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Daniel Catullo

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Posted: June 26, 2008

by Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Daniel Catullo III, an award-winning, 15-year entertainment industry veteran, is president/CEO of Coming Home Studios, LLC, a DVD music production house, where he also serves as executive producer, producer and director for more than 50 TV specials and live concert DVDs, including "Nickelback Live From Sturgis," "Steve Miller Band Live from Chicago," "Matchbox Twenty Live From Atlanta," "Dave Matthews Band Live in Central Park," "Godsmack Changes," "Duran Duran Live From London," "The Cult Music Without Fear, "Marilyn Manson-Guns, God & Government World Tour, "Etta James- Burnin' Down The House, "The Go-Go's Live in Central Park,"RUSH In Rio" and "Usher- 8701 Evolution Tour."

"We self-distribute our titles worldwide through a great network of distributors," he says.

Steve Miller Band's Live From Chicago, the 40th anniversary three-disc set (two DVDs and a 12-song CD) from Coming Home Media was released on May 27, shipped platinum (pending RIAA certification) to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Music Video charts amid across-the-board critical acclaim and wide media attention. The concert portion of the DVD, filmed last summer during a two-night stand at the Ravinia in Chicago, also is enjoying a highly successful run as part of the summer pledge drive on PBS stations nationwide with more TV markets continuing to come aboard.

Daniel is also the president and founder of Cement Shoes Records, a record label featuring such bands as Ill Nino and Revolution Mother launched in 2006 with Peter Koepke, the former president and partner of London Records. He is a partner in Spiral Recording, a recording studio complex in Hollywood, Calif., that he co-founded in 2004 with Sully Erna, the lead singer of hard rock band Godsmack. Spiral has had a slew of major artists record there over the past few years including Justin Timberlake, The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Godsmack, Terrence Howard, Fergie, Macy Gray, John Legend, Mel B, Britney Spears and many others

If all that was not enough, Daniel also founded Coming Home Managment, an artist management company, in, and manages Mark Ballas and Derek Hough from TV's "Dancing With The Stars." He is also getting involved in a new band from Colorado called The Swayback.

He is a concert promoter as well, who owned and sold the Ventura Theater in Ventura, Calif. (1997-1998). He promotes the Rock N' The Rally, a festival he started in 2006 in Sturgis, SD, held each year in August. "We have had everybody from Tom Petty, Godsmack, Nickelback and Live over the past two years," he notes. "I also promote some of the shows we shoot for DVD through Coming Home Studios, our DVD company."

A collector of numerous industry awards, Daniel was awarded a Juno Award in 2004 for directing and production "Rush in Rio" DVD, two Golden Eagle Cine Awards in 2004 for producing Matchbox Twenty and Boz Scaggs DVDs, and in May 2004, won six Telly Awards for shows that he produced and directed Matchbook Twenty, Godsmack, Duran Duran, Dave Matthews DVDs. He has also been nominated for various other awards such as: Thrss Grammy Awards nominations, The Billboard Music Awards and The Demmy Awards, presented by the Consumer Electronics Association, which is a collection of audio demonstration music that the group puts together for retailers and manufacturers

Daniel is an active voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), Los Angeles Chapter, and a member of both NATPE and DGA.

What is your main passion: video producer, concert promoter, record company owner, manager and record studio owner?
Directing by far.

How have video budgets evolved over the past five years?
They've grown substantially. When I first started doing this, almost all the budgets were under $1 million. Now that the business has grown so much our average budget is $1.5 million or more.

Wish list for future shoots
My dream gigs: Metallica, AC/DC, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and, of course, Led Zeppelin.

Why did you buy and eventually sell the Ventura Theatre?
I love the music business, and there's nothing better than being a promoter. It's an honor to have such great acts play on a stage you own.

Why did you become a concert promoter?
I always loved throwing events and parties, and there's nothing better than making a living off doing this.

Why did you start the Rock N' The Rally Festival?
It's tied in with the Bike Week Festival- 600,000 bikers. We were brought in by the owner of Glencoe Resort, Gary Lippold, to help put a festival together. and we jumped right in because we were already planning on being there to shoot our Nickelback DVD.

How does directing a TV special and live concert DVD differ?
For TV you have to be more generic and straight forward. For a concert DVD we can push the envelope and go for the energy. There's no better rush than filming 80,000 fans going nuts in a stadium.

What makes a good video shoot?
A great crowd with tons of energy and a great location.

How do you prepare to film a concert?
I usually go see at least 8-10 shows of the band's tour prior to the shoot, and I take at least four-six meetings with the artist to discuss ideas and make suggestions. It's a collective effort from day one and every step in the process is thought out and discussed in detail.

First concert attended
Duran Duran at the Meadowlands in E. Brunswick, NJ, 1984.

First concert worked
Bon Jovi at the Meadowlands as a stagehand.

First industry job
A stagehand at the meadowlands in and then went on the road in various jobs as a drum tech, lighting guy, stage manager, rigger, etc. for such bands as Extreme, Live, Guns & Roses, and others and eventually moved up to tour manager After that I became a promoter by buying the Ventura Theatre in Ventura, Calif. in 1997. After I sold the theatre I went into TV and film but with an emphasis on music-related projects

Career highlights
Working with Steven Spielberg on the Bravo special --"The Dan Band- I Am Woman" in 2004. I would also definitely say producing "Duran Duran" in London at Wembley Arena in 2004--never in a million years did I think I would be their boss. I'm the President of the DVD Company and we funded the project. I was also the producer 20 years after I saw my first concert with them, And producing "Dave Matthews Band" in Central Park in 2003. Every producer dreams of doing a show in Central Park, and our show had 100,000 people in attendance. What a rush that was.

How was Steven Spielberg involved in the Dan Band video?
He was friends with Dan Finnerty and McG as well as a big fan. Dan appeared in a few of his movies and really wanted to help him out with his comedy career. He served as the executive producer with us and was instrumental in helping get the show sold to Bravo.

Career disappointment
Marilyn Manson for sure. I got into a creative battle with him, and it ended up in a major lawsuit. I learned the hard way to always listen to the artist.

Greatest challenge
Staying above water in the music business when everything is going south.

Best business decision
Finally listening to my father's advice.

Best advice you received
"You're only as good as the people around you"--my father.

Any mistakes that you have learned from
Never do worldwide license deals and always keep your territories un-crossed. The only way to protect your assets and make sure you get paid is to do distribution deals in each market and keep them separate. License deals are bad, and you almost will never see any money after your initial advance. My first eight releases were all under world-wide license deals, and I never saw a penny other than the first check.

Most memorable industry experience
Winning the Juno award, the Canadian Grammy, in 2004 for "Rush in Rio."

What friends would be surprised to learn about you
That I'm a family guy at heart. I've a three-year-old daughter and have been married for eight years. Nothing means more to me than my wife and daughter. I much prefer to have a quiet night at home than be out at some club.

Industry pet peeve
That the record industry is dead. It's not dead at all. The industry as a whole just needs to find a way to develop, promote and exploit product with new technology. The digital world is actually good for us all. If the industry as a whole can just figure out a way to make money off this new form of distribution and understand what the fan base of each artist reacts to and wants, we'll all be in a much better place. The majors still seem to be stuck in the old world and follow the same formula they used 20 years ago. Obviously, that doesn't work. Instead of thinking outside the box, they do things the same way and then cry that we're all doomed

If I wasn't doing this, I would be...
...a musician all day long. I played drums all my life, and it kills me some times not to be on that stage.

Industry mentors
Peter Koepke, co-founder of London Records; Tilt Gardner, my partner and banker; Jack Gulick; and Steve Propas, my distribution agent.

Daniel can be reached at (323) 467-6000; by email at dan@cominghomestudios.com

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