Local Music Turkey of the Year: Mike Kelley

Categories: Whatever

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Taken from our annual cover story on the Turkeys of the Year.

From savior to pariah in less than a year: Promoter Mike Kelley is the Rick Perry of the local music scene.

When legendary Montrose favorite Numbers looked to be in trouble, Kelley and his OnStage Events stepped in, to general hosannas. They replaced the club's aging sound system and brought in some acts that drew big crowds.

Things then went south.

We had been among those applauding Kelley, but by last month it was already time to do a postmortem:

Kelley and the club seemed to be on the rise, but just as soon as it started, the good news coming out of OnStage slowed to a drip, then a full stop, and rumors about bookings at Numbers began to swirl.

"Mike Kelley has left a trail of failed shows and broken contracts with acts and instead of helping Houston has created more issues for this already struggling city," said a patron of Numbers who wished to remain anonymous. "A lot of people did not realize it was not Numbers fault as to what happened. The club was just the host venue for Mike Kelley and Onstage, not the actual booking agent or promoter."

How bad did things get? Kelley had to cancel shows by Flock of Seagulls and Three Six Mafia.

That's not something you want on your résumé. But the news at least did inform us all that Flock of Seagulls and Three Six Mafia were still available for work, in case anyone was doing any wedding planning or bah mitzvah organizing.

Kelley has gotten out of the music business, and Numbers survives. Luckily.

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7 comments
EMD
EMD

I still don't get where we have yet to get our refunds. I am a loyal #s fan, I appreciate the one damn good thing he did for #s but his cust service skills are pretty crappy. I know about his daughter, but still why not email someone and let them know what the hell is going on. I would been content if he said that my FOS refund went to pay something, or make arrangements to catch FOS at the other venue. I lost out on my money and even though I have texts, emails my refund will never given. I guess I can have more respect for this jerk if I would have gotten an  F*** off at least, but empty run arounds is pretty sh**ty. I have no sympathy or well wishes. It's all theft at the end of the day. Mike, I think there is a rock outside my house, you can get under anytime.

Karma
Karma

Mike Kelley didn't deserve the praise he got before. And though I wish no bad on him or his family. This was a long time coming. He ran through clubs promising the world to owners. And never delivering anything but debt. Mike and were partners for several years. And he is why I got out of the business.

Mike did some good things for the scene. But he also didn't pay out people that worked with him and for him on numerous occasions. Me included. He is responsible for his own demise as well as that of other great Houston venues.

Guess now its time for Mike to find a real job like all of us had to do after he screwed us over.

I do wish him the best of luck. I just hope it is in a new career field.

Supercritical2000
Supercritical2000

Guys I think the main point should be that tickets were sold and no refunds were given for the canceled shows. That's bad business!! I applaud him for trying to save Numbers an bring shows to Houston but you can't expect people to support you if you cancel shows, announce shows without signed contracts and never return monies paid for tickets sold. I am however, happy that some shows we're saved or are in the process of being saved by other promoters such as PPP, New Beat and the people at Stero Live.

Roger Dodger
Roger Dodger

Cant believe I actually opened and read this. so umm, local guy promotes some big shows, loses money and goes out of business. And you compare him to Rick Perry? At least he knew when it was time to quit, a lesson the writer of this story and Mr Perry have not yet learned. 

Leslie
Leslie

The fact that you would beat a guy down for having to go out of business just goes to show that Houston Press will basically allow anyone to write for them, regardless of their complete lack of talent. So he had to cancel a couple has beens who never were. So what. This is worth writing about?

Johnstonjamie72
Johnstonjamie72

Its pretty sad, someone steps in, saves 3 different clubs from going out of business, loses tens of thousands in the process and decides to go out of business himself rather than continue to bleed out and this is how you treat them. Typical Houston Press bullshit and a good reason why the Houston Music scene is considered the joke that it is. In all the time that I worked with and played shows for Mike, I watched him crushed time and again by bad turnouts, and yet he still kept making sure the bands were well taken care of no matter what. And yet you quote an "Anonymous source" as your big expose? Quality journalism here Ill tel ya.

Himom
Himom

Actually cancelling Flock of Seagulls is something you DO want on your resume.

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