I started promoting live music with some friends as Rock Garden Revisited back in September 2010 with the sole intention of putting on my favourite band Penetration. Sadly due to a combination of circumstances, that wouldn’t happen until August 2012.
I’d gotten the promoting bug and we’d promoted a number of shows together but I also had the desire to do some shows on my own away from the constraints of the “Rock Garden”.
I’d started sounding out some bands. I had no qualms about putting on the punkier type of bands but I also wanted to diversify a bit. A big favourite of mine at that time was a guy called Pete Molinari, who I’d seen several times live and he was on my list of possible acts.
After some initial discussions with a proper agent (it had been nearly all dealings with bands direct so far with RGR) terms were agreed and I was up and running. At this point I’d been getting used to the mechanics of promoting live music and was beginning to learn the ropes but now I needed to start again from scratch. I had a lot of support from the staff at The Georgian Theatre but I needed to create an identity of my own as well.
I have to admit I was struggling to come up with a name. I’ve never been one for self promotion, basking in the glory of something. I leave that to others who like to take credit for things. I was listening to Pete Molinari’s excellent album “A Train Bound for Glory” when the track “Minus Me” came on. It seemed appropriate, I was going out on my own and needed a promotional banner, time was running out and I needed to get posters etc. organised so I plumped for that as the name.
The first Minus Me promotional show took place on the 5th of May 2012 when Pete Molinari supported by an up and coming local singer song writer named Sarah Procter played the Georgian Theatre. It was a great night and although very tiring it was very exhilarating to have produced such an exciting night and it was all my own work!
At this stage I was still co promoting shows as Rock Garden Revisited as well as working full time and all the usual trials and tribulations of getting on with life so it was a very busy time. In the autumn of 2012 two other acts I’d initially contacted as potential shows both played The Georgian Theatre.
I was thrilled to have been able to secure such well known names as Martin Stephenson & the Daintees and Carmel for shows. It was great to have acts on that appealed to a wider audience.
The Martin Stephenson show was a huge success and my first solo sell out event. Sadly I’d underestimated the popularity of Carmel. Despite having been huge in the Eighties both at home and across Europe she’d been out of the public eye a long time. Despite there being quite a push to promote her back catalogue which was being remastered and re released the show was a disaster in terms of getting people through the door. How ever she put on a great performance which I (and those that were there) thoroughly enjoyed. My mantra has always been that I will only put on acts I like and would pay to go and see myself so in that respect despite taking a financial hit I was still pleased that I did the show.
Minus Me ran for just over 4 years from May 2012 up to Aug 2016 and there were several highs and lows in terms of the successes of getting people into the gigs but I can honestly say I enjoyed every head line band I put on and made some great friends along the way.
By late 2013 the efforts of promoting as Rock Garden Revisited and as Minus Me were getting too much. I had health issues and something had to give and I decided the time was right to stop Rock Garden Revisited. Relationships between us were getting fractious and I decided to call a halt to it. We went out on a high with an excellent Theatre of Hate show but as of December 2013 Rock Garden Revisited was no more and it felt good to be concentrating on Minus Me.
By this point Minus Me had put on 7 shows and an additional 2 co promotional shows with acts as diverse as Viv Albertine (The Slits), Wreckless Eric, The Polecats and ex Icicle Works singer Ian McNabb.
The Viv Albertine show was quite unique. She was really keen to play and was really happy to be getting out of her comfort zone and travelling all the way up North to play a solo set in the Green Room. The show was a sell out (could probably have sold it out twice over) and she sang songs, told stories and read from her (then unpublished) auto biography. It was a great night and she was happy to sign autographs and have her photo taken with people. Odd then that a number of people who fawned and drooled over her that night would be quite vociferous some months later in saying how poor a show it was.
I’m not going to list every show that was promoted as Minus Me (that’s here) but I was really pleased to be able to promote young up and coming bands, bands not particularly well known and some very well known artists. Some were misses financially, some were hits but they were all great shows.
Highlights were anything featuring Penetration/Pauline Murray, The Fallen Leaves, tempting Pete Wylie out of retirement, Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds and a Spear of Destiny/Spizz Energi joint show.
A special mention for a show I co promoted with The Tees Music Alliance featuring Evil Blizzard – it was great!!
A particular highlight was the relationship built up with Sterogram records up in Edinburgh. I’d initially contacted them about a James King & the Lone Wolves show via Jonny brown (singer with the Band of Holy Joy who I’d previously booked) and who were releasing their latest album on Sterogram. We hit upon the idea of doing a record label night featuring the Band of Holy Joy, The Cathode Ray and Lola in Slacks. It was a themed night revolving around the label. Sadly Lola in Slacks pulled out at the last minute and despite not getting a great turn out it was still a special night. The idea of a record label night seemed pretty popular and was copied some time later by another local promoter.
Minus Me ran from May 2012 until August 2016. I’d realised that the Penetration show booked for August 2016 was my 65th promotional show in total and I wondered if it was time to call it a day.
I’ve enjoyed promoting live music immensely but I did wonder whether the financial risk and the petty jealousies of others made it worth while carrying on. I decided that the pros out weighed the cons and that at least for the foreseeable future I wanted to carry on.
In truth I’d never really been happy with the Minus Me name. It just didn’t feel right so 65 shows felt like the right time for putting it to bed and having a fresh start and hence Fast Forward was born.