Whether reaching for the Beatles' Revolver at 3 years old, updating Matt Costa's MySpace page, or DJ'ing for No Doubt, Roy Atizado has been elbow-deep in music for most of his life. From hip-hop-label gigs to pusher of folk rock, and now as the general manager of Chop Suey, he does it all for the love of the game. Even when the game gets dangerous.
What's your domain at the Chop?
My position here is general manager, but it's just a title. I help wherever I can.
How would you say you fill your time on the clock?
I deal with overall club issues, which include ticketing, advertising, hiring/firing (general employee stuff), some ordering, scheduling, and money issues. I do whatever John [Villesvik, the club's owner] tells me to do.
How did you first start working in rock?
In rock? Well, I started DJ'ing at 16, but then got a label gig with rap pioneers Priority Records while in college at UW. From there, I meandered between labels (MCA, Warner Bros., Arista, Scotti Bros.) and distribution (BMG). On the side, I've done some concert production (Square Peg, Monqui, Mike Thrasher), some remixing, and wrote and photographed for a now-defunct Seattle hip-hop zine, as well as freelancing as a rock photographer. I've also worked with No Doubt (DJ), Beastie Boys (tour marketing), and Super Deluxe (tour manager). Whew!
What is the crappiest thing that's happened to you on the job?
I was working one of the Clipse shows, and a patron (a famous rapper's cousin) threatened me. I wouldn't let him in without paying the cover, and he said I should, as "everyone knew who he was." After the incident, my security staff told me they worried about my safety.
The most hilarious?
There was one time a pretty famous "PG"-type artist, as my friend Charlie called him, was looking at a porn site just after load-in. You know . . . the innocent teenybopper, wholesome, friendly-type guy you wouldn't think would even look at porn. Even funnier, his parents were on tour with him.
What's the most frustrating thing about your job?
There's always something. Whether it's worrying about various work stuff or the random "curve ball" being thrown at you, everything seems to come down on you at the wrong time.
What puts you on cloud nine about it?
There's nothing better than the satisfaction I get [knowing] that I'm still in the music biz. I love the club and I really like the people who work with me, as well as those who play there and who promote shows there. I've been bounced around....I've been laid off, fired, rehired, and even quit. I know the state of this industry, and I may not be in it forever, but I'm fortunate to still be in the game at my age.
What was the first record you ever bought?
That's a great question. I took the Beatles' Revolver LP off the rack at JC Penney when I was a wee tyke of 3 years old. My mom bought it for me, so does that count as my first purchase?
What else do you fill your time with?
For work, I have two recording artists...for Huntington Beach [Calif.] folkster Matt Costa, I do all Web presence and help with merchandising and such. The other is L.A. indie rockers Oslo. I am helping find them a home on a record label. I also make DJ appearances every once in a while. For fun? Besides music, I like social drinking, vinyl collecting, taking photos, fine dining, spectator sports, movies, and spending time with friends.
If you could be anything in the world, what would it be?
A polar bear! No, I've always wanted to run a record company. I've worked with some of the best artists and would love to develop my own...on my own terms. Anyone wanna help?
Top five records to listen to while...
Updating Matt Costa's MySpace page: The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow.
On a road trip: Girls in Hawaii, From Here to There.
Driving through the city in inclement weather: Death Cab for Cutie, The Photo Album.
Daydreaming: Mew, And The Glass Handed Kites.
Getting pumped before going out for a night on the town: Diplo, Fabric Live 24.
A weekly peek behind the curtain of the Emerald City music world, Behind the Scene sheds light on folks you won't see onstage, but who make it all happen.