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Guild Shows: The DIY Promoter Collective.

July 2, 2013

GuildShows01smallText and image by Jessica Flynn.

If you’re a regular Guild show attendee, you know that you are going to get way more than music for the small donation asked for by whichever friendly Guild member is waiting at the door. You develop new friends, build community, foster a subculture, cry, drink beers, laugh and probably get involved in a “Simple Pleasures in America” sing-along.

If you are not a regular, it is probable that whichever member asks you for your money will also ask you for your name and remember it.

The collective is made up of six like-minded promoters — Tony Godino, Nick Fanelli, Justin Phillips, Jeff Meyers, Pete Piecynski and Eric Muth. Each have been heavily involved in the music scene since high school, playing in touring bands, touring with bands, managing bands, DJing, etc. They know how to run a good show for the fans as well as for the bands.

Touring bands usually end up with good food (often assorted vegetables with rice and beans stewed up by Phillips), a place to sleep (sleeping bags, couches and floors), sometimes a complimentary 30-pack from Fanelli (who is kind of like the quarterback of The Guild) and even sightseeing.

“I love taking bands around town,” Piecynski says. “Philly boasts so many great hangs for a band on any budget. Depending on the time and how active everyone is feeling, I like to take bands to get vegan or real cheesesteaks on South Street, the ‘Always Sunny’ coffee shop, Liberty Bell, Love Park, Logan Fountain in the summertime and the Art Museum stairs. They see the city and everything in-between for the price of the steak and parking.”

Since The Guild’s inception last September, they have steadily gained momentum. They put on around eight to 10 shows per month at nearly 15 venues throughout the city, including The Golden Tea House, The Cracker Factory, Teri’s, The Fire, PhilaMOCA and elsewhere.

“There’s something really inspiring about people letting their ideas become actions,” says Nick Harris of the band Luther. “I’ve known everyone involved in The Guild independently for years, and have played shows that they have individually booked. I really think that all of the people involved are organized and creative enough that The Guild will become a staple of the Philadelphia music scene.”

Before coming together, most of The Guild’s members promoted DIY punk and indie shows individually. Godino started booking shows under the Dead Industry banner in 2007 while he was still living in Scranton. His brother, Joe Godino of The Menzingers, heavily inspired him.

“Tony came with us for our first few tours and took over manager duties” Joe Godino says. “I think that allowed him to learn the ways shows are booked and run. I think being a part of that provided the opportunity for him to grow as a promoter.”

Soon after, Tony Godino moved to Philadelphia and he brought Dead Industry with him. It really flourished when he started booking at a DIY warehouse in South Philly called Ava House.

“Eventually Nick Fanelli joined me and it really became something special,” Godino says. “The guy is a machine.”

There were problems with Dead Industry, though. Godino felt like he was getting most of the credit and gratitude, since he was the contact guy to most of the bands. Fanelli ended up being the man behind the curtain. Godino wanted them to get equal credit for their work.

The other guys were also having issues with their projects. With lack of communication, shows were being booked that overlapped.

“I think the actual idea to start The Guild came from a day there was a show Eric booked and Justin booked like eight blocks away the same night,” Fanelli says with a laugh. “That was dumb.”

Fanelli realized that for years, the six of them were mostly booking similar bands and genres. He decided that it was time for them to streamline, put together their contacts with bands, venues and agents, and communicate with one another about what shows are being booked. He emailed everyone with his proposal.

“It was a bit difficult to swallow,” Godino says. “Dead Industry was my precious little goddamn baby and had been for seven years at that point.”

But he has not since regretted the decision.

“Of course, he was right,” states Godino. “I wouldn’t like it any other way.”

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