Michelle Cable, Owner/Founder, Panache Booking & Panache Management

Michelle Cable

Owner/Founder, Panache Booking & Panache Management

Indie agencies and management firms can still compete with the larger peers that increasingly dominate the industry – just ask Michelle Cable, who founded and owns one of each.

Along with her team, Cable oversees an indie-rock empire, managing luminaries including Ty Segall, Mac DeMarco and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and books dozens of other artists, among them Bikini Kill and Oh Sees.

Cable founded Panache initially as a fanzine in 1998, and saw it grow distribution from 400 to 40,000 copies.

She eventually expanded it into a booking agency, then added a management arm in 2012.

But the path has sometimes been fraught for Cable, who in 2004 sustained life-threatening injuries – including a broken back, neck and ribs – when she and the band she was tour managing at the time,

DMBQ, were in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“When an event like that occurs in your life, your entire frame of reference changes,” says Cable, who lost her friend and DMBQ drummer Mana “China” Nishiura in the accident.

“It really gave me perspective,” she says. “To come out of that experience, healed and stronger, it made me realize that through anything else I experienced, no matter how bad it might be, I would be OK. I’d survive.”

That’s helped Cable persevere, even when larger agencies poached her bands in Panache’s early days or she found herself in unhealthy business relationships.

She’s now guided her artists to successful international careers and out-of-the-box residencies, and regularly secures artists spots high on the lineups of fests like Coachella and Bonnaroo.

“Things might get hard, but stick with it to get to the other side,” Cable says. “Support other women, do not view them as competition.

Ask questions, go to panels, intern, do it yourself. Start your own business. You can do anything a man can.”

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Your first show and favorite show of all time?
First show was Turbo Negro at The Vista in Eureka, CA
Favorite show of all time,  Electric Light Orchestra at Hollywood Bowl, both nights.
New technology you use most?
Hmmm, I’ll have to get back to that one.

Where can you be found during a show?
I still love seeing bands up front and center. Unless I’m with my son, then I’ll probably be more in the back with him and his headphones. He’s already seen Mac DeMarco, Bikini Kill, Rodrigo Amarante & Beck.

Who would you nominate for this list and why?
Jodie Regan, from Spinning Top, manager of Tame Impala.  She’s an amazing lady and also a hell of a manager, working with one of the most successful bands of our time, and she does it with a really small team of people.