Curtain Call: Susman comes back to give a push to music scene

Curtain Call: Susman comes back to give a push to music scene

June 30th, 2011 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

Jonathan Susman rehearses with the band Glowing Bordis. Susman is again active in the local arts and entertainment scene after returning from Nashville.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

Jonathan Susman

Age: 33.

Hometown: Chattanooga.

Education: Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Vocation: Marketing and media director with Chattanooga Presents; freelance social media coordinator.


Movie: "Gangs of New York"

Book: "Winnie the Pooh"

Song: "After The Storm" Mumford & Sons,

Quote: "If I make dark my countenance, I shut my life from happier chance." -- A. Tennyson

Almost a year ago, Jonathan Susman was standing in a field in Scotland when he made a decision to leave his job in Nashville and return to Chattanooga.

He had moved to Nashville six years earlier along with his bandmates in the Hopsing Project. After three years of touring, he'd taken a job as the online editor for the local alternative weekly, the Nashville Scene.

"I had a good job," he said. "... I wanted to move back to Chattanooga and take the [music] scene that was happening here and give it a boost if I could."

In the nine months since he moved back, Susman has taken a job with Chattanooga Presents as its marketing and media director. He also handles the promotion company's social media promotions and does the same job for the Tivoli Theatre, Memorial Auditorium and Rhythm & Brews.

He also is the drummer for Glowing Bordis, a band that includes TJ Greever and Dan Pinson.

Q: Tell me about the social media work that you do.

A: I do it for Chattanooga Presents for things like Nightfall and RiverRocks. I also do it for Mike [Dougher] at Rhythm & Brews. And, I do it for the Tivoli and Auditorium.

Q: How would you describe what you do to your great aunt who's never heard of Facebook?

A: As far as Facebook, I push out all the [tickets] on-sale announcements and I work with their marketing departments and sometimes the promoters for ticket giveaways and things like that.

Q: Chattanooga Presents is a three-person operation. I'm going to guess with it and the social media roles there is some autonomy and freedom to be creative. Is that something you like?

A: Oh yes, I do. It allows me to get creative and come up with different promotions and events.

Q: There are no rules, right?

A: No, there are rules. Facebook has rules regarding content and even contests; but for the most part there are no rules. That's what I love about it. The [writing] voice content when you are talking about Rhythm & Brews is different than the voice for something at the Tivoli talking about the patriotic organ concert.

Q: What kind of background got you to this point?

A: I worked at the Nashville Scene and was the online manager there.

Q: Over the years I've noticed that musicians can be divided into two groups: The ones that like the business side of it and the ones that don't. I'm guessing you like it.

A: I like to do both. I love to play, but I like the promotions and the high pressure of running around to get some [artist] colored M&Ms or whatever.

Q: What do you want to do here?

A: I left a great job at a great paper. I went and toured overseas last summer for four weeks with Samantha Gibb, the daughter of Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. I was literally standing in this field in Scotland and just thinking how Nashville doesn't have that scene anymore where you can get away and get outside and do this without driving for 45 minutes. I started thinking I guess I'm just at the end of my time in Nashville.

Within two months I was gone. My goal in coming back here is to really try to affect the local arts and entertainment scene.

Q: Had you kept up with the changes going on here?

A: For the most part. For the first three years, I was coming back and playing Hopsing or whoever every six weeks.

Q: So you knew about the arts scene and CreateHere and things like that?

A: Yes. I came in and immediately met with Josh McManus [of CreateHere and Track 29] and Adam Kinsey [Track 29] is my cousin, so I kept up through him. I knew Track 29 [a new music venue at the Chattanooga Choo Choo] was in the works and I knew about Allied Arts and things they had done. I knew there were these pockets of people doing cool things.

Contact Barry Courter at or at 423-757-6354.