Of all the venues highlighted this month, this is the only one I’ve been to and Frances is the only woman I happen to know. We became friends thanks to spending too much time attending American Idol tapings in 2008, and she’s one of the few people I know working in a field that coincided with their major.
Communications can lead you to a variety of places but it led Frances to an internship at the Troubadour five years ago. A year later she was hired and has been in charge of their marketing and promotions ever since, but you can also find her handling hospitality and anything else that needs to be done around the place. Thankfully she was able to get in some time to talk about her time at this LA landmark in the following exchange of words…
Kendra: You interned at the Troubadour for some time before you got the offer to work there. Do you think you could’ve just walked into your current position without that prior experience and still done as good a job as you’re doing now?
Frances: No, definitely not. I may have been able to do the job, but the trust and familiarity with the business would’ve needed to be built up. The Troubadour is a small family run business, and I feel like trust is a priority. Coming in as a former intern, I could walk the venue with my eyes closed, already knew daily routines, and most importantly already had a relationship with my boss and co-workers.
Kendra: A lot of people who grow up going to shows dream about working in a venue, but after all this time what’s the biggest reality check you’ve gotten. Like one of the biggest misconceptions of working at a venue?
Frances: It’s not glamorous. You’re not hanging out with bands all day, you not meeting rockstars 24/7… you are working!! Also, if you’re working shows it translates to you’re working evenings, nights, weekends and all sorts of weird hours, so your social life may become a little strained!
Frances: I think no matter what job I have I feel some pressure to do a good job, especially since it reflects on the business. I think the real MVP of our club though is our booking department who have to keep up the reputation of the club through the acts that they book. Not only are they booking well known acts but also the up and coming acts they think will one day be playing theaters and arenas. They definitely have the pressure on them, but they work hard and get it done!
Kendra: Speaking of, LA has a reputation of being a bit snobbish. You know the type, those who have to always drop they’re in the “music industry.” In your honest opinion, is that just how you have to be to survive the game, or can you be a down to earth and get through okay?
Frances: Working here I’ve met and worked with all sorts of personalities, and they can all make it as long as they network and know the right people. Our industry is smaller than one may think – so if someone gets a rep for a certain personality trait, there’s a good chance people they end up working with will know. You could be the snobbish type, but you better have the goods to back it up or people will not want to work with you!
Kendra: Switching gears a bit, do you feel that because a lot of your core staff are women it brings a different feel to how things are ultimately run around the office?
Frances: Not really. While everyone in the office is female, we all have very different personalities. Gender doesn’t really matter in our office, as long as you get stuff done!
Kendra: Being a woman in general has it’s ups and downs, especially in music and even more so in a city like LA. Have you personally felt any downfalls in your line of work because you’re a lady?
Frances: Personally, in this job I don’t feel like I’ve had any downfalls due to being a girl. I don’t even think the majority of people I interact with via email realize I am a girl due to having a unisex name (my name spelled with an ‘e’ is the feminine version… but a lot of people don’t seem to know that factoid). Have I encountered my share of men calling me “babe” or “sweetie” or not believing I could lift a heavy item due to being a girl though? Of course. I don’t consider that a downfall, just an annoyance.
Kendra: To close this out, what’s one show during your time working at the Troubadour (up to this point) that will be forever ingrained into your memory and of course, why?
Frances: There are two shows that quickly come to mind and they both are very different from each other. First, it’s when Prince played here while I was interning in 2011. Do I really have to say much besides that it was freakin’ PRINCE? I think that was the show where I realized I was taking the right path in life, seeing how excited people were to be seeing a legend in such a small venue.
The second show is when Good Charlotte played here in 2015 (see, i told you they were very different!). I turned into a 13-year-old again having them here. I happened to run into Benji while setting up the hospitality and basically blabbed about how important the band was to me growing up. Basically, my inner child from the year 2000 died. And then he ended up shouting me out on stage by name and dedicated “Little Things” to me. Not sure on exactly what he said because I was screaming. My co-workers said they had never seen me like that before! I will definitely never forget that night.
Kendra: Oh almost forgot – do you guys have any shows coming up that you are particularly excited about…that you can talk about?
Frances: We have a few shows coming up that I’m personally very excited about…. but can’t say anything!
Kendra: The decor of the front bar alone lets us all know how historical the Troubadour is but if you had to make a mixtape featuring five songs from artists who you feel define the venue best, what five would they be?
“Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns N Roses
- I think GnR is the band most associated with the club, maybe even more so after their return to the venue earlier this year, so obviously this had to be on there.
“Your Song” – Elton John
- Elton’s first US gig was at the Troubadour. Not sure of the accuracy of this fact, but I’ve heard this was the first song he played!
“Sad Cafe” – The Eagles
- A lot of people associate The Eagles with the Troubadour, but don’t realize they never actually played here as a group, they met in our front bar though and played separately here throughout the years. This song was written about the Troub
“You’ve Got A Friend” – Carole King & James Taylor
- Carole and James are very near and dear to the Troubadour and its history, they even performed the venue’s 50th anniversary show. You can actually YouTube the performance of this song from that show!
“Killing Me Softly With His Song” – Lori Lieberman
- Lori Lieberman reportedly wrote this song after seeing Don McLean perform at the Troubadour. It’s been covered by so many artists, but no matter what version I hear I always think of the Troub.