| Nightwish USA Interviews John Finberg
The team at Nightwish USA was lucky enough to be granted an exclusive interview with John Finberg. For those that may not be familiar with his name, or his role concerning Nightwish, here is a bit about the man that conquered the Gibson Amphitheatre. John Finberg is the North American booking agent for the band, and one of the partners in Foo King entertainment which is the North American / Australian management for the band. It is through John's generosity we will be able to offer two tickets to the Nightwish show in LA in January. (Nightwish USA will do a raffle for the forum members. More information about this event soon!) We would like to thank John Finberg for his time with this interview and for supplying the tickets for our members.
Can you tell us about you, your job title, and what it includes concerning Nightwish?
Well I am not sure what there is to say about me, obviously I am a booking agent, I represent over 100 acts for North America, some of them in other areas such as South America and Asia . I am a person who runs multiple businesses. I am the sole owner of my booking agency First Row Talent which is the main source of my workload. I am the sole owner of a website called Enterthevault.com , which is an internet ticket sale site and I am a partner in a management company called Foo King Entertainment. My connection to Nightwish is that I am the North American agent, and a partner in their North American management company Foo King Entertainment. My other partners are Toni and Ewo who are the worldwide management for the band.
How long have you been in the music industry?
My first interaction with the music business dates back to 1986 actually in a very limited capacity.... But if you want to dig that info up, it was 1986.
What have been some of your favorite bands to work with?
Well obviously due to my relationship with my partners and the band, Nightwish is a lot of fun to work on. Ministry is a great time as well, the band just reunited and this will be very exciting. Sonata Arctica at one point were my absolute favorite because of the story behind myself and that band. It was a completely untested band who came to the USA and became a leader in the genre from this place, one of the quickest rising acts I have ever worked on and the band members are INCREDIBLE people.....Kamelot is something that I enjoy working on a lot. The band are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Epica is also something that is a favorite, you cant imagine how much fun we have. Sabaton , which is my newest favorite band right now. I slowly consider them some of my best friends. Overkill, Kreator, DRI, and nothing is more fun that hanging out with Swallow the Sun after a show, so they are close up there as well.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Traveling, I love it. I love the plane, the landing in a different place and the feeling of seeing a line wrapped around the corner to see your client play Just an awesome feeling.
What advice would you give someone that was interested in work similar to what you do?
Go to school and get a real job. The music business is changing in such a way that for someone to enter it in 2011 and 2012, it is becoming increasingly hard to earn for and there are more people who come and go then ever these days. I would honestly say that getting in the business now is sort of a little too late. You are entering a dying field. The business will be 100% different in 5-6 years and people like myself who have been in for 30 years at that point will always surface somewhere but it is not a recommended first choice of business for anyone.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in music?
When I was growing up and I was the only person who was 13 or 14, going to record stores to buy albums of bands like Blackfoot, who for a 14 year old in 1984 was unheard of. It was all Poison and Motley Crue, but for me I wanted to be well rounded. Who thinks this way? No one at 14 , unless they decide to go to the music business....
How long have you been involved with Nightwish and how did you first become involved with them?
I got involved in late 2003. I discovered the band on MTV Asia, in the fall of 2003. I saw the end of a song in my hotel room, back when MTV played videos. I thought it was Helloween or something, but with a great voice, I chased them down through their US record company, Century Media and got Ewo contact. We emailed and I was hired I think in Nov 2003 yes, almost 8 years now.
What has been your most interesting experience working with Nightwish?
Well there have been so many. I would have to say , in my opinion , was when the band came to do the US tour in May 2009 and I went on the tour with them. Seeing everyday interaction for longer than 1 or 2 days at a time but riding the bus, checking into hotels, going to venues and seeing the country along with them was my highlight thus far. Keep in mind 2012 will unleash more interesting experiences, I can assure you but that was the best working experience thus far.
What obstacles have you had to overcome concerning Nightwish in the USA?
Well the most, as you can imagine, was the change of the lead singer. USA fans are very picky about their singer and it was a very large obstacle to pass over when it was involved in booking the tour. With Tarja , whether you liked her or not, it was the original and you know what you get. With Anette, it was like a whole new child. What would she sound like? Would she connect with the fans? Would it be where it was or shrink or grow? Convincing promoters, before I heard a single song with no vocals, it would be the biggest ever. That was it.
But as you see , it paid off. Anette has a much greater connection with fans she actually brings more to table then being a singer, she has a personality and a very friendly approach. The band has been very lucky with her addition, and now that obstacle is now the greatest asset.
What accomplishment do you consider your greatest so far, concerning Nightwish in America?
The band is headline a 6123 capacity venue in Los Angeles in Jan 2012. This is the pinnacle of my career, and something I can not wait to see in person.
Do you get a lot of contact from Nightwish fans?
I used to all the time to but not much anymore. I go to shows and meet and exchange email addy and stuff like that. I don't know if the fans feel uncomfortable with connecting with the bands agent or co-manager or whatever. Maybe they feel nervous, I don't know but I have made some friends with some people who I met at a show, such as friends from Utah (you know who you are and you are my number 1 favorite) and Chicago (who actually flew to Finland to see the last show in 2009). Used to be a lot of contact but not really now. Who knows, as the next cycle gears up, maybe I will again because it is fun to put a face to a name and so forth.
Have you ever been in a band?
No, I cant play an instrument.
Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
Movies, I love seeing Films, movies from all over the world.
Is there any other information you would like to share with Nightwish fans?
Sometimes information is flowing and is secret but people are always welcome to reach out for any reason and say hi or whatever. Firstrowtalent@aol.com is the way to find me for any reason. I love to make new friends. Also, know that the band are putting 24-7 into this next record / film and the whole process. It is just genius and I expect it will expose the band and will hopefully achieve what they have worked on for so long. Of course and I think once you hear what I heard you will be shocked and amazed and pleased all at the same time. I was able to attend the orchestra recording in Feb and it was quite an experience and I guess last, please remember that as a fan, the one opportunity in 2012 to see the band and get the full European style production is on Jan 21, 2012 and you should try everything legal to get yourself to LA to see what will be one powerful performance.