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Andy Slater’s Capitol players, SVP Ron Laffitte and A&R whiz Louie Bandak, closed the deal before other U.S. suitors could come in and get in the game.
WHEELS & DEALS: CAPITOL QUICKLY GETS AIRBOURNE
Big Changes at Virgin A&R; Fenster Proves You Can Go Home Again; Be Your Own Pet Derby Still Not Over
By Rodel Delfin

CAPITOL FLYING HIGH: As the rest of the U.S. labels were trying to decide when to fly to Australia to see the latest bidding-derby rock sensation, Airbourne, Andy Slater’s Capitol players, SVP Ron Laffitte and A&R whiz Louie Bandak, closed the deal before other U.S. suitors could come in and get in the game. Since most, if not all, the Australian labels were trying to sign the act, it was just a matter of time before this one got nutty on our home turf. A wise old martial arts master once told us that “One who goes to bed with an itchy butt wakes up with a smelly finger…” Actually, he said the key to beating your opponent in Kung Fu is speed. And in this case, moving quickly and early not only won the prize but also probably saved some time and money. Barrister Craig Averill mediated the deal stateside, while Aussie legal eagle David Vodicka reps the band Down Under. Meanwhile, we hear U.S. and U.K. publishers are already calling manager Greg Donovan for a pub arrangement. Stay tuned… Lots of chatter going on with what’s been happening at Virgin Records. Vet A&R player Josh Deutsch exits his post to start a new label venture; we’ll keep you posted on that. A&R rep Kavi Ohri also exits the label. Former Hitco Music publisher Ali Buttars makes the jump to do A&R at Virgin’s N.Y. offices. Buttars, along with West Coast rep Michael Howe, will report to David Wolter, who steps up to a bigger role at the company… The Steve Sessa-repped/Steven Melrose-managed The Gun Shys have signed with Michael Goldstone and Craig Winkler at Sire. Meanwhile, the band also signed a publishing deal with Peer Music… Lots of buzz building on the Jim Welch-managed ShinyToyGuns. Get on it before this one gets really nutty… Expect maximum weaseltude for the sold-out Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah shows at the Troubadour this week. If you want to see what all the hoopla is all about, pull some strings to get in… In other derby-related news, we hear U.S. label folks will be heading to the U.K. to stay on the Be Your Own Pet heat. Who would have thought that this one would be going on for a year?… SESAC maven and N.Y. club trotter Allison Hagendorf makes the move to the real world, joining the Epic Records A&R staff. She’ll be based at 550 MadisonBABY HIT ME, ONE MORE TIME: Lastly, veteran A&R player Jeff Fenster makes the move from J Records back to his old digs at Jive Records. Jeff will pick up where he left off: that is, he’ll be responsible for picking up Barry Weiss’ dry cleaning as well as signing more teen pop starlets that will sell a gazillion records and become  the focus of all tabloid media. Congrats, Jeff… BUZZIN’: Beauty School Dropout, Howling Bells and Diana Fragnito… Hit me up: [email protected].

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