Q’s With A Pollstar Award Winner: Gregg Perloff, Another Planet Entertainment

Gregg Perloff
Waterproof Pictures
– Gregg Perloff
Another Planet Entertainment

The Pollstar Awards, Feb. 8 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, were jam-packed with big moments, but maybe none was as moving as when Bill Graham Award winner Gregg Perloff of Another Planet Entertainment took the stage, telling of his time working with the late Tom Petty and his family’s involvement with saving the Wiltern from the wrecking ball.

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Pollstar: How did it feel to win promoter of the year honors?

Gregg Perloff: It was incredibly overwhelming, to tell you the truth. To win it in this theater was special. Look how beautiful, it’s a treasure. The wrecking ball had taken down half of it and we saved it, due to Wayne Ratkovich who was a developer at the time. My father was the Dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA and Wayne got to know him and it inspired him to save old theaters and the arts and culture. There’s a plaque in the lobby to my parents.

You grew up in LA?

I lived in LA for six years. I grew up in Maryland, and then came here for high school and college.

Did you run the venue itself?

Absolutely. It was under the direction of Bill Graham Presents and then when our company merged with SFX and then Clear Channel, I ended up leaving and starting Another Planet Entertainment.

What were Another Planet’s tent poles this year you’re most proud of?

We’ve been lucky enough to not only become the third-largest 52-weeks-a-year promoter in the United States, behind Live Nation and AEG, but we’ve sold over a million and a half tickets. All of our festivals: Outside Lands, Treasure Island; we’re a producing partner with Superfly, on Colossal Clusterfest; and Life is Beautiful sold out in one day in Las Vegas. The Greek Theater had its biggest year in Berkeley. Bill Graham Civic is on fire as is our flagship the Fox Theater in Oakland, which we also restored. We did the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival. This year was just a wonderful year.

And what about Tom Petty?

We got to do four of the last seven Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shows, which you know, what a year.

When does your relationship date back to?

Around 1978 we started working with Tom Petty. The first show I saw of the Heartbreakers I believe was at Winterland. Then we did just about every venue and had this amazing 20-show run at the Fillmore. It was just unbelievable. Every night was a different set, and it was so much fun. We did another residency a few years later and then we did the tour of the U.S. in 1998.

What did tonight mean to you?

Look, they’re the best rock and roll band in the world. They just are and I believe that 20 years from now they will be even bigger than they are now.

Did it feel cathartic?

Yes, very much. The confluence of being able to win the Promoter Of The Year at the same time that Tom won Tour Of The Year, and Tony Dimitriades won manager, they did so much for us and I was emotional. I have to tell you that I left out Sherry Wasserman, my business partner of 35 years, who I couldn’t do this without.  I don’t usually get emotional at the Pollstar Awards.