Tellers Debuts Downtown on Friday

Motivational speaking realtor is Austin’s newest club owner

“It’s going to become one of the most legendary live music venues Austin’s ever seen,” predicts Chad Goldwasser. The Pure Gold Realty founder beams over his lease acquisition for 607 Trinity, the building previously known as Chicago House, which will soon become his debut venue, Tellers. “Like Antone’s type legendary,” he adds.

Photo by Merrick Ales

Goldwasser brimmed with excitement last Thursday when he called from vacation in Hawaii to confirm he’d inked a deal that would give him a 20-year option on the historic building just off Sixth Street. He demonstrates extraordinary enthusiasm regularly – confirmed by a Tony Robbins meets AC/DC YouTube clip and motivational lectures for sale on his website – but he’s especially pumped to be trying his hand at venue ownership, a challenge he’s already visualized success at.

“A lot of venues in town are shutting down because the rents are going up, but they’re not being creative in marketing themselves,” asserts Goldwasser. “I’m a marketer, I’m a promoter, and I don’t ever stop. I don’t have to sleep much and it’s not because I use drugs. It’s because I have a ton of energy.”

Goldwasser’s not exactly new to the music business. For 12 years, he’s thrown an annual Rock & Restock concert benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. He telegraphed a deeper involvement with local music six weeks ago when he announced plans for a label, Pure Gold Records, and an artist management company, TNT Entertainment, which currently represents one artist, San Diego country singer Steven Ybarra. The entrepreneur says he’s partnered with local band manager Kevin Wommack for those endeavors.

Shortly after the announcement of his management operation, Goldwasser was contacted by ATX Brands head Doug Guller, owner of the Scoot Inn and Parish, offering up the Chicago House building. Chicago House was a favorite downtown venue for singer-songwriters, including Jimmy LaFave and Alejandro Escovedo, from 1987 until 1995. More recently, it’s been a craft beer joint. The space’s new renter felt the forces of fate during his walk-through the following day.

“I walk upstairs where we’ll have concerts and it’s red and black, which are the colors I use for TNT Entertainment,” he recalls. “I turn around and on the wall, lit up is a big ‘C.’ My name’s Chad and I said, ’God, if you’ve ever given me a sign, this is it right now!”

Goldwasser reveals Tellers, named to evoke the practice of storytelling, will cold open on Friday and host a grand opening Sat., Oct. 24, also F1 weekend, which he expects to feature the Rocketboys, Alpha Rev, and more. He plans for the venue, booked by Gillian Driscoll and Zac Kellogg, to feature several separate nightly shows in the format of the Continental Club. The building’s Hobbit-sized secret room, currently in operation as Vinyls, will be an after-party retreat and recording studio for musicians.

He began in real estate in 1997 at age 24 with no college degree and only experience working in restaurants and bars. Asked what made him interested in entering the live music market, his motivational speaking underlies the delivery of his life story.

“I was kind of a fucked-up kid like a lot of us were, and I grew up seeing the Grateful Dead from the time I was 13 till I was 21 – saw them over 80 times. My father died and had gone to jail when I was 14, so I was using drugs, but every time I saw the Dead I lost myself in the music and dancing. That’s when music became very important to me; When I learned that it heals.”

Goldwasser says that by utilizing “massively powerful positive energy and an incredible fuckin’ attitude,” he eventually became Keller Williams’ top agent and went on to launch his own company with 100 agents before things went south.

“I got embezzled from – almost a half million dollars – I lose half of my agents, and my wife leaves me,” he recounts. “I go through a three-year period of depression where I basically want to put a gun in my mouth pretty much every day, but my kids keep me alive and I come out of that and clean up from alcohol and drugs. Then, having lost my company to my old partners, I had to restart my life in 2014.”

Ever since then, he’s been on a mission to heal people though music.

“Making money is great, but I feel like God put me though all these things to prepare me for this,” he says. “This is how I can give back and change the world in my own little way.”

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Chad Goldwasser, Tellers, Chicago House, Pure Gold Realty, Rock & Restock, Doug Guller, Scoot Inn, Parish, Antone’s, Jimmy LaFave, Alejandro Escovedo, Steven Ybarra, AC/DC, Tony Robbins, Kevin Wommack, ATX Brands, Rocketboys, Alpha Rev

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