Strutter USA's Rob Budowsky Brings Rock and Roll to Hollywood

Strutter USA's Rob Budowsky just wants to see everyone have a good time.

Budowsky brought together his duality as a successful CPA and serious rock 'n' roll fan by moving much of his business into the entertainment sector and becoming the CPA of choice and a financial advisor of sorts to many of the artists currently making waves in the garage-rock, punk, and psych worlds.

Since last October, Budowsky has taken it upon himself to shoulder the responsibility of bringing some of these artists to South Florida for the first time, and worked hard to dispel the notion that South Florida is a pointless risk for artists other than metal bands to tour.

While most of Budowsky's bookings have gone off with smashing style at our beloved and sadly changing Churchill's Pub in Miami, he himself is a resident and champion of Hollywood Beach and is hoping to foster a new era of fun in his hometown. He'll do this with his latest venture, a free show featuring two of the most hyped artists to come from the recent proliferation of new garage rockers, Bleached, from LA, and Miami's own Jacuzzi Boys.

We spoke with the CPA/Promoter/musician about how things have changed for him since October, staying positive amid negativity, and why tomorrow's Bleached gig could potentially be the first of many awesome dates to hit Broward County's shores.

See also: Bleached Sisters on Being "The Best for Each Other"

New Times: How have things been for Strutter since you last spoke with County Grind?

Rob Budowsky: It took off, basically! Right from the get-go, it's been pretty steady, but I'm now to the point where I'm getting emails from other promoters, and even from agents reaching out to me instead of me chasing after them all the time. You know, October was like the first round of shows that we did, but leading up to that was probably four or five months of me chasing after bands, you know -- "Hey, come to Miami" and this and that and finally in October the first shows started to happen. So, to go from chasing after bands to people reaching out to me, you know, that's been a nice change!

Strutter put on one of the last touring shows with the People's Temple gig at Churchill's before it changed hands. With things being what they are there, are you looking for a new venue to work from?

It's tricky right now. I reached out to the guy at Will Call, because I think that the room there is nice; it has a proper stage, it has a proper set up. While I feel that there is a pretty serious bro element there, I could see us having our night, and it doesn't matter what it's like on Tuesday, Wednesday, whatever -- you know it's about the people. So, if everyone is there, it'll be the same, just over there. That seems to be my next place, but I don't have anything booked there yet.

I still have shows coming up at Churchill's. I still have holds for July and August.

See also: Bangers and Mosh: An Oral History of Churchill's Pub

Do you personally think Churchill's is going to remain viable now that Dave Daniels has left?

I haven't been the biggest cheerleader, but I've been staying away from saying anything negative about the change, while all of the uncertainty was going around and there was a lot of negative shit going around, and I just chose to stay away from that.

Now that it's the signing day, I think that it's pretty clear that it's just not going to be the same. It's over, basically. It's still the room, and the sound system is still there, so we'll still try to book shows. For now, it's been really difficult, actually, to get these holds because the guys are not giving the guy who books the shows there much direction, so he's been very noncommittal with me. So, I actually lost a Coathangers show because I had to give a lowball offer because I was getting no cooperation from Churchill's. I didn't know what the new deal was going to be.

You know, I always knew what I had, I knew they had my back. If I had a shitty night, I knew Churchill's had my back. But, I don't know with these new guys, so I made like a kinda lowball offer with a strong backend and I didn't hear back from the agent and finally she told me she took it somewhere else. So, it's been very difficult, very challenging. I've been working harder than normal to get the holds I have coming up.

The good thing has been the relationship with the CRA here in Hollywood, which is something that I've been trying to get done for a long time, and I finally got introduced to the right people, you know people who understand that we have the potential to bring people to Hollywood that have never been to Hollywood, have never come and hung out!

The mayor's vision is to have a music city and there are a ton of bars and restaurants, so there are plenty of options for people. There's PRL, which has pretty cheap bottled beer from around the world, there's a place that just opened up around the corner with $3 beers, so there are plenty of cool places where people can hang. So, the city is excited about the prospect of bringing kids to downtown that don't know about it, and for me it's a great thing because I have the city's resources to work with, and that's how I was able to attract a band like Bleached and basically have enough money to fly them in and they're staying on the beach and it's a sweet deal for them -- it's like a vacation.

Being a resident of Hollywood, you're a real champion of the area and its potential. When the Native Florida Taproom closed down, Kilmo was pretty outspoken about the city's conduct in greasing the rails for something like the dreaded Margaritaville over his bar. Have you had a different experience with the city than him,thus far?

My experience with people in Hollywood is a lot of people here like to bitch and complain. Look, it's difficult. Kilmo definitely had an uphill battle, but -- and I say this in the hope that it doesn't come off too negative -- but, there's a lot of fucking schleps. They can't get out of their own way! They don't get it, but there are people -- like the guy that owns PRL -- who totally get it! I didn't even have to explain it to him, he was onboard entirely!

There are people that like to complain that the city doesn't do this and the city doesn't do that, but I think if Kilmo would've had his shit together and would have had like, lemons and napkins, you know, he might have had an easier time. I'm stuck between explaining it to you and answering the question, and I really don't want to come off as negative, but I hate it when people complain and I don't want to come off on a negative tip.

See also: Native Florida Tap Room & Music Hall Closes: Kilmo Doome Blasts Casino Industry

Do you ever think you'd open your own venue?

The idea has been thrown around. I haven't had any serious conversations with them, but I've talked to Nicky [Bowe] and I've spoken to Rat [Bastard] and it is something that I seriously plan to pursue to look to try to put investors together. I have friends in New York and a lot of shit gets done that way there, where somebody will bring up a bar and there are a couple of big money guys, but then there are a couple of smaller investors, a handful in addition to the main investors, but I think that's the kind of group I would have to put together and I think a lot of people have confidence in Nicky and Rat to do it. They know how to do it, they totally know how to do it. It could be a viable investment.

Dave Daniels made it work for 35 years and he did fine. It doesn't have to be a huge home run in terms of an investment, but I think it is something that could give you a return on your money, and that's all that anybody asks for! Here's the money, don't lose it, you know?

It could also make you the Duke of Lemon City!


How did the Bleached gig come about?

I'm a big fan, and they happen to be an accounting and tax client of mine, so that was the icebreaker. So I'm close with those people. They've never played Florida, and I was kind of looking at my wish list of bands and of all of a sudden I had an epiphany and a lightbulb went off and I literally picked up the phone and called their manager and he was like "Right away! Sounds good! I'll call you back." And it happened that fast. So, it was super easy and it happened super fast, so it's very exciting.

This is your first foray into booking at the Hollywood Arts Park?

Yep, totally! Hopefully people will turn out and the city will have Strutter back, and we'll be able to do another one. There are plenty of really good options out there. I don't like to talk about things that aren't done deals, but there are bands that we're already talking to that would be great down here. So, this is the first of what could be an awesome thing and it would be great if people made it out!

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David Von Bader