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The unstoppable Steve Zapp

From ents manager to agent extraordinaire, it’s hard to believe that the youthful-looking Steve Zapp has been in the business for quarter of a century…

By IQ on 11 Oct 2016

Steve Zapp

… Branded one of the hardest working agents around, Zapp tells Eamonn Forde about his work ethic and his first 25 years in music…

If your earliest experiences of live music involved sleeping on train platforms, being physically assaulted and getting the sack for booking an act deemed enormously inappropriate, then the chances are you’d probably want to cut your losses and get into a more stable career path.

Steve Zapp, despite his placid demeanour and antipathy towards swearing, is made of sterner stuff. He is marking 25 years in the business and 15 years at ITB where he looks after a roster of around 55 acts that include Biffy Clyro, a band he spotted, like an alt-rock Brian Epstein, in The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and has taken to headlining festivals and touring arenas.

Zapp cites three London shows as pivotal in his early life: The Wonder Stuff at Brixton Academy, Energy Orchard at The Borderline and Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah! At Subterranea

Born in 1973 and growing up in Folkestone, Zapp was introduced to music via The Smurfs and The Wombles but soon expanded into Adam & the Ants, Wham! and Duran Duran. His dad was into music, but it was Thursday night’s Top of the Pops that really kicked the doors open for him.

“I lived in Kent and there weren’t many acts that played live,” he says of the dearth of concerts in his formative years, which amateur psychologists would suggest he has spent his professional career making up for.

He cites three London shows as pivotal in his early life – The Wonder Stuff at Brixton Academy, Energy Orchard at The Borderline and Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah! At Subterranea. “I hung out too long after the Pete Wylie gig and missed my last train so had to sleep in the station,” he recalls. “I got through it.”

 


Read the rest of this feature in issue 67 of IQ Magazine.


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