Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scott Booker: The Art of Listening

The Flaming Lips, ACM@UCO and beyond



 


If you visited the historic Rainbow Records at 23rd and Classen in the 1980s, you may well have talked to a young Scott Booker. Thirty-five years later, he’s the CEO of Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO in Bricktown, a unique incubator of performing art talent. What happened between then and now is a story of constant curiosity, a willingness to pay close attention to the interests of others and a drive to achieve.

Mixed in that time from Rainbow Records to ACM@UCO have been many years as the manager of Oklahoma City’s enduring, Grammy-winning Flaming Lips.

But before he ever met Lips front man Wayne Coyne, he learned how to listen carefully to the desires and preferences of others.

Starting out prior to turning 15, he sold a national general-interest newspaper called Grit. Roaming through his neighborhood of Midwest City, he learned to engage potential customers in an easy conversation about what they liked and didn’t like. He calls it his “first job in the entertainment industry.”

But when Booker wasn’t going to school and selling Grit door to door, he hung out at his local Sound Warehouse, then a regional chain of record stores back when vinyl was the main method of listening to music other than a live performance.

In addition to the growing skills of selling entertainment, Booker says that his gig, “also gave me five dollars per week. In 1978, that was the price of an album. Every day I would go to Sound Warehouse and hang out, figure out what I would buy that week, and I would buy a record a week.”

And once he turned 15, he already knew so much about music and people that Sound Warehouse hired him. He worked there until his junior year in college, when he took his deep knowledge to Rainbow Records – and there honed his music curator skills even further.

Scott Booker


It was at Rainbow that he met Lips bassist Michael Ivins. And he got to know more members of the band as he started hanging out at the most intense music venues of the day, which included the Velvet Underground.

He brought his ability to connect people with music as he moved gradually into the role of manager for the Lips. He says there wasn’t any formal contract to be their manager … and there still isn’t. One day one of them just started referring to him as “our manager” and it stuck.

Today, Booker can be seen in a number of venues and milieus, including the Master Class for which he brings in seasoned artists such as Jackson Browne, Moby, Hall and Oates and other well-knowns to visit with ACM students and the public about how they navigated their own careers and brought their talent into full view.

He also teaches classes on how to manage the business of performing arts. Some of his students may move on to work for well-known large companies such as Warner Brothers, and others may use that knowledge to manage their own music careers.

Is he a musician himself? No. But that doesn’t stop him.

“I don’t think it’s been a hindrance in any way,” he says. “Maybe it’s almost the opposite. Maybe because I didn’t know theory, some music that would be discordant and annoying to people was actually still beautiful to me.”

And he continues to recognize the beauty of talent in others as he cultivates it through classes at ACM@UCO.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Weekend 101

See what's up in the 405!

TERRITORY AHEAD

The Grave of an Honest Man Stories in Stone: George Lowrey

A Life in Paint

The arresting, brilliant and often controversial work of Oklahoma artist Jeff Dodd in on display at Oklahoma City University for a very limited time.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2020

No Events
No Events
No Events
No Events

This quintessential New Orleans musical institution guarantees an electrifying night of music! The group will perform songs from their most recent releases as well as traditional New Orleans...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the issues he faced...

Cost: $35-$50

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

By Tom Cipullo An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the issues he faced...

Cost: $35-$50

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags