This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Peter Leak, partner, 24-7 Worldwide Management.
Peter Leak’s sense of artistry is impeccable.
Under his current partnership with Craig Logan in 24-7 Worldwide Management,, England-born Leak oversees the management of such stellar acts as Katherine Jenkins, Lissie, the Pierces, Bridgit Mendler; and co-manages Dido with Logan.
Over the years, Leak has managed Polyrock, Comateens,10,000 Maniacs, Cowboy Junkies, Grant Lee Buffalo, Martha Wainwright, Jesca Hoop, Butterfly Boucher; and co-managed Avril Lavigne.
Through this partnership, Los Angeles-based Leak continues to develop his management business with a focus on developing acts for international markets.
Under Leak and Terry McBride, co-founder/CEO, Nettwerk Music Group, Dido went from being a promising singer/songwriter to being a superstar with the worldwide sales of 28 million units.
Under their co-management, Canadian singer Avril Lavigne sold over 30 million albums worldwide; scored six #1 hits worldwide; and had 11 Top Ten hits.
Global shipments of Lavigne's debut, “Let Go” reached 10 million units after its worldwide release by Arista in 2002, including five million units in the U.S.
“The Best Damn Thing,” her third studio album, released in 2007, debuted at #1 in over 20 countries. According the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) it was the 4th top-selling album worldwide in 2007, selling 7.3 million units in eight different languages. The album racked up sales of over 25 million tracks in legal downloads.
Lavigne severed her management ties with the duo in 2008.
As an artist manager, it’s heart-breaking losing an artist. Does it make you cynical when it happens several times?
It is always heart-breaking. The first time that it happens it is probably the most heart-breaking. When Natalie (Merchant) left (in 1993) that was pretty heart-breaking for me. I had put my whole life into 10,000 Maniacs with her being obviously a major part of it—and I felt that I had done everything right; and I still got dumped. That was absolutely heart-breaking. When it happens subsequently, it is never as bad as the first time. But it always is really sad.
Yet, I like to think that I don’t allow myself that (cynicism) because I wouldn’t want that to creep into my life. I love the people that I represent, and I don’t want to think about what would happen if we didn’t work together anymore because I never really believe that we won’t work together again. I always go in with that kind of faith that we will be in this forever. All of the artists that I am currently managing I adore. Hopefully, they adore me. Things can change over the years but I do believe if you do a great job, you will be rewarded for it financially and with loyalty. Sometimes it doesn’t go down that way. Hopefully, more often than not, it does.
Have any of your breakups been acrimonious?
I wouldn’t say so. No. There are levels of…You always find clients that don’t want to pay you what you are owed; but as long as you pursue that, and make sure that you are fairly taken care of…you just have to move on.
There’s a music industry dictum that maintains that every artist will fuck you eventually.
You know whether it’s the artist or their lawyers or whoever, you always have to look out for yourself don’t you?
Does your management set-up still include your company, The New York End?
The New York End was my first management company that I started back in 1980. It still exists. It was previously in a partnership with Nettwerk; and it is now in a partnership with 24-7 Worldwide, which is an offshoot of a company called L.M.E., which is Logan Media Entertainment, owned by Craig Logan. Basically, Craig Logan and I have gone into a partnership, and our management company together is called 24-7.
When did that begin?
About six months ago.
At that point you ended your relationship with Nettwerk Management or is that ongoing?
It’s ongoing on a certain level, but really now it’s about what Craig and I are doing together.
Why the change?
I think that I was looking for new pastures. Craig and I have been friends for a long time; back to when I was managing Dido, at the same time that he was managing Pink and Sade. We became good friends. We felt that we had the same approach to management. At one point, he went off to run RCA Records in the U.K. for four years. He left management, and I carried on. Then he decided he wanted to leave RCA and get back into management, and he approached me. I felt that it was a really good time to start a new, smaller boutique management company together with a real emphasis on service. We really want to provide an amazing service for the few clients that we choose to represent.
[Craig Logan is a former UK pop star who has become one of the most leading figures in artist management. After a stint with the UK band Bros in the ‘80s, Craig Logan quit the band at 19; eventually becoming VP of international at EMI Music. In 1999, he left EMI to work with Australian artist manager Roger Davies, and he oversaw worldwide tours and releases for Tina Turner, Sade, Joe Cocker and M People before meeting Pink, whom he signed and co-managed with Davies for several years.
In 2006 Logan became managing dir. of the RCA Label Group in the U.K., signing Newton Faulkner, the Hoosiers, the Script and Sandi Thom. In 2010, he launched Logan Media Entertainment (LME), which has offices in London and Los Angeles.]
Who are you managing now?
I am managing, with another partner Tara Joseph who came into this set-up with me, we manage (Welsh mezzo-soprano) Katherine Jenkins. She’s on “Dancing With The Stars” and has had a phenomenal response. She’s amazing. She’s a superstar in many other parts of the world already; and this is a great break for her in the U.S. I think the U.S. public is going to fall in love with her. It’s very exciting.
I am managing Lissie. She’s amazing, and she’s doing very well. She’s playing Coachella soon (on April 15th, and 22nd, 2012) and she’s on the main stage of V (V Festival in August) this year. She has a new record coming out later in the year that I think will take off where the last one left off. She’s already sold 250,000 albums (of “Catching A Tiger” in 2010) quietly. She’s really well-poised (for a breakthrough), I think. I have been managing her for about five years now.
And I manage (New York-based band) the Pierces, Catherine and Allison Pierce who have had a lot of success in the U.K. over the past year. They put out a record (“You & I” in 2011) on Polydor which was produced by Guy Berryman from Coldplay, and engineer/producer Rik Simpson, that has sold about 150,000 records in the U.K. now on Mercury/Island/Def Jam.
The Pierces were recently on Leno (“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”) and they will be opening for Coldplay on their (North American) West Coast tour starting April 17th.
[The Pierces supported Coldplay at the iTunes Festival in July 2011. They will be supporting Coldplay for their upcoming North American tour in April-May 2012; appearing at the Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles shows.]
You also manage actress/singer Bridgit Mendler.
Who I am very, very excited about. Her first single “Ready Or Not” (from her upcoming debut album "Hello My Name Is" due August/Sept.) is impacting at radio on June 11th. She’s shaping up very nicely. What’s interesting about Bridgit is that she already has this platform by way of her show on the Disney Channel which is a big, successful show; but she is also genuinely a great writer and singer as well. She’s made a phenomenal record; it’s not the typical Disney pop rock record. It’s really sophisticated. I think that people are going to love it across the board.
[Bridgit Mendler currently stars in the Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” series.]
Craig and I are managing Dido together. She is in the process of making a new album. It is really exciting. There is some fantastic material already written and recorded. I’m not sure that it will come this year but, probably, next year.
A manager today has to look at as many revenue streams as possible.
Of course, yeah.
How do you deal with all these separate worlds? It’s being argued that there’s money still not going to artists from many of the new online services.
No, and I think that at some point inevitably that there is going to be some sort of lawsuit to recover some of that money. But at the point we are at right now, there’s just not enough money there to make it worth going after. I’m sure that at some point, as the streaming services become more successful—and I think that they inevitably will; and I think that’s good for the business—that artists are going to go, “Hold on a second. Where’s all of our money?” It’s already starting, but I think that the revenue is going to become a lot more soon.
With everyone seeking a piece of artist rights, an artist manager has to be quite protective.
You do. I don’t think that the 360 deals are inherently wrong but I feel that if they are going to entered into that there has to be some real commitment from the label. It only works if the label genuinely really commits. I see a lot of major labels signing 360 deals and not really delivering on the things that they have promised that they would do.
It is often a cash grab.
Sometimes it is. I did a deal with Lissie with Columbia that is a true joint venture. That means she also owns a huge part of her masters. She’s given some stuff up; but, in return, they have definitely given up some stuff to her. She earns at a much higher level because she’s on a profit share as opposed to just getting a royalty. That is a kind of a 360 deal that I think is a deal for the future. I think it is going to work for them (Columbia); and it’s going to work for her as she really takes off. But I think that the typical 360 deal right for new artists are ones that you would have to look really hard at before signing.
For an artist to break out internationally, they likely do need a relationship with a multinational—either directly or via distribution. Licensing territory by territory is difficult.
It is really, really hard. I’ve seen a couple of cases recently where artists have been able to independently break a few territories, and it’s really impressive; but it’s really hard to have a global impact without a global partner or at least two if you split two territories.
You have found a successful route for your artists by working between the UK and America. It must be helpful being so well-versed about the UK marketplace and then being able to then break acts in America.
To a certain extent and, in certain cases, that is definitely true. But interestingly, I have taken two American acts, the Pierces and Lissie, and they have signed to U.S. labels, and have broken out of the UK first.
So it’s a two way street.
But Dido actually started her career in the U.S. because she was signed to a little independent label in the U.K. (Cheeky Records founded in 1991 by producer/remixer Rollo Armstrong, Dido’s brother), and licensed to Arista. When I started managing her, the first album ("No Angel”) hadn’t come out yet. Dido spent most of her initial promo period, nine months at least, just working in the U.S. before anybody knew who she was in the U.K. It really wasn’t until “Stan”—the Eminem track—that people in the UK realized who she was. Even though she is English, she worked the U.S. first.
[Worldwide sales for Dido’s 1999 debut album, "No Angel” reached 12 million units, including U.S. sales of 4.2 million.
Cheeky Records, to which Dido was signed, was sold to BMG records in 1999. This delayed the release of “No Angel” in the UK, but also allowed her to concentrate on promoting the album in the United States.
As the album’s first single “Here With Me” went to radio in the U.S., Dido toured the major markets there, and played at showcases for press and radio. Then she did the same thing again, but this time with a small public audience on hand. Then the track “Here With Me” was placed on the TV show “Roswell” which added to her presence in America; and Leak secured five dates for her on the Lilith Fair tour.
Dido’s career exploded when Eminem’s “Stan” was released in 2000, although her album was already approaching platinum sales in the U.S., and “Here With Me” was becoming a hit.
How Eminem came to sample Dido’s “Thank You” as the basis for "Stan” is an interesting tale. Warner/Chappell UK placed “Thank You” on the soundtrack to Gwyneth Paltrow's 1998 film "Sliding Doors" before her album was released. Producer 45 King taped the music from a TV ad of “Sliding Doors” and sent tapes to several people. One of those tapes got to Eminem who created “Stan” to the track that the 45 King had put together.]
When I first start managing 10,000 Maniacs, I thought that they would break in the U.K. first because they were so special and so different and unique. I felt that the UK market would really take to them. In fact, John Peel was the first DJ to ever play 10,000 Maniacs. The first thing that I did when I started managing 10,000 Maniacs was to take them to England where they did some shows and had a following there. It resulted in them signing with Elektra in the U.S.
[The 10,000 Maniac’s track “My Mother the War" caught the attention of John Peel at Radio BBC Radio 1, and the song was a minor indie hit in the U.K. in 1983.]
So breakouts can be from all over the place, really.
I guess that there are all kinds of ways that you do it—depending on the artist. They can do really well in the UK first; and if you can do that, you can get a really good leg up because Britain is such a concentrated market. They have a lot of national media, national press, people really love music, they really care (about music), and then you have national radio. So if you have an artist that fits the bill over there, then it’s a great way to start a career off. Not every artist can start there, but if you have the right kind of artist you can.
In essence, you have an innate understanding of two prime music markets—the U.S. and the UK. That’s a big step going forward.
Yes. Absolutely. I think that gives me a real advantage. In fact, one of the things that Craig and I discussed when we were going to go into business together was that he has exactly that same kind of grounding. Being British—being generally based in England—and yet having a great knowledge of America as well. Obviously, he was managing Pink, and he was living in Los Angeles too. We both have that knowledge of not only the U.K. and the U.S., but the rest of the world as well.
Dido has sold 28 million albums over the course of the albums she’s put out so far. That was, to a large extent, because of the global market. The U.S. was a nice part of it (overall sales), but not the major part.
[Early in her career, Dido's UK sales numbers were astonishing. "No Angel," originally issued in 2001 in the UK was the biggest-selling album of that year, and now totals three million albums sold. The follow-up album "Life for Rent" was the top-selling U.K. album of 2003. It sold over 152,000 copies in the first day alone in the UK; sold over 400,000 units in the first week; and has sold three million units to date.]
Besides the UK, both Germany and France have been huge markets for Dido.
Yeah, absolutely and South America and Asia. It was all over place. Going back to when Terry McBride and I were managing Avril Lavigne together, Terry had asked me to get involved because I had that international knowledge. My role in the management of Avril, the first record “Let Go” in particular, was to do all of her international marketing and promotion whilst Terry really took care of the U.S.
Yeah, I’m proud of that (international) knowledge that I have of the rest of the world, and I think that it really does help. I never want to manage an artist who is just successful in one territory. In order to have success in a real long term career I feel strongly that you need to develop artist’s careers in other markets too. In fact, when you do crack Germany or France—or some of those international markets—that career can carry on forever there. Those audiences are so loyal there. People can tour forever in those markets; even when they are still not having success with their newer records.
You also have a leg up because there are so many British music executives that have recently landed in the top positions at labels, including Lucian Grainge, Max Hole, and Peter Edge.
Absolutely. Yes, all of these people…Lucian (chairman and CEO of Universal Music), I have obviously known a long time. It’s great to see the heights to which he has risen. And Peter Edge (CEO of RCA Music Group) too. I’ve known Peter since he was a junior A&R guy in the U.K. at Chrysalis. That’s when I met him.
Peter brought you Dido did he not?
Yes. I met with Peter Edge (at the time VP of A&R at Arista Records) in his office in New York, and he played me a Dido song and I was floored. I said, “Who’s this?” He said, “Her name is Dido, and we are making a record with her. She doesn’t have a manager. You should manage her.” So yeah, he definitely tipped me off about Dido. I initially just started managing Dido for the U.S. but as her career quickly started progressing, she asked me to manage her for the world. That was an unusual one (management signing) really because I was based in L.A.; she was in London; and I was managing her for the world. But I knew the UK market well enough that she trusted I would also be able to navigate that side of things for her.
This was during a time that the music business was becoming more global. A real learning curve for you?
You are absolutely right. I learned so much in those days working with Dido. In fact, you never stop learning. But that was a real quick…as I said, we had been working the U.S. for nine months before anywhere else and we got to about 750,000 units on the first album before “Stan” came out and created this amazing whirlwind of activity around the world. When it did take off, there was so much demand for her everywhere; and there was a lot of choosing the right things for her to do and there were things that she just wasn’t able to do.
The trick was to make sure that we had the same global success with her follow-up album (“Life For Rent”). You see so many artists who have one big album and don’t follow it up. Actually, Dido sold pretty much the same number of records on the second album as she did on her first. So that was great. Then she was really, really established.
Did working Dido internationally provide you with a template for Avril worldwide as well?
It really did help, and it helped that they were both on the same record label (Arista). So I also knew all of the international people around the world with the record company at the time. That also helped. But yeah, I learned a lot with Dido, and I was able to apply that to breaking Avril around the rest of the world as well.
What was Avril’s appeal in the Far East? It became such a huge market for her.
She just hit a nerve there. She was perfect for them. She imaged perfectly for them. The music was perfect. We made sure that she went over there a lot. She was available. Particularly in Japan, an artist really needs to go over there, and be seen to be working there. Avril was happy to do that. That was a market that we always thought that she would do well in. Japan was one of the first worldwide markets to be worked other than the UK.
You started working with Avril before her debut album?
Terry was already managing her before the first album, and he asked me to help him with it from the beginning.
What was behind the shift in direction for Avril’s follow-up album “Under My Skin” which didn’t include the production team The Matrix which had worked on the debut?
I wasn’t involved in the A&Ring of the second record. It was more an (Arista head) L.A. Reid, Terry, and Avril conversation. I was aware of what was going on. I think any artist wants to prove that it (success) was as much about them as the team that they were working with. I think at the time that The Matrix (consisting of Lauren Christy, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock) claimed that it was all about them. Certainly, it was partly about them but Avril was definitely carrying that whole weight on her shoulders promoting those songs; and they were very much Avril songs (on the debut). I think that there was also an element of her wanting to show that she could do it again with different writers.
How long did you work with Terry McBride?
I was with Nettwerk for over 10 years.
You have a remarkable relationship with Terry McBride. Why did it work for so long?
Terry and I just always…Terry is a very clever guy; very bright; a really good marketing guy. I love Terry.
What made it a successful team?
Certainly, for the things that I was involved in and with Terry specifically, I just really enjoyed—other than Avril, whom he handled himself—being very much involved in the creative process of the making of the records; the A&Ring; and the finding of new artists. We worked really well together. He would really help with breaking things in the U.S. If I was off in Germany, France or England with Dido, I knew that someone was still holding down the fort there, and making sure of things. Terry had a lot to do with the breaking of Dido in the U.S. originally. He really helped with radio. The fact that Nettwerk had had success with Sarah McLachlan, and with Barenaked Ladies really helped Dido. We were able to get support at radio for Dido because of that. Terry’s a great marketing guy. He was talking to radio. I was out doing more on the side of personal management and A&Ring and making sure that we were bringing the right records in.
It was also helpful having Nettwerk cover off any backroom activities with ancillary businesses being taken care of; like Maria Alonte McCoy in Los Angeles handling TV and film placements.
I couldn’t give Maria enough credit, in particular, for the ancillary businesses. Before I joined up with Nettwerk, I had my own company for many years. When Terry suggested that we go into partnership, I had been asked about working for record companies and other partnerships in the past, and it never felt right. Going in with Nettwerk felt absolutely right. From the moment that I set foot in there, it just worked.
For me, it was very liberating. I had got a bit fed up with the running of my own company. I just really wanted to manage artists, and provide a great service. That is why I got into management in the first place. I found that I was getting a little bogged down with the minutia of accounting and other stuff. So it was great to go with Nettwerk and have that sort of backup stuff taken care of. Then to have these other people helping me getting airplay or getting film and TV synchs.
During that time management was evolving into so many different sectors.
That’s right. The business became more and more complex, and you couldn’t take care of everything by yourself. Before I joined up with Nettwerk, I would make a list of everything that I wanted to do in a day; all the calls that I wanted to make; all the people that I wanted to reach out to. And I’d get to, maybe, 70% down the list. Then it was the end of the day; and I would have to start a new list the next day. Often at the bottom of the list, there would probably be contacting music supervisors. All those sort of things that you never quite got around to doing. So to have other people to help with that was really, really great.
And the business has since become just more and more complex. So it is still very important to have other people around to help with those various other aspects.
Prior to being with Nettwerk, you worked with Cowboy Junkies.
I think I started working with them in 1987. I had 10 years with them. I don’t think I wasn’t working with the Junkies when I started working with Nettwerk. I started working with them before “Trinity Session” (1987) came out. While I was managing 10,000 Maniacs, I wasn’t sure that I would ever find a band again that I loved as much as 10,000 Maniacs. Therefore, I didn’t know whether I would be able to manage anybody else.
How did you become involved with Cowboy Junkies?
A great guy named Jim Powers (then A&R dir.), working for Heinz Henn (senior VP of A&R/marketing at BMG International in New York, was their A&R guy. He had found them and signed them to BMG International in New York. (Singer Margo Timmins husband, entertainment lawyer) Graham Henderson contacted me, and said that he had heard about me. They both sent me some music. I will never forget putting this cassette in and listening to two songs and going, “Holy shit. This is amazing.” It was the first two songs on “The Trinity Session.” I couldn’t believe it.
When I heard that cassette, I was like “Oh wow. This is an act that I really want to manage.” So I contacted Jim; I spoke to Graham; and I went up to Toronto and I saw them play. I started managing them, and then “The Trinity Session” came out and, of course, “Sweet Jane” was a real phenomenon. We helped get a really cool video made. Just the imaging of Cowboy Junkies was really important in those early days. It really, really worked. They were on that tour, and everybody was just falling in love with the album. Bruce Springsteen was coming down to see at The Roxy. It was just such a wonderful scene.
10,000 Maniacs was once called Burn Victims.
And Dick Turpin’s Ride To York. That’s another name they had.
I remember them performing Cat Steven’s “Peace Train.”
Well, it was on their record (“In My Tribe” in 1987). We got VH-1 play with it, which led the way to “Like The Weather.” It’s not on the album now, but initially versions of the album had “Peace Train” on there as well. It did help to break down some barriers even though of course all of their original material was much much bigger.
Senior VP of A & R Howard Thompson signed them to Elektra Records?
Howard signed them but Hale Milgrim and Steve Schnur, I will give massive credit to for having helped break 10,000 Maniacs. Hale was head of marketing at Elektra and Steve was head of video promotion which came under marketing and not promotion. So Steve would get his budget allowances from Hale; and Hale always believed in 10,000 Maniacs.
I will never forget that there was a weekend (in 1988) when 10,000 Maniacs played on the Johnny Carson show (“The Tonight Show” in Los Angeles) on a Friday night and we all got on a “red eye” (overnight flight) and flew to New York, and they played The Ritz on a Saturday night and Hale came down and saw them. It was a sold-out Ritz (show); and it was an amazing show. Hale said, “We’re going to break this band.” That’s when we picked “Like The Weather” as a single and that’s when Elektra really started putting the pedal to the metal. Steve Schnur got them on MTV and VH-1 and every cable channel that he could. And radio followed. We had college airplay but radio certainly did not lead on 10,000 Maniacs. I often think that 10,0000 Maniacs came up in the slipstream of R.E.M. That R.E.M. were just that step ahead of 10,000 Maniacs and they helped to break down some barriers that we were happy to take advantage of. While they were not huge on Top 40 radio they built a massive live following and had four multi-platinum records.
In 1993, Natalie left 10,000 Maniacs after seven studio albums.
We all knew that Natalie was going to leave the band for a long time. I guess for me the big surprise was that when Natalie decided that she didn’t want to work with me anymore when she left the band. I had always assumed because I was doing such an excellent job (laughing) that it would be inevitable that I’d work with her.
This was a band that you had put your heart and soul into.
Exactly. But I think it was because that I had put my heart and soul into the whole band that Natalie felt like that she needed to find someone else—that it was going to be completely fresh. She changed lawyers; she changed managers; and she changed accountants.
You continued managing 10,000 Maniacs.
I wanted to see the guys have a chance to still have a career. They came to me with this idea of Mary (Ramsey) taking over. I was interested in that, and we did a deal with Geffen which put the first album (“Love Among The Ruins”) out. It did 350,000 units or something like that. Clearly, however, it didn’t stick to the level that everybody would like. The band is still going and doing tours. In fact, if anything, I think that it is picking up for them as more people now are looking back and remembering those artists that they used to like. They still sound wonderful.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a village just outside Chelmsford, Essex, 40 miles north-east of London. It is pretty much now a suburb of London today although it didn’t feel like that when I was growing up. I played in drums in bands. I would inevitably be the guy who organized rehearsals and got the shows.
How good of a drummer were you?
I was an okay drummer.
Were you going to shows in London at the 101 Club and other venues?
I played some of those gigs. I played the Nashville Rooms, and The Marquee. I had a job when I left school. I left school early, and I eventually went to work for a merchant bank. So I was merchant banking by day, and being a punk by night. Or trying to fake being a punk at night. I was actually on the phone at work getting gigs for my band Solid Waste. John Peel turned out to be a fan because we played the infamous Chelmsford Punk Festival (in 1977) with Slaughter and the Dogs, the Damned, and Eddie and the Hot Rods. All these great bands played at this one festival and were on the bill. John Peel was the DJ there, and he fell in love with my band. We’d hang out with him when he did a show. He was very, very supportive.
[Maligned in media reports as The Great Punk Flop Festival, Britain’s first open-air punk concert, organized by the Chelmsford City Football Club, reportedly ended in shambles when only 1,500 people turned up. Backstage, after 21-year-old promoter Bob Mardon was confronted by bouncers, he locked himself in his office as 60 of his employees walked away without pay. The Damned refused to play.]
At the time, it looked as if Virgin Records was going to sign Solid Waste which was later renamed Street Bizarre.
They came to see the band three times. I was playing drums and I thought that they wouldn’t take me seriously as a manager if I was the drummer as well. I had to make a decision whether I was going to be a manager or a drummer. I thought, “Management is what I would be better at and what I would enjoy more.” We almost got a deal; then we didn’t; and the band broke up. Then the bank I was working for asked me to go to New York. So I went to New York for the bank. That’s where I met the first band I ever managed a month into my being in New York.
They were signed to RCA. Philip Glass produced their first two albums. They were a great band. They asked me to manage them. So I quit my job and I went into partnership with Bob Schwaid (of Sight & Sound Management) who had an office on 57th Street. It was an amazing live band but it imploded. There were two brothers in that band and they ended up fighting and not getting on. They did two albums for RCA, and then (guitarist) Tommy Robertson left and his brother (singer/guitarist) Billy carried on. We did an EP. Then I managed the Comateens which were signed to Virgin. They had a club hit called “Get Off My Case” (1983) which nearly took off. It was played on WKTU.
What was your impression of New York?
I adored New York. The Mudd Club, CBGB’s, and Hurrah, which was a great club. I first saw Polyrock at Hurrah. They were opening for the Specials. Hurrah had a lot of the UK acts. Their first (U.S.) gigs would be there. CBGB’s, it was slightly after the peak. In 1979, Talking Heads and Blondie weren’t playing there anymore, but there were still some great artists coming. I absolutely adored New York. I was 23 when I moved to New York. Then I had all of the ‘80s and half of the ‘90s there. There was so much great stuff happening. It was all just a little bit more dangerous in those days; and that much more thrilling for it.
Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide.”
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