Dean Budnick

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Dean Budnick is an American writer, filmmaker, college professor and radio host who focuses on music, film and popular culture. Budnick, who is Editor-in-Chief of Relix,[1] grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.[2]

Dean Budnick delivers keynote at 2012 International Music Festival Conference

Ticket Masters[edit]

In April 2012, Plume/Penguin published the revised, expanded edition of Budnick's latest book, Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped in North America and the U.K.[3] ECW Press issued the original hardcover edition of the book, co-authored with Josh Baron, in 2011.[4] Ticket Masters explores the emergence of computerized ticketing and the rise of the modern concert industry. It is the first book to chronicle the origins, development and ongoing strategies of companies such as Ticketron, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and StubHub, the efforts of numerous independent competitors and bands such as the Grateful Dead,[5] The String Cheese Incident[6] and Phish.[7] Wall Street Journal reviewer Ken Kurson wrote, "A clear, comprehensive look at a murky business, the book is also an encyclopedia of information about the rise, decline and rebirth of the live music industry."[8] Similar assessments appeared in Rolling Stone,[9] Maclean's,[10] Pollstar[11] and other outlets.[12] A revised expanded paperback edition was published by Plume in 2012.[13] Budnick has gone to on to appear as a panelist and deliver keynotes about the subject at numerous industry events, including: CMJ,[14] the Ticket Summit,[15] the International Ticketing Association Conference (INTIX),[16] the IAVM Arena Management Conference,[17] by:Larm [18] and the International Music Festival Conference.[19] He has commented about ticketing issues for a variety of media outlets.[20] Budnick continues to write about ticketing and the concert industry for publications such as Relix,[21] The Hollywood Reporter,[22] Billboard (magazine)[23] and Bloomberg View.[24]

John Popper Memoir and Grateful Dead Novel[edit]

In December 2015, Billboard published an exclusive cover reveal for Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed To Tell, the autobiography of longtime Blues Traveler frontman, John Popper.[25] This piece reported that Budnick had written the memoir with Popper and also revealed that Budnick’s next project was a “Grateful-Dead themed novel called Might As Well.” Both books came out in the spring of 2016. The New York Post hailed Popper’s “off-beat, hilarious new memoir” in a two-page review.[26] Budnick and Popper later discussed the book during an event at New York City’s Strand Book Store.[27]

Rare Bird Books published Might As Well, which a reviewer described as “a highly entertaining (and wildly funny) fictionalized multi-character account of a Grateful Dead show, which details the experience of both the lot scene and an actual show (for those who could get tickets) at Brendan Byrne Arena in the fall of 1989.”[28] Budnick later revealed excitement from the Fare Thee Well shows had inspired him to revisit that era,[29] and that the novel also drew on his work over the intervening years, exploring the Grateful Dead through Relix cover stories[30] and other articles on the band,[31] along with his efforts as editor of the official Fare Thee Well daily programs in 2015[32] and the Dead reunion show newspapers at Alpine Valley in 2002,[33] recent pieces on Brent Mydland[34] and the missing soundboard tapes recorded by Betty-Cantor Jackson,[35] as well as the chapter on the Grateful Dead's own mail order ticketing service in Ticket Masters.[36]

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle[edit]

Budnick has explained that the idea for Ticket Masters first came to him in the mid-1990s, while a graduate student at Harvard University's History of American Civilization program, when he explored reports of ticket scalping on Charles Dickens' final American speaking tour.[37] Budnick happened upon such accounts (as well as those related to the "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind), while writing his doctoral dissertation on Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.[38] In Direct Verdict: The Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle Trial Discourse, Budnick who also earned a J.D. at Columbia Law School, worked from the original trial transcripts, dozens of newspaper reports and other primary sources to explore the silent film comic's life before and after his manslaughter trials that followed the death of actress Virginia Rappe on September 9, 1921.[39] "Directed Verdict" examines not only on prevailing attitudes towards Hollywood and a new culture of celebrity but also tabloid journalism, the onset of Prohibition and the emerging, oft-contradictory roles of women in the 1920s. Budnick received his PhD in 2000 and his dissertation committee consisted of Henry Louis Gates, Werner Sollors and Ellen Fitzpatrick.[40]

After serving as a teaching fellow and tutor at Harvard Budnick has gone on to teach at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Roger Williams University and the University of Rhode Island.[41]

Wetlands Preserved[edit]

In 2004 his interest in film as well as an ongoing focus on live music led Budnick to begin work on the feature-length documentary Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Rock Club.[42] Budnick directed the film, which utilized archival footage, soundboard recordings and the efforts of a dozen digital animators to relate the story of Tribeca nightclub Wetlands Preserve[43] The documentary also includes music and interviews with Dave Matthews, Bob Weir, Questlove and Warren Haynes as well as members of Phish, moe., Agnostic Front, 311, the Disco Biscuits and many others.[44] Wetlands Preserved, played at such festivals as SXSW, Woodstock and Asheville (where it won top documentary honors), was released to theatres by First Run Features on March 14, 2008.[45] The New York Times wrote, "Wetlands Preserved is a fond account of the rising, thriving and eventual closing of the TriBeCa club known as the Wetlands Preserve."[46] Other positive reviews appeared in the New York Daily News,[47] Newsday[48] and other outlets.[49] Wetlands Preserved was later acquired for television by the Sundance Channel[50]

Jambands, the Jammy Awards and Relix[edit]

While still a graduate student, Budnick wrote two books, The Phishing Manual (Hyperion, 1996)[51] and Jam Bands (ECW Press, 1998).[52] In the summer of 1998, shortly before the publication of the second book, Budnick created along with webmaster Andy Gadiel (who would go on to create the JamBase website).[53] Budnick is often said to have coined the term jam band.[54] However in 2003, with the publication of an expanded edition of Jambands (Backbeat Books, 2003) and later in Peter Conners book, JAMerica (Da Capo, 2013) Budnick indicated it that he only popularized it, although he is responsible for recasting it as a single word.[55]

During the summer of 1999 Budnick produced the tour, which traveled from Maine to Maryland over two weeks and featured performances by such groups as: The Disco Biscuits, The Slip, STS9, Deep Banana Blackout and Percy Hill with special appearances by Allman Brothers Band members Butch Trucks and Oteil Burbridge[56] (Budnick later served as board member for Trucks' Flying Frog Records).[57] In 2000 Budnick created the Jammy Awards along with Wetlands owner Peter Shapiro.[58] The inaugural edition of this awards show took place at Irving Plaza on June 22, 2000 where Budnick co-hosted with the musician Peter Prince while wearing a tuxedo, a tradition Budnick would repeat at every Jammys.[59] Over successive years the Jammys would move to Roseland Ballroom[60] and then to the Theater at Madison Square Garden,[61] where in its final installment in 2008, Phish received the Lifetime Achievement Award on the eve of the band's announcement that it would return to the stage after a 4-year hiatus.[62]

In 2001 Budnick also began his ongoing association with Relix Magazine, which acquired[63] His Relix cover stories have included profiles of Phish,[64] Phil Lesh and Bob Weir,[65] Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood[66] Ray LaMontagne and My Morning Jacket,[67] Carlos Santana,[68] The Allman Brothers Band,[69] Bonnie Raitt and Grace Potter,[70] Ryan Adams,[71] Zac Brown Band,[72] Tenacious D,[73] Warren Haynes,[74] Tedeschi Trucks Band,[75] Gary Clark Jr.,[76] moe.,[77] Grace Potter & The Nocturnals,[78] a H.O.R.D.E. Retrospective[79] The String Cheese Incident [80] and Dave Matthews Band.[81] In his role at Relix he created the official Bonnaroo Music Festival daily newspaper, the Bonnaroo Beacon[82] and event newspapers for Phish's festivals,[83] the Grateful Dead's 2002 Terrapin Station reunion shows[84] and Dave Matthews Band.[85] Budnick edited the three daily programs for Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead in Chicago on July 3–5, 2015 in which the surviving members of the Grateful Dead: Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, joined by Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. Budnick secured a special message by President Barack Obama which appeared in the program [86] (He later explained, “The whole thing was a surprise. I wanted to keep it from the band members until they saw it in the program....It all happened rather quickly. It made perfect sense to me since Chicago is the President’s town and the ‘Core Four’ had been supportive of his initial campaign. Back in October 2008 Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart reunited to perform at the Change Rocks event for then-candidate Barack Obama. They later took the stage at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural ball in January 2009. So I contacted the White House, described the event, although they seemed quite aware of it, and received the message a day later. They even sent along the official image to run with the President’s words.”)[87] He also programmed the Live Soundtrack Cinema at the inaugural Lockn' Festival, a film tent that designed to "unite the musical side with the visual side by having the audio feed from the stage playing as specifically-selected features, shorts and animated films that complement the music are screened."[88] At the second Lockn' Festival, he edited the official four-day festival newspaper, The Lockn' Times, which debuted that year.[89] In September 2013, he was named Editor-in-Chief at Relix, sharing the role with Mike Greenhaus.[90]

Jam Nation Radio[edit]

In the fall of 2000 Budnick and Jefferson Waful began co-hosting the Jam Nation radio show. Jam Nation originated from WMRQ in Hartford, CT where it aired Sunday nights from 8-10PM.[91] Twice a month the show hosted a one-hour electric performance from musical acts, with appearances by such groups as Derek Trucks Band, STS9, Galactic, Keller Williams and Umphrey's McGee (for whom Waful would eventual become lighting director).[92] Jam Nation was soon syndicated on the fledging XM Satellite network where it aired until 2009, ending its run following XM's merger with SIRIUS.[93] He continues to make guest DJ appearances on SiriusXM.[94]


  1. ^ "Editor's note" Relix October/November 2013
  2. ^ Philip Eil "Concert tickets: how the public got scalped," The Providence Phoenix, April 12, 2012 [1]
  3. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
  4. ^ Bill Baars,"Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped," Library Journal May 1, 2011 [2]
  5. ^ Blair Jackson "Ticket Bastards" Blair's Golden Road Blog, August 24, 2011 [3]
  6. ^ Benjy Eisen "String Cheese Incident Stage Ticketing Coup at the Greek" Rolling Stone May 19, 2012 [4]
  7. ^ Greg Barbrick "Book Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise Of The Concert Industry And How The Public Got Scalped," Seattle Post Intelligencer, June 9, 2011
  8. ^ Ken Kurson "Rock 'n' Roll's Real Gatekeepers" Wall Street Journal May 28, 2010 [5]
  9. ^ Andy Greene "Where Did All The Concert Tickets Go? New Book Explains" Rolling Stone June 9, 2011
  10. ^ Chris Sorensen, "Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped " Maclean’s June 17, 2011 [6]
  11. ^ Gary Bongiovanni "Ticket Truths" Pollstar June 14, 2011
  12. ^ Dave Moyer "Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped," New York Journal of Books June 1, 2011 [7], Greg Barbrick "Book Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise Of The Concert Industry And How The Public Got Scalped by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron," [8]
  13. ^ Benjy Eisen "'Ticket Masters' Q&A: Greedy Artists, StubHub and How to Fight Back," Spinner July 5, 2012 [9]
  14. ^
  15. ^ Allison Reitz "'Ticket Masters': Dean Budnick and Josh Baron explore concert, ticket industries," TicketNews July 21, 2011 [10]
  16. ^ "Dean Budnick Delivers Closing Keynote" INTIX news
  17. ^ "AMC 2012: A winning ticket" Your IAVM News
  18. ^
  19. ^ Marjana Jaidi "What Makes a Great Festival? Dean Budnick's IMFCON Keynote," Cultivora December 10, 2012 [11]
  20. ^ "Bieber Ticket Docs Revealed" Pollstar September 28, 2012 [12], "Why concert tickets can be so hard to get" May 6, 2013 [13], Len Besthoff "Where Do All the Concert Tickets Go?" May 22, 2014 [14], Alison Bologna "Bills would crackdown on ticket scalpers, how tickets are resold" March 21, 2014 [15], "How to Get Cheap Tickets for Concerts, Sports Events and More" Woman's Day April 2015 [16]
  21. ^ Dean Budnick and Josh Baron "Soapbox: Voting With Your Feet (How To Combat High Ticket Prices)," Relix September 2011 [17]
  22. ^ Dean Budnick "Can the Concert Industry Survive After Mick Jagger and Madonna Retire?" The Hollywood Reporter February 7, 2013 [18], Dean Budnick "How StubHub Helped Ticket Scalping Go Legit" February 7, 2013 [19], Dean Budnick "Torn This Way: Losses From Lady Gaga's Hip Injury-Prompted Canceled Tour Could Top $25 Million" The Hollywood Reporter February 16, 2013 [20]
  23. ^ "The Power 100" Billboard February 14, 2015
  24. ^ Dean Budnick "Concert Tickets Too Expensive? Blame Box-Office History"
  25. ^ Steve Bloom "Check Out the Cover For Blues Traveler's John Popper's Autobiography 'Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I'm Not Supposed to Tell' (Exclusive)" Billboard December 18, 2015 [21]
  26. ^ Larry Gellen "John Popper spills on pranks, fame and Lenny Kravitz’s pants" New York Post March 27, 2016 [22]
  27. ^ "John Popper & Dean Budnick | Suck and Blow and Other Stories I’m Not Allowed to Tell" [23]
  28. ^ Ryan Dembinsky "Might As Well Suck & Blow: An Interview With Author Dean Budnick" [24]
  29. ^
  30. ^ Dean Budnick "Dead Behind, Furthur Ahead" Relix March 2011 [25], Dean Budnick “We Three Kings” and “Phil Lesh: Family Man” Relix September 2013
  31. ^ Dean Budnick "How The Warlocks Passed The Acid Tests" Relix July_August 2015 [26], Dean Budnick "The Relix 40: Grateful Dead & Side Projects" [27], Dean Budnick "We’ve Got Our Best People On It": Bob Weir Directs Traffic with the Other Ones" [28], Dean Budnick "Mickey Hart Revisits The Promised Land" [29], Dean Budnick "Bill Kreutzmann Remembers Jerry Garcia" [30], Dean Budnick "Bob Weir: Storyteller and Gizmo Freak" [31], Dean Budnick "Phil Lesh and the Alchemy of a Quintet" [32], Dean Budnick "Getting to the Roots of the Roots: Mickey Harts Bembe Orisha" [33]
  32. ^ [34]
  33. ^ Dave Hoekstra "Grateful Cheddarheads" Chicago Sun-Times August 5, 2002, Dean Budnick "Biographer, Publicist, Biographer: Dennis McNally's Long Strange Trip" [35]
  34. ^ Dean Budnick "The Other Side: Brent Mydland’s Unreleased Solo Album" Relix December 2015 [36]
  35. ^ Dean Budnick "What’s Become of the Bettys? The Fate of the Long-Lost Grateful Dead Soundboards" Relix March 2014 [37]
  36. ^ Dean Budnick and Josh Baron "Chapter Four: A Bunch of Wooly Freaks" in Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped Plume 2012
  37. ^ Shirley Halperin "Author Dean Budnick Talks 'Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry'” May 18, 2011, [38]
  38. ^ Lesley Riva "Sold Out! Or why it costs $137 to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park…" RWU Magazine Spring 2012 [39]
  39. ^ Marc Allan "Scholar Gets into Jammin'," Indianapolis Star, November 8, 1998
  40. ^ Major Publications of Graduates of the History of American Civilization Program [40]
  41. ^ Rick Massimo "Box Office Battles," Providence Journal July 12, 2011
  42. ^ “indieWIRE INTERVIEW ‘Wetlands Preserved’ Director Dean Budnick,”, March 12, 2008 [41]
  43. ^ Kyle Anderson "Wetlands Preserved" Celebrates Music, Activism, Stoned Rock Stars" Rolling Stone April 22, 2008 [42], Alexandra Bullen "Interview with Wetlands Preserved Director Dean Budnick," Identity Theory April 4, 2008 [43]
  44. ^ John W Barry The Poughkeepsie Journal October 10, 2006,Stewart Oksenhorn "Wetlands Preserved' — as is the music," The Aspen Times April 23, 2008
  45. ^ Wetlands Preserved
  46. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis "Remembering a Home for Music and Activism," New York Times March 14, 2008 [44]
  47. ^ Elizabeth Weitzman "Wetlands Preserved," New York Daily News March 14, 2008
  48. ^ Rafer Guzman "Wetlands Preserved," Newsday, March 20, 2008
  49. ^ "Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub" Rotten Tomatoes [45]
  50. ^ Wetlands Preserve”, Sundance Channel Film Index
  51. ^ Brooke Donovan "Doctor of Phishography," Harvard Magazine January 1997 [46], Marc Allan, "'Phishing Manual' big catch for fans" Indianapolis Star May 20, 1997
  52. ^ Andy Smith "Enthusiasm for jam translates into guide," Providence Journal, January 14, 1999
  53. ^ Sarah Rodman "Making that move to find a groove; Hopkinton author jams bands into improvisational, funky rock guide" Boston Herald October 29, 1998
  54. ^ Peter Conners JAMerica: The history of the jam band and festival scene, Da Capo 2013 p. 68,70
  55. ^ Philip Booth "Jambands: The Complete Guide to the Players, Music & Scene" Journal of Popular Culture Vol. 38 Issue 6. p.574, Dean Budnick Jambands: The Complete Guide to the Players, Music & Scene, Backbeat Books, 2003, JAMerica, p.79.
  56. ^ Dean Budnick "Tale of the T" August 5, 2007
  57. ^ The Minds Behind Flying Frog Records
  58. ^ "Friend of a Friend of the Devil: The Jammy Awards" June 23, 2000 [47]
  59. ^ Janene Otten "The Jammys: A Photo Gallery" July 2000
  60. ^ Jon Pareles "What's Strong and Sweet As Fresh Homemade Jam?" New York Times October 5, 2002 [48], Jon Wiederhorn "Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Les Claypool To Perform at Jammys" June 6, 2001 [49]
  61. ^ Jon Pareles "A Night To Honor Bands That Jam" New York Times March 18, 2004 [50]
  62. ^ "Jammy Awards Reunite Phish, For A Moment" Billboard May 8, 2008
  63. ^ Melinda Newman "Jam Bands Weather Economic Uncertainty With Ingenuity and Loyal Fans," Washington Post August 9, 2009, Blake Gernstetter "Relix Remix: Music Mag Relaunches Under New Ownership", May 4, 2009 [51]
  64. ^ Dean Budnick "Phish 3.0" Relix June 2009, Dean Budnick "Around The Fire with Phish" Relix July–August 2014
  65. ^ Dean Budnick "Dead Behind, Furthur Ahead" Relix March 2011
  66. ^ Dean Budnick "Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood: Faith Renewed" Relix April–May 2008 [52]
  67. ^ Dean Budnick "Circular Progression" Relix July–August 2016
  68. ^ Dean Budnick "Fillmore Fellow Travelers" Relix June 2016
  69. ^ Dean Budnick "The High Cost of Low Living" Relix June 2003
  70. ^ Dean Budnick "Something to Talk About" Relix September 2016
  71. ^ Dean Budnick "Recording Ryan Adams" Relix October/November 2014
  72. ^ Dean Budnick "Everywhere Is Southern Ground" Relix July/August 2013
  73. ^ Dean Budnick "Let It D" Relix November 2006
  74. ^ Dean Budnick "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" Relix December 2011
  75. ^ Dean Budnick "Souls Searching" Relix January_February 2014, Dean Budnick "A Joyful Noise" Relix January_February 2016
  76. ^ Dean Budnick "Searching for Sonny Boy Slim" Relix September 2015]
  77. ^ Dean Budnick "Still Buzzing The Tower" Relix August 2010
  78. ^ Dean Budnick "Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: Savage Dreamers" Relix December 2012
  79. ^ Dean Budnick "H.O.R.D.E.: 20 Years Later" Relix April–May 2012
  80. ^ Dean Budnick "International Head Rush" Relix April_May 2014
  81. ^ Dean Budnick "Listener Supported" Relix October–November 2002
  82. ^ Jon Busdeker "You can't see everything," The Huntsville Times June 14, 2008 [53]
  83. ^ Seth Schiesel "A Musical Theme Park for 60,000," New York Times, August 7, 2003 [54]
  84. ^ Dave Hoekstra "Grateful Cheddarheads" Chicago Sun-Times August 5, 2002, Dean Budnick "Biographer, Publicist, Biographer: Dennis McNally's Long Strange Trip" [55]
  85. ^ "Fenton Williams: Moving in Time With the Band (From the Randall’s Island Satellite)"[56]
  86. ^ "President Obama Bids the Grateful Dead 'Fare Thee Well' in a Personal Message" People, [57]
  87. ^ "Relix Editor Lands Message from President Obama in Fare Thee Well Program". 
  88. ^ "Lockn' aims for collaborations to create extraordinary event" September 3, 2013
  89. ^ "Relix Presents the Lockn’ Times"
  90. ^ "Editor's note" Relix October/November 2013
  91. ^ Art Howard "Radio Rebels: 6 shows that bring jambands to the airwaves,” Relix May–June 2002
  92. ^ Art Howard "Radio Rebels: 6 shows that bring jambands to the airwaves" Relix May–June 2002
  93. ^ Dean Budnick "Jam Nation,", November 28, 2005 [58], Dean Budnick "Live from Jam Nation, Redux,", January 1, 2010 [59]
  94. ^ "SiriusXM’s Jam On Presents: The New Year’s Run" [60], "Wetlands Preserved: The 25th Anniversary Special with Peter Shapiro and Dean Budnick" [61], "Dean Budnick David Gans and Gary Lambert to Share Roots of the Jam on SiriusXM" [62]