December 13, 2006 at 1:00 am

You'll find longtime manager Punch Andrews at the vortex of Seger's career

Anyone who wants to do any kind of business with Bob Seger finds that the whirling, noisy vortex of everything relating to Seger's career and music is a busy guy in a Birmingham office named Edward "Punch" Andrews. As Seger's longtime manager, Andrews takes care of the business, fends off unwanted business advances, holds the record companies accountable and makes it possible for his artist to concentrate on making music or just living his life.

It's been that way since about 1964, when Seger auditioned a song for Andrews and his partner, Dave Leone.

Andrews, originally from the east side, ran a teen club with Leone, the Hideout, which became several clubs and then a very small record company. Seger was hoping to get his song recorded, but he got much more -- a lifelong friend and manager.

Today, the two even sound alike, with a gravelly, direct way of speaking.

A scoffing, mock-angry "Whattaya want?" is Andrews' opening line on the phone to people he knows.

Seger has long credited Andrews with giving him the financial security that few of his '60s Detroit peers had, or have. And Andrews, who agreed to take on Kid Rock, has turned down other artists, including J. Geils and Diana Ross (according to Seger).

Talking to The News about Andrews' business sense in 2003, Seger said that his manager had always been smart about finding the middle price for a CD (or concert ticket) and knocking it down a bit. And, Seger added, he was always ranting at the record company about something. Seger gruffed up his voice to deliver a typical Andrews vs. record company rant: "Lower the CD price! Nobody's buying it! Lower the price!! That's what they do with cars!!"

"He's right," Seger says. "You have to sell records, you just don't say 'OK, we're buried now, just get your music off the Internet.' You've got to battle for your segment of the market."

You can reach Susan Whitall at (313) 222-2156 or swhitall@detnews.com">swhitall@detnews.com.