Dina LaPolt is a lawyer that very specifically represents music creators.
“Labels are not music creators,” LaPolt told Amplify. “I am adverse to record companies, so I represent artists, songwriters, producers, music creators. Not people who sign them up and shit all over their rights. I don’t represent those people. I fight with those people everyday.”
LaPolt’s passion for music started at a young age when she began playing guitar at about age five. Living in New Patlz, New York, she had been going to live events since she was four and was constantly surrounded by music. In college, LaPolt majored in classical music and found herself in the community of artists she appreciated and understood.
LaPolt was on the concert committee and helping to book bands at the school when she went to a KISS concert with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s sister who was dating the band’s drummer, Eric Carr. Carr inquired about booking some of his all-female thrash bands at the college and he and LaPolt began working together. After proving her aptitude through booking Carr’s bands, LaPolt began to work for his company, Steetgang Productions, as a tour manager for the thrash bands.
LaPolt admits it wasn’t her kind of music, but said “all my friends are mowing lawns or working at ShopRite and I am tour managing Hari Kari.”
LaPolt then moved on to law school where her ambition was to return to the music world and stand firmly on the side of creators. She has since been named a “Power Lawyer” by Billboard and her law firm, LaPolt Law, represents music creators and some of the biggest names in the industry.
“I didn’t want to be around any one other than music people,” LaPolt told Amplify. “I’m passionate about what I do. I never compromise. I never had a plan B. Even when I got out of law school, I couldn’t find a job. It was very competitive to be a music lawyer. I actually got offered a job from a big firm downtown to do insurance litigation at 90 grand a year, which back in 1998 was a shit pile of money. I didn’t take that job. Instead, I elected to wait tables at Basics Cafe in West Hollywood and I interned for a music lawyer for free in Century City. You can’t give up.”
Amplify caught up with LaPolt to find out about five of the most influential shows she’s attended throughout her career.
1984 at my high school auditorium in New Paltz, New York
They had some really fabulous booking agent that thought outside the box and said ‘Hey, let’s book this band in school auditoriums.’
I am from a very creative, artsy-fartsy town, so I saw live music from an early age when I was about four. Local groups played all the time in my town. We had so many people that lived there like Levon Helms and these people just played around my town all the time. But Zebra was my first “real” concert. The production value wasn’t anything different, but they weren’t from my town or playing in the local bars. This was the first time that I saw an act that was presented. You go and you take your seat, here they are and the curtain opens. Voila! I never saw that before.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
February 1985 at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York
I had just been kicked out of my first college, Concordia College in Bronxville New York and had moved back up to New Paltz where I grew up. WPDH is the rock station in Poughkeepsie which was the next town over from New Paltz. They were playing “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I loved it, and I loved Joan Jett! I immediately got tickets when they advertised she was coming to The Chance.
She was an influence on me when I was playing guitar and later on I opened up for her on a few shows. Like 20 years later, I was her lawyer for a while for Blackheart Records. Joan came here probably five years ago. We all sat on the floor in my office and ate vegan food and I talked about how 30 years before that I was her opening act. I don’t know if she remembered me. Maybe she was just being polite.
Jan. 26, 1988 at Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York
They were great. That was the first show I saw that had real production value. It was the lighting, staging, equipment. It was all bigger than what I was used to in New Paltz. I wasn’t really a big Iron Maiden fan at the time, but I went with my friend Doug and his roommate. We were into KISS, but Iron Maiden was there so we got tickets and we went. It was cool.
June 17, 1991 at the Orange County Speedway in Middletown, New York
I was with my girlfriend at the time, Jill, and her sister, Carrie Stevens, was dating Eric Carr who was the drummer for KISS. I got to go backstage and that was how I met Eric. It’s all about connections. When we were there, he asked what I did and I told him I ran the concert committee at my college. He asked what kind of acts I had there and we had just had Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. He said, ‘I have this all female-trash band I manage, could you book them in there?’ I heard the music and then I said yes. I got put on some show with them at the college and he had to go on the Monsters of Rock tour, so I started doing work for him. That’s kind of how it happens.
Many years later I ended up living with Carrie in Los Angeles when I first passed the bar exam and when I lived with her, she was Playboy magazine’s Miss June 1996.
Montreux and Barbara Higbie
Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts
The show was sophisticated, smart. When I was in music school, you had to pick classical or jazz. I picked jazz first, but then I hated it. Too many things in one song gave me a headache. Classical was just more a organic, natural feel to it. Jazz was very constructed and everyone put in a lot of thought process in how to make their music complicated. I didn’t like that. So when I saw Montreux, it was like a cross between the two of them. It was very smart, like jazz, but was also very heartfelt and sounded very organic, like classical music. So I loved it.