Ever since the founding of this company in 1681, we’ve had to threaten, torture and abuse artist managers, promoters and booking agents in order to acquire the freshest dates for acts like Van Zant and Rocket From The Crypt.

The photos that hang on the walls along the Pollstar.com Hall of Fame are like a stroll through the corridors of past successes. Like the time we inserted hot ticket stubs under the fingernails of the agent for The Doobie Brothers until he cried out, “I give up! July 14th in Boston, at the FleetBoston Pavilion! Now, stop! For the love of God, stop!”

Or the weekend we abducted the entire music department from the William Morris Agency. Shackled and gagged, we marched them through the streets of Bakersfield while the locals pelted them with Marlboro butts and empty Budweiser longnecks. It may seem inhumane, but it yielded dates for , Brooks & Dunn and Godsmack. Sometimes the ends really do justify the means.

But we don’t do that anymore. These days the Stretchomatic is merely a curiosity in the basement, the Shockalizer nothing but a conversation piece. We’ve become a gentler, kinder Pollstar.com, and you might even say we’ve come to practice a more benign, compassionate method of collecting dates for bands like Left Foot Down or Plasticine. No more ground glass under the promoter’s eyelids for us.

Now all we have to do for the latest tours by such artists as Joan Osborne and Jonathan Richman is subject their agents to repeated showings of that Taco Bell commercial where they push their special of the month by bastardizing one of Queen’s greatest hits. Just one showing is enough to make even the strongest agents sing like birds, spilling the dates for Terence Blanchard, Orgy and Phil Lesh & Friends.

Which is pretty good, because two showings usually makes them want to run for the border.