Who Is This Guy That Led Zeppelin’s Manager Chewed Out in Baltimore 40 Years Ago Tonight?

By Jeff Krulik (7/23/2013, www.ledzeppelinplayedhere.com)

Denny from ARA

On the evening of July 23, 1973, this guy was yelled at by Peter Grant backstage at the Baltimore Civic Center. Who is he?

Peter Grant was the legendary manager for Led Zeppelin, who orchestrated their rise to rock super-stardom by an unprecedented tough-guy business style. He was equally admired, and feared, and he single-handedly rewrote the rules on rock and roll band management.

While touring for Houses of the Holy in 1973, their ninth tour of North America, their Baltimore stop on July 23 was the first date where 35mm film cameras were rolling for The Song Remains the Same, the Led Zeppelin concert film. One infamous scene in the film, released three years later in 1976, was of Peter Grant yelling at a backstage manager about the sales of bootleg merchandise.

In the biography Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin it states At the Baltimore Civic Center on July 23 1973, they filmed cops chasing a half-naked intruder. This was also the setting for the scene in which Peter Grant berated the promoter. Amidst a flurry of abuse he more or less accuses the man of receiving kickbacks with the aim of squeezing every last nickel out of Zeppelin. “We knew nothing about him. As soon as we found out about it, we stopped him,” protested the man, believed to be one Larry Vaughn.

vs. Grant

Larry Vaughn was one of the promoters of the concert, but has confirmed that’s not him. Nor is it Richard Klotzman, longtime local Baltimore promoter. And it’s not Steve Weiss, Led Zeppelin lawyer, who is the man standing next to Grant in the dark glasses.

Bud Becker, who has been involved in the concert and music business for decades, including many years at the Baltimore Civic Center, has confirmed through his sources that this man may be named Denny, and he ran concessions for ARA, short for Automatic Retailers of America, and now known as ARAMARK.

Who is this man in the blue shirt? I’d like to talk to him. What does he remember about that night? And for that matter, who is the seated guy selling the photos? Please write me with any leads at jeff@jeffkrulik.com.

Thank you very much,

Jeff Krulik

Led Zeppelin Played Here screening at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore on Thursday, Aug. 22nd, 2013.





Chris Welch’s obituary of Peter Grant in The Independent Newspaper stated his achievements well.
“It was Grant who arranged their deal with Atlantic Records in 1968, then hailed as one of the biggest in industry history. He never interfered with their music, but was a “hands-on” manager who travelled the world with his charges to ensure their financial and physical well-being. Grant was essentially the fifth member of Led Zeppelin. While stories of his exploits have become legendary, and he was as much feared as admired, Grant was a warm and good-humoured man who know well the impression he could make on the nervous and unwary … he was determined that Led Zeppelin would get their fair share of the profits. As a result, Led Zeppelin became extremely wealthy from the sales of millions of albums and concert tickets during their 12-year reign from 1968 to 1980”

This entry was posted in 1970s, 70s Rock, Baltimorons, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Who Is This Guy That Led Zeppelin’s Manager Chewed Out in Baltimore 40 Years Ago Tonight?

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  3. Jack Wright says:

    I would say the best idea would be to go that venue or somehow obtain staff records ect of people who worked there at that time. But also looking at this man’s age he could have already have been about 55 at the time so he could have well have passed away by now.

  4. Steve A. Jones says:

    Although I too am curious it was forty years ago; they are probably deceased by now.

  5. Steve Weiss was the single biggest piece of shit that I have ever encountered in my life. A liar and thief that would say and do anything to cover his ass no matter who he threw under the table.

  6. mike says:

    I thought all concert footage was at MSG ?

  7. Del Zeppnile says:

    His name was Rolo Tomassi and he the facilities manager at the Baltimore Stadium.

  8. Robert Duyos says:

    its a fantastic scene that people never get to witness. peter Grant was doing his job, a nasty job at times. rock n roll tours are a very hard nosed business. not for the weak of heart. bootleg items inside the venue are a great way to need hospitalization. just ask legendary promoter Bill Graham. Graham’s cocky son tried to steal a john bonham sign off a trailer door and got pummeled for it. dont fuck with these guys. they are rough, nasty, and dont give a shit who you are.

  9. Robert Duyos says:

    happy birthday robert plant!!

  10. John B says:

    The man in the blue shirt is Dennis (Denny) Ferguson. He ran the concessions at the Baltimore Civic Center for Berlo Vending which was subsequently bought by Ogden Foods and may have been purchased by ARA by the time the movie was filmed as someone noted previously. It was rumored that the mob was involved with the first firm and possibly the latter two as well. I know because I worked for Denny at the Wolf Trap Farm Park in 1971 and later at the Civic Center in 1971-72. I moved back west in 1972 and did not hear of or from him until I saw him in this movie many years later. He was a good guy, but the Civic Center was a pretty corrupt place and not atypical of Baltimore at the time. There was a room with a locked door where premium booze bottles were filled with cheap liquor which was then sold to the customers. And that is just one example of the kind of stuff that went on. You could get anything you wanted if you greased the right palms.

  11. My unc was in the Vanilla Fudge [lead guitar] and he knew everybody in Led Zeppelin…and he knew the guy getting yelled at. That guy was about 43 at the time so he could be still alive. I’m not lying. They all knew each other. In fact JP remembers Vinnie my unc. He knew Peter, Richard and the whole band. They all knew each other. Peter may have not realized that everybody was always being intimidated by organized crime back then and it was NOT Italian. It was any and every type of organized crime.

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