Meet the Man Behind the Malt Shop Memories Cruise
October 2, 2014 -- Ever stop to wonder who creates the lineup every year on the Malt Shop Memories Cruise? It takes not only a deep knowledge of music from that era but also a person with a strong, eager personality that is passionate about this music and has the ability to book these stars to come on board and have the time of their life with you. Meet Alan Rubens.
Q: You have been developing the lineup for the Malt Shop Memories Cruise since its inception six years ago. What goes into your thought process as you create the lineup? How do you decide who to have on each year?
A.R.: I constantly check which Artists from the Malt Shop era are touring — how good their shows are, how enthusiastic they are to perform and mix and mingle with our cruisers. They need to have a great show and the right kind of personality to enjoy what we have on board. I try to mix it up each year and not repeat the previous year or years. I like to find a new Artist that we haven’t had before — like this year, we have The Temptations and Peter Noone.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in music?
I started out producing records and managing artists. I had my own record company for many years.
You have been the executive producer of many popular Time Life box sets — Rock ’n’ Roll Era, Flower Power, Soul of the ’70s, and of course, Malt Shop Memories. What was it about Malt Shop Memories music that gave you the idea to build that box set into a live entertainment event six years ago?
The wonderful enthusiasm that our customers had toward this music. The Malt Shop era is a special time — it isn’t just the ’50s or the ’60s — it really is the late ’50s and early ’60s — a time when a great portion of the population was growing up — the real first baby boomers. As I said in the infomercial, it was the time between the birth of rock ’n’ roll and the British Invasion, and it really was a special time in American pop music — filled with great songs and great artists.
Given all your knowledge of music, what do you think makes the music of this era, 1950s-60s rock ’n’ roll so special?
There was a changing tide in the culture of teens back then. They were experiencing a new kind of freedom, desiring to make the things around us feel like it was really their own, not their parents’. And the music was exactly that — written by teenagers for teenagers, and it became a soundtrack for the rest of their lives.
Is selecting a great entertainer for our cruise different than selecting entertainers for other live events, in your opinion? Is it number of hits/size of their catalog? Personality of the Artist? All the above?
All of the above. Of course, we need Artists that people remember and whose songs have a special place in everybody’s memory, but they also have to understand what we have here: a community that grew up together and wants to honor those times, feel young again — and they need to be the kind of person who wants to share all those same feelings with the cruisers, be part of that community, and hang out and visit that special time with 2,000 like-minded friends.
Have you ever been star-struck by an Artist you have brought on these cruises?
Not really star-struck — I have known many of them for many years. But I am still in awe of so many of them and their tremendous talent and the effort they put into pleasing each and every fan at every show.
Can you share with us now who you are working to get for 2015?
I am working on making 2015, our sixth sailing, very special. Here are just a few names: Neil Sedaka, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, The Four Tops, Chubby Checker, Little Anthony, Darlene Love, to name just a few …
If I know a great addition, do you take suggestions?
Happy to hear any and all suggestions.
Thanks, Alan! We are all looking forward to seeing the fantastic lineup you have assembled this year and can’t wait to hear that 2015 lineup announcement soon!
Passionate about music and passionate about cruising. Put 'em together and I'm in heaven -- you can catch up with me on a themed cruise and, especially, on an Entertainment Cruise!