When Mark Dinerstein was young, his mother couldn’t help but notice how he was constantly listening to cassettes on his Walkman. At the age of ten, Mark then inherited his mother’s expansive and eclectic vinyl collection. The music range from pre-Pet Sounds Beach Boys and Rolling Stone and Beatles 45s to Diana Ross and Gladys Knight and a hefty amount of classical music to round it out.

His love of music escalated in junior high when he picked up the trumpet to delve into jazz music.

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“I realized pretty quickly that the true power of jazz was the ability to improvise,” Dinerstein tells Amplify. “These greats were all judged on their ability to improvise and I couldn’t do it. I could mimic. I could read sheet music, but I couldn’t improvise. I couldn’t be original. I knew early that I didn’t have that voice in my head. Maybe a little pretentious at the ripe old age of 15 to decide that.”

Then Dinerstein began to attend live shows and would even head out to New Orleans from his hometown of Houston for shows. Dinerstein’s older brother was attending college in New Orleans and the live music scene was where Dinerstein wanted to be.

“I realized that I needed to be on the business side of music when I realized that I was never going to be a professional musician. I did not have the chops,” Dinerstein says. “I needed to be around it and the business side was a way to be involved. As my career goes on, I try to always remember that. When things get kind of tough, I always remember ‘Hey, you’re doing what you want to do.'”

When Dinerstein followed his brother to New Orleans for college, he began to manage a band, putting together original bills and promoting shows. He landed his first real job in the business when he returned to Houston and starting working for Pace Concerts. Dinerstein spent about four years working with Bob Roux and the founder of Pace, Allan Becker.

Back in his hometown, Dinerstein was booking bands in the same venues he went to as a teenager.

“When I was growing up in Houston, Numbers was a big deal. A lot of rock bands, a lot of industrial bands, a lot of new wave bands would play,” Dinerstein says. “Later on for Pace I actually went on to go book that club which was everything coming full circle.”

Eventually Dinerstein moved on to New York where he was introduced to the Knitting Factory.

“Within the first hour, everyone knew this was a nice fit,” Dinerstein said of his beginnings with the Knitting Factory, where he now serves as president. “We all shared a very similar idea which was in the coming years, the true expansion opportunity for a company like Knitting Factory wasn’t going to be Chicago competing against Jam (Productions). It was let’s go to Boise, Idaho. Let’s go to Omaha, Nebraska. Let’s go to these marketplaces that have a growth yet to come.”

Knitting Factory now has venues all across the United States in growing marketplaces and Amplify caught up with Dinerstein to discuss five shows that got him to where is in his career.

The Allman Bros at Beacon Theater in New York

April 2, 1994

This was my very first live concert at 14 years-old. I got to see a legendary band in a legendary theater. Dickey Betts was still in the band and while I had no previous Allman Brothers Band shows to compare – I would go on to see The Allmans seven additional times. This was still the best. No bias here, of course.

Galactic at Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Lousiana 

Oct. 31, 1999

Went to college in New Orleans and discovered Tipitinas my first semester of freshman year. There was something very special about this music, in this time period, at this venue, in that city. New Orleans has the ability to elevate a band’s live performance and it does so more often than not. Galactic played a three set Halloween show and ended up being a soundtrack to living in New Orleans.

Prince at The Forum in Los Angeles

April 14, 2011

Prince announced a multi-week run at The Forum in 2011. I ended up going to two nights, but this was the standout. That particular night was one of my first dates with my wife, too. Prince ended up playing five encores that was practically a whole second show! And I don’t think any patrons left early. I remember thinking halfway through his show that I would never see anyone like him, on a stage, ever again. Even when the audience was tired – Prince kept the audience on their feet, dancing and getting down to a funky version of “Little Red Corvette.” I also remember very clearly where I was when the news of his death came. Sitting on a plane going from Phoenix to Los Angeles, finishing up a call before we took off. I was so sad (even still) that I will never get a chance to take my son to see the late great Prince.

Red Hot Chili Peppers at Club Nokia in Los Angeles

Aug. 24, 2011

This show was set up as a charity event, which is why they were playing a 2,000 cap venue. If you ever get a chance to see a mega huge artist in a small venue, I think you should do whatever you gotta do to get that ticket! Having seen the Chili Peppers five times, this was unlike any of the others. I am too young to have seen them in the 80s, playing some of the classic venues in Los Angeles venue lore. Never got to see them during their Freaky Styley days. This was the closest I was going to get to seeing a glimpse of their “club days.”

Glass Animals at Knitting Factory in Boise, Idaho

May 28, 2015

Great artist that delivered a fantastic live show. I tend to like artists based on their live show. If they can not re-create their album live, I lose interest. Glass Animals pulled it off in a big way and completely owned the venue that evening. The fact the show took place at a venue operated by Knitting Factory Presents – made it just that much more memorable.