Sometimes, when two elements come together, the combination is more than the sum of the parts. Michael Gudinski and Michael Chugg are a prime example.
When these impresarios combine, it’s dynamite.
With effect from Monday (April 1), Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment will co-promote on all Chugg Entertainment tours through this new arrangement. It felt like the old band got back together. Supporters felt something very warm and fuzzy, rivals a twitch and a shudder.
“There’s love in the air,” Gudinski tells TIO with a laugh. “We have the greatest respect for each other.”
Gudinski is an avowed fan of Susan Heymann, managing director of Chugg Entertainment, and many of Chugg’s teammates. To be sure, “I’m not buying them,” he says. “It’s a joint venture, they get to use our facilities and it’s about building up the artillery,” and taking the fight to the superpowers of the global concerts business, Live Nation chief among them.
The partnership is “about giving him and a number of his great people backup,” notes Gudinski. But he insists, “We’re not reforming the band.”
The Gudinski-Chugg tandem is legendary. Both alphas, cut from a similar cloth (Gudinski a born-and-bred Melbourne native, Chugg, raised in Launceston, based in Sydney), with expansive, growing music empires, the twosome, whether you like it or not, are the faces of Australia’s music industry to the rest of the world.
For decades, the pair have represented in far flung markets, vibed up the room and given the impression of being everywhere at once.
They’ve worked alongside one another — or sparred — for close to 50 years, a relationship that was documented in Stuart Coupe’s books The Promoters and Gudinski and in Chugg’s biography, Hey, You in the Black T-Shirt, co-authored with the late Iain Shedden.
Slotting Chugg Entertainment into the Melbourne-based Mushroom Group stable ensures both live businesses “benefit from specialized areas, in particular Chugg Entertainment’s strong presence and expertise in the country music genre,” reads a joint statement issued March 26. Chugg’s team, meanwhile, can feed into a “world class level of resources and opportunities that will allow a greater platform for business growth and development.”
Gudinski has the final word on those rumours on a sale of his Mushroom Group of Companies. “No, I’m not selling any of the Mushroom Group,” he tells TIO. Though, should the right joint venture present itself in future, who knows.
Earlier, on March 6, Gudinski issued a statement to put those stories to bed. “Be assured that rumours that I’m selling Mushroom Group are absolutely incorrect,” he said at the time. “And the fact that anyone thinks I would sell Mushroom Group has me thinking I should book the rumourmongers for a Frontier Comedy tour because it’s so laughable.”
Gudinski is having the last laugh.