Rock ‘n’ roll – the Music Business – What a game of losers.
I’ve sat around waiting for the phone to ring, or for a cheque to arrive in the post; I’ve been ripped off by the great and the good and by the friend who shared the same bedsit with me; I’ve knocked on doors and sent out tapes and written biographies and entered into battle with every two bit agent and manager on the planet. I’ve sacrificed girl friends, wives, family along with a big slug of health and sanity. I’ve humped heavy boxes up and down stairs into seedy clubs on cold frosty nights and then played second on the bill to bingo or else maybe Samson the male stripper. I gave it my best shot plus a bit and you know what? Don’t talk to me about the rock ‘n’ roll business!
I know guys who would say that. But that isn’t my story at all.
No. I’ve been in rock ‘n’ roll for forty something years and I’m still gathered up by the sheer plate lass sparkle of it all.
Years ago I remember a friend of mine had a group which got to be one of the biggest things in the world. I remember I was working in a factory with a radio blaring away when I heard him singing his latest single.
I was a fan from that moment on. I just loved what I heard. It transported me instantly out of that factory
on a mega-particle beam of life-giving tonic. But then how about this:
Not so very long afterwards, by a strange turn of events, my mate gave me a job playing guitar in his mega
successful group (!!). So now I found myself on the inside looking out. And although I could see the paper
mache holding the stage set up and I knew the guys in the group had bad breath, pimples and all, you know
what? I was still a fan!
Yes it’s the truth – I played in a world class group in front of thousands of people and at the same time, I was
I just loved the vibe. You see, although I was down in the boiler room and had become part of the machine
that made the magic, another part of me was still the guy in the factory, and he kept shouting loud and clear
that what I was doing was something worth while. He never stopped shouting.
So I was plugged in years ago and I can’t get unplugged:
At the end of the day I know it’s YOU, the guy listening to the music who really knows which way up is.
Now all that was way back when…
I am not in that group any more. Now I have my own group and I make my own music.
And now the whole music business has changed beyond recognition:
Years ago if I got to meet you, it would have been in a crowded after-show hospitality suite where you shouted
to make yourself heard and signed things leaning on somebody’s back. But now I can meet you (and hear what
you’ve got to say!) using this computer that I am typing on here.
Now too, I look around and have to admit that those guys who are bitter about music seem to live in bigger
houses than me, drive posher cars, go to better holiday destinations and even tell better jokes!
But you know what? I’ve also noticed how they get angry about how BAD music is, when I just want to talk about
how GOOD some of the stuff I hear is.
And me? – I often get to sing my friend’s song when I play live (the one I heard in the factory) but now I get to
sing my own songs too. And now I get to hear what guys like YOU really think about my music, both the likes
and the dislikes! And I really appreciate that – to me it is gold precious.
Yes I know only too well I am blessed to be one of a small percentage of the population to not only have seen,
but to have lived behind the curtain that makes this whole crazy thing worth while. And more importantly than
all of that, I know it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all this mean anything at all.
So I just wanted to touch base with you and to tell you that I am still in the factory!
Yes, I am still down in the boiler room doing my proper job – writing, recording, playing live gigs and loving every
minute of it!
And I am still looking forward to the twists and turns, the good times and bad, as I make my way along this
Here’s to hoping that you will be part of that pathway.
Thank you for being a listener and for making all this matter.