I’ve been reading Jazz Summers’ autobiography. For those who don’t know, Jazz is an artist manager with a long history that dates back to the 60s. In his book, he writes of Old Kent Road, just across the tracks from our studios, where in the 60s and 70s there were pubs on every corner and a live band playing in each one.
Musicians learned their trade playing Top 40 in pubs. People went to pubs to be entertained by bands playing familiar songs. If the band were really good, they could throw in the occasional original. Even The Beatles did it when they started out.
This entertainment scene was popular because little else existed. You certainly couldn’t while away the hours at home watching funny stuff on YouTube. Seeing a band play live was a relatively new and exciting thing back then.
My brother showed me this clip of Chickenfoot, the American supergroup featuring Chad Smith of RHCP, Sammy Hagar, Mike Anthony of Van Halen and Joe Satriani, the guitar virtuoso, covering Deep Purple’s song Highway Star.
It’s unfair to compare young dudes playing their first gigs in Camden to musicians of the highest calibre, like Chickenfoot, let alone The Beatles, but the point is that if you’re into rock music you will appreciate a performance like Chickenfoot’s. If you like a good song, you’ll like what The Beatles do.
What do you have to be into to appreciate the cacophony of bollocks happening across Camden on most nights? It’s out of time and out of tune, badly written and poorly played. The audience, a gathering of workmates, friends and family, dutifully whoop and holler in the right places, offering the worst advice ever: “You should be playing bigger and better venues.”
Read this, for good advice on getting out there.
Or this, about the state of the toilet circuit from the point of view of a venue owner and artist manager.
The Manic Shine have been building it, in countless small venues across the land. Next they’re off to Germany. It really does work, this artist development thing, you know?
Paying your dues. Earning your stripes. Such old fashioned values, are they? Answers on postcards, please, unless you’re busy watching funny stuff on YouTube.
This one is actually worth watching.