Buzz N the Burgh interviews Josh Bakaitus
By: Josh King- Twitter Handle: @joshk65
We have set up a Q & A session with the Vice President of Drusky Entertainment. One of the biggest players in the Pittsburgh music scene talks to the Pittsburgh Buzz about all things in the scene.
Q- So Josh, naturally the first question we always ask everyone, how did you first get into the entertainment business?
Bakaitus: My first dabble in the music business was when I started local Pittsburgh music web-zine called PittBands.com. That was back in 2000 and was sort of what led me directly down the path of promoting shows for a living. Shortly after the start of the site I decided that I wanted to do a summer music festival with a couple of my favorite local bands to help promote the website. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, and didn’t even realize I was promoting a show. It kind of just happened. When I was younger I think I was pretty inspired by my Aunt Beth who was a radio personality for WLTJ for my entire youth. I was pretty intrigued by what she did and thought that the entertainment business was something that I’d be interested in as well. When I promoted my first couple shows, I knew immediately that I’d be doing that for the rest of my life.
Q- Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up.
A- Definitely my Aunt Beth who sort of introduced to me the idea that I could work in the entertainment business. Not that I really thought about working or making a living in entertainment, I just kind of thought it was cool to be around musicians mostly, like she was. My parents always had records we’d listen to together but they were both on the opposite side of the spectrum. My mom really got me into pop music such as Michael Jackson while my dad got me into bands like The Beatles, Pearl Jam and Collective Soul. Around that same time, growing up, my cousins Justin and Samantha really started introducing me to bands such as Misfits, Dead Kennedy’s, Black Sabbath and that culture, which would end up steering me into the musical direction that I am still interested in today. I think in one way or another, all of those people and bands really opened up the doors for me to get into the music business and have such a passion for music.
Q- (Give a cool behind the scenes story from your time either at Altar Bar or at another venue.
A- My favorite behind the scenes story actually goes back to when I was promoting shows in my hometown of Charleroi. There is really where I got started and was able to gain most of my early experience. The All-American Rejects go down as my favorite story of bands who blew up over night. The whole thing happened by chance after I booked a show for a band called The Beautiful Mistake in November of 2003. A couple weeks before the show the agent I booked it with sends me an email saying that they need to add this band called “The All-American Rejects“. I remember thinking how horrible their name was, he kept insisting that they were going to be big but I didn’t believe it. The negotiating ends with the agent just telling me they were going to play and that I wouldn’t have to pay them because their record label was paying for them to be on the road. I’ve never heard of such a thing! The band was great at the show, then they came to my parents house for tacos after they played. At this time nobody knew who this band was. Literally two months after the show “Swing Swing” broke. Over night they were huge, on TRL, winning VMA’s and taking their debut album to Platinum status. It was wild! At that time I always wondered if I’d have a chance to work with them again. In 2009, we booked them at St. Vincent College when I was able to talk to them about my parents tacos back in 2003. That was cool. Those guys told me how that to that day, they continued to tell people about that night in Charleroi.
Q- Talk about Altar Bar and what its been like working out of such a historic venue.
A- Altar has been good to me, I’ve learned so much and have been given some great opportunities from my position there. Although I am not the manager of the club, I do work closely with the management team there, which has indirectly provided me with some valuable experience and information on how to properly run a music venue and bar. When I was brought into Altar, it was just through my position at Drusky Entertainment since we were promoting shows there. This position led to me handling Altar Bar’s entire marketing plan and brand. It was challenging, but we were able to transform the perception of the club from being known as a more of a sleazy kind of dance club to what we are now, Pittsburgh’s most musically diverse music venue. We were able to get all of the branding cohesive on all forms of our marketing and focus on what we were best at doing; live music. Altar to me is the prime example of what Pittsburgh represents but maybe that’s just because I am involved internally and see how hard working and passionate the staff is. Altar doesn’t set up any boundaries, we book something for everybody, welcome all and never remain just content. We’re always trying to improve ourselves, even sometimes when we don’t need to. Ha! But, that same passion and drive has been what has fueled Pittsburgh for the last 200 years, right?
Q- What are some stressful parts of your job that most people wouldn’t realize?
A- Probably the most stressful part of my job is that it never ends. There is always something that needs to be taken care of. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s good to be busy and I do enjoy constantly filling my work addiction but it is sometimes nice to just breakaway and focus on something else. Although my work is fun and awesome, and I get to live my dream, it is a job.
Q- Josh Bakaitus- your picks for 3 bands from Pittsburgh that you expect to have a great future.
A- This might create some fire for me but what the hell. I’m putting most of my chips in on a band called BADBOXES, which is an electronic act making all of the right moves. They’re doing something a little different than just your typical electronic act as they also infuse some jam band type of elements and the members have rock roots.
Christian metal band, Those Who Fear on Facedown Records is another band that I think has a strong future in a much different way than Badboxes. These guys are hard working, blue collar type of mentality, all for their need to play music together.
Code Orange Kids is a band I’ve been seeing grow over the past couple of years. They started out really young, but have grown to become one of hardcore’s more interesting bands. They signed to Deathwish and have been touring with bands like Converge, Terror and play on festivals with some huge bands. Knowing where this band came from, I’ve very proud of them.
Q- What is was like to be named Vice President of Drusky Entertainment at such a young age?
A- Brian asking me to become Vice President and Partner of the company he started was a very proud moment for me. I’m young, yes but in a sense, 13 years in, I sort of sometimes feel like a veteran. Although anybody who’s been in the scene for 20 or 30 years would laugh at me for that statement. I’ve been able to grow with Drusky Entertainment since I started in 2007, Brian and I have worked really hard on the company together, so it feels awesome to have my new title. I’m looking forward to continuing my growth with the company.
We thank Josh Bakaitus for sitting down for such an interesting interview.
You can follow Josh on Twitter @joshbakaitus
This insert was taken from http://www.pghcitypaper.com when Bakaitus first joined Drusky Entertainment
They grow up so fast! At least that seems to be Joshua Bakaitus‘ m.o. The Charleroi native was only 12 when he started promoting punk and hardcore shows in his hometown and surrounding suburbs. Since then, his company Bridgeport Entertainment has steadily expanded, hustling mainly punk and hardcore concerts at venues including Mr. Small’s and the now-defunct Lawrenceville Moose.
When I interviewed the then-19-year-old promoter for a profile in 2006, he said he hoped to eventually “get a job for a bigger company, not too too big,” and now it seems he’s done just that. After approaching veteran music promoter Brian Drusky about working together, Bakaitus recently joined Drusky Entertainment as a talent-buyer.
And already, “it’s opened up a lot of doors,” says Bakaitus, citing booking agents and bands that are now eager to work with him. Drusky Entertainment books many large events in State College and Pittsburgh, including Spoon‘s April 7 show at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead.
Bridgeport Entertainment will phase out live shows as Bakaitus takes his events to the new company. “A lot of things are going to be at Stratus, in the Strip,” he says. His ongoing plans for Bridgeport include artist management, such as working with Deep Sleep Empire, a new-to-Pittsburgh band Bakaitus compares to The Receiving End of Sirens and Minus the Bear.
“I definitely want to change it up, too,” Bakaitus says. Part of that changeup will be a change of scenery — with his business moving from Charleroi, he plans to relocate to Pittsburgh in August.
Perhaps it has something to do with the moon or the Mayan calendar, but it seems that this Saturday night is a preferred time for CD-release parties of a rootsy nature. At the Rex Theatre on Sat., April 5, Mark Scheer & Five Star Dive releases All the Time in the World, a collection of Stonesy country-blues boogie with a beer chaser. The showcase will also feature Audios, The Blues Junkies, The Cosmosonics and “strolling performer” Steven E. Adams.
Meanwhile, at Cefalo’s, in Carnegie, ex-Houserocker Bill Toms releases his own Spirits, Chaos, and a Troubadour Soul, a largely acoustic disc produced and released by Tom Breiding on AmeriSon Records. Special guests at Cefalo’s will include Lorenzo Bertocchini and Erin Sax Seymour. As Toms sings on the new record, “It’s Saturday night somewhere.”