We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Reinhart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Russell, what do you attribute your success to?
I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as luck. You need to put yourself in a position to get experience and opportunity, nothing happens by chance. When an opportunity arises you need to first, recognize it and then second, be prepared and act on it.

I originally went to University of Houston for college but was not quite sure what I wanted to major in. I tried a few different things but ultimately decided I wanted to pursue something within music as I was a producer and engineer at the time as a hobby. I sought out opportunity at UH within their recording and broadcasting departments and was turned down due to being a sophomore and they only worked with JRs. I heard something about KTSU 90.9 FM from a friend and decided to go check it out. When I got to the radio station I spoke to a wonderful woman named Donna Franklin who is the program director and she ended up offering me a scholarship to transfer and work production at the radio station. That was just the start of my journey. I met a lot of people at Texas Southern, worked on many projects with music and while there got a connect to House of Blues. I decided I needed to work at House of Blues so I got my foot in the door working security. I ended up working there for 6 years and moved all the way up to Production Coordinator and was one of the two heads of production. I met a lot of people that have helped my career at HOB but ultimately it gave me experience and knowledge not many people get the chance to learn. I fell in love with live shows and ultimately developed and ran my own businesses building off what I have learned (and am still learning).

I would not be where I am had I not sought out those opportunities.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work with concerts and live events. I have two companies, FLIGHT CONCERTS and HIEV PRODUCTIONS and I am the booking agent for Dende. FLIGHT is focused on tours and local concerts, I handle booking with artists and venues and promote the events. HIEV is production specific, we partnered with a venue called FREE GALLANT and we handle turn key event production with a focus on creating an immersive experience through projection mapping.

I started on this journey as a producer and engineer. I developed a project with Summer Woods and got her on a couple local shows. After attending Summer’s first show we saw how unorganized it was. As many artists know at the local level there is a huge emphasis on showcases and pay to play. With the little experience I had at HOB at the time I realized that there was a better way for events to run. We wanted to get rid of pay to play specifically.

An artist is providing a promoter (the person curating the event) with a service, they are bringing the people out to the show, not the other way around. So an artist should themselves be compensated for their work and not charged. There are multiple ways to make money off of an event that does not include charging talent. Tickets is one way but there is also VIP, sponsorships, and vendors to just name a few. I have a standard when booking my own local shows, I do not book more than 5 artists, they each get at least 20 minutes, and I do a lot of research on the artists to make sure they all fit in the same genre and are serious about their craft. This way they all can feed off each other and their fans coming out to the show will all enjoy each of the artists on the line up and stick around for all of them.

I have been very fortunate on this journey. Some of the things I am most proud of are having set up shows in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and New Orleans (thank you Dave, Marissa, and Pam for asking me to help with that last one). I have booked Dende in New York and Atlanta, he opened for Swae Lee, and his following is growing exponentially, I couldn’t be more proud of him and excited for things that are coming soon. As of most recently my work with HIEV and Free Gallant has aloud me to leave Livenation and House of Blues and focus on my personal endeavors full time. Thank you Lee Cerda and Drew Mishka for starting this venture with me. I left HOB on very good terms and had overwhelming support on that transition and I plan to be working with Livenation again. All in due time.

None of this was easy. It took a lot of dedication and hard work. My plans constantly changed and I made A LOT of mistakes early on when I was still new to the industry and the innerworkings of it all. Key was learning from the mistakes and turning them into a positive experience for the next time. It took years for me to start to figure out how to balance personal life and work life. People say, “it’s just business and not personal” but business can be very personal, especially when you are dealing with artists where their personal art is their business and you yourself have put so much into your own business. Learn and grow, look for new opportunities and pursue them. I am not where I want to be yet, that vision will always develop, but we will get there.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When you come into town there are a lot of cool bars and places to check out. Axelrad is always an awesome spot to drink and check out some live music and they are right next to the best pizza in my opinion, Luigi’s, specifically the Mexicana pizza.

Houston has so many great local artists, its ridiculous. You have to check out a local show at Satellite bar. Secret Group, or any of the many other local venues. It does not matter what genre you are into, I promise there is a band or artist out there in this city that can be your next favorite.

Houston is also known for it’s food. Some of my favorite local spots everyone has to check out are Tapester’s Grill, Ray’s BBQ, and Wing Boss. After a late night you can always hit Mai’s Vietnamese or Chapultepec Mexican both open 24hrs.

If you are into comics and video games you gotta hit Joystix on the first or last Friday of the month and check out many of the awesome comic and toy shops like Bedrock City Comics, Nan’s, Super Happy Incredible Toys, Space Cadettes and so much more. If you are here in July you have to hit Comicpalooza.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a LOT of people who have helped me get to where I am. In no particular order SHOUT OUT to:

Donna Franklin – Starting me on this journey.

Summer Woods – Developing my interest and helping me grow.

Livenation and HOB – there are too many good people here who have given me the experience and shared knowledge with me I could not have gotten very many other places. There are a few that I would like to specifically thank though.

Paige Mann – Supporting and throwing me a bone when needed.

Phil Kosch – Giving me incredible insight, inspiration, and pointing me in the right direction.

Joe Flores – Giving me a leg up wherever you could.

All the artists, venues, and promoters that have worked with me. Again way too many to name off but you guys know who you are. Nothing but love for you all.

Website: hievproductions.com | Freegallant.com

Instagram: instagram.com/russreinhart | instagram.com/flightconcerts | instagram.com/hievproductions

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/russell-reinhart-24606095/

Facebook: facebook.com/russell.reinhart

Other: You can also check out my podcast Comic Cave Podcast where we interview comic and toy shops, talk about fun geek comics and host at conventions. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9A2V_vd18ASlQ6-jQanFRg/featured Also be sure to check out Dende. IG – https://www.instagram.com/iamdende/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/DendeIsMe?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Image Credits
Photos shot by: Royal Nation TV and Cassidy

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