows at Littlefield. What's your situation like there? Will it become more permanent?
Skippy McFadden: I'm going to take some time in figuring out what to do next, but I do feel like I've come into my own as a talent buyer/booker/promoter and bringing the masses out, so I'm sure it'll be within that capacity. The Littlefield people are very nice, and I just want them to succeed—it's good for the neighborhood. They have their own booking people, so it's only something where I'm doing the occasional show there. Right now I have The Acorn on July 13, and Medications on July 28 (in conjunction with the wonderful Jonny Leather).
The L: If there was one room in the whole city you could book, what would it be?
SM: That is a loaded question, I shouldn't answer until I've figured out my next move. I love Bowery Ballroom, but that wouldn't be much of a challenge since everyone is begging to play there, and I enjoy a challenge as you can see (booking bands in Gowanus). The ideal NYC venue for me, however, has yet to be created. Maybe soon...
The L: There's lots of grumbling speculation about Bell House becoming a Bowery venue, and that having something to do with your being let go. Care to comment or join in the speculation?
SM: No, I can only say that it would be a great thing for The Bell House if it happens. I admire the Bowery organization, and I think people would be surprised to know that most of us (NYC promoters) are friends and not competitors. For instance, I had some of the other well-known clubs' talent buyers occasionally doing shows with me at Bell House and vice versa. We all want each other to succeed.
The L: Could you talk a little about what the outpouring of support has been like form all the bands you've worked with over the years? I imagine it has to feel pretty nice.
SM: Yeah, I thought I was done crying when I had my daughter, but last week was tough for me. I've never had that feeling of what it's like to be dead and hear what everyone is saying about you. It's incredibly weird. But I'm very thankful for the hundreds of e-mails and calls I've received from the bands and agents and managers and labels and customers. It's a boost of confidence that is sometimes needed in the booking world. It's overwhelming. People envy the booking job, but it's fairly thankless, so it's nice when people say nice things. It's probably why most booking guys hang out, to vent and to talk shop.
The L: On the flip side, the Brooklyn Vegan comments have gotten pretty out of hand—if there was one thing you could address or correct in a public forum, what would it be?
SM: I don't feel like I owe any explanation to voyeurs. It'll pipe down. I'm mortified by both the supportive and not so supportive comments, but a friend of mine told me, "Now you know what's it's like to be the Arcade Fire or MGMT." I hardly think some dude no one knows losing his job would warrant so much dialogue, but... truth will out, it always does. People are entitled to their opinion, whether they know the facts or not.
The L: I spoke to Bell House and Union Hall co-owner Jim Carden about the situation, and all he would say was that "It was a mutual parting of the ways" between you and Bell House and Union Hall—would you characterize that as an accurate statement?
SM: Definitely. It's always hard to start a new business, and people don't always see eye to eye. I think we just exhausted our individual opinions on how to make the business better, and it finally reached a boiling point. I let them make the decision, but ultimately, I think it'll work out for everyone. I hope!
The L: Looking back on your time at Bell House and Union Hall, is there anything you would have done differently?
SM: Not really. I had such a great time in those first years at Union Hall. I probably would've delegated some jobs had I known how hard I was going to work. I think at one point I was doing all the ads, sound, door, production, booking, etc. It can definitely burn you out, so you need to pace yourself and try to surround yourself with likeminded people who can help. That said, economically, sometimes it's hard to hire more people... I cherish all the amazing moments at both places and the people who were involved to make them special.