The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Management Is About The Small Moments, Not Just The Big …

This is an old photo, but it’s from the rehearsals Metallica did with Lady Gaga for the Grammy’s a few years ago.

But this is not about them, it’s about the 2 men circled.

Please meet Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein … the bands loooooong time managers.

In fact, they’re more than that, they’re the most successful music management duo in the history of the industry.

The artists they’ve managed and nurtured over the years is incredible … from breaking Def Leppard’s career with Pyromania and Hysteria to guiding the Chili’s through some of their most challenging times to developing Muse into global superstars … they can lay claim to being behind a lot of the music and artists that define so many of our lives.

But it’s Metallica they’re most famous for … having been with them since 1984.


36 years!!!

Having any band stay together that long is amazing.

Having them still be a contemporary force in culture – rather than a nostalgia act – is incredible.

Having them able to consistently sell out bigger and bigger stadiums all around the World is madness.

Having the same management team for the entire journey – through thick and thin – is nothing short of astounding.

And while there are many reasons for that, I think this picture sums it up.

Mainly because they’re there.

At a rehearsal.

They could have outsourced it to other members of Q-Prime,

They could have said they will only be at the major events.

But no, they’re there … still in the thick of it while also knowing when to stay the hell out of it.

For me, this is management …

Wanting your team to win and demonstrating it through your actions not just some vapid words that say, “we care”.

It’s something we could all learn from, because let’s be honest – we’ve all seen managers who don’t operate this way.

The ones who are first to leave.

The ones who change your work without telling you.

The ones who ensure they’re in the spotlight rather than letting you shine in it.

To paraphrase ‘a dog is for life, not just Christmas’ … management is measured by the success your team achieve, not you’.

I am lucky I get insulted by them every week. Hahaha.

20 Comments so far
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Your last line makes me so happy.

Comment by Bazza

It amused me too.

Comment by George

Well you’ll be happy I got an extra dose of their love this week. Assholes. [You, not them … ha!]

Comment by Rob

This is a great post Robert. What a wonderful and productive relationship they’ve had – both as a duo and with their bands.

Comment by George

Most marriages don’t last as long.
To have 2 marriages being that successful is incredible.

Comment by Pete

Respect and commitment goes a long way.

Comment by George

That pretty much sums it up George. There’s real respect on both sides so even when they don’t agree – and they don’t agree a lot – they don’t devalue what the other person was trying to do.

They both know and value the role each other has in their relationship … they hold each other to that and the high standards and expectations they have for each other and ultimately appreciate that they are better together.

Hence no short-cuts. No pandering. No disrespect.

It’s pretty inspiring.

Comment by Rob

Didn’t work for Andy.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Not cool Billy.

Comment by George

you prick. but youre not fucking wrong.

Comment by andy@cynic

Unlike most corporate managers, they know they can be fired by the people they manage.

Comment by John

Yep. That’s true – and they’ve been fired by a bunch. But there’s 2 things that I think still makes them unique.

1. They never pander. Even if it will cause pain and anger. In fact they told me that what they are ultimately paid for is to deliver truth without a grain of sugar on it.

2. They have managed more bands that have been inducted into the rock n’ roll hall of fame than anyone – and so their ability to successfully manage careers affords them peer status, not subserviency.

Amusingly, they like/put up with me for point 1, but I have not been afforded peer status, hahaha. Told you they were smart.

Comment by Rob

My point was about corporate managers.

Comment by John

Excellent point John.

Comment by George


Comment by DH

There is a great lesson in the commitment to being valuable. Many who achieve that level subsequently take their foot off the pedal or outsource their responsibilities. From the way you have written this up, they haven’t.

Comment by George

compared to working with you, metallica must be a fucking breeze.

Comment by andy@cynic

have you ever considered they only hired you to scare the metallica fucks in to behaving themselves.

Comment by andy@cynic

You mean if they misbehave they would have to listen to Rob give a presentation? That is the sort of threat that could end wars.

Comment by DH


Comment by andy@cynic

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