Shaping South Shore’s music scene

LateNiteBilly, aka Billy Drewitz, owner of Late-Nite Productions, is a talent buyer and promoter with more than 20 years in the music industry. This experience and ingenuity lend him the intuition to bring the best of new and upcoming artists and nationally renowned musicians to Tahoe and Reno.

Drewitz curates entertainment for Whiskey Dick’s in South Lake Tahoe and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Stateline, Nev., as well as Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor in Reno, Nev.

Watching the increasingly talented musical acts performing at Whiskey Dick’s and MontBleu is exciting because Drewitz books artists from diverse genres, national acts and emerging artists.

“I’ve booked bands that have played the Fillmore in San Francisco the night before and the next night they are performing at Whiskey Dicks,” he says.

“There have been a number of bands that have blown up over the years. The band Rebelution played for the first time in the area at Whiskey Dick’s and five years later they are playing Harvey’s Outdoor Concert series for 8,000 people.”  –Billy Drewitz

Whiskey Dick’s has a 260-seat capacity and is an intimate venue, perfect for the up-close-and-personal musical experience.

Drewitz has a knack for talent on the cusp of becoming well known.

“There have been a number of bands that have blown up over the years. The band Rebelution played for the first time in the area at Whiskey Dick’s and five years later they are playing Harvey’s Outdoor Concert series for 8,000 people, as well as Dirty Heads and the Devil Makes Three,” he says.

He initially worked under the tutelage of the now-retired Rob Polomksi of Renegade Productions. He once curated the lineup for Music in the Park in Truckee, as well as a number of North Tahoe venues during his career. Drewitz cut his teeth as a talent buyer for Mulligans, which is now Moe’s Original BBQ in Tahoe City.

“The Foo Fighers, Moby and Bobby Brown all performed at Mulligans,” says Drewitz. He has lived many lives in his career. He was tour manager for the New Zealand band, Katchafire, booked big venues in San Francisco and for a period of time was the associate producer of “Girls Gone Wild.”

LateNiteBilly got his name from being the last guy at the bar partying. A former alcoholic and drug addict, Drewitz has been sober for 13 years.

“I’ve been clean and sober in an industry that has a lot of drugs and alcohol. I was a mess for a while, but I made changes in my life. Now I help a lot of people with their sobriety,” he says.

How does Drewitz pick his talent for his South Shore venues?

“Agents contact me to book their artists and I use my better judgment. I had never heard of Rebelution when a friend of mine from San Luis Obispo mentioned I should book them and I took a chance. The show sold out,” he says.

Drewitz handles all of the marketing, promotion, artists’ negotiations and renting the venue in addition to taking on the financial risk. Although he books many different genres, Drewitz loves hip-hop and hip-hop subgenres, from old-school rap and gangsta rap to conscious hip-hop.

“I listen to all kinds of music and whoever I book at the time is the music I tend to listen to. If I book Melvin Seals, the keyboardist for Jerry Garcia, I’ll listen to the Grateful Dead, or if I am booking a reggae act, I might listen to Bob Marley and the Wailers. There are no boundaries. I am open to every genre: reggae, bluegrass, hip-hop. Lately, I’ve been listening to country,” he says. “I am reinventing myself. I never thought about country,” he says, adding that he has created CULT (Cowboy Up Lake Tahoe) Productions.

Drewitz is not alone on the South Shore. He mentions promoter Paul Reder, who brings a number of electronic and reggae festivals to the area.

“Paul Reder is one of South Lake’s other long-running promoters. He just bought his own club,” says Drewitz, explaining that Reder recently opened The Loft, a nightclub and theater venue at Heavenly.

Whether it’s promoting a 1980s’ dance party, bringing Cheech and Chong to MontBleu this August or hosting the latest emerging hip-hop artist, Drewitz continues to cultivate acts that draw people to the South Shore and keep locals entertained, as well. |

Priya Hutner
Priya Hutner is a writer, personal chef and meditation teacher. She writes feature articles about music, art, food and recreation. Priya loves to immerse in story. Whether jumping from a plane, eating obscure foods or hitting the Tahoe-Reno music scene, she is always up for adventure and experience. Having moved to the mountains from Sebastian, Fla., she embraces the Tahoe lifestyle and loves to ski, hike, paddle and swim. Priya is the owner of the Seasoned Sage, a business that prepares organic meals and facilitates workshops that promote a health-conscious lifestyle. She is currently writing a memoir about her experience living on an ashram and working on a series of cookbooks. |