1)Leon you’ve been in the music industry for nearly 20 years as a DJ and a manager of bands, could you tell me how you got the nick name “The Canteen”?
I was working in a school for children with special needs (autistic, behavioural, downs, etc) as a cook. I was cooking for 70 kids a day (I loved that job) and at the same time me and my mate Mark Smith, who I’d been mates with for years, got a slot on 96.2 The Revolution radio station – playing all manner of weird and wonderful….yet FUNKY things from around the world…..we needed a name for the show and so ‘The Canteen’ was born.From there The Name became a DJ and live music night at a couple of venues and ‘The Canteen’ just stuck with me…..I like it and only a handful of heads know my second name hahaha.
2) You now manage bands such as “The Janice Graham Band”, “The Tapestry” and “The Watchmakers”, do you think that band promoters are sometimes more trouble than they are worth?
And Danny Mahon …. there’s a lot of good promoters out there as well as the sharks. You just learn who the bad ones are and stay away from them. I’d say the majority are in it for the right reasons though…..bands AND promoters need to earn from the nights, so it’s in everybody’s interest to work together and make the event a success. Some bands get touchy about ‘self promotion’ …..give it a rest….it’s in their interests to self promote as who else is going to champion them?
3) For any band starting out right now, what advice would you give them?
There’s loads really….. work hard on all fronts ( practice, promo, etc ) Be yourself at all times, don’t sell your soul…. watch out for the sharks, BUT play the game as well…….do what you want to do and what’s right for you.
4) Since the music scene is so saturated with bands right now, would you say that the digital age is a double-edge sword?
Yes in a word. It’s obviously a fantastic tool across the board, but it has saturated things…some would say that’s a good thing, I’m not so sure tbh. Sometimes it’s a case of who shouts loudest (with the help of on-line friends and friends of friends and on and on and Ariston….) gets heard, regardless of talent. It’s also killed music sales in the old fashion sense.
5)What are your greatest bugbears in the music industry today?
Hmmm favours! Too many bands get ‘on’ because of favours and in my humble opinion don’t deserve it. I’ve upmost respect for any and every band , but some don’t deserve to get what they get. That’s probably gonna make me sound bitter, i’m not…..i just call it as i see it.
6)Ok Leon without really thinking, which 5 songs sum up your life so far?
Hard one – some is the music, the feeling I get from it and some is in the title….
Ennio Morricone -Il Triello
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
Van Morrison – Beside You
Velvet Underground – Venus in Furs
Ten City – That’s The Way Love Is
Thank you Leon, you’ve been a star.