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BGMF is pleased to introduce board member JERRY POMPILI...

jerry1Jerry Pompili and Bill Graham go way back. Jerry began working at the Fillmore East as an usher in May of 1968. A fast-talking New Yorker, Jerry describes himself as “bossy” and “pushy,” so it wasn’t long before he took charge, becoming house manager in August, and soon after, starting the Fillmore East show program. When Jerry was ready for a new challenge, Bill suggested he come to California and, at the end of ’69, Jerry found himself at the Fillmore West. He then went on to booking shows at Berkeley Community Theatre – including Jimi Hendix’s final appearance in America. Jerry booked and ran San Francisco’s Winterland Arena through the 70’s, and made a lasting impact on the make-up of Bill Graham Presents when he hired several “Berkeley High boys” who became mainstays at the company – including the Barsotti brothers and David Mayeri.  After Winterland closed, Jerry moved into artist management at BGP, signing Eddie Money to Bill Graham Management. He was also the Master of Ceremonies at many BGP events, including all of the Days On the Green. In his latter years at BGP, he focused on wiring the company for computers and organizing the company’s extensive archives.


But the achievements listed above don’t really tell us Jerry’s full story. Bob Barsotti remembers that, in the early 70’s, Jerry “did everything – he booked, did advertising, hired part-time help, ran the shows... a virtual one man army.” High-energy and high-intensity, Jerry kept an eye on everything, including Bill. So when Bill jumped a fence to chase down youngsters who were trying to break into a concert, Jerry followed him to make sure Bill didn’t get caught in a jam. Jerry was always ready, willing and able to do whatever needed to be done to assure the best results.

Bob describes a problem that arose on the 1988 Amnesty International World Tour, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman and Youssou N’Dour. “Bill had offered BGP’s services in producing a show in New Delhi, India, where there was no local concert promoter. When BGP’s advance team arrived in New Delhi, they discovered that their promotional partner, a large newspaper, had represented the Amnesty event as the newspaper’s 100th anniversary event instead of the important political statement that it was. Bill was outraged and sent Jerry out to contact every news media outlet he could find. Jerry systematically contacted each and every news outlet in New Delhi in order to correct the perception of the event. By the time the tour arrived in New Delhi, Jerry had succeeded in turning things around, so that the event was reported accurately, and Amnesty International signed on some 50,000 new members that week in New Delhi.”  

jerry3Jerry rose from private to lieutenant in Bill Graham’s army. And we would be remiss if we omitted the fact that, throughout it all, Jerry was quite the charming and charismatic ladies man.
Shortly after Bill’s death in 1991, Jerry was part of the original group that formed the “Bill Graham Foundation” in Bill’s memory. That foundation later re-organized into our current Bill Graham Memorial Foundation in 2008.

Now retired from show business, Jerry is a very happy husband and stay-at-home dad to his two sons. He acts as MC at our annual “Bill’s Birthday Bash” and is an active member of the BGMF board.






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