Book Extract - Do It For Your Mum - A Story Of British Sea Power, Rock Dreams & Family Farce
Former Q man turned sometime rock'n'roll manager Roy Wilkinson publishes new book Do It For Your Mum - One Band, One Dad, One World War: A story of British Sea Power, rock dreams and family farce on Monday (October 3) about his time managing his brothers' band British Sea Power. Here's an extract from his time on the bridge of indie rock.
Previously on British Sea Power...
It's 2002. British Sea Power have been signed by Rough Trade Records. The band are a family affair. Roy's two young brothers are the band's two singers. Rock-familial intrigue is deepened by the BSP brethren's father - an 80-something former Second World War anti-aircraft gunner who has reinvented himself as an octogenarian alt-rock fan with a particular interest in the Butthole Surfers. He offers constant advice and has recently written to U2 asking for a support slot ("Everyone knows they're charlatans, but it'll be good exposure..."). Things don't necessarily improve when the band make their first trip overseas....
From Do It For You Mum...
Our first venture overseas took us to Amsterdam. As they prepared to take the stage, BSP chewed on a few of the 'magic' psilocybin mushrooms they'd acquired in this libertarian city. Yes please, I decided. Why should I miss out? The weeks and days leading up to this show had been high drama for me: securing hotels, ferry tickets, soundman, travel toothbrush and auxiliary power lead. A natural worrier, I found it a routine of endless anxiety. With the band safely soundchecked, the fretfulness dissolved and complacency descended.
As the band started to play, my senses diverted from routine weights and measures. Time and space were softened and blurred. As the band's opening power chords sounded forth, they registered not just in my ears but also on my skin and within my interior. The room seemed full of enveloping joy. Look! How perfect the moles on that girl's back. How flawless the tapering of her boyfriend's short-back-and-sides. In thrall to an expanding array of sensory delight, I noticed a powerful and somehow familiar figure to my right. With his dreadlocks, pirate moustache and impressive physical presence, it could only be Ruud Gullit - the Dutch-Surinamese maestro of Nederlandse voetbal. And wow! How wonderful that he should have resurrected the personal style he'd had during his time at AC Milan in the late 1980s!
As the music and lights furnished rich sensory report, an idea beamed into my brain, natural as day. Alongside his numerous international caps and his various triumphs in the Dutch Eredivisie and Supercoppa Italiana, Ruud has also made records. With the Dutch reggae band Revelation Time, he made an anti-apartheid single called South Africa. It made the top ten in the Dutch charts. What could be better than if Ruud were to now make a record with British Sea Power? Slowly, imperceptibly, I navigated towards him. He showed a little confusion when, between songs, I addressed him as Mr Gullit. But soon communication seemed to flow, reaching exhilarating new modes of universal connection. Dialogue operated miles beyond the strictures of mere word and phoneme.
Would Ruud like to make a record with this band, this band here? He seemed to respond in the affirmative. Our discourse seemed to last for ages, approaching the greater temporal perspectives of geological time. It was limitless, infinite. Soon all the brimming pleasures of the football stadium would fuse with the eternally rotating joys of the pop record. What a famous accord we had reached! How strange that Mr Gullit's friends called him Erwin. Ah, he must be incognito. Surely a most useful alias!
With the band's performance over, I only had one task left. But a demanding one. I had to collect the band's fee. Slowly, one foot carefully placed in front of the other, I plotted my way towards the office on the ground floor. I located Ben, the venue manager. At the time Ben had a remarkable hairdo. His wiry mass of hair sloped precipitously from one side of his head. It looked like some tough, gale-moulded thorn bush which the prevailing winds had bent away sharply to the east.
In the moment I felt some deep sympathetic need to mirror the angle of Ben's hair. Gradually, slowly, I began to lean forward. Soon I was hanging forward at an impossible angle, at exactly the same gradient as Ben's hair. I signed the paperwork and accepted the money. What an achievement! A gold star was due. In years to come I would meet Ben again. He would always laugh in strange delight: "Yes, you were standing in this way, very strange. I asked myself, Why is he doing this?"
I ended my night stood in the street listening to the bubbles in a glass of lemonade.
Order the book now via Doitforyourmum.com/.
12:35 PM | 30/09/2011
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