“I’ve worked in nearly every aspect of music,” says Adam Conde, founder of artist and event management company Formax Entertainment, “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 go-to/can-do full-service professionals, it’s his practical vision that makes him one of the most unique and effective managers in the business today.
A musician from the time he was a child, Conde 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. He was soon being offered national tours, and after college Conde hit the road for two years as a backline tech for such artists as Aretha Franklin, George Clinton, Little Richard, David Sanborn and Midnight Oil. “Essentially, I was going onstage every night,” he explains. “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.
Adam 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 recording, sales, streaming and tour paradigms.”
In 2005, Conde got a call from George Thorogood & The Destroyers. “I’d been trying to stay off the road,” Adam recalls, “but George’s organization had gone through several tour managers. Thorogood had defined decades of rock & roll for millions of fans, including me. He’s an iconic artist and live performer and deserved to be handled with enthusiasm, efficiency and respect. He’s also a really good guy. I went out on a trial run and from the band to the crew, it felt like a family that I wanted to be a part of.”
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 and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Formax would soon commission a new website from scratch, restructure Thorogood’s social media presence, expand commemorative tour merchandise, create an online subscription fan club, bring on an independent tour marketer for national continuity among local promoters, hire renowned publicity firm Rogers & Cowan for major press and television appearances in the U.S. and Canada, and secure the band a clothing endorsement with premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind. In 2017, Conde oversaw the production and release of Thorogood’s first-ever solo album Party Of One for Rounder Records, which was hailed as “electrifying” (Guitar Player), “chock full of classics” (Music Connection) and “an unexpected pleasure” (Huffington Post). In 2020, Formax brokered an exclusive deal with Epiphone to create the George Thorogood ‘White Fang’ ES-125TDC premier signature model guitar as well as shepherding the Craft Recordings release of Live In Boston 1982: The Complete Concert, the now-expanded recording of the band’s legendary live album. And later this year, Thorogood and band will resume their acclaimed Good To Be Bad Tour: 45 Years Of Rock throughout North America and Europe. “George Thorogood & The Destroyers’ brand,” says Conde, “is officially 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 pairs high-end food, wine and lodgings with superstars that have included Alanis Morissette, Lenny Kravitz, 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 Yountville Live and Austin’s Live In The Ballpark. And in 2021, Formax became the exclusive representative of cross-cultural travel, fashion and celebrity photographer David Dobson.
“I’ve been in the entertainment business in one form or another for nearly three decades,” says Conde, “and over the last 20 years have seen virtually every facet of it change. But what stays the same, and always will, are artists with integrity who still deliver what 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.”