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Ecuador -Part 15

Posted on Feb 03 2004 under Diary of the ONE | Tags: , , , , , ,

My reason for leaving work within the music industry were based on conclusions that soon became apparent after a couple of years working as tour manager & Foh sound engineer mainly for WEA & EMI
Head down, listening, learning; I was keen mostly paying attention to the people I was meeting, their personalities, trying to fit in and understand their world.

Welcome to a world that’s dominated by self importance, obsessions with power & the fame names of association. The record companies are well at fault, they lead new artists into a world of designer cloths, shoes, limousines, fat jewellery along with many other extravagances. The management, agents & promoters play along; they are in the club & are getting very well looked after, thank you very much.

Everything that is purchased by the record company for or on behalf of the artist is accounted for and treated like a loan to the artist against sales, what they like to keep well quiet is that the interest rate on the borrowing is 90-100%.
Not a bad profit, if you can extort it.

Most artists are pulled along, sucked in & exploited. To give you a little idea of the scale, if you forget the thousands spent on cloths & shoes, one S class Merc is roughly £350p/d, add the four people carriers for the band & crew, another £600p/d, hairdresser @ £300p/d, make-up @ £300p/d, dresser/stylist @ £350p/d, TM @ £200, Crew x 3 @ £450p/d, band x 9 @ £1600p/d, transport, equipment, hotels for 16 people & much more all charged to the unsuspecting artist, twice.

Once touring the costs mount up very quickly.

Anyway; either I changed my values & opinions, giving in to the luxurious pull of the club, with my future set to climb on up, me reaping the benefits money, power & fame can bring or I stayed true to how I felt & moved on to another experience, one more satisfying, more real.

This meant turning my back on everything I had tried to achieve for the last 3 years, completely walking away. I chose to satisfy my soul not my pocket or position, I walked away.

I remember the moment I knew I had had enough; we were in Canne, southern France at the time of the film festival, it was sooo busy, so many people bustling about.

We had finished our set at a concert returning to our hotels for a few hours to freshen up before the after show party. Being Canne at film festival everything was hyped up to the max. Hugh crowds screamed outside as the artists arrived in flash cars, got out & walked into the party. Which to me by this time was just the same old, same old, a bunch of very important people telling each other where they have been or who they are working with or what they have just brought or sold. The same shit was flowing, as usual from all corners of the club.
I found myself in a small group, the artist manager, his Swedish friend who owned a couple of night clubs in Sweden & the two men from the Lighthouse Family. I might forgive you for thinking the conversation talking place was interesting, meaningful or inspiring in any way, for over an hour they took turns in boasting about & admiring each other cloths & shoes. Competing together to see who had the most expensive shirt, shoes or suit.
“This shirts Gucci, Italian, the best, £850” & it went on

I never wanted to be this way, so shallow, I soon got bored & wandering off into the party.
Over time it slowly sank in just how hollow & shallow the music business is, it has no substance & no soul. You will not survive of you are not prepared and willing to join the club and play their game, take their road instead of yours. If you try & change things or cause a fuss you soon find yourself with a very quiet phone as the club joins together to shut you out.

It was that day in Canne I made a decision to move on; it didn’t happen straight away I had to see a few bookings through. A few months later I was on the dole & would be for the following 10 months, living on £45 per/week instead of what I had been used to of around £1500 per/week.

Some drop but to this day it the best move I ever made, a very humbling experience that showed me how much more to life there is than money & famous or rich friends.

In Canne to top it all off the next evening the artist’s manager & I went out looking for somewhere to drink, after all we were in Canne. After what seemed like ages fighting the flow of people wandering from show to show, bar to bar, we wandered into a hotel bar on the main strip by the marina, some grand fancy place. We ordered drinks but within minuets of being there wanted to move on, the place was full of executives & suits from the film festival chatting shit.

Hurriedly we finished our drinks and left, as we walked across the road he the manager had a idea,

“I know where we can go, it’s only over here”
We crossed the road & stood outside the door to a smallish looking place waiting for the door to be opened. When the door was opened I understood where we were heading,
“I don’t have the money for this; if you want to go in here you’re going to have to pay the bill”
“No problem, my treat” can the reply.

It was around 11.30/12pm, we went up to the bar, on the counter were 3 different sizes of champagne bottle, normal, medium & large, we were asked which we wanted by 2 rather under clothed ladies.
After finding out the price 1000F, 2000F or 3000F we went for a small bottle. As we moved away from the bar to a seated area the ladies followed, with there glasses.

The next few hours was spent filling those glasses, every time you tried to kiss or touched they would gulp down the champers ready for a refill.

A few times before buying another bottle I tried to persuade my governor to leave, I think he was enjoying himself, perhaps too much, trying to get somewhere with the black lady sat on his lap. He didn’t stand a chance, they just wanted his money & he caught, was right where she wanted him.

I had got board trying with my lady, stopped filling her glass & she had wondered off to the next man. As I was preparing to leave I noticed his wallet & phone on the seat, I picked up the wallet and gave back with instructions to put it in his pocket, not to loose it. It was about 5.00am when I left the bar, very drunk, I found the hotel and fell into bed, had to be up & busy at 8am.

I had just got into bed when there was a knock at my door, the manager was there shouting at me about his phone, he was not happy, probably the £1600 bill.

When I said that I saw his phone on the seat he went mad saying it was my fault that I had lost his phone. I was a little casual which annoyed him,

“I feel like hitting you”
Instantly I heard myself replying “gowan then”
He strolled forward and punched me on the chin, I stood my ground, he could have hit me so much harder then he did, he had been in the army & was well built.
“Do you feel better, want to try again”
He turned & went to bed, as did I.

After these experiences I knew my direction had to change. I had to walk away.

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