I started this post in Dec 2014. Just getting round to publishing it now for some reason…
I bought and have been enjoying the Don’t Make a Scene fanzine brought to us by Adventures Close to Home a few weeks ago, and have used this as a learning resource once already… will do that again, for sure. It has had me thinking even more than usual about the brilliant and the paradoxically less brilliant DIY scene. I want to share some of my own thoughts about it.
In 1999 or 2000 my band Billy Mahonie embarked upon our first UK tour which had been booked by an agent. We acquired these “necessary” accoutrements of a “successful” band each time very much by accident. (except the labels – these we knew we needed and wanted, and we sought those out very much on purpose. Then fell out with them. More on that later). When asked by Simon Williams when we were about to release our first single, “Who does your press” I simply replied “what?”. I knew not what “doing your press” meant. And same with getting an agent. We met with an infamous bloke who passed us onto his new junior, who went ahead and booked us a bunch of shows both here in UK and abroad. I’m still friends with him now. Got very much out of that game and now enjoys a different role in music. Still playing in bands a lot. Lovely bloke. (connected maybe?).
Anyhow. That first tour we hired a van and set off, and had a nice folder with a sheet for all the shows booked, with info and details about how and when to arrive, where, and at what time we would have soundchecks, dinner and so on. This was all very well organised and I loved it.
The thing was, for the show at the Packhorse in Leeds, there was no info. Just an address. No mention of fee. I was worried. It felt a little like we were going into the unknown. We WERE going into the unknown!
We got to the show and found the promoters – a lovely bunch going by the name Cops and Robbers, and quickly realised that there had been no cause for concern AT ALL. We were fed (a lovely home made curry at the promoter’s house, where we stayed) and paid more than all the other shows paid. The show was rammed. And we got to play with Polaris who were fucking awesome. And I still maintain some kinds of contact with various members. Notably Neil Turpin who is the one of the finest of drummers.
This may well be just an anecdote. I refer to the fact the my band Billy Mahonie were very much learning (or not) on the fly. I refer to the fact that Cops n Robbers, despite being awesome promoters and lovely people, hadn’t sent the information to the agent, meaning we didn’t have it, and there was some resultant anxiety – which may well have turned into some kind of sourness had things gone awry in some way.
But it was great, and they were great, and they still are I notice. Brilliant.