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The Rock-itt : July 2011
If you missed the first chapter of this out- rageous self aggrandizement of how I started from humble beginnings in the UK to forge myself a career in the Music Biz, Don’t worry, here’s another load!!! From my early EMI days in 1974, I gradu- ally got myself from Sales, to Regional Promotions and then into National Promo- tions, working with the biggest TV and Radio Stations in the UK and some of the biggest acts, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Queen, Deep Purple, Kraftwerk, Paul McCartney, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Blur, Radiohead, the acts I got to work with were amazing. In my first couple of years at EMI we had quite a few Aussie connections. W e des- perately tried to get Slim Dusty’s “A Pub With No Beer” into the UK Charts. I im- ported thousands of cans of Tooheys into the UK, a brew that had never been seen or drunk there before. The idea being to get some exposure in the media for Slim and also spread the news that Australia was about more than just sunshine. Some of it actually made its intended way to the Radio Stations, by no means all of it though..... The Little River Band came to the UK in 1977 to try to get a foothold. Myself and a guy called Martin Cox (he’s the one you don’t recognise in the picture!) hired a couple of Range Rovers and over the space of two weeks, starting at Wick at the top of Scotland, drove the band South to almost every Radio and TV Station in the British Isles. It worked, they had a good few hits in the UK and I found the more Australians I met the more I would like to see their country. I moved out of Promotions for a while to work with Micky Most at Rak Records, which was a satellite company of EMI. I was general manager of RAK for a couple of years working with Hot Chocolate, Suzi Quattro and being close to the launch of the career of Kim Wilde. I did a similar trip around the UK with Kim to the one I did with the Little River Band. Imagine being on the road for two weeks on my own with the fledgling Kim Wilde! We stayed friends and we still are. She invited me into her dressing room the last time she was here playing the Entertainment Centre, she just had a white bath towel wrapped around her and she’s still gorgeous. I didn’t hang around long, I was a jabbering wreck. In the early 80’s I moved back into the main body of EMI , becoming General Manager of Capitol Records, EMI’s Ameri- can subsidiary. This was a very demand- ing job, I would work the full day in the London Office and then the Americans would get to work in LA and I had to deal with them until midnight or later. In 1985 Capital had signed a band called Crowded House and their A&R man wanted me to go to LA to meet them. Capitol’s market- ing department also wanted me in LA to explain why I wasn’t spending as much as they would have liked promoting a new Bob Seger album. It was a tough trip, my first visit to Capitol Tower on Hollywood and Vine, pity it was for a carpeting! Still I got to see the studios in the Tower where Sinatra and Nat King Cole recorded which is very special. The iconic Capitol Tower looks fantastic from the outside but the offices within are surprisingly small. I man- aged to placate the Heavies, got to meet Bob Seger and his manager Punch An- drews which was more enjoyable than I had dare hoped. I had always been a fan of Bob, particularly live and was able to tell him about the shows of his I had seen. It’s always good if you know your product. Later, spending time with Bob Seger doing promotion back in London I drove him to a meeting with the then Worldwide head of EMI Jim Fifield. Bob insisted I come in to the meeting with him and he introduced me to Fifield, someone a lowly minion like me would never get to meet, saying “Jim, you have to meet this guy he’s the best god- That’s me, far left on the road in the UK with The Little River Band in 1977. Getting up close and rather personal with Bonnie Raitt around 1996.