A few alumni who rock: Julie Peterson '86

Text by Linda Claycamp, Illustrations by Stan Shaw

“The music business is extremely aggressive, greedy, mean-spirited, sexist, and back-stabbing.” That is the advice Julie Peterson imparts when students contact her through the Alumni Sharing Knowledge Program, looking for possible jobs. “If that doesn’t dissuade them, they’ve got a chance of making it,” she says.

Julie is production coordinator in a world-tour management team for rock bands Aerosmith, KISS, and Metallica. She’s responsible for logistics and operations to move 40 to 150 people across international borders, all while working under intense time constraints. In addition to large-scale concert management, Julie has assisted bands with special appearances on shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman and the Grammy Awards. In the course of her work, Julie has met Robert Plant, LeAnn Rimes, Don Henley, and other musicians, as well as actors such as Laura Dern and Dustin Hoffman, and even President Bill Clinton (and his Secret Service agents, of course).

Julie majored in politics and government with the intent to go on to law school, but was swayed toward touring. She worked in the local entertainment industry to learn the business, and then expanded to the national market. But how does a politics and government degree (with dual minors in economics and religion) apply to the rock music industry? “The liberal arts angle was invaluable. Being able to write, organize, and communicate were the real tools.” Julie also believes that living in residence halls through four years at Puget Sound made it easier for her to live on a tour bus. “Being an RA was great groundwork on how to resolve conflicts, which I do lots of on tour.”

Julie still returns to campus to see what faculty are writing and recommending at the Bookstore, and to audit courses between tours.