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Pushing hard: Destructo operates as a musical renegade

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“I’m not a jukebox. I’m trying to be a leader, not a follower,” says Destructo.
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Las Vegas could use more Destructo, and it’s about to get a dose.

As an artist, executive, promoter and founder of Hard Events, Gary Richards has cultivated a unique career in music. Now his focus is on Renegade, a powerhouse EP due March 31 that fuses house, hip-hop and funk and features guests like Yo Gotti, Pusha T, Tink, E-40, Ty Dolla $ign, iLoveMakonnen and Denzel Curry. He’s bringing the music to Vegas for the first real spring weekend at Drai’s Beachclub.

“I’ve played [Vegas] a few times [recently], and I think I’m a little ahead of where Vegas is at [musically],” Richards says. “What I do works everywhere, and I play Paris, Sydney, Jakarta, Fiji. In Vegas it works, too, but there might be one dude sitting in bottle service who wants to hear Bon Jovi, and I’m not playing it. I’m not a jukebox. I’m trying to be a leader, not a follower, and I hope Vegas is ready.”

It’s no wonder he titled the EP Renegade. Finding new sounds in an uncompromising way has always been his m.o.

In 2012, Live Nation purchased Hard Events, which enables Richards to produce his festivals, concerts and events on a greater scale. Next up on that front is the 10th anniversary of Hard Summer, coming soon to Southern California.

It takes a long, dedicated commitment to stay on the cutting edge, something Richards has demonstrated over his career. It hasn’t always happened when it comes to music in Las Vegas. “You can’t start something new and fresh in one weekend and expect it to be a home run,” he says. “It’s taken me more than 10 years. We have 150,000 people at Hard Fest LA, but we started with 5,000. I’ve been in the business 25 years trying to dig a little deeper.” Destructo at Drai’s Beachclub at the Cromwell, March 25.

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Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

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