By Melinda Cooper
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Cracchiolo continues, "It's not that they didn't know Cicero's exists. It's not that they didn't know there was a 200-capacity room in St. Louis. It was because we bridged that gap, and we made them comfortable bringing their bands to the room. That's probably the single most important thing somebody could have done for the place if the goal is to book national talent. And we didn't have a real clear goal going in, it was a process of finding what was going to work and who was going to respond well to the room. We were just finally getting a handle on it and starting to expand on it when the rug was pulled out from under us."
The only Cicero's manager available for comment was general manager Karen McVicker. She dismisses the idea that Cracchiolo and Snarzyk's departure will have much of an effect on the venue. "We've done national bands on and off since we started doing live music," she says. "We've been doing live music since 1984, and we'll continue doing live music."
The future of Cicero's is now somewhat unclear, though Cracchiolo and Snarzyk feel no animosity toward the venue. "I honestly don't want that place to do bad," Snarzyk says.
6691 Delmar Blvd.
University City, MO 63130
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Delmar/ The Loop
"I really really enjoyed working with both Kenny and [the] great staff at Cicero's," Cracchiolo says. "They have to decide what's best for their business. I don't have any bad feelings, I just feel bad if in the end it's all a waste of time. I think maybe that at the end of the day they didn't know quite what they wanted or what to expect, and those expectations were certainly never made clear to me. I had my own vision of what the place could be, and I think we made a lot of headway, and I hate to see that not come to fruition."
"If you're asking for my personal reaction, it was pretty painful to hear and very disappointing," Cracchiolo says. "If you're asking for my professional reaction, I'd say it's a bad idea to fire us if they intend to do live music there in the future beyond just weekends. I want the venue to thrive doing whatever they decide."
Snarzyk concurs, "Shawn's a good guy, and I don't think he's stupid. He's been running that place for 35 years, and he'll be running it for a long time in the future. I just think he made a bad decision this time."
Oh! It all makes sense now! I couldn't figure out why so many cool bands were playing Cicero's in the last six months. I assume it will go back to being a dead venue now. A word to the owner: just because you've been in business so long doesn't mean you still have any idea of what you're doing.
I am trying my hardest to feel sorry for Mike Cracchiolo on this subject. He is a somewhat nice guy and his heart falls definitely in the realm of a true music lover. What pisses me off about him here is the part where he says he walked in to the club faced with a whole bunch of shows that he seems to do everything but call outright turds. My wife, Laura Hamlett booked and ran that club for two years prior to taking a job elsewhere. She did a great job. There were nights when that place was packed out the door, and others, admittedly, where there was a great act on the stage and a few people in the audience. That is booking, that is running a club - sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but the quality of the music was never in question. Laura took a club that was certainly known as a Jam Band haven and turned it back into a club that featured many really impressive touring and local bands. I also had a great deal of trouble swallowing the RFT's sorrow on this count. They never supported the club while she ran it and worked hard to ignore it and almost all of its shows. Ironically, the club that all too often got the press in the RFT was the Firebird - Cracchiolo's downtown home - which the RFT took great pains to write about ad nauseum. Laura and I agreed that at least if they were bringing Mike in to run Cicero's, the RFT would be a little nicer to the club - which deserves the attention. [It didn't help that Shawn, Cicero's owner, disliked the RFT and banned it from his club.] This article makes it sound like Cracchiolo pulled the club out of some jam-band primordial ooze and, after only 6 months (confronted ruthlessly with the Cardinals winning the pennant and Wilco appearing for the millionth time in town) he was unceremoniously canned. Sadly, this is just business. Cicero's is making their choice - a wrong one in my opinion - and the RFT is dispensing their typical whine and moan job. They are, as usual, a part of the cause of the problem and then they burst into tears when the obvious happens. Ah, our hometown free-weekly, sloppy as ever.
everyone knows the firebird usually gets the best shows in town that can't exactly fill the pageant and don't want to deal with the sodom that is pops. i've went to more shows at cicero's in the last 6 months than i have in the last 6 years.. why? because mike books good shows. end of story... can't wait for the narrows/apmd show in march, which i'm sure mike booked... i'm pretty sure kenny lived in a window for a week, and set up a bunch of other cool and interesting events that i've never seen at cicero's. two good dudes that do a great job got canned over impatience. have fun drawing the same patchouli smelling crowd with some weak hacky sack playing jam band week after week, cicero's.. i will say the food and staff at cicero's are outstanding, but the venue RARELY books decent shows, and will continue now that mike and kenny are gone. guess i'll continue to go to cicero's for the outstanding food, beer, and service, but not for shows.
This sucks so bad. There were some very underrated national bands that I saw in Ciceros late last year that I enjoyed a lot - Youth Lagoon and Givers, are two. I'm guessing these kind of bands won't happen again at Ciceros...
They had "Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band", hmm... If more people knew of the show they would have sold out. I know I would have gone and probably would have brought 5 - 10 other people with me.
This is bad news. I had never seen a live show at Cicero's until last year, when Mike started booking the shows. Several of those shows, including the Ettes and Moon Duo, were among the best of the year in my opinion. Cicero's is making a huge mistake by letting these dudes go.
Are you kidding me??!!This is a JOKEThe Firebird is the WORST venue in the STL areaThey are rude and their prices for their shows are RIDICULOUS!I went to a show they " presented"I was the only one there!They didnt "present" ANYTHINGIf they couldnt promote a show at Ciceors; what makes them think that they can take care of the booking?Ciceros should NEVER have done business with them.They have amazing shows there; it sjust people would rather get wasted or high than support local musicSOMEONE with actualy KNOWLEDGE of booking bands ought to take care of the booking.
Now Cicero's is free to concentrate on their core audience: Impatient teenagers who wander over from Fitz's hour-long wait.
200x$20 bucks equals $4 grand200x$40 bucks equals $8 grandgive the band a third and you are looking at $1500 to $2500 acts.good bands spend that much just traveling to the venue.single artists may be able to pull it off.long live cicero's back room.
Jim, I'm not asking you or anyone to feel sorry for me. But please note that I didn't say anything negative about Laura in the article- the quote you reference was Kenny's.
I guess I can console myself with the fact that you think I'm a "somewhat nice guy." :\
Erica, I'm sorry I was rude to you at the Pretty Reckless/ Autovein show. You yelled at me in front of a bunch of people and reacted to it badly. I'm sorry you had to stand outside in the cold but that was because the headliner went way over on their soundcheck. It wasn't the club's fault. You don't have to keep making up insulting things to say about my staff or our shows when it's my behavior you had an issue with. I've seen you at plenty of the shows I booked at Cicero's so clearly it's not as bad as you're making it out to be.
Except for Bug Girl, that show was a total turd. You're right about that one.
You're the lady that complained about the Bug Girl show at Cicero's once, aren't you? You're like a parrot without a cracker. In a gas chamber.
ok so let's recalculate based on the same-ol-same-olgas money from parents basement to cicero's = $20 bucksband draw potential = 0number of show attendees (minus relatives, band friends and staff) = 0
what was i thinking to post that a quality touring band would need a couple grand to get around from town to town. i suppose i forgot the starving artist factor.
who pays 20 or 40 bucks for a show at cicero's? that's ridiculous. bands that are playing rooms like cicero's should be getting a 10 dollar cover, max.
How much do bad bands spend getting to venues? Where could these good bands be coming from that it costs $2500 to get there?
Yeah that doesn't make any sense. Most bands tour on a shoestring and don't go out on the road to do one gig. Travel expenses are agregated over the course of several dates. I suspect a lot of bands wouldn't spend over $2k in a week on the road. And since when does Cicero's book shows that cost fourty bucks a ticket?