Industry Veteran Kenny Kerner sits down with MUBUTV's Ritch Esra and talks about his 45 plus years in the music industry and how he discovered the Rock band KISS. He also talks about his upcoming autobiography as well as a new music school he just co-founded aptly titled, The Cool School.
A record producer with 18 gold and platinum awards (KISS, Gladys Knight, Jose Feliciano, Badfinger), a prolific songwriter, a noted journalist (Music Connection, HITS, Rock Scene, Metal Mania), a publicist (Michael J. Fox, Jay Leno), personal manager and a distinguished author (Going Pro, Get Smart): this expansive list of credits alone would designate Kenny Kerner as a major force in the modern music business. But there's much more: As the former Director of the most innovative curriculum in industry education - The Music Business Program (MBP) at Hollywood's famed Musicians Institute (MI) -- Kerner extended his knowledge to the next generation of industry moguls. Then, as Director of Student and Alumni Media, this influence is worldwide. Kerner now runs his own school—thecoolschool for music business studies, along with partner Chris Fletcher.
It was in New York, working for Cash Box magazine, that Kerner discovered a reel-to-reel demo tape that he recalls as "...raw street rock and roll." He convinced legendary industry veteran Neil Bogart to sign KISS to Casablanca Records. Kerner and his partner, Richie Wise, produced the band's first two albums and in doing so, laid the foundation for rock music history. The band was recently elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will be inducted in April 2014.
Relocating to the West Coast, Kerner worked as an account executive with Kramer-Reiss-Patricola, a Hollywood Public Relations firm repping Jay Leno and Michael J. Fox. With Aucoin Management's West Coast office, he helped with the day-to-day operations for KISS, Starz and Billy Squire, and he Tour-managed a 44-city Shaun Cassidy/Virgin National Tour -- the second highest grossing tour of that year according to Billboard magazine.
In addition to Cash Box, Kerner worked as a feature writer, first call interviewer and editor with a diverse range of publications including HITS, Gig Magazine, TAXI Transmitter, Rock Scene and Metal Mania magazines. He was Senior Editor of Music Connection for almost nine years and conducted interviews with such luminaries as Clive Davis, John Lennon and Michael Jackson among others.
Authoring his first book Going Pro: Developing a Professional Career in the Music Industry (Hal Leonard) allowed Kerner to share his valuable expertise and a follow up, Get Smart! delivered even more straight forward information. It was a natural fit for Kerner to lecture and mentor aspiring artists, musicians and future executives.
With over four decades in music, Kenny Kerner's perspective on the modern music business industry is unparalleled. What sustains him is vision, energy and the promise of being able to give back to the industry.