Rodney Hu: Owner of Yucca Tap Room, Arizona Distilling Company

Rodney Hu, owner of Yucca Tap Room and Arizona Distilling Company, photographed at Yucca Tap Room, by Nicki Escudero

Rodney Hu, owner of Yucca Tap Room and Arizona Distilling Company, photographed at Yucca Tap Room, by Nicki Escudero

Rodney Hu
twitter.com/YuccaTapRoom

Rodney Hu is responsible for some of the Valley’s biggest gems: one of the longest-standing live music venues, Yucca Tap Room, and purveyor of fine local spirits, Arizona Distilling Company. The 39-year-old Tempe resident is proud to be a native Arizonan, which is why he put so much passion into his businesses that show off the state’s talent.

Hu works tirelessly on his ventures and is gearing up for Yucca’s 42nd anniversary, to be celebrated this fall. He’s successfully combined his businesses by serving up Arizona Distilling Company spirits at Yucca, including Copper City Bourbon, Arizona Distilling Co.’s Desert Dry Gin and Arizona Distilling Co. Desert Durum Wheat Whiskey.

Sip on one next time you’re at Yucca, which features live music every night. Keep reading to find out what drives Hu’s work ethic and why he loves being in Arizona after all this time.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native. I was born in Phoenix, went to high school at Marcos de Niza and received my degree in finance from ASU. I moved to New York City and worked at a couple different investment banks – I also did sales and trading before moving back to Arizona about 11 years ago. Continue reading

Steve LeVine: CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve LeVine
twitter.com/SteveLeVineEnt

If you’ve been to a Valley nightclub in the past six years, you’ve probably seen some of Steve LeVine’s work. The 39-year-old Scottsdale resident and Los Angeles native is the self-titled “Chief Entertainment Officer” of Steve LeVine Entertainment, which organizes some of the Valley’s biggest nightlife shindigs, as well as concerts and sports-related events. He’s been working in the entertainment industry since he was only 14 years old, when he started as a DJ for his friends’ parties before moving into Greek life parties and starting his own DJ company. Now, Steve LeVine Entertainment, launched in 2007, employees 35 full-time staff members and more than 70 independent contractors, organizing parties around the Southwest.

LeVine is also an investor in Maya Day & NightClub, which hosts Audien for tomorrow, December 31’s New Year’s Eve party. He’s also an investor in restaurant Majerle’s. Keep reading for how he started his business, which also signed singers Kelley James and Scott Keo and does public relations for clients such as fitness studio Amenzone. Plus, scroll down to hear five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I liked baseball and used to come to Arizona with my family all the time for spring training. I came to visit Arizona State (University) and fell in love with the place. I originally wanted to go to school to be an architect, and ASU’s school of architecture was top-rated and pretty amazing.

I ended up choosing a whole different path. I got into mass communications quickly and was in the very first class to get a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Continue reading

Matty Steinkamp: Last Exit Live Marketing Director, Sundawg Media Owner

Matty Steinkamp, Last Exit Live Marketing Director and Sundawg Media Owner, photographed at Last Exit Live in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Matty Steinkamp, Last Exit Live Marketing Director and Sundawg Media Owner, photographed at Last Exit Live in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Matty Steinkamp
twitter.com/SundawgMedia

Matty Steinkamp has been one of the Valley’s driving forces behind uniting its music scene for almost the past decade. The 33-year-old Phoenix resident founded Sundawg Records, which represented bands including What Laura Says, The Wiley One and A Life of Science, a label that was active from 2005-2012. Now, he still helps market bands through his Sundawg Media, whose services include everything from creative concepts to music video direction, and is the marketing director of live music venue Last Exit Live, which opened this past April in central Phoenix. Steinkamp is known for his enthusiasm and love for music, and he’s a trained musician himself, in voice and piano, having performed acoustically and in bands and in a barbershop quartet, having sung everywhere from Japan to California. Steinkamp promises a great mix of local and national music will hit the Last Exit Live stage, and he talked about his view of the local scene, as well as five reasons why he loves living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised here. My grandparents moved out here in the early 1900’s, and my parents and whole family grew up here. I was born in Phoenix, went to North Canyon High School and Paradise Valley Community College and to ministry school before going to Northern Arizona University. Continue reading

Michelle Donovan: Nile Theater Concert Promoter and The Mantooth Group Founder

Michelle Donovan, concert promoter for Nile Theater and The Mantooth Group, photographed at Nile Theater in Mesa, by Nicki Escudero

Michelle Donovan, concert promoter for Nile Theater and The Mantooth Group founder, photographed at Nile Theater in Mesa, by Nicki Escudero


Michelle Donovan
twitter.com/NileTheater

Michelle Donovan is one of the strongest female presences in the local music scene. At only 31, the Tempe resident has been promoting local shows with the concert promotion company she helped found, The Mantooth Group, for nearly 10 years. The Mantooth Group has been leasing out the Nile Theater in Mesa for shows since 2010, giving people of all ages a venue to share in their passion for music. Donovan books hundreds of shows a year at not only the Nile, but also at local spots such as Yucca Tap Room and Pub Rock Live, while substitute teaching on the side. She’s currently working on renovations to the 100-year-old Nile basement, where shows also take place, and talked about where her love for rocking bands comes from, as well as five of her favorite things about living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents got a job transfer when I was in junior high. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I went to Highland High School and got a history degree from Arizona State University. Continue reading

Stephen “Psyko Steve” Chilton: Owner of Psyko Steve Presents

Stephen "Psyko Steve" Chilton, owner of Psyko Steve Presents, photographed at Modified Arts in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Stephen “Psyko Steve” Chilton, owner of Psyko Steve Presents, photographed at Modified Arts in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Stephen “Psyko Steve” Chilton
twitter.com/psykosteve

If you’ve seen local music shows in the Valley in the past dozen years, chances are good Stephen “Psyko Steve” Chilton had a part of one of them. The veteran music promoter and Phoenix resident, 30, has been helping bring acts to local stages since he was 17, starting out by helping produce sets at Modified Arts and since booking concerts at everything from the Nile Theater and Crescent Ballroom to Hard Rock Cafe and Pub Rock Live. Chilton, who has a philosophy degree from Arizona State University, talked about his views of the Phoenix music scene and how he hopes to continue to build it up with his music promotion company, Psyko Steve Presents. Keep reading to hear five reasons why he loves living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native, a sixth-generation Arizonan on my dad’s side, born in Mesa. I lived in Mesa and Tempe, attended Mountain View High School and ASU, and have lived in downtown Phoenix for the past 4 years. Continue reading