Monte Conner: Toughest Negotiator in Metal
Gary Dacus
Full Sail University
August 14, 2015

     Monte Connor is a well-known figure in the metal music industry. He was born in New York City, NY where he attended New York State University and received a bachelor’s degree in math. However, while he was in school, he DJ’d a metal show for the college radio station. Per a Metal Injection interview ‘This is where he learned about the different bands, genres, and sub-genres of metal music’ (Metal Injection, 2015).

     Monte Conner began his record company career in 1987 with Roadrunner Records. His twenty-five-year tenure at Roadrunner Records is the stuff of legends (Rosenberg, 2016). Mr. Conner is the President of Nuclear Blast records and is also the Sr. A&R Representative. Monte move to Nuclear Blast Entertainment August of 2012. This move made Nuclear Blast become the only Independent world label. Monte is a pillar in metal music and is reputed for spotting talent and turning them into major money makers.

     Mr. Conner has contracted numerous acts during his tenures at both Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner, making him the go-to man in metal music. He has been an innovator in artist relations, contracts and artist management for the metal genre in the music business. Many A&R reps have emulated his management and negotiating styles, using his business techniques all over the world. He’s the A&R guy other A&R guys aspire to be (Rosenberg, 2016). Monte has signing bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Earth Crisis and Chimaira; to name a few.

     While researching Monte Conner, I have gained a lot of respect and a desire to learn more, and to possible meet him. I would love to be given the chance to interview Mr. Conner on his industry experience and negotiating style. I would inquire about how he has experienced the changes in the metal industry and his views on whether he feels that metal music gets disregarded in many other major labels. I would like to learn what negotiating style he prefers and if there have been any negotiations or renegotiations where the artist was very hard to work with, or had unrealistic expectations and how he dealt with that while maintaining the best outcome for both the label and the artist. I would like to ask Mr. Conner if there was any one person he encountered in his career that had the biggest influence on his business and negotiating style. I would also like the chance to be mentored by Mr. Conner, as he is an amazing icon, innovator and negotiator in the music business and a fellow lover of Metal music.

     I chose to study Mr. Conner because he is well known for being a tough negotiator that has consistently shown the leadership that it takes to get bands to the forefront for their respected genres, and has negotiated contracts with companies like World Wrestling Entertainment for artists to have their music featured on this primetime monster. He’s known for good artist commutation and support as well as making sure all the contractual commitments are met by both artists and labels. I respect Monte Conner for his desire, not only to support the metal genre, but to support the industry and he artists as well. Mr. Conner is a music industry pioneer with visionary’s ability to be in touch with the times.





A&R Legend Monte Conner Discusses What He Looks For When Signing Bands; Discusses Signing SLIPKNOT, SEPULTURA, TYPE-O. (2015). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from


Ex-Roadrunner VP Monte Conner Talks About New Gig With Nuclear Blast Entertainment. (2012, August 20). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from


Metal Injection. (2015). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from

Beyond the Band with A&R Legend Monte Conner | Metal Injection.


The history of Nuclear Blast. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from

My Take on Today’s Young Musician
Gary Dacus
Full Sail University
May 21, 2017

My life as a musician has been full for turmoil in this wonderful learning process. I have been a hard charger in this business as much as I passably could. I have played shows, managed my band and other bands and been in social media hell trying to promote said bands. All is a huge learning curve that would break most people in any business. The hardest thing about being a musician other than being a good player is to manage yourself. You’re always harder on yourself then you are others. I have one standard. I won’t ask you to do anything I would not do myself. This seems to be an issue in bands and with younger musicians. I have meet very few new musicians that have manners and act anywhere near professional. This is a problem with me.  Most of the time now I will not let a musician in any band I am in that is any more then 5 to 7 years younger than me. This may seem like I am discriminating but after so many times of dealing with kids instead of adults I made this rule.  Youth in music can be awesome but there are not a lot of people like Randy Rhodes who was 20 when he joined Ozzy but was very professional and knew what his job was.

       I can be a hard person to deal with and what I expect you to be is at practice on time and act like a pro. This seems to escape people now days. Real musicians take time away from family and pay crazy amount of money to record music, pay for gear and travel to shows.  Some for this younger generation just does not seem to get it. These kids get the easy road. They get and guitar get on YouTube and learn to play. Ok I feel like” cool kid you can play guitar but do you know how to exist in a band, do you know this business”. Most don’t and they don’t listen to the older musicians. This is part of the reason I don’t deal with younger musicians. To get more toward what I am speaking about is, why not teach the business side of entertainment in high school. I feel this would be most likely stop most of the inexperienced and improve on the work ethic of the new musician.

       Most musicians that have been around awhile have dealt with about every kind of musician known to man. There are nicknames for all of them but just to name a few (1) The Know it all. This is a guy who has done really nothing in the area but knows everything and everyone in the area but when but on the spot, no one knows him or cares. (2) The Virtuoso. This is the guy that can play every scale in the book but can’t play a simple guitar riff and can’t play to a click or with a drummer. (3) The Show off. This is a guy who can barely play but buts on a class A stage show and most of the time makes everyone in the band angry due to his stage antics. Finally, the Prim donna, this is the guy every band has at one time or another, most of the time the guy is a good player but thinks everyone owes him respect for some local accolades but those actions where 25 years ago and no one really cares.

       While I was writing, this I took a brake and went to practice with a new band. This band has all members that are at least over 35. This practice was great people practiced the marital beforehand and the practice was very productive. 8 songs were played through and done very well. There was no drama and no “I am better then you crap” This is just proof that old musicianship will lead the way but if the old musicians don’t take the time to teach the kids it won’t’ work ether. I did say in the beginning that I don’t work well with the young musicians but there is that exception if the young musician can prove he is worth his weight by learning his task in the band and bettering hi self. No task in music is easy. If you just want to play guitar of personal enjoyment is great but passion is what drives the person to get on stage and entertain. 

      As a drummer, I don’t get to see the crowd a lot but I can still hear and see some of them and when the band is killing it, getting the crown going there is nothing better in the world. My passion is playing live but it takes work to play on that stage. 30 years ago, you play your hometown maybe a couple hours outside of it and you might get signed, today good luck. The record labels are basically dead bands can record at home and a person that can play all the instruments in a band can become a one-man band and make money to keep the project going. 

      Today’s industry is totally different then it was 30 years ago. So, as an older musician and the new musician reading this, just remember this you want in a band with older guys prove yourself don’t act like you know everything. Best thing to do is be a sponge and walk in knowing the music as you should know it. Feel out the room and watch for things each player does to carry the other. Being in a band is a team effort you can’t really do this on your own, the ones that do can’t do it long.  You need to create a team and make this band a band of brothers. A brotherhood in a band doesn’t really exist and more and it will take the younger musician to make that happen!




Borg, B. (2016, March 15). Five Mistakes Keeping You From Becoming a Great Musician. Retrieved May 21, 2017, from

The Music Industry Has 99 Problems. And They Are... (2017, March 01). Retrieved May 21, 2017, from


Understanding the Music Business. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2017, from's younger musician&source=bl&ots=N_gCOd9tFt&sig=5wRv_2hXqZf-4pVAfZq3o7n5LEA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi8jN6TrILUAhVHPiYKHbD3D08Q6AEIUDAI#v=onepage&q=pros%20and%20cons%20of%20today's%20younger%20musician&f=

My Take on CEOs
Gary Dacus
Full Sail University
June 4, 2017

What is the role of a CEO?  Well, it’s not too much different from being a manager. So, I will begin with a good example: I was recently hired as the Parts Manager at an auto dealership. Any management position is a demanding and I work closely with the Service Manager. The service section of a dealership is high stress and keeps people on their toes. In saying that, the work involved is like that of a CEO.

A CEO should account for work hours, money spent, job completion, payroll, and hiring and firing of personal in the section of the company. At this dealership, the service section is a start up we only have a handful of mechanics, two-service writer a shop foreman and my self in parts. There is not a lot of personnel, being as the business is an upstart. There are enough employees to get things done; but as we grow as a business; we will need more people to get the job done. We will need more Techs and I’ll need at least two more people in parts, to keep up with demand. We are also focusing on making our own warehouse, in conjunction with NAPA auto parts. This is a good start on the expansion of the company.

To work with a company like NAPA helps us keep up with supply and demand. As a CEO/ Manager there is a lot of work; for lack of a better term its like herding cats, your going to get scratched up. Upstart companies are never an easy start, especially in a business that is in a huge city the size of Dallas, TX. In the area where our dealership is there are 7 specialty cars companies that target some of the same clientele we cater to. As a CEO, to make yourself stick out in this business, you should be good at what you do.





Cohan, P. (2015, March 02). Do You Have What It Takes to Be a CEO? Retrieved June 03, 2017, from

Stadler, C. (2015, June 14). How To Become A CEO: These Are The Steps You Should Take. Retrieved June 03, 2017, from


Professional Blog Post: Alternative Funding 
Gary Dacus
Full Sail University
July 29, 2017

Many of the alternative funding websites that I reviewed for the Entertainment Business Master of Science Degree Program Final Project Digital portfolio assignment describe such funding options as capital grants, equity investments, federal funding and grants, venture capital funding, and structured financing funding. While, some of the alternative funding websites that I reviewed offer information on such funding options as community development loans, community development venture funds or microenterprise funds. They offer information on the organizations that are certified as CDFIs. 

These financing options mentioned on the alternative funding websites are for businesses and are offered through CDFIs; which is short for Community Development Financial Institutions; like banks, credit unions, state, local and federal funding or financial grant agencies, and venture capital funding organizations. CDFIs get their loan capital from national and community banks, socially-motivated individuals, religious institutions, foundations and corporations. 

 The vision of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (the CDFI Fund) is to economically empower America’s underserved and distressed communities (CDFI, 2017).

 Most of the websites are informational and political advocates for funding organizations. They provide information about how Community Development Financial Institutions’ work, they offer additional items like links Community Development Financial Institutions and application eligibility requirements as well as award databases for reviewing past and current awardees for their grants. These websites offer additional items like business and financial consulting, financial training event and business networking events. Additionally, many offer research reports for financial businesses and businesses looking for financing. 

The eligibility for funding from these Community Development Financial Institutions organizations occasionally depends on organizational membership. Additionally, items like financial need, business location, business type, credit, financial history, community need, etc. Many wish to have completed business plans, financial proposals for the business and a business financial prospective, as well.

From my research on several of these alternative funding options, I have learned that there are more than just loans available for businesses. Additionally, many of the things I read, indicate that the funding from some Community Development Financial Institutions is less stringent, in that they often are willing to finance businesses that would normally be considered high risk for traditional funding institutions. I think that for a business to have a more diversified financial funding option; like those offered through CDFI financing; could be beneficial.




CDFI Fund. (2017, January O1). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from


CDFI Program; CDFI Program Benefits. (2017, January 01). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from        program/Pages/default.aspx

Financial Services. (2017, January 01). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from


MERCY LOAN FUND. (2016, January 01). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from


The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance. (2015, January 01). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from


WHAT DOES THE CDFI FUND DO? (2017, January 01). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from


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©2016 by Lori Dacus