Write Your Own Songs and Join a Rock and Roll Band….

An old cliché used to say that to ‘get out’ of a working class life, you either became a villain, became VERY good at a sport or you joined a band.  Some might say this is still true, but I’m saying ‘used to’ because times change and you’ve probably got more chance of being signed by a record label today if you WERE a villain or a sports star…

The Spitfires
Photography by Tony Briggs

I jest of course, but only slightly. To me, from the outside looking in, it appears increasingly difficult for those just starting in the music world to make a decent living out of it. With access to sites like Spotify and YouTube, punters can check out music for free, whereas in the middle ages (i.e. my younger days) you had to put your hard earned cash down on a record shop counter and take a punt on a band or a singer. So there was some revenue flowing. Not as much it seems of that today.

But still, there are those out there, for whom the call is strong. It is in their blood and they have to follow that calling. In a previous life, ten years or so now, I managed a singer/band and if nothing else, I learnt a hell of a lot about the state of the record / music business close up. I looked after a singer Darron J Connett and he, to my old ears, had a few songs that I thought could do well in a commercial / pop environment. I helped put a band around Darron and we had some decent live gigs, some well received releases and a bit of national newspaper exposure. Ultimately, I was defeated by a mixture of a lack of interest from the music industry in general at a time when the business in general was in meltdown. So, ultimately it was a frustrating time. As mentioned earlier, it was a massive learning curve in terms of dealing with the ‘industry’ and the nonsense that was spouted to us at times.

It proved not to be a job for me in the end, though Darron is still writing and recording and finding a new audience for his work.  He has a new crowd funded album out now called ‘Loyalty Lies.’

In more recent years, and with the advent of social media, I have been involved in varying degrees with bands and band members who I have met through Facebook and Twitter. Two of those that you out there in broadband land may have heard of include Stone Foundation and The Spitfires.

I first saw Stone Foundation in a pub gig environment and it was beyond me on that first hearing why they weren’t more successful, yes they were that good, even back then. Of course recently, success has come their way with a record deal, sell out shows in well-known venues and working with the likes of Paul Weller and many more household names. But for a few years, it looked like they were never going to get the exposure they deserved.

It has taken some of the members of that band twenty plus years to get to this point in their career and they deserve every second of it.  Their latest album is called ‘Street Rituals’ and it comes highly recommended.

And at the other end of the scale is someone like Billy Sullivan, the main man of the band The Spitfires. I first met Billy five years or so ago and was immediately struck by his knowledge for one so young, his desire and total determination to ‘do’ music, no matter what.

I have watched from afar as he continues on that path, managed by writer and promoter Stuart Deabill.  The band have recently signed a record deal, so all appears to be going in the right direction and I have no doubt personally that Billy will in one capacity or other, ‘do’ music for a living. He, the band and Stuart accept that it won’t come easy, but I’m seeing a sign that instead of that defeating them, it is actually encouraging them and stoking the fire to prove more than a few of those in the industry wrong.

The Spitires have a new single called ‘Over and Over Again’ out on the 15th of December

So to all those named above and to the many others out there who pick up a guitar and give it a go, I echo the words of that a wise man who once stated…

‘Onwards my children, onwards….’