If you haven't read this then do.
Yeah, that's the title of Alan McGee's book, not my memoirs that I've started to jot down. I read his book in two sittings and surprised myself as I actually enjoyed it and came to like the guy. Not that I disliked him before, I've never met him (but if you're reading this I'd love to). I was indifferent to him. I was, like everyone else, aware of the bands he discovered, the ones he managed, the politics, the parties, the press. A lot of it welcome attention, along with the trials and tribulations of what goes on in the music industry. But it sounds like he had one big f*cking party. And lived to tell the tale. Just.
The music industry can be a fickle place. It's all about the timing. No one can predict what way the music scene will swing. What the next big thing is going to be. There's a knowing and belief that you just have to go with your gut instinct and sometimes that still isn't enough. No matter how much your belief is. It's down to the audience. The people who choose to listen, to like it enough to buy it and support it. And in this day and age that gets harder and harder with the how the music industry has changed and grown.
I've been doing some research this past week on how the industry has changed these last few years. In my experience white labels were sent to DJs and you prayed that Pete Tong would listen to it never mind love it, play it on Radio 1 and you were set. With exposure to the dance scene, the clubs and the right audience it was all you needed to build on. Although no one wants to be a one hit wonder so the pressure is always on. Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that. In fact in most cases it rarely does. Is it down to luck, right place right time, who you know? I suspect all of that plays a part in one way or another.
Reading about Alan McGee's true rock and roll experience was brilliant. There were highs and lows...I think he'd agree with me if I said most of the time the lows outnumbered the highs. Yet, it was still an industry that he wanted to be part of. It was in his blood. And if you come across something which makes you that passionate about it then you shouldn't give it up easily. He talks about how his reputation of running a business wasn't good. How he had to run it with a fascist state of mind. His way or f*ck off. That's the way it had to be in order to follow his instinct and run with his belief. If he hadn't had that attitude and single mindedness would we have listened, sang, cried, hated, loved the music he released? One thing that stood out for me was when he talked about success. He said:
Success isn't just about talent, it's about aspiration.
He also wrote that in our part of the world it's deemed crass to go on about wanting to be successful, but that there's nothing wrong with ambition. I'd agree with that. Gut instincts, confidence, ambition and some balls.
Let's get on with it.