Morris Takes Over AEG Denver

Longtime concert promoter Chuck Morris, who left Live Nation’s Denver office last December, has re-emerged as expected as CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountains. A non-compete agreement with LN was settled earlier than expected and Morris started in his new position June 4th.

"I have been released from my noncompetition obligations and both Live Nation and I have resolved our differences to our mutual satisfaction," Morris told Pollstar.

With Morris now in the driver’s seat, Brent Fedrizzi has been named chief operating officer and Don Strasburg tapped as VP and senior talent buyer. Fedrizzi, Strasburg and Morris are longtime associates, dating back to before the SFX rollup and subsequent acquisition by Live Nation.

Fedrizzi and Strasburg left Live Nation in September, and Morris was expected to join them when his non-compete, which took effect following his December 31st departure, ended.

"This has been an absolute delight," AEG Live President Randy Phillips told Pollstar. "This has been the smoothest integration into the parent company that I’ve ever seen.

"We’ve been very careful to make sure to get into business with people like Chuck … who care about growth exceeding their own achievement and can work with the entire company. That’s hard when you buy existing companies, because you’ve already got built-in infrastructure. It’s easier to build from the ground up with people, and at AEG we’re investing in people."

During his time away, Morris has been working on booking entertainment for the 2008 Democratic National Convention and bought a new 10,000-square-foot building in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District that serves as AEG Live’s permanent office in the city.

But Morris downplayed rumors that AEG Live is about to build a mid-sized amphitheatre in the Denver market.

"I’ve spent my career either building buildings or buying buildings going back to when I finished school and opened Tulagi’s nightclub in Boulder in the early ’70s," Morris said. "But this is a town full of good buildings and if we did do it, it would have to be an outrageous new facility and it would have to make financial sense. That’s far from announcing we’re breaking ground next week."

But that doesn’t mean a new Denver venue isn’t on AEG Live’s radar.

"We’re known as the roof company," Phillips said. "Every office we open will have a real estate component to it. We’ve found that you can build a great mousetrap, but you have to have the cheese. You can have a great venue, but you still have to book it."

And obviously, that’s where Morris and his team in Denver come in.

"A lot of our business is about relationships and trust; the kind of job you do," Phillips said. "We’ve found that as a real estate, sports and entertainment company one of the reasons we went into the content business in the first place was so we wouldn’t be like little birds in the nest waiting for mother to feed us."