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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pete Greenberg Quits the Croc

posted by on November 29 at 14:34 PM

The grapevine is abuzz, the rumor mill is churning: Several people have reported receiving a text message from Pete Greenberg, booker at the Crocodile, saying he just quit, effective immediately.

Emails to Greenberg have been unreturned as of four minutes ago. We’ll let you know details as we receive them.

Update: Assistant booker Eli Anderson just confirmed that Greenberg’s departure occurred yesterday during a staff meeting. Anderson is now interim booker and in charge of running the Croc. “Everything is going on as scheduled,” Anderson said. “We’re just running at half-speed.”

Further update: “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to work here.”

Those words—allegedly spoken by Crocodile owner Stephanie Dorgan—were the final straw, Greenberg told me. He and Dorgan were arguing over a catering contract for an upcoming music industry party during a weekly staff meeting yesterday. The argument soon devolved into an all-too-familiar battle of wills. This time, Greenberg decided he had enough. He gave Dorgan his keys and walked out.

“She and I never got along,” Greenberg said. “The respect isnít there—I donít respect her, she doesnít respect me. With the exception of not having a paycheck, it feels good. I don’t regret the decision.”

Dorgan has owned the Crocodile since its opening in 1991. Greenberg has booked bands there for almost four years. He called the venue Dorgan’s “vanity project,” though he suggested she doesn’t see it that way. “She doesnít take any money away from it, but I see the amount of effort she puts in, which is negligible. She doesnít understand how her business operates, but she doesnít want to discuss it, either. I donít want say ‘You donít get it,” because I donít want be difficult. All im asking for her is to talk to me and respect me. She doesnít understand the position; she wants what she wants.”

“When you operate from a reactive postion instead of proactive, you’re gonna run into these problems,” he continued. “And these problems were there before me. I spent months last year with every paycheck bouncing, and I’m not the only one who had their paycheck bounce.” Greenberg was unequivocal about the Crocodile’s future. “She’s not making the right decisions for the business,” he said. “[Shutting down] probably is not too far off.”

As of 3:30, Dorgan hasn’t returned requests for comment. Keep checking back for updates.

RSS icon Comments


Holy crap! Pete will indeed be missed; I hope he's on to good things.

Posted by Levislade | November 29, 2007 1:52 PM

is the ship sinking? it's surely been taking on water for a long while....

Posted by PGC | November 29, 2007 2:23 PM

it's funny if they were taking on water, getting a glass of water with your meal seems to be the second hardest thing in the world (the hardest: getting your meal).

Posted by cosby | November 29, 2007 2:28 PM

Big love for Pete, I have.

Big love for Croc, I have.


Posted by trent moorman | November 29, 2007 2:34 PM

That sucks.

Posted by laterite | November 29, 2007 2:56 PM

Oh jeeze, this is no good. I love you, Pete!

Posted by Alicia | November 29, 2007 3:03 PM

That is too bad. I think the Croc is the best venue in Seattle to see shows (excepting the new treatment for the all-ages shows, where they split the main room down the middle with orange construction-fence. God that's awful), and I think Pete has been the best booker there since I moved to Seattle in '97. I hate to see Pete go, and I'll definitely hate to see the Croc go.

Say it ain't so!

Posted by Royal | November 29, 2007 3:13 PM

I'm sure she knows something about running a business. Venues like that rarely last as long. People didn't think it'd last when whatshername left after booking all those years, either.

Posted by Dougsf | November 29, 2007 3:18 PM

Ah, good old whatshername...

Posted by Eli | November 29, 2007 3:43 PM

Last I checked bouncing payroll checks is not a good sign of someone who knows how to run a business.

Points to be made: 1. Her divorce from Peter Buck (no more deep pockets).

2. Do a google search on Stephanie Dorgan and you'll see a couple of news stories that show you she does not keep the most accurate books.

Add it all up and you get some new condos in that space in the near future.

Posted by Warship Satan | November 29, 2007 3:45 PM

but why not just sell it then? why engender all this animosity from the city of seattle by firing beloved employees? what does she stand to gain from running the place into the ground as opposed to just selling it outright?

the point made above is a good one: the place has been there for 17 years, so she must be doing something right, which might just be hiring competent people. the common complaint im hearing is that "she just doesnt care about the crocodile as much as we do," which is really hard to verify, even from someone who worked there.

Posted by jz | November 29, 2007 4:07 PM

Exactly. We need to hear Dorgan's side before launching more shit-talking against a Seattle institution. For all I know, "Satan" is an ex-employee, and Dorgan's divorce completely inconsequential.

Posted by que? | November 29, 2007 4:14 PM

Just because an owner has kept a club running for a multiple number of years, doesn't necessarily mean they are doing it correctly. If you watch the original BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares (the superior version), you see Gordon Ramsey going into restaurants around the UK that have been kept afloat for multiple decades, but are bleeding cash and constantly on the verge of folding. It's not for a lack of passion (though often that contributes) or even skill. It's just that complacency has set in, and the owners and staff are in a rut. I think you can extend this idea to many bars and music venues.

Does anyone ever ask *why* most music clubs don't last more than a handful of years? Nope, it's just accepted, and everyone lives with the constant turnover of names, locations, owners, bookers, etc. I bet if you dug into the guts of these places, you could pinpoint the problems and solve them. Maybe the folks who run Neumo's, or Linda's/King's/Smith, could have a similar show, digging into the area clubs and bars that are just getting by, and shake them up.

Hint: When paychecks are bouncing, that is *not* a healthy business, no matter how long its doors have been open.

Posted by laterite | November 29, 2007 4:25 PM

I freakin' love the Crocodile. I have never worked there, but I have seen plenty of shows there and I will always crave their mashed potatoes.

I would hate to see it sold, but none of that excuses the fact that something is going on behind the scenes there.

My curiosity led me to do a simple google search. I was merely pointing out what was quoted in the article.

Posted by Warship Satan | November 29, 2007 4:28 PM

Booking a rock club is not an easy job. Making money at a rock club is not an easy task. Event driven venues are limited by the very fact that folks are there to see a show. They are not there to hang out in the bar and drink all night.

That money you pay at the door? It has to pay for the night's entertainment, the sound, the lighting, insurance, security, and promotion, amongst other things.

That money you pay for your drink? There's the profit. There's what, 15 drinks in a fifth of booze? About 100 in a keg of beer? Do the math -- that's where the dough is made.

There aren't many people lined up at the bar when the band is onstage. There aren't many people that will say, "Hey let's go to [insert live music venue here] for a drink."

Rock clubs are, by their very nature, volatile places to work at. Disgruntled employees (current AND former) are a dime a dozen, but the Croc sure seems to have a higher share than most.

Pete Greenberg did an excellent job. "Whats-her-name" (Christine Wood) also did an excellent job with that room. Eli has his work cut out for him. Booking a club is not an easy task, even though it looks like it might be.

As for that block, it is only a matter of time before it is razed. Those rumors have been flying for years, for good reason.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 29, 2007 4:47 PM

I would say the Crocodile has been successful because it was in the right place at the right time, and during the harder more competitive years it had the Peter Buck card to lure some great bands. But most importantly it has had a great and dedicated staff- from Terry Lee Hale, Christine Wood to Peter- all fine bookers. Great Promo with Peter English, Frank Nieto and Eli and the dependable Jim Anderson, Kevin, Fred, Stacey, Tyler, Val, Diane and so many great people over the years. Bands have had a lot of loyalty to the Croc as well as patrons because of the cache, good sound and atmosphere. Yet, I haven't heard a lot of positives about Stephanie- and the business with her original partners always left a bad taste in my mouth. I think the continual neglect of the space, and now letting Peter leave may be the final straw.

Posted by JenS | November 29, 2007 5:17 PM

I've been working here for about 12 years, and don't see any signs of closing. We are re-evaluating things with the cafe, but we have big plans, and will be reopening it soon. Working for Stephanie for 12years has been great. She has become more of a mother to me, so the disrespect that was written, makes me sad because we all go through tough times, and some people don't know how to respond to the ones that are hurting. As for Pete, he has worked here for around 4yrs, but only booked for 1yr. No disrespect to him, but I find it imature to slam another while they are experiencing lifes little difficulties. To me respect is earned not given.

Posted by Kevin | November 29, 2007 5:29 PM

this all sounds vaguely familiar ;)

good luck Pete...nothing but respect for Mr. Greenberg on this end.
Pete's integrity and vision for that club will be sorely missed by all, especially the club itself.

Posted by Colin | November 29, 2007 5:56 PM

I want to thank you all for your comments as they are greatly appreciated. While my discussion with The Stranger clearly came from an emotional state it does not change the core of the sentiment. The point I was trying to make is that it is extremely difficult to work for someone who doesn't appreciate or bother to understand the work you contribute to the business, especially considering that it's that contribution that is vital to the success of the business. While I have been the main talent buyer at The Crocodile for 1 year, I have been doing a large part of the booking there for the past 4 years. As for my comments about Stephanie, it is not my intent to slam her while she goes through one of "life's little difficulties" at all. I agree that respect is earned and not given and had I received anything close to that from her since my start at The Crocodile, I'd like to think we'd have had a totally different outcome. It really saddens me that this is the way things ended up as I have a great fondness and love for all of the staff that works there really only want the best for them.

Posted by Pete | November 29, 2007 6:02 PM

Yet another rocker type can't work with strong-willed women. Stop the presses.

Posted by frederick r | November 29, 2007 6:17 PM

I would say that #20 knows neither Pete nor Stephanie.

Posted by JenS | November 29, 2007 6:27 PM

You just summarized all my opinions and theories that I felt when I stopped booking at the Re-Bar.

Bounced checks suck. It happened at the Re-Bar.

When you rarely see your boss at the venue you're working for in question, then somebody totally has the right to question his bosses passion. Happened at the Re-Bar.

It's hard to absorb the stress owners go through, and vent out at you when personal stuff happens to them. Saw it at the Re-Bar.

And you're right, It's not proper to tell your boss that she doesn't get it, even when she doesn't. Everybody including patrons know it's a high turnover industry, and that they should feel lucky they're not losing money.

All this aside, we as a community should also be realizing that bars and venues around the area are currently going through a really *rough* time. All bar owners are stressed right now! With all the weird legislation being proposed and counter-proposed, can you blame them?

You did the right thing Pete. Now that bar can her problem. Time will only tell if she can turn the place around or not...

Posted by Godsactionfigure | November 29, 2007 7:19 PM

Hey guys! Check out the Croc whis weekend!

FRI NOV 30 $10adv/dos


Posted by Eli | November 29, 2007 8:23 PM

ďIf you donít like it, you donít have to work here.Ē This sounds like someone who is about to axe you.

Anyway, good luck finding work after trashing your former employer

Posted by 5'9 | November 30, 2007 3:49 AM

Come on! #20 NAILED IT!

Posted by J.Doe | November 30, 2007 10:53 AM

Pete is a great guy that was doing a great job. It's a big loss to the Croc. Good luck Mr. Greenberg. You have Neumos respect.

Posted by Steven Severin | November 30, 2007 12:50 PM

Well, if for some reason the Croc does fold, please hire their sound engineer EVERYFUCKINGWHERE ELSE, he is needed.

Posted by Dougsf | November 30, 2007 2:43 PM

This summer I heard (thru the Belltown grapevine) that the Crocodile was gonna move to Oklahoma City next year... (rimshot please)... No, actually, I *did* hear, about a couple of months ago, that the Crocodile was on sale for 500 grand (10 year lease)

Posted by James Kirchmer | November 30, 2007 2:44 PM

Pete - It was a pleasure working with you. Your talents and passion for music tell me it won't be long before you pop up again in the local music scene. It will be the Croc's loss. Best of luck from the kids at NM.

Posted by | November 30, 2007 3:19 PM

weak. peace to pete, thats a good dude.

Posted by lar | November 30, 2007 3:58 PM

Since I have never worked there but yet have worked "very" closely with the Crocodile this is directed to #17 (Kevin) on the list or for anyone that has worked or is currently working there, these questions and statements are for you.

First off, it is obvious beyond a reasonable doubt that the issues at the Crocodile were occurring long before Stephanie and Peter Buck divorced, so lets no even mention that again, please. Anyone that says otherwise is just fooling themselves and is in denial.

Secondly has anyone not seen the pattern or red flags as far as the valuable employees that have left for one reason or another over the last year or so? Not to take anything away from the current story of Pete Greenburg leaving the Crocodile, but there's a "Bigger Picture" story waiting to be told and everyone is avoiding it.(that means you Stranger and Weekly) I understand ex-employees who know more than they are willing to say publicly are out there. I know they don't want to be that person that slams their ex employer but the truth needs to come out.

Anyone wonder why Val (bar) left? To #17 on the list, you said, ďTo me respect is earned not given.Ē What kind of respect is the owner and sister giving you when they arenít honest about being behind on the rent? Anyone really know why Val (bar) left? Anyone really know why Chrispy (security) left? Anyone really know why Kristine Wood (ex-booking) left? Anyone really know why the cafť closed? Anyone wonder why the ownersí sister has been doing the books all these years after the lawsuit in the early 90ís? Anyone wonder why certain (local) bands arenít playing there anymore and itís NOT the bookers fault? This is one of many reasons why clubs get a bad reputation (and then the city gets a bad reputation), because of the inexperienced and unknowledgeable owners who own a club for the wrong reason.

Itís like someone who spends millions of dollars on a Monet just so they can say ďI own a MonetĒ but they never appreciate the painter or the painting itself for what it really is and never invest money to take care of it and after several years it ends up in their garage as an afterthought.

In no way do I like to see a club go under, especially the Crocodile, but I strongly believe that those of us that are passionate about being in the music industry, in one form or another, and respect it the way it should be have the right to ask these questions, and more, of their owners when the situation is warranted in order to maintain a high level of respect between bands, local or otherwise, and music venues. In the ďBig PictureĒ of it all it benefits everyone, owners, employees, and patrons alike.

Posted by SleeperAgent | December 3, 2007 5:03 PM

it was a myspace bulletin, which makes greenberg the questionable hero in my book. this whole thing is bullshit anyways... are we in highschool?

Posted by narb | December 6, 2007 9:10 AM

The Croc is a great place to see shows, and I've had some pretty epic nights there (REM!) - but man their security are the biggest nazis in town. Not only do they follow everyone into the bathroom and peek into the stalls, they kick people out relentlessly and make a pretty hostile environment for what should be a chill club.

However, the veggie ruben, and the crocs fries, are two of the best greasy/fatty/grossy food items in Seattle... although one time I did find a band-aid in my spinach salad (take out) and not in the pretty way. I tasted something "medical" while I was chewing, and spit it out, and it was a band-aid. This made me so sad.

Long story short, Pete is cool, the Crocs security sucks, the Veggie Ruben is fantastic, and the Spinach Salad has band-aids in it. As does the green room/whatever you call that thing. But that's a different kind of band aids.

Just one less reason to go to Belltown... all that remains now is scoring crack and the Lava Lounge...

Posted by drunk | December 11, 2007 10:04 AM

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