What never ceased to amaze me working behind the scenes in the music industry, as I did for a number of years, was that what went on offstage was sometimes more entertaining and than what went on the stage.
The thing about a lot of the people who work behind the music scenes, is that they’re quite often desperate rock star wannabes, who have at some point accepted they’re not meant for the stage due to lack of ability, so instead choose to work alongside the real thing. So they promote them, party with them, back in the old days – buy their drugs for them, and then after all that, act as their glorified taxi drivers.
Speaking of which, during my own ‘glorified cabbie days’ I remember driving Jimmy Barnes across the Sydney Harbour Bridge one day, on our way to promote his new album. I nearly ran off the road and into the harbour as Jimmy frantically points up to the top of part of the bridge where he informs me he’d once taken a young lady and had sex with her as the passing traffic passed underneath, none the wiser! Apparently it is indeed as drafty as you’d think.
Then there was the bizarre period when the series first Popstars went to air. Working for Warner Music at the time, who were charged with releasing the newly formed Bardot’s first album. Being their promotional manager at the time, I had the honour of spending time with the fab five who had little in common other than the TV show and being able to hold a tune.
But it wasn’t just the tension in the air that hung overhead like a disco ball that made this project uncomfortable at times. It was the fact that we were constantly followed around by packs of screaming, pushy teenyboppers. Of course I understood they were desperate to get an autograph but the problem was that they didn’t really know which of our group was actually in the band. So I’d be left trying to be polite to don’t ask me how many little madams that, whilst declining to give them a signature. One little charmer turned on me in front of a group of feral paparazzi shouting “Fine don’t then, you’re the most talentless of the lot anyway!” Thanks for pointing out the obvious honey!
It was always fascinating when you’d receive a list of do’s and don’ts from an artist’s management company prior to their arrival. One such artist that had a Number One record at the time, had a list that read – he likes vegan food, is a devout Christian, hates smoking, hates even seeing someone smoking and doesn’t drink! Does however like groupies and young girls. Yep that was tacked at the end as a little unspoken extra tidbit. Perhaps we were surprised to throw a couple of the latter into a welcome basket propped on the end of his hotel bed? Thankfully as it turned out, he wasn’t all that precious about drinking or smoking. As for the groupies and young girls? SPOT ON
And finally, in what should have been a well earnt highlight of years spent in the industry, the coolest woman I’d ever met, Suze Demarche (Baby Animals) dedicated a song to me at a huge gig,. Unfortunately for me, it was just moments after I decided to trot off to the toilet to relieve myself. When I returned to several backslaps and “How good was that?” I soon worked out that my ‘moment’ had just been flushed down the toilet.
As for the really good stories that I could tell about the real music industry, as they say, “what goes on tour, stays on tour!”