Never Sold Out

Fiction - General
140 Pages
Reviewed on 03/22/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Doug Marsh has worked a variety of exciting, fulfilling jobs. He was a producer for a rock radio station in Las Vegas for years, then eventually a co-host on the show. He currently works as a sports announcer for local teams. He is lucky in that his wife and son like the same kind of music as he does. Well, at least most of it.

Carlo Brigola has been in medical sales for the past fifteen years. He has been married for nearly thirty years to his wonderful wife, Richelle. They have lived in the Pacific Northwest for the past twenty years. Their family includes two nearly grown boys. Giovanni, twenty-one years old, is a passionate soccer player and graphic arts major. Gio designed the cover of this book. Massimo is a brilliant seventeen-year-old who is hoping to go to the Air Force Academy upon completion of high school.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy Young for Readers' Favorite

Never Sold Out by Doug Marsh with Carlo Brigola begins with a typical story of a young man in a band in the eighties and a spare ticket to a Van Halen concert. Fast forward to the nineties and Carlo, the owner of a CD store and ticket broker (not a scalper), meets Doug, a regular guy, working in computer programming, with a passion for music and sports. Carlo quickly recognizes an opportunity to update his system in exchange for a deal on ticket prices and a true friendship is developed. The following years see Doug working part-time at the store and going to some kick-ass concerts. Carlo and his wife love to set him up with attractive ladies who also love to go to live gigs and it would seem that Doug has a perfect life. The life of a ticket broker is not always a smooth ride and Carlo and Doug have their fair share of scrapes and hairy moments.

This is a great book! The spirit of the nineties and the music scene take the reader back to a golden age of concerts. I personally remember the joy of getting tickets for a gig and the anticipation that builds as the date gets nearer. I have also bought tickets from alternative sources, or touts as we called them in the UK. Pre-technology getting tickets for gigs was a real art and what I loved about Carlo and Doug was the way they cared about their customers and ensured they had the best experience possible. This is the story of a real bromance and a genuine love of music. I loved the fact that the story didn’t end even when they went their separate ways, and we learn how their families are continuing the tradition of attending live gigs. Whatever your age, you should follow the advice in the prologue and visit a record store if possible. There’s a reason vinyl is becoming popular again and this book, Never Sold Out by Doug Marsh, is a testament to why!

Jack Magnus

Never Sold Out is a contemporary fiction novel written by Douglas Frank Marsh. The 1980s was the perfect time to be young and living in Southern California, especially if you loved rock and lived for going to concerts. Doug not only loved rock; he lived rock. He was the bass player in a garage band that had never actually played a gig, but did, at least as far as they were concerned, manage some passably good covers of Ratt, Motley Crue and Van Halen. When it was announced that Van Halen would be playing at the Forum, Doug knew he had to go. One of his band-mates, Jacob, actually had a ticket, due to having broken up with his girlfriend after he'd bought her one. Another band-mate, Noah, and Doug both wanted that ticket, and the bidding war between them began in earnest. The concert was worth every penny Doug had spent to get that ticket. Years later, he could still remember that night.

Douglas Frank Marsh’s debut novel, Never Sold Out, answered a lot of questions I’ve always had about the seemingly impossible quest for good tickets, no matter how early you are or how long you wait for the tickets to start selling. Marsh’s story of the unlikely friendship that blooms between Carlo, the CD store owner and entrepreneur, and Doug is one I’ll not likely soon forget. I loved sharing their concert experiences and worried along with Doug at their interactions with the definitely dodgy character known as The Mole. Never Sold Out is a fun read that, while not as good as having been there oneself, feels like a close second. The characters are beautifully sketched out and credible, and the plot kept me happily enthralled from cover to cover. It’s a most impressive and well written debut performance. Never Sold Out is most highly recommended.

Lisa McCombs

Not long out of high school, Doug Marsh volunteered to drive a band mate to a Van Halen concert if only the ticket holder agreed to sell it to Doug. Of course that ticket came at a price and one that Doug really couldn’t afford. But it was 1984 and Van Halen was hot, especially when the performance was only a few miles away at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Paying the price was a no-brainer to Doug. Working for a computer programming company, Doug was not excited about his job, but at least it kept him in the black and allowed him to acquire mediocre concert tickets. Then he met event ticket broker Carlo and his musical entertainment opportunities took a turn for the better.

Never Sold Out by Doug Marsh is an enlightening look at the behind the scenes of first class ticket acquisition. As Doug learned the ropes from Carlo, he got a taste for the VIP world of entertainment events in Southern California. From mega music stars of the era to sports playoffs, Doug and Carlo were privy to only the best seats. Never Sold Out is fast-paced and honest in its perspective on the West Coast 1980s and ‘90s. One thing that struck me is the clean environment in which Doug and Carlo existed. Even with expected street drugs being showcased in the news, the sincere interest in the entertainment world was refreshing. A fun combination of reality and surprising outcomes, this is an interesting look at concert celebrity when vinyl was still revered and record stores were popular hangouts.

A. L. Peevey

Never Sold Out, by Doug Marsh with Carlo Brigola, follows the “adventures” of a former garage band bassist and self-proclaimed music fanatic, Doug, or Doogie as he is called by Carlo. Carlo introduces him to the obscure world of ticket brokering, where tickets for concerts and sporting events are bought for advertised prices but then resold with marked up prices. This scheme allows Carlo and Doug to make sizable profits over and over again while also getting to enjoy attending concerts in a variety of venues and taking advantage of various other benefits. Can Doug and Carlo continue to take advantage of fans’ hunger for tickets with no repercussions?

Never Sold Out takes us readers into what would be considered little known territory, except to those concerned: ticket buyers and sellers, specifically in the 1990s, and Doug Marsh, the author, makes it interesting reading. His anecdotes, coupled with those of his mentor and fellow ticket broker, Carlo Brigola, bring to life the day-to-day business of buying concert tickets and selling them to unsuspecting yet willing fans for often exorbitant prices. The behind the scenes wheeling and dealing is astounding and the name dropping of famous bands and musicians reads like a stroll down memory lane for us readers who listened to these artists’ music back in the day and often still do. The writing style easily persuades readers to follow the chain of events. Those who enjoy nostalgia and an over-the-shoulder view of how concert and sporting event tickets used to be hustled will want to read this book. This is an interesting read.

Ruffina Oserio

Ticket brokers and the grind that happens behind the scenes of rock n’ roll band concerts, the secondary ticketing business, and an adventure of two passionate characters make up just some of what readers will find in Never Sold Out by Douglas Frank Marsh. Doug started off with a band that practised in his friend Jacob and his brother Corey’s mom’s garage and transitioned to acquiring and selling tickets to high-prized events. Together with Carlo, they have to work hard to make many sales, an adventure that took them to strange places, put them in strange company, and made them face very dangerous situations. In this narrative, the author shares their struggles, the hilarity of the experience, and the low moments that accompanied it. What does it take to help a friend and keep a business going?

There is a lot of humor and it begins right from the very first page with the preface: “The man in line behind me nudges me. 'You know those guys at the front of the line are scalpers. They don’t even care about seeing Van Morrison, just trying to make money. Bastards!'’ Told in an engrossing first person narrative voice, this brilliant debut takes readers on a hilarious ride through very exciting moments in the life of the characters, a tale that shows readers what the secondary ticket market of the nineties looked and felt like. Douglas Frank Marsh creates great dialogues and explores the depth of the characters, deftly blending wit with humor and infusing the writing with realism to give readers an enjoyable ride. For a debut, Never Sold Out is a great achievement; a fun read.