Matt Pike got his start like in the music industry like many other young punk rockers — he did it himself.
The Live Music Agent at Circle Talent Agency got his start in the industry in the East Coast hardcore scene. He was friends with emerging Massachusetts band Converge in the 1990s and offered to take over their demanding touring schedule.
“I just had friends who were in bands and they opened the door for me and they trusted me and let me do the job as their agent,” Pike said. “At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing, I just wanted to go places with my friends.”
More punk, metal, and hardcore bands caught wind of Matt’s booking acumen and began asking him to book their gigs. Pike inadvertently started a company and gave it a name so he could answer the phone and say, “This is Matt from Trainwreck Booking.”
Pike lacked a mentor in the touring business, but relied on his wits to get him and his bands around. He would often negotiate rates the night of the show and make enough money to get the band to their next destination. After a few years, Matt was asked to come work for Rave Booking under Tim Borror (now with United Talent), cementing his career in the agency game.
“I learned a lot working with him on bigger acts,” Pike said. “The art of negotiation, the art of contracting shows and building relationships — I really didn’t know any of the prior.”
In the summer of 2001, Pike left to start the Kenmore Agency in Boston with another agent, Matt Galle with the help of John Peters from Mass Concerts. Pike moved to Los Angeles in 2012 bringing Kenmore with him.
“Business was good, but I felt like I wanted a change, I wanted to do something different. LA obviously is a huge place for people in the music business to be,” Pike said.
After 16 years running Kenmore, the agency merged with Circle Talent in April of this year. Pike felt a kinship with Circle’s owner Kevin Gimble and Steve Gordon, who Pike said, “cut their teeth just like I did” in the EDM/DJ/Dance world.
“Now I’m just an agent,” Pike told Amplify. “I don’t have to worry about owning a business. I don’t have to worry about cutting checks and taxes and bookkeeping and all of that stuff. My sole focus right now is booking and looking for new talent.”
Even after 20 years in the business, Pike still works with Converge and many of the bands he started with in Boston.
“Without my job, without music I wouldn’t have been able to see as much of the world as I have been able to,” Pike said. “I wouldn’t have met the people I have been lucky to meet nor have some of the experiences I have been lucky enough to have. But honestly, the music is the best part of my job. I don’t know what I would do without it. Music has been my best friend. It’s also provided me with a living for which I am grateful.”
Amplify asked Matt to participate in our five shows feature to learn more about the incredible gigs the veteran agent has witnessed.
Sept. 20, 1992 at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass.
This was my first of over 60 Morrissey shows. He was supporting the album “Your Arsenal” on this tour. “Your Arsenal,” to me, is the definitive Morrissey album. I wasn’t old enough to see the Smiths so this was my first chance to see the man live in person. I can’t say I remember much about the show itself but I know the impact it left on me.
Sept. 20, 1995 at Pearl Street Night Club in Northampton, Mass.
When it comes to 90’s punk/hardcore ethos, Fugazi was the definition of everything. I was fortunate to see the band dozens of times throughout the years. This show in particular sent a little shockwave through our little punk community. The show was announced on a few days notice, sold out in minutes and was the talk of the town.
I happened to work with the club at the time and didn’t have to worry about tickets. However the dark haired girl in my college history class did and was talking about how she was able to score tickets. This Fugazi show was my “in,” the way I was able to strike up a conversation with her. We’ve now been married for 16+ years and have two kids. So, thanks Fugazi!
Sept. 2, 2006 at CBGB in New York
One of the most legendary New York hardcore bands of all time playing in the most iconic New York venue for punk rock and hardcore just before the venue closed its doors forever. I had the honor/pleasure of booking the band’s reunion tour after not playing for 15 years and this was the final date in the city they called home in a venue they played many times. I think we fit 600 people into a room that comfortably fit 350. H.R. from Bad Brains wandered in off the streets with an acoustic guitar and played three songs (including a Bad Brains and Beatles song) before the Gorilla Biscuits took the stage. The show was out of control. This was my daughters first show ever. She was three at the time.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Feb. 21, 2013 at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles
Usually I am not a big fan of when an artist puts out a new record and plays the record from front to end in the live setting. However this is Nick Cave and Nick Cave can do whatever the fuck he wants. He could fart into a bag for 45 minutes and I would still pay my hard earned money to watch it. The Fonda is a 1,200-cap throwback type theater so seeing Nick Cave in a venue of this size was a very rare treat. This was for the album “Push the Sky Away” and he was only doing this show in four cities across the world. Full orchestra and children’s choir included. After the album set, he launched into a greatest hits set that ended with the wildest version of “Stagger Lee.” Absolutely stunning show.
July 8, 2015 at The Metro in Chicago
Pearl Jam is the greatest live rock band of my generation. Period. Seeing Vedder play a mixed set of cover songs (Pink Floyd, Neil Young) and Pearl Jam classics in a small venue like the Metro is something I will never forget. Regardless if the crowd is 1,000 or 50,000, Vedder puts on a show that few frontmen can deliver on.