Stephen Carroll, best known as being a guitarist with The Weakerthans, is taking over the reins at the West End Cultural Centre. He takes on the role of general manager, replacing Meg McGimpsey.
"I'm humbled and honoured to have received the appointment to the general manager position, and I think for me as a musician who grew up there, it feels so great to return to a place that nurtured me," he said.
He's anxious to "help it nurture future Winnipeg musicians to go on to international fame."
Less well known about Carroll the musician is he is steeped in the business side of the music biz. He was The Weakerthans business manager and has been running a music management company since 2009, representing Imaginary Cities, Paper Lions and JP Hoe. He was recognized as Manager of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards.
He hopes the name he has garnered around the world with The Weakerthans will help shine more of an international light on Winnipeg and the West End.
"It's such a beautiful room to play," he said. "It's one of the most environmentally friendly venues in North America, being LEED-certified, which is really rare. It's a great room to connect with an audience and I'm hoping that with my colleague Jason, the artistic director, we can bring great international calibre acts to the venue."
More than that, Carroll says the West End was part of shaping and directing his own career.
"I played my first gig there when I was 18. It gave me an opportunity to go out, learn how to play in front of an audience, to refine my craft and really discover the power of music," he said.
He recalls listening to Bif Naked's first band, Gorilla Gorilla, "It was a wild and raucous event and a light went on. I said 'I want to be a part of that. I want to have a great career in it.'"
Carroll thinks the West End is on the right track, and his job is to continue to steer it towards the goals of "connecting with community and providing opportunities for people of Winnipeg to come and see great music."
Meg McGimpsey leaves the West End after 4 1/2 years to join the Province of Manitoba as an arts consultant. Stephen Carroll takes on his new role at the West End Cultural Centre on Jan. 20.