The Concert Industry Remembers Mitch Slater

Mitch Slater
Theo Wargo/WireImage for Esquire Magazine – USA/Getty Images
– Mitch Slater
appears at a 2003 benefit party hosted by LIFEbeat and MTV at the Esquire Apartment.

Friends and colleagues remember concert promoter Mitch Slater, who shaped the concert industry as we know it. He died July 21.

To most people he was one of the architects of the modern concert era, but to me he was my baby brother. When he started in music, I said if you’re half as good at business as you are as a brother, you’ll be a great success. He far exceeded that mark. Our father taught us that our word had to be honored. Anyone who knew Mitch, knew that he lived by that. Our bond was as strong as it gets. A piece of me is gone. A piece of anyone who knew him is gone. Rest In Peace, little brother.
— Andy Slater
Mitch Slater was one of my closest friends in the music industry. His career took him from a building manager to one of the most important promoters in the U.S., to being part of the inner circle that transformed live music shows to big business. Mitch had an ability to connect the street and corporate world and that is why he was so successful. He was a star!
— Dennis Arfa, Artist Group International
Mitch was always the coolest guy in the room and somebody I looked up to and would try to emulate. He knew when he had to be tough but there was also nobody better at charming the room. He knew how to play a great Pippen to Sillerman’s Jordan. I learned so much from Mitch and am grateful to have had the experience working for him. I will miss him greatly and my deepest condolences to the whole Slater family.
— Jarred Arfa, Artist International Group
I first met Mitch when, years ago, his big brother Andy was working for me. He was a man of tremendous talent and ethics, and he was an asset to our business. He will be missed.
— Irving Azoff, The Azoff Company and Co-Founder, Oak View Group
I was 23 and had an interview with Mitch for a job that would bring me to NYC.  I recollect that it was dark out, late afternoon in late winter.  I was struck by how young he was, and then that smile and charisma!  I guess it went well enough that he then ushered me in to meet Ron Delsener. In those Golden Years of Delsener/Slater Enterprises, Mitch was kind, tough, trusted me to just get it done, and a voice of reason when I needed an ally. In more recent years when I’d see him, our times were filled with  laughter over memories and acknowledgement of how special and fleeting those times were.  But most importantly, lots of love continued among all of us and it’s heartbreaking that he’s gone.  
— Susan Bank, artist manager and consultant
Mitch Slater and Ron Delsener
– Mitch Slater and Ron Delsener
Mitch Slater and Ron Delsener backstage at a KISS concert.

I first met Mitch in the late ’80s when he was only 27 years old. Even back then I knew his ambition would make him incredibly successful, and he went on to change the entire landscape of the live music industry. We had a brother/sister bond and he is the reason I started and still work in the concert industry. Our years of working together were extensive at Madison Square Garden, Delsener/Slater Enterprises and Metropolitan Entertainment and I looked up to him my entire adult life. He always had my back and taught me many lessons professionally and personally with humor, wisdom and purpose and for that I will be forever grateful. May every young person starting out in the business find a “Mitch Slater” in their life to support them.
— Donna DiBenedetto, VP Global 
Touring, AEG Presents
I’d moved to New York and for a few years was paying dues, working part-time at a few booking agencies, New Music Seminar, and managing a few baby bands. When Mitch hired me at Ron Delsener Presents, I was put in a chair that several people had occupied in a short period of time. He said, “I’m giving you the rope, you can bring in the horses or hang yourself.” But he had my back. He helped me convince Ron to make exclusive long-term deals at Roseland Ballroom, The Academy, The Marquee, and others so the company could better compete. In 1998, he was the co-promoter for H.O.R.D.E. Festival and was often on the road. I thought he wanted to see what touring was like. Nope, he was sizing things up and having meetings. He’d given me an idea of what SFX was about but I really didn’t understand the scope until after it happened. We stayed in touch and remained lifelong friends. 
— Dave Frey, Silent Partner Management
Mitch Slater Rob Light
– Mitch Slater Rob Light
Mitch Slater (3rd from R) on a 2008 golf junket with (L-R): Eric Greenspan, Arny Granat, Slater, Gary Gersh, David Steinberg, Mitch Rose, Jason Flom, and Rob Light.

Quite simply, I would not be where I am today without Mitch Slater. He was a master at growing not just his and Ronnie’s business, but truly of growing the industry. I’m eternally grateful for the magic of being raised in the early ’90s in New York City by Mitch and Ron (and Melissa Ormond!). Mitch was a powerhouse, a hustler, a make shit happen guy. He understood the business and he understood people. Mitch was truly one of the architects of the concert promotion and live music business as we know it today. Huge loss for us all.
— Ali Harnell, Women Nation
Mitch was a first class guy and a great friend. A smart businessman, tough negotiator, fun to hang with, mediocre golfer and amazing dad. He was the architect behind what is now Live Nation. Through his career he had a great sense of humor, and could put any argument or disagreement behind him, and move on… always staying that great friend.  He was very special.
— Rob Light, Head Of Music, CAA
I grew up in the business with Mitch. Jones Beach, Madison Square Garden, Yankees and Giants stadiums, he was always there. I’ve been missing him the last few years and now he is peaceful. Our whole business has and will continue to miss him.
— John Meglen, Co-CEO / Concerts West at AEG Presents/Goldenvoice
I knew Mitch as a competitor, a partner on some shows and a friend. Always direct and on point! You always knew where you stood with Mitch. In my case, we were both pleased. He will be missed. 
— Ed Micone, Artist Manager
Mitch Slater. Immediately,  I see his smile. He walked into rooms with it, even in a difficult situation. He had a great sense of humor, even if sometimes sarcastic and jaded as the business requires, it was success inspiring, got a laugh and all rolled smoother. He was always a fair and logical problem solver. He believed in many people even when they doubted themselves, and built them up. Approachable and easy to have a conversation with, one of the good guys. I will miss him. Sad I’ll never get to tell him that my chicken dinner, “The best he ever had!” was actually a dressed-up Kentucky Fried Chicken catering rescue mission! 
— Connie Moodhe, The Catering Goddess
“We were very sad to hear of the passing of Mitch Slater, who was a pivotal player in helping form the concert touring industry as we know it today. Early in his career, Mitch worked at MSG as director of bookings before he went on to partner with Ron Delsener to create Delsener/Slater Presents – he had a prescient vision for how independent promoters around the country could scale by consolidation. He’s been a fantastic friend to The Garden for decades and he will be missed.
— Darren Pfeffer, EVP of MSG Live for Madison Square Garden Entertainment
Mitch and I worked together in the late ’80s at MSG before he moved to Delsener/Slater. As a young man, Mitch was as competitive as they came. He was a competitor when we played softball. He was a great teammate. Mitch was just as competitive at company picnics. I am still smarting over the two interceptions, including a pick six, in a game of touch football. Mitch was always of good nature and humor. And when it came to business, he was just as competitive. He wanted to win, and that meant a sellout. I was grateful to have learned that from him. Godspeed Slats.
— Mark Rasmussen, Vice President Ticket Operations, Madison Square Garden
Mitch Slater softball team
Courtesy of Mark Rasmussen
– Mitch Slater softball team
Mitch was a competitor on the field as well as behind a desk, pictured here (top row, 4th from L) in a Madison Square Garden Co. team photo taken at Shea Stadium

I worked with Mitch when he was with Ronnie Delsener. It’s impossible to define Mitch in a sentence or two. He was smart, always informed, had a wonderful sense of humor and was able to do business in a straight up and honorable manner.  In those days we spoke many times a day. As he went on to Sillerman he was always available and informative! A very very special guy!
— Shelly Schultz
Mitch was very funny, rarely politically correct when telling jokes!  A very smart man, a huge heart, and good at golf.  RIP
— Gini Smythe-Park, formerly of CKX
I had the great pleasure of beginning my career at the legendary Delsener/Slater office in New York. They were the biggest promoters in the Northeast and a formidable force. They had one of the most Impressive teams ever assembled in my time in this industry. It is hard to fathom all they accomplished and all the memories. Ron remains as vibrant and relevant as ever. My deepest condolences to Ron and the Slater family. 
— Kirk Sommer, Co-Head Of Music, William Morris Endeavor
I knew Mitch Slater for a lifetime!!!!!! I adored him and his magnificent wife Pam.   I am extremely saddened by his leaving us way too soon!!!! My heart goes out to Pam and his children.
— Marsha Vlasic, Agent, Artist Group International