The Milwaukee music promoter shares some of his best anecdotes
In Tell Us A Story, Decider sits at the knee of Milwaukee's most interesting people and asks them to play raconteur. This week, music promoter Geraud Blanks talks about how to get ?uestlove from Summerfest to Stonefly Brewery in five minutes, and why he never asks for an autograph.
How he got his start in events planning
I was doing events in middle school. My math teacher was one of those guys who was open to anything. And I was really on my knowledge-of-self, black history kick. My mother wrote an African-American history book. She never published it, she just wrote one. So I memorized most of it, and I was just spittin’ all this stuff and he was just like, “Why don’t you do a black history program?” So we did it in April just to not do it in February, right? We got like 30, 40 students involved. My eighth-grade year, we did two shows. And that’s where it kicked off, doing that stuff, man, all the way into high school. And, it’s just in my blood. I just can’t sit around waiting for other people to do it.
How Milwaukee rapper Element drove ?uestlove of The Roots from Summerfest to Stonefly Brewery in five minutes
The Roots rocked Summerfest, but you know me. I’m thinking, “Get to the venue.” So we get into Element’s car. ?uestlove’s in there, texting Solange, Beyonce’s little sister. And he’s on the phone, because Chris Brown had a fight with Ne-Yo. I’m in the back chillin’, but you know I’m worried because there’s this huge traffic jam. So we’re going through the crowd, and Element’s beepin’ and people are movin’ out the way slowly. All of the sudden, we see an ambulance, and Element drives behind the ambulance, and we ride that ambulance all the way through the crowd. She’s speeding, going down one-ways and we were just ridin’ the ambulance. And this was the Fourth of July! But we get down to Stonefly in like five minutes! So I walk in the club with ?uestlove and he doesn’t have his laptop. He ain’t got shit. Kid Cut Up works everything out on stage. Oh, my God! Rocked the party.
Why he never asks for an autograph
When everything’s over and I’m 90 years old and my grand-kids sit at my bed, I just wanna be able to tell them about all the shit I did. You know what’s funny? I’ve brought 30, 40, 50 national people to town, and I never got an autograph. I’ve driven home with Ed Gordon from BET, and he was telling me what it was like to interview 2-Pac, Bill Clinton—you can’t beat that! I could have got an autograph, but I walked Maya Angelou to her car. Fuck an autograph, fuck a million dollars. It’s those moments!