I’m a cynical old fool when it comes to the record industry, that’s how I survived. I saw it first and foremost as a fan having fun, I thought it was hilarious that someone was going to pay me to indulge in my hobby. At the time I thought if it lasted six months it would be a great six months and I would have something to tell my grandchildren. It lasted over thirty years, it was lot of fun but it was also a lot of hard work. But then again what’s work when you’re having fun? Nowadays as I ‘hover’ around the music industry I am able to observe from a distance and let’s face it, I’m bound to make comparisons to how it was back then. I’m constantly asked, ‘Do you miss it?’ Do I miss what? It’s not the place I learned my trade, it’s an alien ant farm. Desolation row. I don’t sense a vibrance, an energy force waiting to burst through and turn it all around. It isn’t the place where I see mentors emerging and passing on their knowledge. My mentors taught me everything and if I play my part I’ll shout it from the rooftops, I will do all I can to help retain the legacy they left us. They are the true legends from the Engine Room.
There were a good few of us from that era that did it proud though, we LOVED making a living out of a hobby. It isn’t hard to get up in the morning when you love your job. There was no such thing as Monday morning…… Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, bring it on. Midday or Midnight, we were there. We believed in the dream because we made the dream a reality. Back then if someone gave me a great record to promote I felt it my duty to tell others, and what an honor that was. I couldn’t wait to run round the country and in to every radio station and enthuse. My belief became their belief and fortunately I had people just as receptive in radio and television, they wanted good tunes and I had a multitude of them! If you got a record on the radio you had a very good chance of having a hit. You made a difference, you felt you’d played your part in that act’s success. Success that was driven by pride.
Let’s go back to Elvis, to The Beatles to a whole host of relevant exciting bands and artists that got everyone on the same playing field. We all needed music in our lives because it enriched all of our lives. It made them happy, it made us happy. It sent them to work happy it sent them in to relationships happy. It got them paid and it got them laid.
The music industry today is an endless debate. They sit in conferences all over the world passing judgement on themselves and assume they are innocent until proven guilty. What more proof do they need, music doesn’t sell anymore. Drive around any major city in the world and try and find a record store. And as for the suburbs, forget it, they are the new endangered species. In fact make that extinct. You got it wrong music industry for so long now and you’re still getting it wrong. The biggest artist from the last two decades is Adele. She had nothing to do with a record company, the quality of voice and song alone took her to the top all over the world and the public embraced her. Add to that one talented person who was her mentor and you have the success story of the century. A record company would have styled and modeled her in to something they could market and screwed up a career all at the same time. She did OK without their guidance. How important it is for creative people to understand how to work together, how you develop an artist and how you plant the seed of a career. It is something that is very dear to my heart, something I prided myself on and something I will continue to discuss in future blogs.
But for now music industry, ‘You’re just somebody that I used to know.’