CPA Tim Jorstad relishes money almost as much as he loves Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Journey and the Doobie Brothers. He helped dozens of musicians make fortunes in an industry known for ripping off artists whose creative juice generates fountains of revenue.
San Rafael-based Jorstad, 65, was brilliant at managing musicians’ money and the business side of their art. On Father’s Day last weekend, plenty of Bay Area musicians had occasion to hail Jorstad as a papa of music who helped turn tunes into serious dough.
For bands such as the Grateful Dead, known for songs such as “Truckin’,” “Touch of Grey” and “Ripple,” revenue gushed in at a torrent. Jorstad renegotiated contracts, lined up gigs and managed deals with venues and numerous contractors that touring groups need to keep the show and money rolling.
JOURNEY PROVIDES OPENING
Jorstad got his start in the music business when he bought a 50 percent stake in Russell Mustola’s one-person CPA firm located in Sausalito. Mustola had Journey as his client as well as Jefferson Airplane, later known as Jefferson Starship and for the song “We Built This City,” a San Francisco tune whose video has garnered 28 million YouTube views.
Journey had its best years in the decade after 1978, such as the 1981 single “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which was certified platinum (1 million in sales) five times over. The band started in 1973 in San Francisco with former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. Steve Perry was lead singer with Neal Schon on guitar. Jonathan Cain played keyboards.
Journey still tours, with dates booked through next month. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of this year. Arnel Pineda, whose vocal qualities resemble Perry’s, has worked as lead singer since 2007.
Perry spoke at the induction ceremony.
“There was one instrument that was flying above the entire city of Los Angeles,” Perry said. “That was the magic fingers of Neal Schon’s guitar.”
Jorstad said he knew nothing about the business of music when he bought into Mustola’s firm. Mustola was one of Jorstad’s supervisors from Main Hurdman, an accounting firm he worked for in San Francisco.
SOLD OUT ROSE BOWL STADIUM
Journey was pulling in worldwide revenue of more than $100 million a year, according to Jorstad. The band released an album almost every year.
They would sell out Pasadena’s Rose Bowl stadium, which has 92,542 seats.
“That payday was $1 million in 1982 dollars,” Jorstad said. That’s about $2.5 million today.
Journey pioneered live video projection and in 1981 started a separate company called Nocturne Productions, now PRG Nocturne Productions, after 2011 acquisition by Production Resource Group.
“It is still the Tiffany of concert video projection in the music world,” Jorstad said. “We would make stadiums more intimate.”
MUSICIANS GOT TERRIBLE DEALS
Band manager Herbie Herbert and Jorstad hit it off. They sought to shift more money to musicians.
“Most artists didn’t and still don’t understand the food chain of where the money comes from, who gets paid, how much should be left over for them,” Jorstad said.
Live concerts used to guarantee a flat amount. Jorstad established a financial arrangement that provided a percentage of gross revenue or net income, whichever is greater.