A lucrative business, as his office on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles shows. Because Jampol Artist Management Inc. resides in the Plaza del Sol - in the epicenter of Hollywood. The walls are littered with rock devotional objects, three employees and a secretary look discreetly stressed on an early Monday morning, and the boss receives behind a monstrous desk, which is completely overloaded with files, books, CDs and notes. The first impression: not a smooth businessman in a designer suit, but no Vollnerd either. Jeff Jampol is a big, brawny guy in jeans and T-shirt, whose handshake is painful and proves to be a mixture of music freak and marketing genius. Finally he discovered a gap in the market, which - because Rock'n'Roll is getting older and older - is absolutely crisis-proof and where he has no competition so far.
eclipsed: How do you become the manager of dead musicians?
Jeff Jampol: That was pure coincidence: I was friends with Danny Sugerman, who has worked for the Doors since he was thirteen. He called me a lot to get my opinion on some marketing stuff. Until he got lung cancer and made me his partner. I then took care of the business so he could focus on the creative. He taught me a lot. That's why I'm able to do this job in the first place, which is very special. And everyone who tries it suffers from what I call Jackson Pollock Syndrome.
eclipsed: The idea of doing something yourself without any problems, even if it is de facto impossible?
Jampol: Exactly. It's like looking at a painting by Pollock and thinking, "So can I!" A huge mistake that's already happened to me myself. Because when I looked at the Doors Empire back then, I thought, "It can't be that hard." Yes, it was. What's more, I had no idea what I was doing. And that's exactly the first symptom of Pollock's syndrome: that you have no idea that you have no idea. And Danny kept me alive until I understood what this business was about. This has ensured that Doors sales have literally exploded. When I started there, the band sold between 300,000 and 350,000 albums a year, and the numbers kept going down. But after a few changes there were suddenly one and a half to two million albums. And merchandising sales even grew by 800 percent. So I thought to myself: If this works for Jim Morrison, why not for others?
eclipsed: Why hasn't anyone before you come up with the idea of concentrating on this kind of "customer"?
Jampol: (laughs) Maybe it has something to do with myopia. Pop culture has long been ridiculed as a flash in the pan. That's why Beatles manager Brian Epstein had concluded the worst merchandise-deal of all time with just ten percent profit sharing. Everyone thought it was a fad. But fifty years later, rock'n'roll and pop culture still exist, and that's why we have estates and executors today.
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