The Artist known as Sy Klopps started out as a fictional “recluse prodigy” musician. It was all just a trick played on booking agents by Herbie Herbert, the successful rock and roll “Personal Manager”. It was during the relationship building part of phone conversations with fellow music business people, where poking fun and gaming was always expected, that the legend of Sy Klopps was born.
Ironically, Herbie decided to become Sy Klopps. Actually bring Klopps to life. The real legend of Sy Klopps started when all Herbie’s connections with famous musician friends to jam, gig and record with made it doable and even more importantly, fun.
Herbie retired from managment at the tail end of 1993 and jumped headlong into Sy Klopps. It became his passion. He built his own state of the art commercially competitive recording studio and recorded his first album, “Walter Ego”. “Walter Ego” was released in 1993 on Guitar Recordings Classic Cuts label. Gigs around the Bay Area and eventually at the Fillmore in San Francisco soon followed.
via Sy Klopps.
Walter James “Herbie” Herbert II (born 5 February 1948) is the former manager of rock band Journey, The Storm, and a vocalist for the Sy Klopps Blues Band. Born and raised in Berkeley, Herbert is a self-proclaimed hippie and fan of the Grateful Dead.
Herbert got his start in the music business with the aide of his mentor Bill Graham. Through Graham, Herbert became a roadie for the multi-platinum-selling band Santana (where he met Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie). He managed Frumious Bandersnatch (where he met Ross Valory and George Tickner). When Santana imploded in 1973, Herbert put together the original lineup of Journey and remained its manager through 1993. Herbert was heavily involved in all business aspects of the band and traveled as their road manager. With a sharp business sense, Herbert brought everything in house under the name of Nightmare Productions and pioneered the use of large screen videos, impressive lighting and sound for arena-sized concerts. A shrewd businessman, Herbert made a fortune with Journey’s real estate holdings, Nocturne video company, and catalog management. He and Jim Welch his art director, devised a creative marketing plan to promote the band using the Grateful Dead’s artists, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelly, thematic one-worded album titles, and exposure at point of purchase outlets.
In 1993 Steve Perry asked that he resign from managing Journey due to personality conflicts. After his resignation, Herbert brought Swedish rock groups Roxette and Europe to the United States in the mid to late-1980s, as well as manage the career of Mr. Big, another Bay Area rock band of the late-1980s and early 1990s, along with R&B artist Tara Kemp. Since then, Herbert has moved from backstage into the spotlight, recording three albums as Sy Klopps and touring the San Francisco Bay Area with the Sy Klopps Band, which includes Journey band members Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, Prairie Prince, and Ross Valory.
Herbert continues to share animosity towards Journey members Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain to this day. While Herbert can be credited with much of the success of Journey, he has been criticized for the band’s relentless tour schedule, resulting in the Perry’s burnout and subsequent falling out with the band.
Herbie Herbert is one of the music industries most colorful characters. For a period of time he was the #1 manager in the business, taking Journey – a band he put together with Neal Schon – to become a multi-Platinum selling stadium act.
And in taking the band to the stadiums, he also helped pioneer the way we watch bands in such settings. The video screens and high-tech productions that dominate tours today were developed by Herbie and the company he and Neal remain partners in – Nocturne – who are today behind tours by U2, Madonna, Metallica, Def Leppard and of course, Journey.
Herbie also broke Swedish hard rock act Europe in America, not to mention taking Mr. Big, Roxette and Steve Miller Band to more Platinum sales and sold out worldwide tours.
He is vocal in his opinions and calls it like he sees it, which doesn’t always please some folks on the receiving end.
But few people have been in the position Herbie was in and when the chance to interview an industry legend presents itself you don’t turn that down.
I have long followed the business side of the music industry, so Herbie’s insights were something I was looking forward to hearing and he doesn’t disappoint.
I do think this is a different interview than the infamous 2001 interview which was viewed by some as caustic in nature. And I’m pleased about that – but Herbie still has a number of things to say about the band he spent 20 years of his life guiding, some of which you may agree with, some of which you may not agree with.
Interview by Matthew Carty 2001> Click Here
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