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"Tom is spectacular at finding talent, Jeff is brilliant at marketing and Phil is the best promotion man that ever lived. I think it’s an incredible combination."
——Don Passman
BANKING ON THE BUNNY
Industry Insiders Speak Out About the Newly
Re-Energized WB
It’s like the lights just went back on in Burbank.

That’s the collective opinion of industry weasels, particularly managers and lawyers whose clients will be putting out records on the new Warner Bros., now headed by a ruling triumvirate consisting of Chairman Tom Whalley, label President Phil Quartararo and newly named Creative Director/Consultant Jeff Ayeroff.

The troika was assembled by Warner Music Group chief Roger Ames, who can now stand back and admire his handiwork. "The team in place at Warner Bros. has the ability to be competitive with any label in any area of expertise," Ames asserts. "With all the assets of AOLTW to leverage, they can offer artists a creative and attractive environment that is unmatched anywhere."

Here’s what others have to say about the new, improved Bunny:

Guy Oseary: "I’m a fan of all three. I’ve been an admirer of Tom’s forever. He understands artists, he’s a winner and he’s an incredible partner for me, something I’ve been searching for in that area. He’s going to be a strong asset for Maverick. Together, we can do some really great things. As for Jeff, Madonna and I have always loved his creative insight. He’s so smart and such a wizard at imaging and marketing. With Phil Q, it’s a great package. They all bring something to the table. So we’re really excited about it."

John Branca: "There’s no question that Tom, Jeff and Phil possess unique talents that should serve WB well. I just hope the brain trust at AOL has the good sense to stay out of the music business and let these guys do their jobs. It’s essential that the powers that be give the new team the tools to survive and prosper, rather than crippling them with cutbacks."

Don Passman: "They’re great guys and terrific record executives. Tom is spectacular at finding talent, Jeff is brilliant at marketing and Phil is the best promotion man that ever lived. I think it’s an incredible combination."

Irving Azoff: "There’s already a great feeling in the building. Tom and Jeff have jumped in on all of my key projects. However, the most obvious result of the new team will be that it will ruin Whalley’s golf game."

Jeff Kwatinetz: "I'm rooting for them. I love Tom Whalley. Roger and Tom are both great guys, and they made some much-needed changes over there. I think Tom's going to make some more changes that will really be helpful. I have a lot of faith in him. I also think Michael Fuchs should be a legend for dismantling the greatest record company ever. Unbelievable."

Michael Ostin: "It’s a great move for WB. The team of Tom, Phil and Jeff is definitely quite formidable. Their unique talents complement each other, and we expect them to have an impact on the market."

Andy Gould: "Tom is a fantastic executive and I think he’ll make it work with Phil Q. It’ll be a better company. We saw what he is capable of at Interscope. I don’t think he can fail, but I hope he continues to think outside the box and bring in really great people, like he has with Jeff, who can come up with fresh new ideas."

Peter Paterno: "I think Tom is the absolute best guy they could have hired. He’s smart, works hard and has good ears. And Jeff’s a terrific guy, too. There could be a culture conflict there, considering Tom is cheap and Jeff’s a spendthrift, but that’s Tom’s problem. The question is whether Roger Ames is going to give them the time to do what they have to do. They have a really good guy there—and you know, I hate everybody."

Bryan Turner: "We all know Tom’s successes, how he’s able to relate to artists, pick great songs and maximize their creative output. And Phil Q has the relationships with radio and the indies. He knows how to get records played. Jeff’s track record, from a marketing, imaging and creative standpoint, speaks for itself. And Diarmuid Quinn is a tremendously creative marketing executive I wanted to hire myself. So they’re all experts in their respective fields. Roger Ames has put together a formidable group with lots of experience, which is good because they don’t have the luxury of time. They’re going to have to hit the ground running."

Pat Magnarella (has Green Day and Goo Goo Dolls records coming in the fourth quarter): "It’s great, I’m thrilled. It’s like a new place, with new life. There are some great people over there. And now, after a year and a half of uncertainty waiting for Tom’s arrival, everybody’s ready to get to work. He’s a real leader who’ll be very much involved in the day-to-day decisions."

Eric Greenspan: "Tom and Phil are both good friends of mine, and I have a bunch of executives over there that are very happy right now. Phil Q’s worked with Jeff before, they know each other; Tom and Phil don’t really know each other, and we hope they can work out their dynamic. I’m not saying there’s anything negative; it’s just two people having to learn about each other and how to work together. And I hope they do, because together, they complement each other beautifully."

Fred Goldring: "It will be a huge boost for the label. Phil Q is great, and having Tom and Jeff, two of the best A&R and creative types around—assuming they can work together—will result in one of the top management teams in the business. We’re about to launch an Alanis Morissette project, and I’m really looking forward to working with those guys."

Tony Dimitriades: "Tom is a great A&R guy. It’s good to get someone in charge after the company’s been lagging for the past year. Jeff and Phil Q are both terrific at what they do. Now I just hope they can work together and aren’t shackled by being under the gun of Corporate America that is apparent at every record company today, where long-term goals come under the restraints of short-term gain."

Warren Entner: "We've been waiting to have Tom finally get there and give the label the guidance it needs. Phil Q is a great leader and obviously Jeff is the best at what he does. I think it's going to be a good partnership. They now have A&R, creative and promotion, the three elements you need to make a company successful. I'm optimistic because I have a couple of new acts and the future of the company is breaking new artists. So I'm 100% sold…or I'm dead meat. I have both Amanda Ghost and Owsley working on second records now, so this move has come just in time for me."

Walter O’Brien: "The three of them together have had quite a lot of success—some even together, with Jeff and Phil Q. Phil definitely knows enough about the way the place is run now to really pull it off with the right people in charge. And Whalley definitely has the experience of being at a massively successful record company, as does Ayeroff. Together, they could be pretty unstoppable. And Warner Bros. very definitely needed the new blood. Now they just need to kick everybody else in gear, take charge and really run with it. This changes everything."

Richard Bishop (who has both Lou Reed and Filter on the label): "I had a very good relationship with Russ [Thyret], Howie [Klein] and Phil [Costello] and enjoyed working with them, but I'm equally excited about working with Tom, Phil and Jeff. I think, particularly for Filter, Tom should be a good fit. And I would think Lou and Jeff would be a good combination, too. I'm absolutely excited about working with those guys."

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