In this edition of my blog series feature Behind the Art, meet Korie Koker. Hers is not a job for the faint-of-heart. I can’t imagine being a talent buyer for a venue. Actually, I can but I’d rather not. Managing the schedule for a live music venue must be maddening. I know firsthand from my side of the deal that planning a 70-show global tour each year is enough of a jigsaw puzzle. The thought of being responsible for arranging 360-some shows per year at the same venue fogs my brain. Kudos to people like Korie.
Entertainment Director at Vamp’d, Co-owner of Vamp’d. Follow Korie online or on Twitter at @KorieKoker.
You own Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas with your husband, Danny Koker (of Count’s Kustoms, and TV star of Counting Cars and Pawn Stars). How is working with your husband, and how do you make it work?
My husband and I have always made great biz partners, and in the case of Vamp’d, he trusts my decisions and leaves it all pretty much up to me. He’s there for me when I need advice, but he generally just backs my play.
What prompted you to pursue music venue ownership? How did you happen into it?
My husband, Danny, had always talked about doing something like this, and then he actually lost his mind and did it!
How did you happen into also becoming a talent buyer?
That, of course, was not the original plan, but we learned the hard way that I was the best option.
Who’s the first major artist that you booked? What’s the story behind that?
I’d have to say Slaughter was the first major artist to play our venue. It was our first New Year’s Eve and we wanted to go big!
I don’t know of many women talent buyers, let alone venue owners. As a woman in a male-dominant business, what gender-based obstacles have you encountered and how did you overcome them?
I’ve worked with men throughout my life so I’m experienced in the attitudes that sometimes occur, such as the controlling power game and lack of respect. It’s frustrating but I expect it and handle each personality and situation.
Was there a particular moment when you felt you’d “made it” as a music industry professional?
There have been many times when I’ve been thrilled with the success of a show and thankful for overall reputation, but I am always learning and growing in this profession. I face challenges all the time, so I do not feel I’ve quite “made it”…there is much more to be done…
What makes you want to research an artist that’s unfamiliar to you?
A great sound or if I should book them.
Where do you live and why?
Viva Las Vegas, NV! That is where my family ended up, also where I was born. I am thankful for that…the weather, entertainment, and 24/7 lifestyle.
What is your morning routine?
Lots of coffee…diving into emails, texts, voicemails & more…
What constitutes a productive day at work for you?
Finalizing upcoming shows, advancing shows, and replying back to everyone I possibly can each day.
Is there anything unusual about your workspace? What do you keep on your desk? What’s the view from your workspace?
Everything is on my desk. For now, my view is basically just sky and trees…hoping for the ocean someday. 🙂
Do you have a peculiar habit?
No habits, just over all peculiar. 🙂
Please recommend three songs (any genre, any artist) and tell us why you like them.
The hardest question of them all! I love and cherish so many songs and to “recommend” three is especially tough. I’ll go with three of my favorite powerful and passionate rock songs that rarely, if ever, received radio play:
Lady Strange by Def Leppard
Rescue Me by Y&T
Let It All Bleed Out by Rob Zombie
Kind of you to include a Y&T song.
Rescue Me was the first song I ever heard by Y&T when I was young and just getting into rock & roll. I could not believe what I was hearing. It made a lasting impression!
As I’m also an author, I’d love for you to recommend three books and tell us why you like them.
Congrats on being an author! Unfortunately, I do not have any time to read books.
Do you have an industry friend who helps and inspires you?
All the amazing talent that plays our stage keeps me inspired, along with my husband and our great team, who work hard and are dedicated.
Do you play a musical instrument? If so, which one(s), and for how long have you played?
No instruments, but I love to sing.
Do you sing live?
I was a singer in a band when I was young. It was short lived. I don’t sing anywhere in public, but I’ve been thinking about getting back to Karaoke!
Do you have any superstitions?
Knock on wood.
What phrase do you over-use?
No phrases, just words such as cool and awesome.
Do you have a funny story related to your job, whether booking an artist at your venue, or at one of your shows?
Absolutely! But that may have to go in my own book someday. 🙂
What is something about yourself that is essentially unknown and maybe even surprising?
I graduated from broadcasting school, and went on to work at a television station where I was a promotions director, production coordinator, and professional camera operator. I love television and film production, which was the direction I was heading until I was needed at Vamp’d.
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Really want to do it, love it, commit to it, and stay focused. Find people you are compatible with, who you can trust, and share goals…and put egos aside.
What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into talent buying or venue ownership?
You have to want to do it real bad and prepare to not have much of any other life.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for considering me for this interview. I am honored. I truly love rock & roll…Long Live Rock!
Count Vamp’d, Count’s Kustoms, Count’s Vamp’d, Counting Cars, Danny Koker, Korie Koker, nightclub owner, Pawn Stars, rock venue owner, talent buyer
Nice interview as always Jill. I love Danny’s Counting cars show as I’m a Car nut like him and still relish the 70’s. I still need to get a ticket for the New Years show at the old Garden City. I’ve never been there, but it looks pretty big. Have you noticed the old Cabaret sign is still on the building nextdoor? I thought maybe one day you and Dave might reopen it and run it yourselves, but I imagine not since running a Rock club is one of the toughest businesses to brak even.
Thanks, Tom. And thanks for stopping by to read.
Didn’t notice the sign was still there. Ha! Definitely not interested in owning a club. I’ve got my hands full managing just one band. 😉
Hi Jill Lawrence Martin CEO and Hard working fan of all 80’s music and love seeing you at local shows. I’m the one that always takes thetimeto walk over to you and say “thank you “. Avalon especially, as I have been a long time friend os Mike. I had 2 guest passes for last night that Susan and Rob gave me but playing husband was my #1 priority last night. ( sorry I missed you )
Cool interwiew btw! I really enjoyed it. My first office was slose to yours on Steveens Creek. Sometimes I see you or Dave at wells fargo. Happy 2015!!! I miss Phil too! Keep the boys busy, see you soon! ROCK ON GF!
Thanks for your support, Lawrence, and for dropping by to read the interview.
Glad to know that Counts is more than just cars. Ya know, I watch the car shows and dream, and Danny and Crew always seem to be the ones that do something nice for clients, and customers and sometimes strangers in need of a special vehicle to suit their needs and possible challenges. The other guys?…. it’s money in, money out and who is the biggest cheese. That’s why I love Counting cars, they have some heart, and are compassionate to people. Thats’ important.
Thanks for stopping by to read, Jay. Danny and his wife, Korie, are lovely people. Visiting with them at their venue is a tour highlight for the band and me every year.
We love the show! Danny is such a great guy with a big heart. Wish we lived there so we could meet Danny in person. There’s not many good hearted people in this world. Danny is one of a kind. And his wife is a very beautiful lady.
Thanks for dropping by my site to read, Marie. Danny & Korie are indeed lovely people.