Craig Boliver's I Am Shark manages punk and emo bands local and national | Local Beat | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Craig Boliver's I Am Shark manages punk and emo bands local and national

"My goal is to kind of control everything."

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Every week is shark week: Craig Boliver
  • Every week is shark week: Craig Boliver

At 22, most young rocker types are still dreaming of hitting it big and touring with a band. Craig Boliver has moved on from that: The Grove City resident is now running I Am Shark, a management firm with a small roster of Western Pennsylvania- and Ohio-based bands. 

Of course, he got into the game early.

"I started setting up shows when I was 15," Boliver says. "And I was playing in some crappy little bands."

By his late teens, Boliver was introduced to behind-the-scenes work by Jim Recor, a Clear Entertainment exec who had managed bands like Fleetwood Mac, and who was living in Grove City. At first Boliver worked for Clear, but he quickly decided that working with mainstream artists wasn't for him. That's when he formed I Am Shark.

The first band he represented was Pittsburgh's A Voice Like Rhetoric, which remains on the I Am Shark roster. The most popular act Boliver works with is Hawthorne Heights -- the Dayton, Ohio, pop-punk band that found mainstream success in the mid-2000s.

That band is on Wind-Up, the label that reps bands like Creed and Evanescence, but also works with Boliver. There's a role for labels, says Boliver, but he's happy to take on as many managerial duties as possible for his bands. I Am Shark does a little booking, a little publicity, and plenty of other legwork.

"My goal is to kind of control everything," the soft-spoken Boliver explains with a smile. "Marketing where the record goes, what we want to do for the music video, working on placements [in TV and movies]."

Boliver's most recent client, The Story Changes, is a post-hardcore two-piece from Dayton. While the band's been around and touring since the mid '00s, Boliver says things are really taking off now.

"ESPN has picked up a bunch of their songs [for placements]; we're getting ready to go shoot a video at Camp Woodward, which is a big skate park near State College. They still skateboard every day, so this is their dream!"

The Story Changes plays The Smiling Moose on Sat., July 30, with You the Symphony, Red Hands and A Far Cry. It's a 6 p.m. show; cover is $10 and includes a You the Symphony EP.

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