As an entertainment lawyer, Christopher Sabec has represented various music professionals in the industry. His most notable clients are The Dave Matthews Band, Hanson, and Jerry Garcia.
The University of Georgia was renowned for their program in international law. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State under President Johnson, had built a research center there. This seemed like a great fit for Christopher Sabec at the time. After visiting the campus, Christopher met with the Dean and he offered him a partial scholarship. Christopher Sabec had already fallen in love with Athens, Georgia and its thriving music scene, so the decision to attend was easy.
During Christopher’s first year of law school, he began to consider his options for the summer. Setting a long-term goal of working as an international attorney in either the State Department or on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Christopher Sabec began to explore internship opportunities in Washington for the summer. He was pleasantly surprised when he found a directory of all the programs available in Washington for law students. As he had hoped, there were programs at the State Department and the Senate so he mailed letters and resumes to both. As an afterthought, he decided to send in one more package – a long shot application to The Office of the Counsel to the President at the White House. It was less an exercise in why, then one in why not; after all, Christopher had nothing to lose.
It was in the middle of this process that Christopher Sabec’s political skills and musical interests literally met. In March of 1990, Christopher Sabec laid the foundation for his first relationship in the music industry: the Grateful Dead. Christopher returned home one day and found a message from one of his former tutoring students who now worked at the white house. The former student’s boss, Jim Pinkerton, the Deputy for the President on Domestic Policy, wanted Christopher to get in contact with the Grateful Dead so that the president, George Bush Senior, could have them on his environmental bandwagon. Christopher only had been to their shows, but this was a request from the White House, so he said he would get right on it. With the word from the White House, Christopher Sabec was able to get in contact with one of the Dead’s confidants, John Barlow, and schedule them for a call with the White House. After a productive discussion during the call, a meeting was scheduled the following week in Washington and Christopher was invited to attend.
The day of the meeting, Christopher Sabec spend the first half of the morning briefing White House staff on the Dead, their history, the members, and their political views. Then Christopher when over to the band’s hotel, met them for the first time, and explained to Barlow what he had been told about the meeting. Eventually, Pinkerton arrived with a group of environmental advisors to the President, including the Undersecretary of the Interior, the Director of the EPA, and the Director of the Forest Service. The White House was looking for input on issues from the Dead that would be important to the Dead’s fans. In addition, they were hoping the band would film a public service announcement on the issue of their choice. Pinkerton was notorious for out-of-the-box thinking and was attempting to lend credibility to the Administration’s desire to be viewed as pro-environment. The Dead were flattered by the attention and took seriously the opportunity to articulate their positions on environmental issues that concerned them. This meeting turned out to be the first in a series between the administration and the band and their organization. In the end, some significant contributions were made to the Administration’s environmental policy, most notably in the area of the Endangered Species Act (Spotted Owl) and logging policy.
Christopher Sabec was able to remain friendly with the band ever since. When Christopher gained some clout in the entertainment industry, he was able to work as a consultant for two Grateful Dead projects in August of 2000. One was a licensing deal for a film shot at a series of concerts with The Band and Janis Joplin. The other was an agreement with Rhino Records for a retrospective box set of their recordings for Warner Brothers Records. Christopher Sabec ultimately became a representative for Jerry Garcia.
Christopher Sabec enters the music industry:
Christopher Sabec graduated Law School in 1992, and traveled to Alaska for a bit before settling down. In 1993, Christopher moved to Richmond, Virginia. His first night, he went to check out a band that his friend recommended at his local club. The band called themselves The Dave Matthews Band. Christopher brought his portable DAT player with the hopes of plugging it into the soundboard to record the show for his friend. The sound guy mentioned that he has to get permission from the bandleader, Dave Matthews. Dave came out, Christopher introduced himself and gave Dave his card and asked permission to record the set. Dave said it was okay, as long as he was sent a copy of the tape. After sending Dave the tape of the show, Christopher Sabec wrote a letter to Dave telling him to call him the next time he was in town. About a week later, Dave called Christopher and invited him to dinner. At this dinner, Dave Matthews mentioned that he needed a lawyer to represent him in his contract negotiations, and Christopher jumped at this opportunity. This was the moment in when Christopher realized he could combine his love of music with his career, and thus began his illustrious career as an entertainment lawyer and manager.
In March of 1994, Christopher Sabec attended the South by Southwest Music Conference on the behalf of Dave Matthews. He was at the closing softball games when three blond kids came up to him. These kids were trying to get people’s attention with little success. One of the kids asked Christopher, “Excuse me sir, can we perform for you?” He said yes, and was blown away by their perfect a capella harmonies. Christopher immediately asked to meet their parents, who introduced themselves as the Hanson family from Tulsa, Oklahoma with their three sons Isaac, Taylor and Zac. They called themselves Hanson and wanted to be musicians. They already had an attorney at the time but were in need of a manager, so Christopher again jumped at the opportunity. Two years of fostering these brothers’ development, Christopher helped Hanson sign to Mercury Records in July of 1996.