Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 2 months ago

Walter Kinzie | Average To Savage EP153


This is the one hundred and fifty-third episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring entrepreneur Walter Kinzie. Paul Guarino talked with Walter Kinzie discussing how he got into entrepreneurship, creating Encore Live, and what's next for Encore Live.  

Follow Walter Kinzie 

https://www.instagram.com/WalterJKinzie https://www.instagram.com/encoreliveevents/ 

This podcast interview with Walter Kinzie was originally recorded on October 21, 2021

...this is the average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino, everyone and anyone athletes celebs andmuch more. What's up everybody. I'm back for another episode of the averagesavage podcast. Our special guest today is walter kenzie. He's the ceo andfounder of Encore Live walter. How's it going? It's great. It's good to be herewith you today. Yeah, I appreciate you coming on. Um let's just jump rightinto it. So how how did you end up starting on core live crazy story. I uhtold my dad after going to my first concert when I was seven years old thatthis is what I was going to do for a living. I wanted to be behind thescenes. I wanted to do something that being bring big crowds together. Uh itwas kind of a A sad story at first a friend of mine got really sick when Iwas 18. I also was sick and in the hospital um and we were both pores canbe and but I had insurance, he didn't and so uh and his illness was terminal,so he was way worse off than I was and I wanted to help him out. I want toraise the money, but I also knew I had to let a lot of people know how sickthis kid was. Um in order to get that support and I kind of went back to thatdream I had since I was seven and uh put a committee together in thecommunity and a bunch of people came together and we threw a concert for him.It confirmed that this is what I want to do for a living. And, and it also,we raised all the money that they needed uh, to help him achieve thethings in life that he wanted. So it's a very fulfilling experience. Um, I hadto have a kidney transplant and so after that I went and got a real job tohelp pay the bills and pay off the debt. But I told him in my job interview, Isaid the day I become debt free, I'm gone and My paycheck December 1, 2010,I paid off my last piece of medical debt associated with the transplant. Ihad $500 left over to my name and I use that $500 to start encore live. Um, I,the original goal was that I would throw big rock concerts and countrymusic festivals and things like that. But I found this world that I didn'teven know existed where the ultra wealthy through these lavish partiesand um, and before you know it, I'm, I'm hiring the biggest celebrities inthe world to come entertain these little intimate crowds for birthdayparties and anniversaries and things like that. Really just built a, built apretty big business out of kind of being the go to guy for the world'smost affluent families. Para level that we um had a convention business. Theconferences, trade shows, things like that. We help blue chip companies growtheir brand through cultural based events and then the pandemic hit andall of that went away. And so it caused our pandemic pivot, which Today hasmanifests itself as encore nights. We produce uh massive concerts in onedestination and broadcast them out to micro fan bases in smaller venues allover the world. Since the pandemic hit, we've thrown a little over 4500 eventsIn 36 countries and at 1.7 billion people come out to see the biggeststars in the world and not one person got sick uh in the program. And nowwe're producing more concerts annually than about any other company in theworld. Well, I mean all that, the whole story is awesome and amazing. Um sogoing back to when you were saying you were seven years old, how did you knowat seven years old, you wanted to throw concerts and what like what made youwant to throw? Like, what was that? Did you go to a concert or something likewhat, What was that? Great question. So my dad uh was a volunteer for the localcounty fair and our county fair, Lafayette county Kansas, my dad's acounty commissioner there and has been really lived a life of service and he'smy hero. I Uh, he's you know, he hasn't made a whole lot of money in his life,but he's been serving his community for...

...45 years as the town judge or a policeofficer, whatever, he's had a bunch of different jobs. So volunteer fireman,but he uh, he volunteered at our county fair to put on a concert and He didn'thave a very big, but my town only had at the time like 130 or 140 peopletotal that lived in the town And he threw this concert and like three or400 people showed up. I've never seen that many people in one place before,you know, and you look, you know, today, you know, we entertain hundreds ofthousands of people and some of the shows we produce. But at the time I'venever seen anything like it before and it was just so cool to see something mydad did as just a, as something to serve his community. And all thesepeople came out to see it and it was amazing to me and and I lovedeverything about it and it was crazy. I remember the very specific moment thatthe band walked up and started speaking into the microphone and the crowd wentnuts. And now 30 some years later it's the very same thing that I'll work formonths or longer on a show. But it's that moment when the stadium is fulland the stage is set and that artist walks out and stepped up to themicrophone and you can bust into a song or says hello, everybody and everything.The crowd goes nuts. That is the adrenaline rush that I live for. Thatis the moment that I live for this, that everybody has come together forthis one moment. All because I've been spending my time organizing and puttingtogether and they all decided that's where they want to be that time. Soit's, uh, I love it. That's what gets me going. Yeah, it's awesome. And I wasdoing some research on you and I went on your linkedin page and like underyour education, um, You proudly said, you finished 155 out of 160 in yourhigh school class. And then, um, and you're, and you said, you dropped outof Kansas state and you said there's always a good stories behind a dropout.So, so let's hear it. So that, that's just it. I, I was number 1 55 out of 160. I, how did you, how did you get into Kansas state if you were one forthe, so, uh, so first of all, for eighth grade, I had to beg my parents and beg my teacher to just let megraduate. And literally, the excuse I made in the eighth grade was the sameexcuse I made four years later with my high school principal. I'm gonna befine. Like I'm gonna be fine. Like you don't have, I don't need this, I don'tneed this piece of paper to say I completed this. So just let me graduate.You don't need to hold me back one more year, literally, I had the same excusewhenever I was in the eighth grade as as I did in high school and it was um,you know, but it was, I was so low in my class in high school because I wasso active, I was student body president, I was president of all these differentclubs, president, all these different organizations. I missed 95 days of mysenior year of high school because I was out on activities, I skipped school,one time total, I got busted, got my ass beat and I'll never, I never did itagain. Um so I was gone so much because I was busy with other school stuff andI just didn't care as much about the classroom and uh I probably should havecared more and they probably the only guy in Lafayette County high schoolhistory to Take Algebra 1, 4 years in a row and still never pass. Um and thenin case state was the same thing, I got out there, I literally convinced theadmissions office, I'm like, look at everything else I'm doing, like, I am agood kid, I just don't make good grade. Um and I got up there and I um uh butultimately that's when I got sick and I, I had to go into the hospital and liketwo weeks in two K state, I was in this fraternity, but there was a hospitalright across street from the fraternity and I literally like two weeks intoschool, I checked into that hospital...

...and that began a three year journeywhere I was just constantly in the hospital and uh um but it uh so youknow, I was in a college town, I just wasn't going out with my buddies oranything like that, so Had my kidney transplant, had like $1 million dollarsin dead or something crazy like that, I don't think it was that much but it wasa lot. And um and I just I had a decision to make it 20 years old, Ifiled bankruptcy and finish school or do I roll up my sleeves and go to workand I made the decision that I didn't want to bankruptcy on my record at 20that that college just wasn't gonna be for me. Uh And I was gonna go to work,My cousin drove a BMW, I called him and I'm like you sell drugs or what do youdo? Like how can you afford a BMW, no one in Edna Kansas drives a BMW. And hewas like, I sell mattresses for a company called mattress firm, I'm likeI want to sell mattresses. Um Lo and behold that's where I went to work. Soas Ronnie. Um Yeah and then like, was there something that you, it seems likeyou kinda always knew you were going to be an entrepreneur, like, like what wasthat like just starting your first business and then like what have youlearned like since then I'm gonna tell you something that's absolutely insane.Um I got my first business loan when I was seven years old and seven was likea big, what is? I went to my first concert, I don't know what I feel badabout my seven year old life now, like I was like I don't even remember it, Idecided what I was going to do for a living and I got my first mrs Sloan. Somy the story there is uh they wouldn't even let that happen these days. Butthe story there is uh my dad co signed for me and I took out a loan to buy apig um and that's going to raise the pig And uh and then I'd sell it andhopefully for a profit and that's what I did and then I used the profits toreinvest in my next businessman. So I took out a business one every year fromseven until 18 and I always had to sit down with my banker and go through mycheckbook which you know was the P. And L. Statement and do a business reviewand it was the greatest experience of my life and it actually breaks my heartthat it would never be allowed to happen today but literally I sat downquarterly with my dad and my banker and I went over, this is how much I spentin fat bills and this is how much I spent at the feed store feeding myanimal and raising it by the time I was a senior in high school I had a cattleranch and like I had a full blown operation and uh and thank goodness wedid because selling that operation is what helped fund a lot of my medicalstuff, but uh but it was nuts and you know, but from seven years old on, I'vehad a business since I was seven and uh in one way shape or another and it hasjust been, it's been what it is and you look at it today, I've got fourdifferent companies and I've got two different business plans drawn up on mynext to um endeavors one day soon. So right now everything I'm doing um is anentertainment, but in the near future all of my businesses will be somewhathospitality and entertainment focused and so my wife and I are going to openup a fast food restaurant, a new hopefully chain that takes off thatwe're pretty excited about and then we also have an Airbnb business so well,that's doing really well. So, so anyway, that's uh you know, so just, I'vealways had that my dad was uh I'm sure his dad was an entre my, I'mnamed after my great grandfather who literally when the ambulance came topick him up to take him to the hospital, he knew it was the end of his road andinstead of just going directly to the hospital, he paid the ambulance driverto drive him through his business. And so he could see it one last time beforehe went to the hospital. And uh you know it's just it's uh it's a part ofmy family, it's part of our D. N. A. And that's who we are. That's that'sonce again that's crazy and awesome story. Um And that's crazy because Iinterview like a lot of athletes and...

...it's crazy that you say like sevenbecause usually like Around like I'd say like 7 to don't know maybe like 13.They usually figure out that they're really good at that sport that they'relike that's so that's like a that's like a crazy thing to me just thatyou're saying. So like it all adds up like I feel like, well even even as amy daughter is a seven year old and I firmly believe she needs to be a kid.Like my oldest daughter, I've had two year old and a seven year old. Myoldest daughter, she needs to be a kid and we we worked really hard to keepher kind of anchored as a kid but she sees what I do, she sees the things I'mdoing and she can't help but talk about what she wants to be when she grows upand I love I love that spirit that a child has in that and so we spent a lotof time talking about being a leader, you know, uh girls you see all thosememes of different things about let girls bossy or that girls, you knowwhatever. I always try to translate it for my daughters that no, you're justbeing a leader. And and so and it's funny because she wins all these crazyawards at school and her academics are fine because she's got a smart mom. Butum but a lot of what she a lot of the reason why she wins these things,because they always specifically call out that she's the leader of the classand and I just love that. And so I just, you know, I don't want it to happen tooquick, I want her, I want both of my girls to be kids and enjoy life, butit's so crazy because I've been telling this story about my seven year old lifefor a decade now and now I have a seven year old and it's like holy crap, likenow I'm watching it happen to her and um so I'm trying to slow it down asmuch as I can, but I'm convinced both of my girls will be entrepreneurs aswell. Yeah, for sure. Um now going back to Encore Live, how do you like how doyou how do these concerts get set up? Like what's the process? Yeah, so uh soon core live, the best way to describe that company is that is that company isa B two B company, people companies hire us to come in and put on events ontheir behalf on core nights is our B two C company. That's the one where I'mgoing out and negotiating with the artists and then we have a distributionpipeline of over 2000 venues around the world. And so we're working with thebiggest entertainers in the world right now. We're working on our 2022 line up.Um, can't give any spoiler alerts, but it's going to be a massive year. Uh,we're coming out of the gate really strong and early May with our firstshow and it's going to be big time. So we are, uh, so we're anxious about that,but we will, so we're brokering deals with artists now. The artists are goingto get to film these shows wherever they want in the world And then wepartnered with some other companies on some technology and the artist will besomewhere and then we will broadcast that show live globally. We, weliterally operating 24 time zones. And so, um, uh, we'll broadcast that showglobally and they'll have fans from all over the world and you think about it.These artists, they do global tours, the new world tours, internationaltours, but nobody goes to 40 countries, Nobody is, nobody's, you know, I wastalking to Jon bon Jovi about a couple months ago whenever he was part of our,Our lineup in 21. And, and I'm like, man, if you tour for the next twodecades, you're not gonna make it to 30 of the countries that we just put youin front of these fans. And so it's good for the artists. They get tomonetize a group of fans that that never get to pay a concert ticket to go.And it's good for and the fans because they're getting in a concert experienceto go see a show live that no one else has ever seen before and being playedspecifically for them. And so um the language barriers can be toughsometimes, but they love the music and so it works out music, music is auniversal language. Um What about like, what, what was like the first concertthat you put on? Awesome? I love the question. So um the,so the first one, um it's crazy, Crazy.

Everything I do is crazy. Everythingevery, everything I do is crazy. So the, so the first one was from my friendCorey and that got the word out, that was a lot of fun, but maybe the wayI'll answer is the first one is on four live. Uh Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, so Ium I was uh, when I was trying to get the business going, I was just, I wasworking every gig I possibly could as a, my full time job selling mattresses,but I was literally, I would just for free, I would go and work at concerts,just trying to learn and meet people and network and do everything I couldand um it was in March of 20 a 2000 and 4, 2000 and five, I was working a showin Dallas and I was backstage and I wasn't the bouncer, I was pushing cases,I was helping out wherever I could, but there was this guy back there that wasbelligerent and drunk and whatnot, and one of the band members came over andgot me for the band that's playing and I was like, hey can you get this guyout of here? And so I went, I'm like man, we gotta go, I wasn't the bouncerbut I'm a big guy, so it made sense and so I'm walking this guy out, he waslike man, I'm not trying to cause problems, I just want this band to playin my backyard Here I am. A guy's making like 30 grand a year, they can,there's nobody on the planet that can afford to have this band play in theirbackyard, that's not something that happens, This band just made hundredsof thousands of dollars tonight. And and so anyway, but he gives me his cardand I promised him I'm going to call him and but I never really took itserious and like three weeks later uh we finally connect and the guy's like,man, are we gonna do this or what? And he's sober And I'm like, you really canafford to pay to have a major rock band come and play in your backyard and tocall his bluff. I was like, I'm gonna need the money up front, I'm gonna needit in cash thinking you know when the time comes, there's just no way he'sgoing to deliver and you're like, well you want to come over tonight? And I'mlike, yeah. And he was like, okay, I'll have the money for you. And I get there.And he tosses me a manila envelope with a couple $100,000 in it. And I'm like,what am I gonna do? And uh, I left that night, I drove to walmart, Mind you,I'm in a car that I have to crawl in and out of the back window to be ableto get in the doors, don't even open. Like I am so broke and I've got thismanila envelope with a couple $100,000 in it. I go to walmart and buy thebiggest safe I can physically carry out of there. Not because I was worriedabout carrying out there, but I lived on a three story apartment. I was goingto carry this thing up three flights of stairs And I carry it upstairs, throwevery article of clothing on it. I put the money in the safe and I literally,the bank didn't open until 7:30 AM on Monday. I never left my apartment, Ijust stayed there and watched the money and uh, but ultimately we through aprivate party on the lake out in west Texas. We had six or seven uh, kind ofcountry and rock bands out there. Uh some of them are still going today,headliner was cross, Canadian ragweed and we had randy Rogers, Jason, boland,stoney Larue, weight bow and we had a bunch of big kind of texas acts. Therewas someone at that party that then called me and said, uh hey, I want youto help me have George strait in my backyard and I was like, oh my and itjust kind of started and then from there, like I just started doing kindof big entertainer after big interference every time I do one ofthese shows there was someone in the crowd that then was like, hey, I wantto do this for my friends and before long, you know, that's just who thesepeople hung out with and before long I just kind of become the go to guy thatyou wanted a really crazy party and with big entertainment you called meand I, you know, I also, because I...

...didn't grow up in that last time I viewit as an advantage because I didn't have any preconceived notion about howthese parties would go and, and so what ended up happening was traditionallythese things are pretty stuffy and people were black tie and it was, youknow, it was very formal and I was like screw that, we're going to have a partylike this, you will remember you were here for the rest of your life and Ifound myself having to talk my clients into not having black tie events, let'sgo do something different where people don't have to get dressed up that canjust come and be themselves and have the time of their lives. And uh andwe've kind of tried to harness that spirit all along the way and it'sreally worked out great for us and and we took that same kind of philosophy aswe started doing brand activation events for major companies and, andcorporate conferences and corporate events and just like if you're gonnahire us, your company better be better off because we were here um and webetter tell a story that's so outstanding that that the whole worldwants to pay attention and we launched, you know, the Pokemon go app forPokemon go, and it was, you know, we all remember how insanely successfulthat launch was to date, it's still the most successful app launch in thehistory of the app store and I'm proud of that um and we've worked with abunch of big brands, you know, facebook dr pepper and what not and we just helpthem do kind of impossible things that um, that that really helped advancetheir initiatives. So it's been a lot of fun. Speaking of that, you alsoworked with UFC in the rematch of dust and korean economy area. So how didthat come about? Uh, we always knew that when we got into this B two Cbusiness that we weren't just going to have to be, we weren't just gonna be amusic that sports were going to be an important part of that. And so, um,there was a, there was a Mayweather fight that was coming together hadn'tbeen announced yet. Um, it ultimately manifested itself as jake paul and, andFloyd Mayweather um last summer. Um, but in the process of trying to pullthat together, we got introduced to the folks at UFC and um, Connor was goingto be fighting out of Dubai in january. Um they've already signed deals withamazon and ESPN plus our platform is different. Yeah. You know, we don'tbroadcast to the home, you can't get our content on your device or anything.You've got to go, it's very important to us that our stuff happened in socialsettings that people can be together, come together to enjoy the spirit ofthe moment. And so, um, we pushed ourselves that way. They loved it. Webroadcast the show across the United States had incredible attendance. Italso gave us a chance to try out our new technology and so we were one ofthree to broadcast live from Dubai and um we kind of, we woke up on mondaymorning after the fight with a couple of piste off major brands because ourfans found out four minutes and 33 seconds quicker because we didn't haveany glitches with our technology. And until a lot of, uh, the other twocompanies, fans were finding out from ours on twitter who won the fight. Um,and you know, we'll fight didn't last very long. So that's uh, that's the wayit all kind of worked out, but it was, it was a great experience. Um, thetechnology was flawless. Uh, we had from Nova Scotia to Anchorage, Alaskaand all throughout the United States, we had tons of fans coming out and itwas really fun. I went and watched the show at a venue in texas And you know,it's a cold kind of January night. There's everybody that got the grillsout there tailgating and, and really, they had never been able to experiencethe UFC fight like that before. And so the reviews were insane. And, and sowe're looking for additional ways as we go into 22 to partner with groups, um,like UFC, you know, Mayweather, somebody like that, We're gonna throwdown a great big fight next summer. We want to snatch that up. We're alsoreally inspired by, you know what, like Michael and paul rabble are doing withlacrosse, we think, you know, that that's such a rabid fan base and wehave a lot of distribution in New...

England and throughout the east coast.And so I think there's gonna be some opportunities to just, you know, workwith these kind of specialty groups that are doing really fascinating stuffand, and uh, and really bring, bring a new way to view sports. You know,you're not in a bar, you're not at home, you're tailgating. And um, it's nodifferent than going to the football stadium on sunday tailgating, but thenyou don't have to leave the tailgate to watch the sport and that's, that'swhat's beautiful about our model and, and fans are just eating it up. Yeah.Like I'm already, like, when you said there was four months head, I was like,yeah, I need to watch that stream, I need to be at that. That's funny.Crystal clear is beautiful. I was proud of the team. They did a really good jobbroadcasting it. Yeah, for sure. I'm gonna have to check it out next. I mean,I don't know if you have any events in Connecticut. Oh yeah, the only state inAmerica that I don't have a venue, it's Delaware for whatever reason, joe needsto give me something in Willington or something. But I, yeah, I don't haveanything in Delaware other than that we're the other for the United Stateswere all throughout Canada Ireland. Um, most of the european Union and thenAustralia and new Zealand also throughout Asia. And then now Germanyand South America's opening back up. And so, uh, we're expanding rapidlythroughout south America and central America. Um, and so far 22 season willbe picking up a lot of venues in, in that part of the world as well. So nice.All right. You ready for some fun questions? Let's go. All right. What'syour favorite genre music? Ooh, classic rock. All right. What'syour, what's your favorite song right now? Uh, Field? I don't, I shouldn't say Ifeel dumb singing, but that dang song by the kid Lori? It's just like, Ican't get it out of my yeah, for, for what? I saw him at the I Heart MusicFestival a couple weeks ago and I'm just like, I cannot get the dang songout of my head and every time I get on Tiktok seems like everyday Tiktok hasset to that music right now. So that's funny. Who's uh, who's like a artistthat you haven't done a concert for that? You want to do one for Elton,john. All right. That would be doing. Uh, what about like, what's uh, whatwas like the, what was like the biggest one you put on? I did the first private party ever forgarth brooks and as part of the deal, I made him bring his tour rig and it'swhat's fascinating is that actually struck up this crazy friendship betweenthe two of us and um, he's one of the most, he's a very important part of mylife now. And uh, but um, so we're in a field in the middle of nowhere and I'vegot this massive stadium rig And nobody knows who's playing that as a secret.And then all of a sudden my customer announces ladies and gentlemen, pleasewelcome Garth Brooks and he shoots up out of the state just like, he's in themiddle of a stadium and there's like 400 people in the crowd. It was themost incredible moment in my life. That's crazy. Yeah. You have some crazystory. That's all I'm like, I feel like I need to like, be a fly on yourshoulder and just like, see what's going on. Come on buddy, you'll havesome stories to tell. I promise you that. I also, I also put together, I'lltell you this. Maybe the craziest thing I've ever done is I've made a band onetime and I put everybody in the band was in the rock and Roll Hall of Fame.And so I put Mick Fleetwood on drums, Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac wason keys, had steve Miller from the steve Miller band, on lead vocals, andBilly Gibbons from Zz top on lead guitar And they played 24 # one hitsfrom all the bands and crushed it. Everybody was very confused when theycame out there. Like, they recognize billy Gibbons because who doesn'trecognize the beer? But then they see Mick Fleetwood back there and he's justa behemoth of a man. And most people just looked right past steve miller onlead vocals, but then they realized holy steve miller and dude, it wascrazy. It was absolutely insane. You...

...put together a fantasy team. That'sright, that's right. Well I appreciate you coming on. And uh, could you letthe listeners know where they could follow you and your company on socialmedia? Yeah. Uh, my stuff is really easy, just walter Kinzie, twitterfacebook and instagram and then on core nights on core driving nights on forall the socials for my, um, for my fan based stuff. And then Encore live foron all social media handles for, for all of our private stuff.

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