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The Single Life

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:25 pm
by Garth Cartwright
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xrv9z

30 minute doc where presenter goes in search of musicians who made one self funded single in the late 70s/early 80s and then, not having achieved any level of success, vanished (he was in a band who did such). It's kind of banal - these are not lost soul/blues/psych treasures! - but quite interesting on a human level to hear the musicians tales all these decades on. Adam - or anyone else here - part of the self funded 7 club? I've definitely bought a bunch of 45s, LPs and CDs over the year from artists I've seen at gigs then never heard of again.

Re: The Single Life

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:04 pm
by Adam Blake
Oh yes. I was in two bands who did this - The Cannibals and Treatment. The Cannibals put out two singles, one in 1978 and the other in 1979, that had my teenage chops all over them. Both recorded at Pathway Studio in Islington. Both got good reviews in the NME.

Then Treatment put out a single in 1981 that has become quite a collector's item, and another one in 1987 that has also recently sold for more money than we ever made from it at the time. In fact, it was this last one that was responsible for my brief career as a music journalist (1987-91). I had financed the whole thing myself and failed to get a proper distribution deal (oh, it was all such a learning curve!) I found myself having to work two part time jobs to pay off the debts that this incurred. One of them was as a night watchman (hah!) at a business centre in the West End. I found myself alone in charge of several expensive electric typewriters and, to pass the time, I wrote an essay on "The Computerisation of Music" (which was a hot topic at the time) and got it published immediately. "God, this is easy!" I thought, and began interviewing rock stars and being rude about their concerts and records for money. Well, you know all about that, Garth.

The work dried up in 1991 as the John Major government recession hit. At Music Week where I worked, all freelance journalism was curtailed and kept in-house, but it sure was fun for a few minutes and gave me several valuable lessons about the music business - the main one being that there is a very good living to be made in the music business as long as you're not a musician.

But like a fool I followed my heart, not my head, and I've never regretted it.

Putting out independent records is an expensive folly, but it certainly was fun.

Re: The Single Life

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:17 am
by Garth Cartwright
I wish he had got you on the radio, Adam! Your tales would have enlivened the programme. One of the interviewees speaks of losing ten grand on the single - how could anyone spend ten grand on one 45??? I guess if you hired a state of the art studio and set about making a "masterpiece" then you could do so. One person profiled got a 37K advance from Virgin and then got homesick for Rochdale and walked away from it all...

Re: The Single Life

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:36 am
by Adam Blake
Garth Cartwright wrote:- how could anyone spend ten grand on one 45???


Give me ten grand and I'll show you! Hah! It would be easy. If you didn't spend it in the studio you could waste it on hiring a promo person…

(Old studio engineer wisdom: You can't polish a turd, but you CAN lacquer it…)

Re: The Single Life

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:28 pm
by john poole

Re: The Single Life

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:15 pm
by Adam Blake
Yes, I'm playing lead guitar on the second and third one. Needless to say, the first one is by far the best of the three...