A book of insider stories drawn from the music scene of the North West in the days of punk, ‘Madchester’ and acid house.
The music scene of North-West England from the late seventies through the nineties is the stuff of legend: written about, argued over, praised and disparaged – it still exerts a powerful influence on anyone who writes, thinks about or plays music. At the heart of it all was someone few outside the North-West have ever heard of – Steve Harrison. Steve started and built Omega Records, the record shops all the local bands shopped in, and went on to run the labels Dead Dead Good and Transworld, managing The Charlatans, Alfie, Peter Hook, Monaco and many others. He saw it all: the great clubs (the Wigan Casino, the Electric Circus, Eric’s, the Boardwalk, the Hacienda); the great bands (Joy Division, The Fall, The Chameleons, The Stone Roses, Oasis) and the great characters (Tony Wilson, Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash, Ian Brown, Noel Gallagher are/were his good mates; Ian Curtis was a neighbour of his family, Bernard Sumner, Morrissey, Tim Burgess, Johnny Marr were customers). It’s a book about the business of music (deals, t-shirt and ticket touts, bootleggers, payola, gangsters, fraud, the labels, touring, promoters) but also the joy and the madness of taking raw talent and creativity and turning them into something bought and loved by millions. It’s about the rewards and perils of fame.
But most of all it is a collection of great stories. Steve has seen it all and met everyone. Here are brand new, never-before-heard stories gathered from 40 years front line experience with walk-on appearances by the Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2, Robbie Williams, Liam Gallagher, Van Morrison, Mark E. Smith, Coldplay, Roger Daltrey, Joe Strummer, Paul Weller, Elliott Smith, Doves, Flaming Lips, Noddy Holder, the Manic Street Preachers, Ian McCulloch, Will Sargent, Julian Cope, Badlly Drawn Boy, Ice T, Stormzy, Ricky Hatton, Ally McCoist, Tom Hollander, Martin Freeman, Mark Gill, Richard Branson, Lucian Grainge, Peter Grant, Alan McGee, Coxsone Dodd, Martin Mills, Seymour Stein, Simon Moran, Mark Radcliffe, Mark Riley, John Peel, Casino DJ’s Brian Rae and Dave Evison and many, many more.
If you love music and the people who make it, you’ll love Here are the Young Men.
The book is written in collaboration with novelist and Times journalist Mark Hodkinson and will have a foreword by Peter Hook.
Meeting the Touts and Bootleggers…
This story begins and ends in a lesson in naivety, idealism, self-importance and a client-induced sense of warped objectivity.
A Lesson - don’t always deliver what is asked of you. Consider every decision objectively and as a manager… somebody has to be a responsible adult. I collected bootlegs, and I ended up working with a member of the band that I collected most of all: Joy Division. Therefore ‘do as I do and not as I say’ springs to mind.
The Charlatans started its first full-blown UK tour around the first single ‘Indian Rope’ and they ended up one night in Aldershot.
I never watched gigs from side stage, the norm for the entourage associated with so many bands. In my most bombastic period I would ban said entourage from viewing the band side stage. For so many people it was always about ‘them’ and not just the band, something I see even more of in the football industry. Football agents can be so self-centred, and seem to forget why they are they in the first place… some of them and have more personal photographs than the players.I tended to wander about the venue or sat on the mixing desk critically listening to the sound and moreover getting a true indication of what the paying punters were actually hearing.
At this gig in Aldershot I clocked a guy brazenly holding a Walkman type recorder above his head recording the show. I questioned him and he dismissed me out of hand which lead me to frog-marching him to the back of the hall removing said cassette from his recorder and giving him a stern ‘telling off’ in my inimitable way with my hand securely placed around his throat… you can thank Peter Grant of Led Zeppelin for that.
My next real encounter was post Manchester Ritz in 1990 where The Charlatans were being recorded by Granada Television. Unknown to me, an individual had smuggled in recording equipment including a video recorder on to the balcony. Within a week of the show, the guy was selling the entire gig on VHS format via the NME small ads. I spoke with the bands lawyer who organised a raid on the north-Manchester address which ended-up seizing a little enterprise in the guy’s loft which was a mini duplication plant. Whilst it was certainly nothing on a grand scale the point was that we wanted to control the access of our own material and the Ritz show was essentially to be the first live concert footage of the band. It is hard to relate this to modern day exposure which everything is immediately celebrated and shared on social media.
At the London ‘Town & Country’ things took a slightly more sinister turn. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the crowd had been swarming around the venue early doors. It was the band’s largest London show to date, and I took a walk around the front with our tour manager/tech/driver/photographer/all-round good guy Derek Phillip. To my astonishment I saw a significant number of touts trading tickets at hugely inflated prices. I listened and enquired and then I intervened becoming all heroic. I told the punter to forget buying the tickets as I would sort him out on the guest list; I went further and referred to the tout as ‘scum’ for doing this kind of thing. I took the guy’s name for the guest list and next thing Derek and I were surrounded by an angry mob of ticket touts baying for my blood. As they confronted us, Derek left me on my own without any notice to ‘get some help’!
Omega Records - Playlist 3
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
#YoLaTengo - Spec Bop
#JimiHendrix - Voodoo Child
#Portishead - We Carry On
#Fernweh - The Liar
#HighNumbers - I’m the Face
#TheChurch - Laurel Canyon
#GangofFour - Paralysed
#FredHughes - Don't Let Me Down
#Vibrations - Cause Your Mine
#SensationalAlexHarveyBand - Faith Healer
Sent from my
Former 'Team Omega' member Mike Christie makes new film about the band Suede
Thursday, 8 November 2018
My friend and original "Team Omega Records" member Mike Christie has made a film about the band Suede
Here is a trailer... https://www.nme.com/news/music/suede-share-new-trailer-documentary-insatiable-ones-watch-2399728
Watch the film on Sky Arts on November 24th
Mike is part of my career history and will be a big part in 'Here Are the Young Men' right back from 1982
An immense creative…
Imaginary Omega Records Playlist #2
Sunday, 4 November 2018
1. #Sparklehorse – Cruel Sun
2. #IggyandtheStooges – Shake Appeal
3. #BobbyWomack – When the Weekend Comes
4. #LetsActive – Waters Part
5. #JoyDivision – Decades
6. #RitaandtheTiaras – Gone With The Wind
7. #Midlake – Young Bride
8. #Can – Mother Sky
9. #TCoy – Carino
10. #LucindaWilliams - Lonely Girls
#playlist #recordshop #recordstore #omegamusic #deaddeadgood #manchestermusic #shiiineonweekender…
Making It Happen!
Sunday, 4 November 2018
I wanted to share and explain the rationale behind crowd-funding my forthcoming book ‘Here Are the Young Men… a life in
Music’ moreover the need for me to attract pledges.
Whilst the enthusiasm through social media, the invitations to speak at events, universities, and TV and radio stations is terrific then the essential ingredient here is to convert this interest into…
Friday, 2 November 2018
Each Week I provided my ~OmegaMusic stores with a ~Playlist of personal recommendations... I thought it would be cool to create my weekly playlist which would be typical if I still owned the record store chain nowadays... so here goes with Kist Numero Uno and I hope you like it...
1) #TheeOhSees - C
2) #IanBrown - First World Problems
3) #TheCourtesyGroup - You and Your Grinding…
'National Album Day' - celebrating the Dead Dead Good Label
Monday, 15 October 2018
As we clebrated 'National Album Day ' at the weekend... here is a selection from my label Dead Dead Good. Great memories, and great great albums from The Charlatans, Mantaray, Oceanic, Orange Deluxe, Digital Orgasm, That Uncertain Feeling, Mark Burgess ansd Yves Altana, The Chameleons, Sussed.
Lots of terrific stories and the people behind these records and amazing links going forward into the…
It was National Album Day at the Weekend
Monday, 15 October 2018
Here is the first LP that I ever bought... T.Rex by T.Rex as a ten-year old schoolboy who had been influenced by my Dad's younger cousin's and their outstanding record collections.
Marc Bolan was my first hero who did not play for Manchester City, and he was quickly followed by David Bowie. I guess I was an odd and musically aware youngster.
I sold my records earlier this year, but I still own…
Saturday, 13 October 2018
Alfie - “You Make No Bones”
Nothing but wonderful memories of this very special band.
A truly innovative and outstandingly creative band.
The link here to the bands 1st single shows them literally turning up
early morning down the road at Dunham Massey Park an outstanding National Trust property in Cheshire with nothing more than a few fancy dress items and a video camera and an idea.
"Shiiine Weekender" Interview goes live...
Friday, 12 October 2018
I've done a second interview as a follow-up to the "Louder Than War" article for the lovely people at the 'Shiiine Weekender' where I'll be appearing 'In Conversation', and watching artists associated with me such as Peter Hook, The Chameleons, Oceanic and The Train Set.
Some amazing artists across the weekend including Orbital, System 7, Ocean Colour Scene, Shed 7, Black Grape as…
Louder Than War Interview Goes “Live”
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Afternoon, on what looks to be the most exceptional sunny and warm autumnal October day I can recall - I’ve just picked up one of my sports clients who is heading for International duties with Wales, and the drive from Manchester across to North Wales was sublime... heading through Shropshire in a mean green racing machine built in Buckinghamshire... who needs Spain when we have days like this in…
Art... ‘Stuff’ and moments in time surrounding decisions
Monday, 24 September 2018
We are almost at 20% and sold out of the “Early Bird” patron edition... all very exciting.
I don’t want to plan these updates, as I believe best to publish as ‘stuff’ gets in my head.
When I made the decision to finish in artist management, it was based in a number of factors that I’ll elaborate on in the book. No big deal, no big fall-out... things had simply come to a natural…
Thursday, 13 September 2018
I’ve just finished an interview about “Here Are The Young Men” with the online fanzine “Louder Than War”.
I have known the boss man John Robb for many years, and the interview was done with a really nice guy Matthew Mead.
I’m not sure when the article goes live but the website can be found here: www.louderthanwar.com
Hope you enjoy the article and maybe some other stuff on the…
What I’ve mostly been doing this week
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
People often ask what I’m up to nowadays... often assuming I’ve gone and retired... I wish
Well this past week has been incredibly busy with no less than seven of my sports clients called up for international duties.
Jack Butland appeared last night as Number One for England. Jake Dunwoody the Stoke City U23 Captain played in the victorious Northern Ireland U21 side in Spain... and Joe Adams…
These people are helping to fund HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN: A Life in Music.