10 Things Alec Wightman Cannot Live Without


Most people spend the recovery period following a knee replacement bingeing on Netflix or Apple TV, but for Alec Wightman, the down time was a welcome and rare opportunity to tackle a project he’d long considered: compiling a lifetime of memorable moments as an accomplished (albeit part-time) professional concert promoter into a book. Wightman’s incredible anecdotes run the gamut: from bringing the legendary Art Garfunkel to an intimate venue like Valley Dale to introducing Columbus to relative unknowns including Amy Rigby, who (despite enthusiastic reviews) has sold relatively few albums but wowed the crowd at Natalie’s several weeks ago. But the idea of a book seemed impossible. If his day-job as a corporate attorney and seasoned senior partner with the behemoth law firm BakerHostetler wasn’t keeping him busy enough, a diligent approach to side gigs in community leadership like his role on the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (where he served as chairman for three years) meant that putting down all of the incredible stories he had amassed had to be put on the back burner. Over coffee at FITS New Albany, Alec told me “I don’t shotgun community activities {and work}, I give it my all.”


The manuscript that would become “Music In My Life, Notes From a Longtime Fan” started as jottings on index cards that Wightman organized, researched (“it helps to jog the memory”), and revisited over a period of months. After the pandemic hit, he began to take the project seriously - writing for 3-4 hours every day. When it was completed, the response from friends and family gave Wightman the confidence to publish the work, which has been received with much acclaim, resulting in podcasts, author-talks, and publicity and reviews from as far away as Europe.


Since 1995, Wightman’s work as a music producer has been more about bringing his favorite national performers to town and making memories than earning a living. “It's more fun than a human should be allowed to have,” he laughs, “I just try not to lose too much money.” Follow his shows at Natalie’s, where his concerts are promoted under the business name “Zeppelin Productions”.


“Music In My Life” is available locally at Gramercy Books in Bexley, and online at major booksellers.

10 THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:

  1. Live music: One of the hardest things about much of the pandemic was the absence of concerts. As Joni Mitchell once said, “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

  2. International travel: Talk about things I’ve missed during the pandemic! International travel has been so important for my wife, Kathy, and me over the past 15 years. From Bhutan to Botswana, Norway to New Zealand, and lots of places in between.

  3. New York City: As things opened up this summer, our first two trips were to NYC. We love just walking the streets of the city.

  4. Cleveland sports teams: My brother and I always say it was Mom’s fault we were born and raised in Northeast Ohio, causing us to live and (mostly) die with the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers.

  5. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Ah, but Cleveland does have the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a one of a kind institution with which I’ve been proud to be associated for many years, including three as chair of the board.

  6. Neil Young: There is no performer I would travel farther to see, pay more to see, or have seen more often than Neil Young.

  7. Wine country: I just feel good when I’m in “wine country,” no matter where in the world. The scenery is beautiful. The people are friendly. There’s a serenity. Oh, and there’s the wine, too.

  8. Wall Street Journal: Really. I think the news coverage is the most unbiased, straight-up reporting out there. The editorial page…not so much my thing. But I do read Peggy Noonan every Saturday morning to learn what I should think the following week.

  9. My “private club”: I’ve never been a country club guy, but I’ve always liked having a place to go that feels like home. Years ago, it was the Scioto Trail, a long departed roadhouse on Riverside Drive. Then there was Mellmans, first at Goodale and High, and then downtown on Fourth Street. And, of course, the incarnation of Flatiron from the early ‘90s until 2019. Now, it’s Natalie’s and Lindey’s. (I’ve moved up in the world!)

  10. German Village: We moved to the Village in early 2004. I thought I would like it, and I like it 1,000 times more. A true neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.


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