Formax Entertainment is a full service artist and event management company founded by Adam Conde in 2002. “I’ve handled every kind of music,” says Conde, “and I’ve handled it all directly. I’ve been on the production side, the musician side, the label side and the tour side. I know what I’m asking people to do when I ask them to do something. When they ask me, I know exactly what they need.” And while Conde’s extensive background has earned him a reputation as one of the industry’s most trusted ‘can-do’ people, it’s his practical vision that makes him one of the most unique and effective managers in the business today.
Conde was born in the Dayton suburb of Springboro, Ohio. A musician from the time he was a child, he studied Music Composition at Bowling Green State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Taylor University. Throughout college, Adam gigged in bands, booked campus concerts and began working as a guitar and backline technician at local venues.
Adam was soon being offered touring work, and after college he hit the road for two years as a backline tech for such artists as Aretha Franklin, R. Kelly, George Clinton, Little Richard, David Sanborn and Midnight Oil. “Essentially, I was going on stage with the bands every night,” he remembers. “I had to maintain the gear, set it up and get inside the head of each band member to know what they needed. If something went wrong, I was the first in the fire.” It was an education that would teach him the values of solid pre-production, good communication and fast thinking.
In 1995, Conde moved to Nashville where he launched a career as road manager for acts that included country band Pirates of The Mississippi, blues rocker Sonny Landreth and alt-country heroes BR5-49. After 6 years of non-stop touring, he accepted a job as Pop Promotions Coordinator at Curb Records. Working closely with Vice President Claire Parr, Conde handled many of the label’s pop and dance acts as well as crossover successes Tim McGraw and LeAnn Rimes. When Parr formed The Navigator Company in 1999, Conde became the organization’s Director of Operations, handling Hot AC, AC and Top 40 radio promotions for the company, as well as overseeing live events, touring and special projects.
Conde formed Formax in 2002 as a 360° consultancy with a major industry difference. “Formax became the culmination of everything I’d done in the business,” Conde says. “We became the ultimate liaison between artists, management, and every department at a record label. We budgeted, coordinated and supervised all travel and routing on the road. And as the business changed, our relationships with performers focused on the kind of career development that could take flight outside of the traditional record sales/radio airplay paradigm.”
In 2005, Conde got a call from George Thorogood & The Destroyers. “I’d been trying to stay off the road,” Adam remembers, “but George’s organization had gone through several tour managers. Thorogood had defined three decades of rock & roll for millions of fans, including me. He’s an iconic artist and live performer, and deserved to be handled with all due respect and fervor. He’s also a really good guy. I went out on a trial run and from the band to the crew, it all felt like family. I wanted to be a part of it.”
In 2014, Thorogood asked Conde to become his manager and Adam began an immediate reboot of the GT&D brand. “It had been years since George had a fan club, new website, national publicist or exciting endorsement deal,” Adam explains. “And that all needed to change.” First, Conde branded George’s 2014 anniversary run as The 40 Years Strong Tour, featuring testimonials from admirers that included Slash, Steve Miller, Joe Bonamassa, Peter Wolf and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Formax then restructured and expanded Thorogood’s social media presence, created an online subscription fan club, commissioned a new website from scratch, and brought on an independent tour marketer for national continuity among local promoters. Conde took a more active role in tour merchandise, expanding the band’s high profit-margin commemorative items. Formax partnered the band on a clothing endorsement with premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind. And Conde’s hiring of renowned publicity firm Rogers & Cowan resulted in national press and television appearances for George and band throughout the U.S. and Canada. “Today,” says Conde, “the George Thorogood & The Destroyers’ brand is genuinely badder than ever.”
In addition to artist management, Conde is production manager for Live In The Vineyard, the bi-annual three-day Napa Valley event that brings together high-end food, wine and lodgings with superstars that have included Alanis Morisette, Lenny Kravitz and Goo Goo Dolls, and emerging artists like Plain White Ts, James Blunt and Meghan Trainor. Conde and his Formax team have also provided services as event managers, artist liaisons, production supervisors and crew chiefs for major music festivals that include Lauderdale Live andAustin’s Live In The Ballpark.
“I’ve been in the music business in one form or another for nearly three decades,” says Conde, “and over the last 15 years have seen virtually every aspect of it change. But what never changes, and never will, are artists with integrity who still deliver music that matters. It’s never too late to keep growing a fanbase and finding new opportunities, and we see ourselves as the facilitators. Formax Entertainment delivers creative strategies for a changing game.”