By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 11, 2004 at 5:20 AM

{image1}Let's face it, there's not glamour in being a concert promoter or band manager unless you make it to the big time. You've got at least as much work as the bands do and all of the crap ends up at your feet. And, there are no cute fans and no respect from other musicians.

So, it's no surprise that most people prefer to try their hands at being onstage rather than backstage. But some folks are perfectly matched to the high-pressure behind-the-scenes world and earn respect and a little glory for their efforts.

Consider Chicago transplant Brian Fricano, who runs Interlobate Music, a concert promoter and artist manager on Milwaukee's near south side. Fricano turned his passion for music into a successful business.

"I started Interlobate two years ago as a result for my passion for music, the experience I had from attending hundreds of concerts, and my desire to bring quality acts to Milwaukee and Wisconsin that normally skipped our market," Fricano recalls.

"I hooked up with a couple college friends who were graphic designers, and we began to conceptualize how we could run a successful promotions company in a mid-sized city. It started off as just a pipe dream, but it quickly became something much more. I started managing and booking a Madison based act, Del Mar, to help me learn the ropes about all the facets of the music business. Soon after, I started networking with like minded acts, agents and promoters from all of the U.S., and I began to promote/produce club events in Milwaukee."

Things began happening quickly for Interlobate and Fricano began to turn some heads, which led to a big event coming his way and offering him the chance to really make a name for himself and Interlobate.

"Within six months of getting things started, I was hired to promote and co-produce the Farmapalooza festival," Fricano says. "The fest was in its sixth year, and for the first time the event became a national draw, and one of the most talked-about grassroots festivals of 2002.

"This was a major stepping stone for our company, as we we're involved in every aspect of planning a three-day campout festival. The same was true in 2003, as we were brought back to do all of the talent buying, planning and promotion. The events drew several thousand people to our state, and it helped legitimize Interlobate as serious promotion company in the Midwest."

Now, Interlobate's resume includes working with many artists in many genres: The New Deal, Keller Williams, Culture, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Umphreys McGee, Dark Star Orchestra, ekoostik hookah, Jazz Mandolin Project, Nigel Richards, Lotus, Hyperactive, Heiruspecs. And many venues in the state, including Thai Joe's, Onopa Brewing Company and the Miramar Theater in Milwaukee and Luther's Blues and the Annex in Madison.

And Interlobate does even more.

"We also provide services to local/regional acts," Fricano says. "Interlobate is also full service booking/management agency and we also provide creative services to musicians -- web design, CD design, press kit creation. Some artists that we have worked with on this level are Del Mar, Natty Nation, Cornmeal, the Westfall, and other area acts."

It all sounds like a lot of work, especially to a musician for whom "work" meant mostly writing, recording and performing (although carrying gear is no fun).

But for Fricano, what he does is part of a bigger picture and the work is satisfying.

"It's great to be involved in the budding arts and music scene that is developing in our city," Fricano enthuses.

For more on Interlobate, visit

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.