Tour Director Jim Runge named Pollstar’s Road Warrior of the Year


Being recognized for his talents as a tour manager is starting to become a habit for Jim Runge.

For the fourth time in six years, the Ashwaubenon native is shortlisted for Road Warrior of the Year at the Pollstar Awards, which honor artists, executives, venues, events and companies in the entertainment industry in direct. He will know on February 13 during the ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles if he will become a double winner.

Runge won the honor in 2014 as Tour Director of The Black Keys. He is nominated this year for his work with Australian electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun. His competition in the six-person category includes tour directors for U2, Foo Fighters, Drake, Fleetwood Mac and Justin Timberlake.

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The Pollstar Awards are not lacking in humor. Along with traditional categories like Best New Headliner and Best Touring Musician, there’s the Most Terrifying Agent and Most Frequently Dropped Name. (Wisconsin has two nominees for Best New Venue: Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee and The Sylvee in Madison.)

While Runge is honored to be recognized by his peers again – and plans to attend the 30th annual awards ceremony – he also realizes that 2018 has been a different year for him. He’s changed course a bit during a 23-year career that has taken him all over the world as a Tour Director for acts ranging from Rickie Lee Jones and The Replacements to Lucinda Williams and Wilco.

He mostly did replacement work last year, including a summer stint on the road to deal with Shakira’s entourage, but he also took a good chunk of the gap year.

After living in Nashville for the past seven years, he returned to Green Bay in March. His fiancee, mother, and other family members are here, including his son, Zach Just, who works as a drum technician and has toured with Leon Bridges and Grouplove. It is the first time he has lived in his hometown since the 1980s – the same decade he was a student at Ashwaubenon High School and booked some of Green Bay’s first punk shows.

“I’m not going for the biggest and the best. I live what is most comfortable, ”he said of his decision to prioritize quality of life.

At 53, it’s good to be able to slow down a bit, live in Green Bay cheaply, enjoy being happy in a relationship and feel more settled. Sometimes the career-oriented part of him that is used to working 18-hour days on the road is still struggling with the adjustment.

“The work ethic part in me is fighting to be there, and my heart is like, ‘You don’t have to be there to work,’” he said.

He has many connections in the music industry, and he never knows when the phone will ring with an offer to hit the road or take the water. In April, he travels to the Caribbean to be the tour manager of a Runaway to Paradise cruise with Bon Jovi and Collective Soul.

Because he knows so many people, sometimes the call is an offer to just come and see a show. When Stevie Nicks performed at the Resch Center in 2017, his tour didn’t know anyone in Green Bay to invite to his guest list, so they called Runge and asked him. He happily filled the 20 locations with his friends and family. When REO Speedwagon and Chris Young were at Resch last year, the same thing.

“People call me and say, ‘We don’t know anyone here. You want to come? Bring friends.

A music fan who grew up on Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Descendents, he never quite saw himself at a Styx show, but he was there at the Resch Center in December to have the best time.

“I respect the hell of these groups,” he said. “I might not have liked their music back then, but I enjoy the experience now.”

He can’t help but notice that promoters of the local music scene are taking risks with the acts they offer, much like he did when he booked punk shows at Kutska’s Hall and Northside Bowling. Lanes in the 1980s. The Badger State Block Party caught his attention last year. A bill that included Murder by Death and Ha Ha Tonka, national but non-traditional acts, drew more than 1,000 people.

“It’s super impressive to me,” he said.

New Shows: Mudhoney, Preacher Lawson

It has been 18 years since Mud honey last crossed Green Bay for a show at Rock’n’Roll High School. The group Spin called “the most important Seattle grunge band to ever go platinum” returns on May 24 for a concert in Green Bay Distillery – his only Wisconsin show.

Boris the sprinkler and that of Madison the naughty open. General admission tickets are on sale for $ 25 in advance on (and soon on The Exclusive Co.) or $ 30 on the day of the show.

Comedian Preacher Lawson will perform on March 20 at the Meyer Theater.

Actor Preacher Lawson, currently on NBC “America has talent: the champions”, will perform its stand-up at 7 p.m. on March 20 at Meyer Theater. Tickets cost $ 25 and go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. on and 800-895-0071.

Original Dio members Viviane Campbell and Vinny Appice, with Andrew Freeman and Philippe Soussan, bring their group, Last in lineat Green Bay Distillery at 8:30 pm February 8th. The band’s new album, “II”, arrives on February 22. Tickets are $ 20 in advance on and $ 30 per day.

Revisiting Studio East with Fat Halen

Studio Is Revisited take over Sports bar and grill with a view of the stadium Friday evening for a night of rock and memory. The famous annual event Larry Nejedlo, who owned the Green Bay music club, Studio East, from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. Nejedlo died of cancer in 2009.

The features of this year’s lineup Studio East All-Stars at 6:40 p.m., Stripe at 7.45 p.m., Annex at 9 pm, Eddie Haskel / Separate tracks at 10:15 p.m. and Big Halen at 11:30 p.m.

The evening will also include a tribute to Larry Melero, who was a guitar technician for Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick. Melero died in September. Stephen funke from Green Bay, who is the founder and organizer of Studio East Revisited, also works as a sound engineer for Cheap Trick.

The raffle items include signed guitars by Poison and Cheap Trick.

There is a suggested donation of $ 10 at the doors, which open at 6 p.m. Profits go to cancer patients in the area.

John Mueller leads the Winter Dance Party Band through one of Buddy Holly's many songs at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay on one of his previous visits.  He's coming back Friday night.

“Rave On” by the river

There are only a hundred tickets left for John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party Friday at the Riverside Ballroom. If you need the extra push to pull out the Poodle Skirts and Hula-Hoops, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Winter Dance Party in the Ballroom.

When their bus broke down in freezing cold after a performance in Duluth, Minnesota on January 31, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The big bopper and the rest of their entourage ended up arriving by train and Greyhound bus in Green Bay on February 1 for the concert. All three died in a plane crash hours after their show on February 2 in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Mueller has been bringing his recreation of the original tour to the Riverside for 25 years, selling out almost every year. This year, guests will get their first glimpse of the Riverside’s $ 40,000 renovation from the lobby of the historic 1929 building. Owner Ken tedford made the 1959 Winter Dance Party a centerpiece.

General admission tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $ 30 and are available at the Riverside Box Office, 1560 Main Street.

Time has a history going back to 1959, this is the night of the homage to the Winter Dance Party. The forecast for Friday night is 15 below zero.


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