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Rebecca Nichols joins Mother Artists as agent

Rebecca Nichols has departed FKP Scorpio’s UK business to join artist management and live agency Mother Artists as an agent.

Former CAA agent Nichols will build her own roster at Mother and be charged with growing the live side of the business alongside co-founder Natasha Gregory and agent James Tones.

Nichols was most recently head of live coordination at FKP, where she helped set up multiple UK shows and tours for artists such as Ed Sheeran, The War on Drugs and Self Esteem. She also worked on special events and festivals for the European promoting giant as it established a footprint in the UK.

“I’m really grateful to FKP Scorpio for the fantastic year I’ve spent with them but very excited to be returning to the agency side where my passion for working with artists and being a part of building their careers can flourish,” she says.

Mother Artists was founded in late 2020 by ex-Paradigm agent Gregory (nee Bent) and her brother, Mother Artist Management boss Mark Bent.

“I have huge respect for what Natasha and Mark are building at Mother Artists, their commitment to the artists is at the heart of everything they do alongside a strong company ethos of integrity, inclusivity and empowerment, which really connects with me,” adds Nichols.

It’s amazing and humbling that Rebecca is joining us

“They care and they want to make a difference whilst creating a supportive and empathetic environment which is mirrored in the culture at Mother Artists. These values are important to me and how I connect with people and are what I will offer to the artists that I work with too.”

Earlier in her career, Nichols worked for over a decade as an agent at CAA with acts such as Lianne La Havas, NAO, Villagers and Charlotte Day Wilson amongst others.

“It’s amazing and humbling that Rebecca is joining us,” says Gregory. “She is quite simply a wonderful woman; kind, smart, personable, universally liked and respected and is just going to fit into the Mother Artists ethos and culture perfectly. I have personally wanted to work with Rebecca for a while and we are all just excited to learn from her and continue building Mother Artists as a team. Let’s go!”

Kelly Chappel, Live Nation SVP, touring, international, adds: “Beck is an absolute diamond, she loves new music and has exceptional ears. Most importantly she’s very easy to deal with, she listens and has a vision of where the artist should go and you’re part of that.

“I’m so excited to see her grow and flourish as part of Mother Artists ‘family’.  They are building such an exciting culture and team.”

Mother Artists (live) currently works with Idles, First Aid Kit, Tom Misch, Cate Le Bon, Fever Ray, Foster The People, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, RY X, CMAT, Thomas Headon and Do Nothing, while Mother Artists (management) represents the likes of Idles, Heavy Lungs, Mouth Culture and Blair Davie.


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Wasserman hires veteran agent Shannon Casey

Wasserman Music has appointed Shannon Casey as SVP of fairs and festivals, to expand the agency’s reach in the business area.

Casey will start at Wasserman on 1 October, based in the agency’s Nashville office.

The veteran agent joins Wasserman after more than two decades at CAA in Nashville, representing some of the most notable live performance talent in the music business.

“I look forward to working with some of the most passionate and respected agents in the business,” says Casey.

“I can’t wait to reconnect with all the fair and festival buyers, with whom it has been my pleasure to work over the years”

“I can’t wait to reconnect with all the fair and festival talent buyers, with whom it has been my pleasure to work over the years, and I’m excited about creating new touring opportunities for a dynamic roster of talented artists.”

Wasserman SVP, Lenore Kinder, added: “The addition of Shannon to Wasserman Music brings irreplaceable experience and expertise in a rapidly evolving economy in fairs and festivals.

“She has cultivated decades of meaningful relationships with her buyers, and I have no doubt they’re just as eager to get back to business with her as we are!”

Today’s news follows the appointment of veteran agent Brent Smith as executive vice-president and managing executive, in July, and five new agents, earlier this month.

The appointments follow Wasserman group’s acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business.


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Rach Millhauser, Wasserman Music

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Guy Howes, music partnerships executive at CAA in the UK here.


Rach Millhauser
Coordinator, Wasserman Music
New York, US

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
I spent many years leaving a lot of myself at the door when I walked into the office or a show. While far from easy, deciding to walk 100% of myself through the door has been a profound relief and quite rewarding – both professionally and personally. Now I feel a strong sense of responsibility to use my voice to push for more opportunities for trans and gender-nonconforming people, both onstage and backstage.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Be yourself. No career opportunity is worth compromising your identity for. One of my favourite words of wisdom came from Lenore Kinder – “There’s going to be very few people that hold the door open for you in this business, so you just gotta swing the fucker open and walk through.”

“No career opportunity is worth compromising your identity for”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
Going to shows and meeting people face-to-face for the first time can be a wildcard scenario: sometimes I’m not quite what they imagined on the other end of that email address. While some moments have stung, I move right along and let my work speak for itself.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
We still have a long way to go when it comes to truly including and uplifting marginalised communities. How many queer people of colour work at your company? The answer is usually not great.

Causes you support.
Trans Lifeline and The Okra Project. Personally, I’m committed to donating to trans people who need financial assistance with healthcare via crowdfunding websites and cash apps. The financial barriers the trans community faces when it comes to healthcare is astonishing.

“Promoter versus agent mentality has to go out the window…”

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Promoter versus agent mentality has to go out the window. Currently, in the US, the floodgates have opened but in a patchwork way, making it trickier to route a several-week tour months in advance. We’re responding to differing local regulations in real-time, putting shows on-sale with much shorter windows and facing avails that are few and far between. At the same time, live music has never felt more precious and meaningful.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
Sustainable touring and climate change need to be at the forefront. No one needs to be an expert to make an impact. Carbon offsetting has never been made easier and there are many exciting new ways to approach concessions, catering, merch, fuel and so much more. Shout out to Reverb for leading the charge on this!

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Why artists need an agent

The focus of my work as an agent is on territories outside of the USA, especially in Europe, Latin America, Australasia, Japan/Asia etc. Many large acts do sell the ‘Whole World Tour’ to LN or AEG. However all tours still have to be routed and there are places where the ‘big’ promoters do not have companies or local relationships.

Often, with tour routes that we have helped to create (many times with those ‘big’ promoters), we include additional and useful ‘sell off’ shows. We also act as a buffer between the Manager/Artist and the Promoter. There are often difficult decisions to be made on logistics, local compliance rules, movement of equipment, local tax issues, currency fluctuations, insurance for pandemics and much more to make a tour run smoothly.

We also check the books (although vanishingly few promoters are dishonest). The point I’m making is that [contrary to the claim that, “to a great degree, the agent is an antiquated concept”] we agents have always provided good ‘old fashioned’, time-honoured service. Here are some of the reasons I say this:

We have geographical understanding gained from years of experience. Local ‘on the ground’ issues are informed and resolved by a wealth of knowledge about locality, culture, company, client, that we have accumulated over time.

We store fundamental information such as how long it takes to overnight from A-B (drive times), the network of ferry links, transport restrictions, crew swaps, air-freight of equipment, charter flights and the many behind-the-scenes activities that collectively make a tour work (we do all this in association with artist production managers and transport companies)

Sure you can leave much to promoters but an AGENT fighting for the artist in their corner provides a crucial and significant service. We’re a vital cog in the overall process. As well as handling regular fee negotiations, much else of what is done by the agent maximises earnings for the artist. At a basic level, the premise that the manager just calls Michael Rapino and makes the global deal (thereby cutting out the agent) could be perceived as short term saving. But believe me, in the longer term, this ‘by-passing’ of our role and function would be more costly because of the reservoir of accumulated knowledge and pivotal insight an agent is able to bring to the party.

An agent fighting for the artist in their corner provides a crucial and significant service

The artist relationship with a bigger promoter is partly founded on big bucks advances and guarantees. Undoubtedly this alliance has a role to play as financial certainty helps to keep the world running. Nevertheless, and for reasons I have indicated above, the contribution of the agent remains critical to the success of the enterprise. I would also add that territories outside of the USA represent about half the touring world and an agent ‘on the ground’ with local knowledge is an indispensable element in the equation.

The concept of ‘agent’ is not antiquated and the function is much more than paperwork. We help break talent by assisting younger acts to get a leg up. We foster record label, radio, tv and social media liaisons. We also have excellent relationships with all the top managers. Those guys appreciate the added value and hard work that an agent invests in their artists’ success. The strength and depth of the relationships that we have forged with a number of strong headliners has also been influential when it comes to negotiating with promoters, festivals and other venues. The presence of an agent will be significantly more consequential to an artist, adding value and helping to build or sustain their career in such an uncertain world we now face.

The desired end result of an agent’s presence is to allow the artist to concentrate on their performance and give of their best to their audience, free from any external concerns which may have arisen.

The holistic nature of the agent’s relationship with an artist/manager means we’re always there for them, supporting, protecting, nurturing through thick and thin. Our agency representation list and enduring artist bonds speaks for itself.

The pendulum of live music swings between the power of a) the artists and promoters and b) the public who pay good money to see the music performed. In the present climate of uncertainty, the law of the jungle applies so lets allow the market to determine “who agrees what”. You can’t blame Rapino for trying to close the gaps [by renegotiating deals for 2021]. He is a caring and intuitive man who has given up his own salary for the cause.


Rod MacSween is co-founder and CEO of International Talent Booking and IQ’s Agent of the Decade. This article originally appeared in the Lefsetz Letter and is reproduced here with Rod’s permission.

UTA announces agent, exec promotions

Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency (UTA) has promoted nine agents and five executives across seven divisions in its Los Angeles, New York and London offices.

Tessie Lammle (pictured), James Masters (pictured), Daniel McCartney (pictured), Ron Perks, Angie Rance (pictured) and Chris Visconti are new agents in the music division.

Elsewhere, UTA gained new agents in the television talent, independent film and speakers departments.

Allyson Chung and Ally Diamond are now executives in the UTA Foundation, with Rachel Hall and Caroline Long being promoted to executive level in the marketing division and Brendan Mulroy becoming an executive in UTA IQ.

“We’re pleased that the vast majority of our new agents and executives began their careers at UTA as assistants”

UTA also announced that 12 new coordinators have been named across its Los Angeles, New York and London offices in music, speakers, fine arts, independent film, emerging platforms, video games, corporate communications, digital talent and brand partnerships.

“We’re incredibly proud of this outstanding group of colleagues,” says UTA’s co-president David Kramer. “Each of them personifies exceptional performance and commitment to client service.

“We’re especially pleased that the vast majority of our new agents and executives began their careers at UTA as assistants, which is a reflection of our commitment to developing and fostering the growth of young professionals. As we continue to grow all aspects of our business, they will all play an integral role in driving our future success.”

The promotions follow the recent appointment of former Maverick management executive Alisann Blood as co-head of music brand partnerships at UTA.

Pictured (l to r): Top – Allyson Chung, Lucas Barnes, Tessie Lammle, James Masters; bottom – Angie Rance, Daniel McCartney, Kristen Sena, John McGrath


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Paradigm’s Tom Schroeder: Captain of industry

Spend any amount of time with Tom Schroeder and you cannot help but be impressed by his cerebral dissection of the music industry and his ability to sniff out opportunities and identify changes, big and small, that can be made to improve the work/life balance for staff at Paradigm, and, crucially, the artists that they represent.

“A lot of people are shocked to hear millennials demanding a different kind of lifestyle but at Paradigm we are approaching that in another way – maybe it’s the millennials who have got the work/life balance right and we should be learning from them,” he notes at one point, when musing on how ridiculously all-consuming the business can easily become.

That empathetic, open-minded attitude was prevalent at Coda and remains evident to anyone visiting the now Paradigm UK offices in central London, where the company’s 100-plus employees enjoy a progressive environment that is a pleasure to conduct business in. But that’s a far cry from Schroeder’s own early career experiences when he admits to overworking to the extent that he is still recovering to this day.

“For the first five years as an agent, I didn’t have a holiday and I think it’s taken an additional 15 years to unpick the damage that did to me,” he says. “Stress is a very real issue as an agent and in an agency. For sure many of us are in a privileged position, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel the pressure. We have seen it at all levels of the company, and are now taking a very proactive approach to dealing with it and preventing it impacting on everyone’s well-being.”

Towing the line
That caring side to Tom’s nature is, perhaps, inherited as his mother was a social worker before going on to become the head of education for the London borough of Camden, earning a CBE for her efforts.

“For the first five years as an agent, I didn’t have a holiday and I think it’s taken an additional 15 years to unpick the damage that did to me”

Born in West London, Tom grew up in a sailing family and was a sporty child. “I wasn’t into music much at school, but I competed at national and international level as a windsurfer,” he reveals. That all ended at 17, “when I inevitably discovered the things that we all do as teenagers…”

Faced with a common teenage choice, Tom somewhat followed in his mum’s footsteps by opting to study sociology at university although as his dad worked for Guinness, he also significantly contributed to that side of family lineage during his years at the University of Nottingham.

“Most 19 year olds need a few years to work out who they are, and that’s definitely what university gave me,” he says. “Meeting people from all walks of life was really important, and I’m still friends with a lot of them. But I horsed around and probably got the lowest 2:1 in Nottingham University history because they felt sorry for me.”

He admits, “When I arrived in Nottingham, I thought about how I could become the cool kid on campus. That’s why I decided, with friends, to put on some gigs. Fortunately, for us, there was this very cool Scottish guy, James Bailey, who ran one of the city’s best clubs, The Bomb. He took a chance on us, so we put on Thursday- and Friday-night residencies and we’d go hall to hall in the university, selling tickets.”

Those early residencies also introduced him to someone who he was initially wary of but who would become his mentor and one of his closest friends. “We had a jungle night and Alex Hardee at MPI repped a few acts we wanted to book,” says Schroeder. “Alex had a bit of a reputation, so when we wanted to book DJ Krust, or whoever it was, we ended up getting really stoned and pulling straws to decide who would make the phone call. And, of course, I pulled the short straw.

“My mates warned me it would be too much about business and not about the music. But I ignored them, thank goodness”

“When I called him, he was on another call: ‘Tom, just hold for a minute,’ he said, before on the other line shouting,‘Listen, you Welsh cunt, if I find out where you live, I’ll come and burn your fucking house down.’And then I booked the act with him. That was my first experience of Alex Hardee.”

Knowing that he wanted to pursue some kind of career in music, Schroeder spent a summer in California, where a cousin owned a recording studio. “I tried making dance music but I realised I was nowhere near good enough: proper musicians were at a different level. So I came back to the UK and started thinking about the companies I’d potentially like to work with.”

Perfect Tom-ing
Dance music’s loss was definitely the agency world’s gain – and one company in particular. “It was a Tuesday morning,” says Tom. “I sent a speculative email to MPI, asking if they had any jobs. By a massive coincidence, Phil Banfield had called a staff meeting that same day where he announced that he wanted to find a young, motivated kid to look for and sign new talent. My timing was perfect.”

What wasn’t perfect was the resulting job interview. “In the room were Phil, Alex, Cris [Hearn] and Gemma [Peppé]. Within a couple of minutes, Alex said he had emails to check and walked out. Cris did the same about a minute later, followed quickly by Gemma. So I thought I’d blown it.”

However, Tom exploited the one-on-one situation to learn about the business and spent the next 90 minutes quizzing Banfield. His enthusiasm struck a chord, and a few days later, he was offered a job. “My mates warned me it would be too much about business and not about the music. But I ignored them, thank goodness, as 20 years later I’m still at the same company, albeit after a couple of name changes.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 85, or subscribe to the magazine here

Living la vita De Luca

Like so many of his peers, Roberto De Luca’s path to the upper echelons of the live music business has not been the result of some carefully plotted plan, but rather a set of fortunate circumstances.

In 1976, Roberto launched one of Italy’s first commercial radio stations – Punto Radio 96 – but, like so many fledgling enterprises, he found it tricky to balance the books.

“I was doing the programming as well as selling advertising but the station was not making money, so I decided to do some live shows to try to pay some of the bills,” he recalls. “At the start, I was acting as a local promoter for Italian artists, but in 1980 I did a show with my first international artist, Carmel. And then I started working with the likes of Gianni Togni and Sergio Caputo, who I also managed, so my career in music started pretty quickly.”

His upbringing also involved music, although teenage rebellion hinted that sport was more compelling than performing. “I was playing classical piano from the age of about ten to 14, in my hometown, Novaro, but I was more into football,” explains the Juventus fan. “I remember having a ‘four-hands’ concert when I was to perform alongside a girl, and my mother warned me not to play football before the concert. I obviously ignored her and ended up playing the concert with stitches in my head.”

“I was playing classical piano from the age of about ten to 14, in my hometown, but I was more into football”

Other teenage musical memories aren’t quite so painful. “In 1970, I went on holiday with friends to Holland. We’d driven to Amsterdam in a blue Fiat 500 and were sleeping in a two- man tent in a campsite near a speedway track. In fact, we drove there via the Nürburgring and took the car around the track – the steam was pouring out of the car when we finished.

“But we went to see The Who and there are two things I remember about it: there was a man dressed all in white on stage – that was Pete Townsend; and the second thing was that there was a girl two rows in front of me who was completely naked.”

Stethoscopes to stages
That lesson in anatomy wasn’t to be his last. “I studied to be a doctor. My exam results were pretty good and I was looking to go into the research side of things.”

As a result, his move toward rock and roll, and the founding of Punto Radio, were brave steps. “It was a difficult conversation to have with my parents,” he says. “They were always very nice and very easy with me but they had basically given me three choices for a career: doctor, lawyer or engineer.

“My dad was a bus driver and my mother worked for the city council, but they wanted me to do something that would let me have a better lifestyle. So I think I disappointed them a bit… My father thought I was a car dealer because every time I visited them I was driving a different car.”

“There are so many wonderful individuals in this business, and you can always learn new things from them”

Landing himself a job working for established promoter Franco Mamone, De Luca was determined to maximise his entrepreneurial skills and grab a piece of the action. “The first company I was involved in owning was Prima Spectaculo. I had a 25% stake and Franco owned the rest: then, we had a similar relationship at InTalent.”

That pact with Mamone wasn’t to last, however, leading De Luca to launch Bonne Chance in 1985, putting him in direct competition with his former business partner. “I quickly found out that Bonne Chance wasn’t such a good name for the music business, so I changed it to Milano Concerti and I started working with lots of promising international acts at the start of their careers – people like Depeche Mode and Peter Gabriel, as well as artists like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Jovanotti, and the company just started to get bigger and bigger.”

Asked about mentors who helped him learn the ropes, De Luca points to “people I admired, like Miles Copeland with the Police, Ed Bicknell, Paul McGuinness, Ron Delsener and Bill Graham. I’d look at what they did and how they did it and try to do something similar. But I also learned a lot from other promoters like Thomas Johansson, Leon Ramakers and Marek Lieberberg.”

In terms of agents, he cites Pete Nash, Chris Dalston, Steve Hedges, Dave Chumbley, Barry Dickins, Rod MacSween and Martin Hopewell. “They were really good to me in the early days, as was Andy Woolliscroft, while Mike Greek and Emma Banks have always been amazing. And nowadays people like Michael Rapino, Arthur Fogel and Guy Oseary are interesting to follow, while I have learned a lot from Jonathan Kessler and I’m very good friends with David Levy.

“Roberto De Luca is one of the people who made the Italian business a little more predictable”

“There are so many wonderful individuals in this business, and you can always learn new things from them. Jon Ollier really impresses me, as do James Whitting, Adele Slater and Geoff Meall at Coda.”

Changing the Italian landscape
Talking to De Luca’s long-term business associates, the one accolade they all bestow upon him is his key role in transforming Italy into a bona fide touring market.

ILMC’s Martin Hopewell is typical. “Along with Claudio Trotta, Roberto De Luca is one of the people who made the Italian business a little more predictable,” says Hopewell. “It was the Wild West before Roberto and his peers helped to stabilise the market.”

ITB’s Rod MacSween agrees. “Italy has not always been the easiest market but Roberto and his great team make it a regular pleasure to play there,” he says, while Live Nation colleague, Arthur Fogel, notes, “Roberto has brought the highest level of organisation and professionalism to Italy. I have always relied on him for his expertise, great execution and without a doubt his sense of calm. He and his team are first rate.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 84, or subscribe to the magazine here

Paradigm promotes in music division

Paradigm Talent Agency has made dual promotions in its New York office, appointing Daisy Hoffman and Jon Lampkin to agents in the music division.

Hoffman’s roster includes electronic artists Walker & Royce, Will Clarke, Medasin, Gryffin and Party Favor. She began her career as an intern at Creative Artists Agency.

Prior to joining Paradigm, Hoffman worked with two of Paradigm’s partner agencies, joining AM Only in 2014 as an assistant and booking coordinator, then the Windish Agency in 2016 as a booking coordinator.

“Daisy and Jon are unyielding advocates for our artists and their work”

Lampkin, who also worked at AM Only as an assistant, has live artists including Oliver Tree and Roy Blair on his roster, as well as electronic artists Whethan, Getter, Yultron, Melvv, Diablo and Perto and branded properties including Brownies & Lemonade.

The new Paradigm agent started his career in 2011 as a marketing intern for Active Management’s Will Bronson and Chioke “Stretch” McCoy.

“Daisy and Jon are unyielding advocates for our artists and their work,” says Marty Diamond, who became Paradigm’s global head of music in April. “We’re proud to see them take this big step in their careers, and we look forward to their many future contributions.”

Paradigm’s music division represents artists including Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Kacey Musgraves, Missy Elliott, Shawn Mendes and Skrillex.


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Matt Bates: from Shrewsbury to ’shambles

Many of us, when young, dreamt idly of running away with a band or the circus. When Babyshambles kick-started his career as an agent, Matt Bates did both.

Growing up in Shrewsbury in a house where Dire Straits, Fleetwood Mac and Status Quo were on heavy rotation, Bates was initially into Michael Jackson, New Kids On The Block and Ace of Base. The release of Blur’s Parklife in 1994 was to prove the catalyst for music taking over his life.

Blur’s show at Birmingham NEC on The Great Escape tour in November 1995 was Bates’ first concert, getting the coach from Shrewsbury. “I had never been to a gig before and that made me want to go to gigs every night,” he says. “Now I would do anything to not go to gigs every night of the week!”

It was a Britpop baptism of fire and his first three shows were reasonably close together, and combined made up what he terms “the holy trinity” – Blur, Pulp and Oasis. “There was no hiding what I was going to be into. I feel I was quite lucky growing up during Britpop.”

When he was 16 and at college, he began to address the musical drought in Shrewsbury – a place very few bands played – by lying about his age to hire out local venues to put on indie nights, and DJ-ing there, too. The agent instinct was already there – even if he wasn’t exactly sure what an agent was. He would use a nearby pay-phone, as he was too nervous to use the phone at home in front of his mother, to try and get bands to come to his town.

“I would phone around agencies and ask, ‘How much does it cost to book Oasis?’” he laughs, remembering his first steps in the business. “I was completely naive! But looking back it was a great rounding. I didn’t know what an agent really was then. But I knew I wanted to do something with live music.”

“Overnight I had become the agent for Babyshambles from my bedroom in Stoke-on-Trent … I suddenly realised I was an agent!”

He was a self-starter and, like a twist on the line in Field of Dreams, he was sure that if he built it, they would come. By 18, he was studying journalism and English – believing writing was his way into the music business – at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, and also putting on nights there. “The first proper gig that I put on that made money was when I was 18 or 19,” he says. “I booked a tribute band called The Complete Stone Roses. They brought with them the real life Mani [from The Stone Roses] as a DJ, and I met him. I was a geeky little kid and just spoke to him. I had never really met anyone properly famous at that point. He took me under his wing.”

Mani returned to DJ at his club nights and from that came introductions to Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets (“the world’s nicest man”) who in turn introduced Bates to Shaun Ryder and Bez from Happy Mondays, Mark Morriss from The Bluetones, Rick Witter from Shed Seven, and Tim Burgess from The Charlatans, all of whom he got to play records at his club. “These were all my heroes and I started DJing with them,” he says.

As he was approaching the end of his studies in Stoke, he and a friend were offered the chance to buy into a business in the city, as the adult club that was in the building was moving to a new location. “It was a lap-dancing club with the wonderful name of ST1, which was the area postcode, but it looked like STI on the sign,” he laughs.

Using his student loan, he turned the venue into The Underground and enjoyed the independence of owning and running his own club. He also put on touring bands and hired venues back in Shrewsbury so he could book bands into both, eventually expanding into nearby Wrexham and Birmingham.

The loss-making gigs often outnumbered the profitable ones (“because promoting is gambling”) but he loved the hustle. “Hats off to all the independent promoters out there because it is a lifestyle,” he says. “You didn’t know if next week you were going to eat or not. Sometimes I would live on bread and jam for a week because I just didn’t have any other way of feeding myself.”

Acts he put on in the 300-cap. venue included Arthur Lee & Love, The Cooper Temple Clause, John Cale, The Misfits, Keane, and Razorlight. Then fate came rambunctiously knocking.

“It was so exciting. People with broken arms and broken legs; people getting arrested. This is what I always thought music was about!”

A complete ’shambles
Pete Doherty had left The Libertines and formed Babyshambles. Via a friend of a friend, Bates managed to book them to play The Underground. The night they played, however, Carl Barât showed up and the gig became a mini Libertines reunion. Chaos ensued.

“So many people were excited that this was actually happening and tried to get in that the club got absolutely trashed,” he says, his eyes widening at the memory. “The ceiling collapsed. A wall collapsed. All the lights came off the wall. Everything was destroyed. They ended up doing a gig on their tour bus outside the venue. The police were called and they had to cordon off all the roads […] It was so exciting. People with broken arms and broken legs; people getting arrested. This is what I always thought music was about!”

Babyshambles returned the next week to play their own gig at the venue and Bates was asked to book them more shows. “Overnight I had become the agent for Babyshambles from my bedroom in Stoke-on-Trent,” he says. “Within about a month I had booked Babyshambles on Glastonbury. I suddenly realised I was an agent!”

He went on the road with the band, tuning guitars, running the guest list, getting Pete out of bed, and doing the accounts on the road.

“Babyshambles were one of the most notorious bands in the country at that point and I was this little kid in the eye of the hurricane,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a computer. I didn’t even have a business bank account. Deposits for the shows at Glastonbury or the Brixton Academy were going into my personal student bank account. I look back now in wonder at how the hell these people took me seriously […] It was carnage as you can imagine. It was the worst and the best time of my life in equal measure.”

He moved to London to work with the band and Pete Doherty remains one of his acts to this day. “My whole career was built around being given an opportunity I should never have been given,” he says. “I had no right to be their agent.”


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“She’s one of the kindest, most supportive people”: Emma Banks collects MITs

Some 1,200 people, including hundreds of international promoters who’d flown in for the occasion, gathered at Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night to celebrate with CAA agent Emma Banks as she picked up the 2018 Music Industry Trusts (MITs) Award.

The charity event, in aid of the Brit Trust and Nordoff Robbins, saw Banks join the ranks of previous MITs recipients including Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, Universal Music CEO Sir Lucian Grange, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, Syco’s Simon Cowell and Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis.

Banks, announced as the recipient of the 2018 award in May, was introduced by Peter Mensch, manager of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Metallica, then presented her award by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, who paid tribute to “one of the kindest, most supportive people” he knows.

Video tributes, meanwhile, came from Smith, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Tenacious D, CAA’s Mike Greek and Rob Light, Norah Jones, Kraftwerk, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire and others, while there were live performances by Florence and the Machine, Beth Ditto and Texas.

Banks, the co-head with Mike Greek of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) London, is a six-time winner of the best agent (‘second-least offensive agent’) award at the Arthur Awards, the live music industry’s Oscars equivalents. In addition to Florence, Kylie, Perry, the Chilis and Arcade Fire, Banks’s roster includes Lorde, Muse, Green Day and Haim.

“This is a cross between your wedding reception and your wake,” she joked as she took the stage to receive the award. Banks then gave a speech paying tribute to women in the music industry, using the occasion to highlight that while things are better than they were, there’s still work to do.

“I’ve come to realise how important this is for women in the industry in general”

“I started a couple of years before the MITs started [in 1992], and there weren’t women that were recognised in the industry,” she said. “It took 16 years for the MITs to recognise a woman: my lovely friend, Kylie Minogue.”

After namechecking two of her mentors – Ian Flooks, who “I don’t think ever saw me as a woman, just one of his name”, and Gail Colson, who “was a trailblazer, running Charisma Records in the ’70s, then went on to become one of the most important managers in the UK” – Banks told the packed room that she sees her MITs win as an important milestone for women in music.

“Since being honoured earlier this year, and the award being announced, I’ve come to realise how important this is for women in the industry in general,” Banks explained.

“In 2018 we look at a live music business that has so many strong female performers. […] These are women who are running their own businesses, and who are regularly part of the highest-grossing tours list. There are now more women in senior positions at labels, and management companies and talent agencies, at publishers, on the radio – across the whole music business.”

“We’ve come a really long way,” she concluded. “There’s always more to do – but I’m sure that everyone who has been around for a while will acknowledge that we’re making steps in the right direction. And all the other diversity issues that we have in this business – and it’s probably more than just the male-to-female ratio these days – will soon get addressed, I’m quite sure.”


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