Richard Sandhaus 1970 Hartford Courant interview
Young Rock Producer Comes of Age By JACKIE ROSS TNT Editor One of the biggest entertainment entertainment promoters in the Greater Greater Hartford area is finally old enough to sign his own booking booking contracts. Dick Sandhaus, a 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old Amherst College student, has brought many big name entertainers to the Bushnell Memorial, including the late Jimie Hendrix, Chicago, Vanilla Vanilla Fudge and Joe Cocker. Until his recent birtfiday his father had to sign all the necessary necessary gapers. But he has never had too much trouble dealing with managers and promotion agents because of his age, Sandhaus said. "It just takes time working with managers and agents to tell when you have a good deal and when you're getting taken," he said brushing his reddish-colored reddish-colored reddish-colored hair out of his face. Sandhaus became interested in producing shows when he was an officer of his high school class in Westport. He was looking for a show to Cwrinl Photm by Mortc Murry. Bigger Hall Isn't The Ansiver bring in for a class fund-raising fund-raising fund-raising fund-raising project and found the work so interesting he wondered wondered what it would be like to do it as a business. "My parents have always let me do what pretty much I wanted to," he said. "They figured I would stay out of trouble with this." In his senior year in high school Sandhaus sent out hundreds of fliers advertising his Campus Entertainment Services. Because he dealt in large quantities of entertainment, entertainment, schools could get an act cheaper by asking Sandhaus to take over for them. He received received hundreds of replies to his flyers. Too Big His business got too big for him during his freshman year at college, in spite of the help he got from a few friends. Now he has severely limited the number of shows he presents presents to give him time for study. However, he still produces produces two or three shows a year at the Bushnell Memorial. Memorial. "The first Bushnell show I did was, The Young Rascals the summer after I graduated from high school," he said. As with the other acts he had booked, he worked with New York talent agents and managers. managers. But this time there was a new problem the Bushnell. "The rental fee for this hall is the highest in the world for this size hall," he said shaking shaking his head. "The cost is very high and it is difficult to bring in big acts." But Sandhaus doesn't feel building a larger auditorium is the answer to the Bushnell problem. "The potential audiences for rock and roll shows just aren't that great," he said. "Building a bigger hall for rock and roll shows is not the answer to Hartford's problem." problem." Because tfte cost of renting the Bushnell is so high and because because the bigger names are getting more and more expensive expensive to book, the price of concert concert ticket have gone up. Apology "I'd like to apologize to the public for the price of tickets," tickets," Sandhaus said. "I'd like to assure them I'm not raising the prices the talent is." The rock part of the entertainment entertainment industry is in serious trouble, according to Sandhaus. Sandhaus. Instead of playing two or three shows to medium-sized medium-sized medium-sized audiences like the Bushnell, Bushnell, bigger names can play to twice that number at a larger hall; it is less work for them and pays more. "This doesn't particularly hurt the big names, but it is hard on producers like me," Sandhaus said. Producing rock shows is a risky operation at best, said Sandhaus. A producer never knows how an audience will react to the act he has booked. "You have to know what act to bring in at what time," he said. That is a big part of a successful operation. "I made a mistake bringing Joe Cock-erto Cock-erto Cock-erto Hartford in April. It was Finally Old Enough premature and we only sold half the house. If I brought him in now it would be a sellout." sellout." But Sandhaus makes few mistakes like that He said a producer's job is to find a good act at a reasonable price, rent the hall, print the tickets, advertise and make sure the performers get to the show on time. He's done it so often now it's almost boring. "Once you've done it a few times it's simple and routine," he said. He estimates it takes $10,000 minimum to back a rock show, pplus advertising. But by avoiding mistakes Joe Cocker he has been able to put himself through school. It isnt challenging enough, however, to make him consider consider a career in producing. In spite of his businesslike attitude, Sandhaus grinned and admitted he only booked talent he liked. "It's inconceivable to have this big a business with an act I don't think people" should pay money for," he said. "T only bring in an act I like. Future Sandhaus .produc tions in Hartford may include his other favorites: Traffic, Mountain and Neil Young.