Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie spent time in Los Angeles gaining experience in the music industry. Now they hope to make that experience pay off in the Madison music scene.
They've made an offer on the Majestic Theater, and the theater's current owners, the Schiavo family, have accepted. If their financing goes through, they plan on turning the troubled King St. nightspot into a profitable live music venue that will showcase a variety of national touring acts.
Closing on the building should take place in mid-May. After several months of remodeling, the theater would then re-open sometime in September.
Gerding and Leslie are applying for a new liquor license for business, in part to sidestep the draconian security plan placed on the Majestic after violence in and around the club last summer after hip-hop DJ nights. They'll go before the city's Alcohol License Review Committee in April to secure support for the license and to present a new security plan.
Unsurprisingly, the would-be nightclub owners take pains to underline the fact that they won't be offering dance music at the new Majestic. But they do plan on appealing to a broad range of musical tastes. They sas they'll also offer everything from live comedy to wine-tastings.
After remodeling, the venue should hold about 590 patrons for live concerts. (Tables and chairs will be removed from the ground floor on most concert nights.) Leslie says that the new capacity will help the theater attract acts that are too big for the Annex and High Noon Saloon and too small for the Barrymore Theater.
"We both view the Madison music scene as being on the cusp," adds Gerding, who thinks the remodeled Majestic will be a magnet for acts that currently skip the market. "We think this is the missing piece."