Q&A with Max McAndrew, booking and operations manager for Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel

Max McAndrew sits under the watchful eye of Johnny Cash and his middle finger amid a wall full of vinyl records inside the green room at Vinyl, the Hard Rock Hotel’s 650-person music venue.

He’s the booking and operations manager for Vinyl, and in that position has booked acts such as Switchfoot, Blue October and Chevelle in addition to local bands Sin City Sinners, Whiskey Breath, Empire Records and Red Eye Radio.

At 41, he’s been at the Hard Rock just less than a year, having come from the House of Blues and the Las Vegas Country Saloon. McAndrew got into the music industry in New York City at ICM Partners, a national talent agency, where he eventually left as an agent.

Now he’s on the other side of the coin as a promoter, which is where he said he’s most happy.

“I absolutely love what I do,” McAndrew said.

When he’s not in music-man mode, McAndrew enjoys golfing, although he doesn’t have as much time to participate anymore. He also likes to read and is halfway through “Shadow Factory,” a book about the inner workings of the National Security Agency.

What’s been one of your more memorable experiences since opening Vinyl?

I’m really blessed because I truly love what I do. Being able to have an act like Chevelle play a venue like Vinyl, they’re a much larger band and to have a great rock show with an act that truly is incredible and can play a much larger venue, that was a really memorable experience.

What has been the most difficult part?

Vinyl was truly built from the ground up. It wasn’t a rehab of an existing place. Anytime you do a construction there are delays or issues. At the beginning we were targeting a certain opening week and with the construction we shuffled that around.

What’s something most people don’t know about the business?

It’s an extremely competitive business. There’s a lot of demand and a lot of hands up in the air when it comes to purchasing — people wanting to work with certain people on certain shows.

What are you working on now?

I’m really excited about a couple of shows we just announced. We’ve got an acoustic performance with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October. That’s going to be really, really neat. We also have Zakk Wylde coming in doing a seated acoustic show. It’s part music, part storyteller, part Q&A session and I’m really looking forward to those because they really give the fans a chance to talk to the artist.

What’s your favorite aspect of Vinyl?

I love being able to come down here at show time and see the show go off, and also see the interaction with the fans. That is truly what makes me get up every day and go “I really really love what I do.”

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