The Parting Of The Ways
The morning after the announcement that Ed Bicknell and William Morris Agency had reached an amicable parting of the ways, the former Dire Straits manager must have thought he was the one who’d picked the wrong fork in the road.
WMA worldwide head of music Peter Grosslight called Pollstar to fill in a little detail on the split as he waited to tee off a round of golf in hot sunshine with Irving Azoff at Madison Club in Palm Springs. Bicknell, who owned up to feeling a little "testy," sent a text saying it wasn’t a good time to talk.
He was in a cab traveling from Kennedy Airport to New York, having told the driver to do a U-turn when he realised his flight back to England had been canceled because the city was engulfed in a snowstorm.
Bicknell will be, as the WMA announcement described, "returning to civilian life" after spending about 18 months setting up and staffing the company’s London office.
"Now that we are fully up and running, Ed has decided to move on," Grosslight explained in the same press note. "Ed and I have been close friends for over 25 years, and while I will miss having him here at WMA, I know that we will continue to work together in some fashion in whatever he chooses to be his next adventure."
Bicknell’s plans for his "next adventure" include getting married, although he’s not saying when, where, or who.
Some rival London-based agents initially questioned why WMA chose Bicknell to organise their London branch, claiming that the world has changed since he was last an agent several decades ago and joking that he’s probably forgotten how to book tours.
It’s more likely that Bicknell’s memory of booking tours is crystal clear and probably the reason he doesn’t much fancy doing it again. After all, it’s not as if he has to.
"It’s mission completed. We are up and running with London in the capable hands of David Levy, Russell Warby and Solomon Parker, along with Tony Goldring in L.A. , plus the staff of seven other international agents in the two offices, now totally integrated, which probably gives us the largest international operation of any agency," Grosslight said of what Bicknell has helped WMA achieve.
Over the past year and a half, WMA has booked 3,100 shows internationally and added 140 clients to its international music roster, including such artists as Foo Fighters, White Stripes, Take That, Fat Boy Slim, Bjork, The Prodigy, Girls Aloud and Madness.
Bicknell did confirm that he’ll be at ILMC for his usual Sunday breakfast slot, this time interviewing Ron Delsener, Marcel Avram and Harvey Goldsmith. But that is "if I ever get back" to England.