“The best part has always been the people who I work with,” explained the veteran agent, now with APA, stating that the different agents, assistants, managers, promoters and artists he’s met along the way have made it all worth it. Somers got his start in 1984 when he launched his agency Bandwagon in New York, representing thrash and punk bands like Circle Jerks, GBH, Megadeth, Testament and Slayer.
“Punk and metal wasn’t getting a ton of attention from the big agencies at the time, but that started to change with Metallica,” said Somers, who eventually joined Ian Copeland’s agency Frontier Booking International in 1987 and repped the Proclaimers, Stiff Little Fingers and Social Distortion. In 1992 he joined ICM and helped to develop punk acts like Pennywise and Green Day, and after a brief stint restarting his own Bandwagon agency, he joined The Agency Group in 2001 to open their West Coast offices and helped run their music team for 13 years. In early 2014, he left The Agency Group to join Steve Martin at APA where he reps Breaking Benjamin, Circle Jerks, Face To Face, Hot Hot Heat, Social Distortion, Pennywise, and Stiff Little Fingers among many other bands.
After 28 years in the business, Somers said he increasingly finds himself working with younger agents and music professionals, mentoring and guiding their careers.
“I like to think that’s one of things that I do mechanically, teaching and guiding,” he said of his APA post. “Everybody has a say here and every idea is discussed and considered. It’s a great, collaborative place to work.”
Somers has attended thousands of shows and Amplify asked him to pick his five favorites from his long career in music. He opted to pick four, telling us there were just too many great shows to nail a final one down.
“The first four are in no specific order and I’ve left out at least 100 nights of music that I had a great time being part of,” he said. “I might even have enjoyed some not listed as much or better that the ones listed. If I pick another one, I’ll say, ‘Why didn’t I pick this other one?’ I’m happy knowing that I was lucky enough to attend so many great concerts.”
David Bowie at Radio City Music Hall
I was 20 years-old and a total freak for Bowie. I went to this show with some friends from Elmira College. It was the last tour with the Spiders From Mars and it was a preview of material from Aladdin Sane. It was a great night and I had never seen anything like it in my life. I thought it was musically amazing and the performance was incredible and it was something refreshing. At the time we were into all kinds of stuff — the Rolling Stones, Beatles and the Beach Boys. We were listening to a lot of stuff like Yes, T-Rex and Todd Rundgren. And I was really discovering country music like POCO and the Flying Burrito Brothers. I was checking out so many different types of music and this opportunity to see Bowie came at the perfect time.
Desert Trip in Indio, Calif.
How can you not have a great time? Great site, great weather, amazing production and set lists overloaded with timeless songs from six artists’ amazing catalogs that would be hard to match. There was even a guy there singing Beatles songs! I went out the first weekend and thought the site was beautiful and the stage and production were perfect. I don’t love big giant shows and I’m not a person that rushes to festivals, but to have those six acts who are very important to me perform was incredible. I thought the way they presented it made for a great experience for the fans and it was priced very reasonable for the GA section in back. I planned on only attending the first weekend, and then midweek I decided I had such a great time that I wanted to go back for the second weekend.
Ramones at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Conn.
Before the venue expanded, it was only 500-capacity. It was so loud that my ears are still ringing and I’m still smiling. They were pushing so much air and energy and it was all about the songs. You could tell this was a band that listened to a ton of Beach Boys and Phil Spector albums, but they had a fun, lo-fi sound that was just guitar, bass and drums played very fast and catchy. I had their first records and really liked the band, but I hadn’t seen them until that night, not far from my home town.
Rolling Stones Steel Wheels Tour at Shea Stadium in New York
Almost perfect set list. Great production. Stadium sounded like a club show. (So clear!) Every single song was impeccable. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.