United Talent Agency’s Tim Borror discovered his love for live music amongst the DIY punk scene in Philly. His obsession began with the music then he went to the live shows and found a calling.
“I was fairly obsessed with the punk lifestyle. It was a network of authentic people who were really about the music first,” Borror told Amplify. “The energy at the shows were pretty electric. A lot of the rules that are involved in shows these days in terms of barricades and insurance and all the good things that come with keeping a show safe, were a little more rough around the edges then. It was a different kind of excitement.”
Borror started to play in punk bands, book shows for his group, and then eventually shows for other artists he liked. He took that drive to an internship at a management company called Fox Management, working for a couple of guys named David Cooper and Andy Zipfel. At the age of 19, Cooper and Zipfel gave Borror his first shot and funded a music booking agency that he owned and operated called All Access.
“They saw that I was headed in that direction and they thought, ‘Let’s be part of this. Let’s help him do it right.’ If they gave me 20 things to do before that they would get 20 given back to them done at a higher level than they expected,” Borror said. “They staked me initially and gave me the confidence to do it. I was lucky to have their trust early on.”
Following All Access, Borror spent a few years as an agent for Artist and Audience, went into management, but ultimately found himself back in the direction of his true passion for live events.
“There is an energy that goes on between an artist and a live audience and the magic that happens between the two when there is a show,” Borror said. “I’ve never been able to get that out of my system thankfully. It’s the reason that so many years later I still do this and still have a passion for it.”
As the music agent leading the rock department at UTA, Borror utilizes his more than 20 years of experience to help grow bands’ careers and mentors younger agents.
“I didn’t even figure out money or success could be part of music until I’d been in the lifestyle for a long time. When it came time to think about making a living, I figured I should stay with my passion,” Borror said. “It’s great to still learn everyday in this business and to be somewhere that provides amazing new opportunities that I’d never thought I’d have in this business when I first started. I truly feel lucky to be surrounded by music every day.”
Amplify caught up with Borror to hear about five shows that inspired, reinvigorated, and surprised him.
Dead Milkmen, RUIN, Electric Love Muffin & Flag of Democracy at Trocadero in Philadelphia
March 1, 1987
I had been listening to punk records for a couple of years by the time I went to this show at 14 years-old. It was the first show I was allowed to go to by myself with just some friends. At this young age, punk music and the punk scene felt like such a strange combination of electricity, fun and danger. At this show, I was absolutely blown away by the intensity of the room. The audience was totally charged up from the moment the first band started all the way through the end of the Dead Milkmen’s set. I stood on the balcony the entire show looking around at the people next to me and the people on the floor, slam dancing and stage diving and seemingly having the most incredible time of their lives. From that moment forward, I knew I needed to be involved with music and live shows.
The Exploited, Pagan Babies, Vision and Suburban Uprise at Trenton City Gardens in New Jersey
Jan. 22, 1988
This Exploited show made a huge impression on me. This was the first time I went to this venue. City Gardens was not in a good neighborhood. It was scary just to walk through parking lot. Most of the people coming to City Gardens were rough around the edges. The Dead Milkmen show, seemed like a Boy Scout event next to what I was witnessing at this place. A band called Vision opened. They seemed like they were a positive band but from there the night slowly got darker as the Pagan Babies and Uprise played their sets. As things went on, it was becoming more of an all-night fistfight than a rock show and by the time the Exploited was on stage, that’s exactly what it was. The crowd was on fire and the band was on fire. The Exploited were at odds with the audience the entire set. I’ve never seen a show like this since. The crowd seemed to hate the band but were loving the moment and reacting to the show in a way that made it exciting beyond belief. To top it off, after the show, some of the audience flipped over the Exploited’s van. Stuff like that was weirdly common at City Gardens. The experience I had at this show will never be replicated. Needless to say, I went to City Gardens hundreds of times after this show.
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head Tour (w/Firehose and Basehead) at Trocadero in Philadelphia
May 21, 1992
The Beastie Boys are one of my favorite bands. They spoke to a large cross-section of fans and this show had a little of everything that was culturally relevant at the time. This was the first time I saw a band playing “an under play show.” Two records before this, the Beastie Boys were playing arenas. On this tour they played thousand capacity clubs and on this particular night, it felt like the show was way oversold by hundreds of people. It was beyond packed and there was still hundreds of people on the street that didn’t get in. This was the best show I’ve ever seen and the most fun I’ve ever had at a show. Over the years I was lucky to have seen The Beastie Boys many times but they over-delivered that night.
Fleetwood Mac at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Sept. 30, 1997
I didn’t have any professional affiliation with Fleetwood Mac, but at the time this was a very important classic rock reunion tour that seemed to have everyone in our business stirring. I went to the show with a bunch of co-workers and went more for the hang then to see Fleetwood Mac. I liked them but they weren’t top of the playlist for my classic rock tastes. That said, once this show started I couldn’t believe how good they were. I’ve been a much bigger fan ever since.
The Misfits at Denver and Chicago Riotfests
I’ve been working with Glenn Danzig since 1994. I’ve also always been a big fan of The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. Having had so much personal history with Glenn and to some extent, with Jerry Only and Doyle, being a part of these reunion shows was a big deal for me. After 30 years, the news that Glenn and Jerry Only were finally ready to do some shows together again was truly incredible news to all of their fans. When the Misfits finally took the stage in both Denver and Chicago, they absolutely crushed it and owned the moment. The band and the crowd really fed off of each other at both shows. Fans in both cities sang all the lyrics to every song. They played just about their entire catalog and left no one disappointed. The Misfits made history playing these two shows at Riotfest and for me, it was an honor to be part of such an extraordinary moment in rock history.