By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Tae Quon, D'oh: Calls to AAT HQ are usually from annoying PR reps begging for their terrible emo-funk-fusion band to receive coverage, so it's not often we get calls like this:
"Hi, this is Tommy Quon. I wanted to talk to you about a few projects I'm working on, and I thought--"
"Wait. Tommy Quon?"
Longtime Dallas Observer readers (or VH1 Behind the Music fanatics) should recognize Quon's name, as he was the manager behind the phenomenal rise--and equally phenomenal fall--of Vanilla Ice. Robert Wilonsky wrote at length ("Ice Ice Maybe," July 4, 2002) about the relatively healed relationship between the Carrollton rapper and the Plano manager, though in the years since that mending, Rob Van Winkle hasn't exactly recaptured fame. Thing is, Quon wasn't calling about the Iceman.
Turns out the local guy behind various second-rate hip-hop, Latin and R&B acts from the Dallas area is now trying his hand at, um, New Age. His hopes now rest on the shoulders of Fort Worth native Danny Wright, whose New Age career stretches over two decades and was the subject of an Observer feature in 1995. Wright was recently dropped from Atlantic Records, but Quon, an admitted fan of New Age artists like Jim Brickman, apparently sees something that Atlantic doesn't.
"I wanted to get him to release a ballroom CD, because that's so hot right now," Quon says, and he also plugged Wright shows in April at venues like the Lakewood Theatre and the Texas Motor Speedway. Well, the formal restaurant at the Speedway, anyway, though I'd love to see a New Age take on the "Star-Spangled Banner" at a NASCAR event.
As if to remind us how "important" he is, Quon filled our chat with tons of name-drops for his managed artists (Marcos Hernandez, Blessed Union of Souls, Ice's stepfather Byron Mino), but we had to ask--why would anyone want Quon's help after such notorious press over the years?
"The relationships I've had with people have been very important," Quon says. "I have my supporters, and I have my people that aren't exactly in my camp. One thing is, you keep working at what you do, and this is what I do. After Vanilla Ice, it's hard to follow that. My relationship with Ice today is...I've at least stabilized his career. We're making some inroads slowly that will keep him going for a while. I'm doing that for a lot of my acts."
So there you have it, local bands. Who needs fame, fortune and progress when Tommy Quon can "stabilize" your career? We won't hold our breath about Wright's New Age resurgence, but at the least, here's to hoping Quon continues the ballroom "craze" and puts Ice on Dancing With the Stars.