My Jakarta: Paulus Panggabean, Hard Rock Cafe General Manager

My Jakarta: Paulus Panggabean, Hard Rock Cafe General Manager
by Zack Petersen

Hard Rock Cafe - Paulus Panggabean

Hard Rock Cafe - Paulus Panggabean


Paulus Panggabean lives the good life. He’s not exactly on vacation 24/7, but it’s close. As the general manager of Hard Rock, Paulus splits his time between Bali and Jakarta. He lives it up in two of the countries hottest spots, meeting the coolest people and listening to the best music—and he gets paid to do it.

The tattooed father of four sat down to quell our jealousy, talk about his favorite piece of Hard Rock nostalgia and let us in on the mystery surrounding the origin of the Hard Rock name.

Question: How many Hard Rock T-shirts do you have?
Paulus Panggabean: So many … I don’t even know. Hundreds.

Question: How did you land the job as general manager of Hard Rock?
Paulus Panggabean: I was working in Mulia Tower on Gatot Subroto and one day I read an advertisement that a Hard Rock was going to open here, and I love Hard Rock. Before that, I worked on a cruise ship and my roommate on the ship had worked at Hard Rock Singapore, so he told me the history of Hard Rock, everything about it. So when I went in for the interview, I impressed the GM from Singapore with how much I knew. I’d always dreamed of working at Hard Rock.

Question: Where and when did the first Hard Rock open?
Paulus Panggabean: In London, in Hyde Park, June 14, 1971. There are so many stories about Hard Rock and how it got the name. Two Americans living in London reckoned that the American food there at that time sucked, so they wanted to open a place that served good food and where the poor and the rich could hang out together, a place that treated everybody equally. Can you imagine that an ex-Rolls-Royce showroom serving greasy food across from Buckingham Palace became the most popular restaurant in London.

Questioner: And now they’re all over the world.
Paulus Panggabean: The Hard Rock logo is one of the 10 most recognized logos in the world. You know you have the Nike Swoosh, Coca-Cola and all that. The survey said that 85 percent of the people recognized the logo. Even if they weren’t sure exactly what it was, they recognized the logo.

Question: It must be rough flying from Jakarta to Bali all the time. People probably tell you every day how jealous they are of your job.
Paulus Panggabean: Yeah, it’s three weeks in Jakarta and one week in Bali. I’m blessed.

Question: What’s the difference between Hard Rock Bali and Hard Rock Jakarta?
Paulus Panggabean: The market is different in Bali; we get more tourists. Here it’s more regulars and repeat customers; we have more functions as well.

Question: How many tattoos do you have?
Paulus Panggabean: Actually I have 11 tattoos, but some of them are sleeves. I got my first tattoo when I was 22. There’s an Italian guy who comes to Bali every year. The next time he comes I’m going to get a Tibetan skull with flowers. I’ll have to do it in two sittings.

Question: What about the music that plays here at Hard Rock. Where does it come from? Do you guys make the playlist?
Paulus Panggabean: Every Hard Rock in the world is given the same playlist. We have this amazing machine called VDS, video data system, and it’s automatically downloading. It’s like a giant DVD player. Every night it automatically downloads or deletes videos. It just plays randomly. Some of the performances are really rare, they’re taken from Hard Rock live shows or other exclusive Hard Rock events.

Question: What is your favorite piece of nostalgia here?
Paulus Panggabean: I have a guitar from Steve Vai. I know him personally. He did a concert in Jakarta, he’s a cool guy. He used to play guitar for David Lee Roth, then he had a solo project and now he’s part of G3, he and Joe Satriani.

Question: You must get comments all the time on the rock memorabilia. What gets the most feedback?
Paulus Panggabean: They love the old stuff, you know, the legendary memorabilia. The young guys are amazed by the stuff from Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

Question: When you’re not hanging out in Hard Rock, where do you go?
Paulus Panggabean: I love to go to Dragonfly and I like Blowfish.

Question: How often do you guys have concerts?
Paulus Panggabean: We have at least two concerts a month, but we have live music every night. We have a house band here.

Question: Do you ever get behind the bar and help out?
Paulus Panggabean: Yeah, if the restaurant gets really busy, I help out where I can. I used to be a bartender so it’s no problem.

Question: Where did the name Hard Rock come from?
Paulus Panggabean: There are so many theories about where the name came from. Hard rock was a popular form of music at the time. Another one is that it came from “The Flintstones,” because the cafe is called Bed Rock Cafe. And the third one is a parable. One of the Hard Rock founders [Isaac Tigrett] is a Sathya Sai Baba follower, and Sathya Sai Baba told Isaac everyone in the world is carrying one big boulder, but you chip away your problems and you have one tiny hard rock.

But I think the real story is that in 1970, before Hard Rock opened, The Doors put out an album and on the back cover there is a picture of the Morrison Hotel and underneath there is a door that says Hard Rock Cafe. That was a year before the opening.

Question: What is the next event you guys are hosting?
Paulus Panggabean: Here in Jakarta we have Dance Company on October 2, and on October 9 it’s Andra and The Backbone.

Jakarta Globe Reference

Also see:
Hard Rock To Storm The City

Hard Rock To Storm The City

Hard Rock To Storm The City
Swati Sharma
First Published : 09 Sep 2009 04:02:07 AM IST
Last Updated : 09 Sep 2009 09:23:07 AM IST

HYDERABAD: It’s not just a restaurant, it is a museum of rock culture, with authentic memorabilia from Rock ‘n’ Roll legends covering its walls.

After spreading the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll around the world since 1971, Hard Rock Cafe, a premium brand with Rock ‘n’ Roll sensibility at its core, is almost ready to rock the city this September. With guitars, racks of clothes, shelves of gold records — it was an incredible sight. ‘Love All, Serve All,’ the motto displayed at the entrance was adopted from Sathya Sai Baba.

David Holle, who started as a waiter in Hard Rock Cafe in New York, 25 years ago, is the person choosing the memorabilia for the location.

“Hard Rock Cafe has an acquisitions person, who goes to auctions in search of memorabilia. But often artists actually call the café and ask if they can sell or donate some of their collectibles”, says Holle. “We don’t sell memorabilia, but we do have Hard Rock signature retail store – the Rock Shop, which offers a line of authentic Hard Rock Cafe items, including Hard Rock’s famous Classic and City T-shirts, as well as highly collectible accessories and pins.”

“Hyderabad is an exciting and strategic city for us. The city has its culture and music and I am hopeful that Hard Rock will become the ultimate destination here. It is better known for its atmosphere than its food,” says Anibal Fernandez Lorden, director, Middle East, India, Africa franchise operations and development.

The walls are adorned with neat glass showcasing Madonna’s brown bret, Tina Turner’s black ankle boot, Keith Richards’ guitar, Elton John’s sunglasses and nearly 70 other such objects that are treat to a music lover’s eye. Michael Jackson’s black fedora hat is among the memorabilia.

The memorabilia being featured in Hard Rock includes some of the most valued and treasured pieces of Rock ‘n’ Roll history.

Hard Rock’s Memorabilia Collection has grown over the years through donations, auctions, and acquisitions from some of the world’s greatest musicians and artists.

Hard Rock strives to showcase this collection for music fans everywhere while preserving some of the most memorable moments of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

It is a brand that believes God is in the details and maintains high quality service at all times. It is not about coffee, it’s about music, finedining and entertainment.

The round bar and the inviting restaurant is a major entertainment place, with the popular retail shop on the first level, a must for all visitors.

Hard Rock International manages about 115 cafes – 65 of which are they own — across 41 countries.

Started by two Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, it opened the first café in London in the early 70s, celebrating the Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit. The Hard Rock Cafe is going to open at GVK One Mall.

Rock and Relics

  • Its memorabilia collection, which consists of more than 60,000 pieces that are rotated to different cafes, is considered as the world’s most comprehensive “visual history” of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and has prompted observers to describe the brand as a “cultural force.”
  • The birth of Hard Rock International’s memorabilia collection is itself a part of music history. The collection began when Eric Clapton, a regular customer at the original Hard Rock Cafe London, asked the staff if he could hang his guitar on the wall to mark his favourite bar stool as his spot.
  • Hard Rock also derives significant revenue as an accessory retailer.
  • Its merchandise, like T-shirts, lighters, shot glasses and music related products, is city-specific and has reached many markets across the world years before the brand actually set foot there.
  • With more than 130 outlets in 40 countries around the world, Hard Rock Cafe has become a global phenomenon. These treasures include a collection of classic guitars and other instruments, posters, costumes, music and lyric sheets, album art, platinum and gold LPs and photos.

Express Buzz Reference

Stars Shine At House Of Blues

Stars Shine At House Of Blues
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Monday, February 23, 2009

The Blues Brothers – Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi – capped off a three-day blowout to celebrate the opening of the 13th House of Blues on Lansdowne Street with a rockin’ invitation-only show for 2,500 the other night.

Elwood and Brother Zee (who took over when original Blues Brother Joliet Jake, aka John Belushi, passed) hit the stage for an hour with what seemed like a cast of thousands, including Vineyard songbird Carly Simon, David Letterman’s music man Paul Shaffer, original Soul Man Sam Moore, and bluesmen James Montgomery, Skunk Baxter and Jimmy Wood.

The Blues Brothers and their band belted out faves, including “Sweet Home Chicago” and Wilson Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances,” which brought Dan’s daughters Danielle and Kingston, and Simon, out from the wings to do the mashed potato.

And can we tell you that Carly’s still got it goin’ on? Na, na, na, na, na . . .

Jake and Zee, who jumped into the crowd and aggressively belly-bumped hefty fiftysomething fans, were mighty winded after their hour-plus set and a long encore.

But after the gig, they got their chow on at Sonsie with a posse that included Shaffer and funnyman Tom Davis (original “SNL” members); Dan’s wife, Donna Dixon, and John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano; “Trader” Fred Mascolo from the Vineyard and Hub entertainment lawyer George Tobia.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves . . . .

The party got under way just after 7 p.m. when a looooong line of revelers wound down Lansdowne Street to check in for the evening’s festivities. Inside the new hotspot, the cavernous Music Hall was slowly filling up with media, guests and Live Nation suits while most of the VIPs made a beeline for the second-floor Foundation Room .

A fixture in every House of Blues, the Boston Foundation Room is a warren of private enclaves gussied up like an upscale hookah lounge – an homage to original HOB founder Isaac Tigrett’s guru Sathya Sai Baba.

Mingling near the mountain of shrimp cocktail, we spied Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer and his posse; Summer Shack chef Jasper White; Foundation Lounge lizard George Lewis; radio marketing gurus Mary Menna and Bev Tilden and their S.O.s, Peter Darveau and Steven Riley; Suffolk County Register of Deeds Richard Iannella and his bride Arlene; fashionista Alan Bilzerian and his bro, Vineyard fixture Larry Bilzerian; PR guru George Regan; Nauticus naughty boy Sandy Tennant; chiropractor to the stars Richard Greene; City Hall gadabout Tony Nunziante; social scribe Lisa Pierpont; and Red Sox [team stats] shareholder David Ginsburg.

While the VIPs sweated it up (literally) upstairs, the rest of the revelers filled the Music Hall and two upper-level balconies to take in opening acts that included a gospel choir and blues guitarist Ronnie Earl and his band, as well as Reverend Lee.

Groovin’ to the tunes we spied House of Blues honchos Don Law and Debbie Eybers; Mass. Supreme Judicial Court Judge Robert Cordy and his son, Sean; Vineyard songbird Kate Taylor; Channel 5 GM Bill Fine and his wife, Gail, and WCVB newsgal Gail Huff and her hubby, state Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham); Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis; former New England Patriots [team stats] hunk Christian Faurier; Entercom marketing guru Bill Alfano and sales veep Jim Rushton; HOB landlords Patrick and Michael Lyons and Michael’s veddy attractive companion, Angela Aucoin; La Verdad kitchen king Ken Oringer, who was showing off cell phone photos of his new baby daughter, whom he calls “Little Vivi”; Mandarin Oriental spokesgal Edwina Kluender; TD Banknorth Garden gals Trish McCorkle and Jen Compton; PR princes Max Buccini and Steve Pellegrino; Boston Common czar Glen Kelley; KISS 108 marketing man Joe “Public” Mazzei; MIX 98.5’s Fast Freddy and Gregg Daniels; South Shore gals Connie Hubbell and Elizabeth Smith; Lyons Group PR gal Lindsay Curtis; and The Greatest Bar baron Bill Fairweather.

Boston Herald Reference