When I left school, I had only been playing music for 2 years. To me at least, it does seem odd therefore that 7 years later I was running a business managing artists all on my own. So how did that happen?
Like a lot of what happened in the early years of adulthood for me: it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was at WITS. I had been playing in a punk band called The General Woodheads on and off for about 3 years, as well as managing another act called Turmoil. I was also busy doing my English honours at Wits, living at Parktown Boys High working as a hostel master, a competing member of the WITS athletics club, working part time at Exclusive Books and waitering.
An old high school friend from PE called me up the one day, Rowan Sendal is his name. He was battling. Had also finished studying and had been working at a record store to pay back his student loan. He was now done and bored with living in Grahmstown. “Let’s head over to London” he said. “Sure,” I agreed almost instantly. 6 weeks later we were gone.
That stint in London changed my life. For a start, Barney Simon put me on national radio. I had met Barney because The Woodheads had gigged with No Friends Of Harry a lot and we all got on well. He liked the sound of all the gigs I was going to and took a chance on me. That one simple act of faith on his part changed my entire life.
While in London I met up with a few of the SA musicians that were there: Dale Oliver from Furlined, The Psycho Reptiles and Dizzy Spiral from Cape Town. I helped out with bookings and PR and generally had a pretty crazy, wild time. I also carried on going to gigs and seeing just about every band I had ever wanted to, new and old. During the day I worked as a runner and assistant editor in a post production facility called Trans World International.
Then my contract with the TV post-production facility expired and they had no more space for me. I could easily have moved to a new facility with a year’s experience on the job. Someone suggested I go back to SA and, using my new found profile, start a music promotions business booking and promoting bands and becoming a journalist. Once he heard I might be coming back to SA, Barney offered me the job of hosting a specialist SA alternative rock show within his own slot.
Looking back, I think that someone was Dominic Lee, the guy who ran Mimi-zine and who I knew vaguely from WITS. Dom, if it was you, I am never sure whether I should hug or kill you for planting that seed.
Anyway, that is what I did. I had never even had a real job, let alone a clue about how to run your own business but I went and did it. What happened next is where a lot of the material for 1,2,1,2 came from: the mistakes I advise against and the pitfalls that can be avoided. If I had understood the enormity of what I was taking on, I would probably never have done it. As it was, it was scary. I did lose everything pretty quickly which led indirectly to me moving to Cape Town but THAT is another story!