A rival promoter in his book “Are Ye Dancin’?” referred to Mr. Bonici as a “wide-boy” and sited his contract with The Beatles that gave him exclusive rights to book bands anywhere in Scotland. Others called him shrewd or “cunning” in thinking that Bonici took advantage of agents and managers in London, who had the perception of Scotland being considered a small market. Perhaps the biggest roadblocks in business dealings were others in the business community who were part of the Moray Council. They failed to renew his liquor licence at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom when there were complaints about disorderly conduct in the neighborhood. When he later closed the dance hall and opened a disco venue at the newly constructed Eight Acres Hotel, things went well until one neighbour began complaining about noise. The council gave him an ultimatum which led Bonici to pull the plug on the popular music venue…
Albert Bonici was a well spoken business man and never brash or full of himself. Bill Dargarno, who worked in the same office as Albert, noted that his boss wouldn’t raise his voice though he knew how to read Albert’s expressions after frustration when there was a cancellation or a promise not kept. Albert Bonici who was good to his word with a gentleman’s handshake, was unrelenting and expected compensation when various agencies and managers sometimes made it impossible for MDE “Modern Dance Entertainment” [spearheaded by spouse Betty Bonici] to deliver the advertised goods to music fans in Scotland.
There were those who may have resented being on the receiving end besides some envious of his stronghold in the north of Scotland but he was to be respected for his business dealings. His detractors who claim that Bonici took advantage or limited performances by his exclusive booking contracts, did not like that Albert Bonici controlled who managed events with popular groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on tour. However, respected English promoter/managers like Brian Epstein knew that his acts would be looked after with Albert at the helm of LCB Agency. One author who wrote that AA Bonici was just “lucky” to sign the Beatles, misjudged a promoter who had been lining up acts for 8 years before signing the Liverpool group [which was followed by several of Epstein’s best acts]. It was Albert’s perseverance, intelligence, and ability to visualize how to achieve his goals that brought Albert success with several of his projects though he experienced failure in earlier ventures. Albert become more cautious with his expenditures when a perfume venture led to bankruptcy after encountering problems in distribution. However, he continued reinvest for the family and shareholders, which resulted in a successful career in the entertainment business. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/17/
In The Beatles In Scotland, Ken McNab describes him as “a silver-tongued, silver haired, second-generation Scottish-Italian who established himself as Scotland’s principal pop promoter”[http://www.birlinn.co.uk/The-Beatles-in-Scotland-9781846972386.html]. As his reputation grew, industry people knew that Bonici was a good choice to promote groups in Scotland and were glad to sign with him.
“It was a gentleman by the name of Albert Bonici that brought the new wave music scene to the North of Scotland. Clearly a cunning impresario, Bonici scored a coup when he obtained the exclusive Scottish rights to appearances by the Beatles (or Silver Beatles as they were then). Although the Beatles never made an appearance at the Ballerina Ballroom, a myriad of successful bands did come through its doors and performed to Nairn audiences from 1966 through to the early 1970’s – The Who, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo, Bay City Rollers and Slade among them. Cream, including Eric Clapton, also came and whilst The Small Faces were billed, they did not turn up on the intended Friday night. Bonici perhaps had some harsh words with their manager as they were subsequently billed to appear the following Tuesday instead.” http://www.spanglefish.com/ballerinaballroom/index.asp?pageid=86637
Besides promoting bands spanning three decades, Albert Bonici implemented several small business ventures in Scotland, including purchasing The Ballerina Ballroom, developing the Eight Acres Hotel , a perfume line, and Norco records… http://www.45cat.com/label/Norco
After his death in 1991, the family sold the Eight Acres Hotel as the business went on hard times during a lull in the oil industry which meant the hotel wasn’t getting the clientele it had previously enjoyed. His nephew John Ruggeri who was part of LCB Agency, said that their were to many loans against the hotel and they were losing money on it. Meanwhile, Park Café Holding Company [which also handled finances for Little Cross Buildings Agency], continued to manage The Park Café, Arnold Wholesale Co, Coffee House, Bellissimo Foods, and Piped Dreams at the time.
Note: John Ruggeri who threw disco nights at the “Straight 8” lounge [pictured below], played the groom for this shot in the Westray Suite of The Eight Acres Hotel to create a flyer.