A Night Out w/ Jeremiah Gratza
After 10 years in the promoting field, the 29-year-old and his signature white-framed Ray Bans have become synonymous with the local music scene.
But Gratza hasn't always been rocking cool threads and a music lover's dream job; Jeremiah spent 5 years in Phoenix living homeless until 2005. And, like the go-getter Gratza is, has recently been adding some final touches to a book he's written about his homeless stint titled "A Bad Camping Trip," set to publish in early October.
His hip aesthetic, unpretentious demeanor and die hard commitment to making Phoenix a destination for big-name tours, has made Gratza one of our favorite local figures ... and our newest wingman with a night time plan.
Read about our night with Gratza after the jump.
The Meet up:
Venue of Scottsdale for a show Gratza is working, an electro DJ trio called The Glitch Mob from Los Angeles. I arrived at 10:30 p.m., but Gratza has been there since 1 p.m., a normal time for him to begin coordinating an event, especially a performance like The Glitch Mob's with a large amount of visual effects.
While admiring the set, Gratza says there will also be an aerialist suspended above the crowds later in the show. He laughs, "There's absolutely no way we could've fit this show at Club Red," and looking around the sea of sweaty drum and bass lovers and enormous neon flashing lights on stage, I agree.
Jeremiah and I reminisce about last December, when he and I were first introduced while doing a wingman venture on Gratza's close friend and fellow local figure, William Reed.
He tells me about a huge electronic show their both putting together at The Venue of Scottsdale on Friday called Summer Massive. He says they're calling it "Arizona's first electronic music festival," because well, they're not allowed to call it a rave.
Spotted in the crowd are a few familiar faces including, "Ron DMC" of local tribute group, Daft Punk'd and, fellow local concert promoter, Reuben Martinez of Universatile Music.
At roughly an hour into the performance, Gratza tells me he has to "make a drop." This involves grabbing money from the box office and getting it to a secure spot in the back office.
I'm introduced to Jeremiah's boss, Charlie Levy, owner of Stateside Presents. While we chat with The Glitch Mob's hot chick aerialist, Charlie admits he practiced how to pronounce "aerialist" in the car on the way over to the venue, though he still manages to screw up the pronunciation while we chat her up.
Gratza's gig means attending countless free concerts and hanging backstage with big-time musicians, but it also means a tremendous amount of hard work. When Gratza does find time off, he always seems to make the best of it, frequenting reputable hot spots around the valley like Casey Moore's, Bar Smith and Side Bar.
Jeremiah and I stay at the venue after the show has ended and make sure everyone involved is happy and the band is paid. Since Jeremiah hasn't eaten since before his work day/night started, we decide to end the night with some well-needed (vegetarian) eats and drinks at Delux at 1:45 a.m., thanking the late-night food gods.