Hello Ray, itís Digger Barnes at Retrosellers. How are
Thatís good. Can you tell us the background to BCM
BCM Promotions was started about 25 years ago when I was
with Brian Poole. Iíd come back from Australia and it was
Brian who suggested I start my own agency up. And I did.
And not looked back since.
Thatís right, not looked back since.
Can you tell us about this year's Monster Bash and the other
Music Festivals you manage?
Ray: The Monster Bash Ė this is our twelfth year and we
have one in March and one at the end of October. I also have
festivals at Folkstone in January and June Ė thatís
where Iím going in five minutes. Itís a big festival
down in Folkstone this weekend. We do the Seacroft in Great
Yarmouth in November, so we do quite a lot.
Is the audience changing over the years, apart from getting
older are you getting more youngsters?
Yeah, you do, youíd be surprised at how many of the young
kids are coming to see our music because itís not very
often you go out and see a live band.
My daughter has told me sheís inherited her Dadís taste
There you go.
I donít think much of the contemporary stuff will be
around in forty yearsí time.
But then, maybe thatís what all generations say, I donít
Maybe, but, you know, I just canít see Take That doing
gigs in forty yearsí time. Or these rappers. Because the
music we like was the birth really. It was the biggest music
swing of all time.
Yes, and lots
of genres were being created almost simultaneously which was
amazing, wasnít it?
Thatís right, so these things, they manifest, and I think
the sixties have got bigger and bigger as the years have
gone by. As the bands have.
Itís all technology-driven these days, isnít it?
Thereís no personality. Itís all X factor and
Britainísí Got Talent now.
The cult of celebrity, rather than people doing their time
in the business and getting established and the experience.
Some people think The Beatles were an overnight sensation,
but they did their time playing gruelling sets in Hamburg
and Liverpool beforehand.
Yes, youíre dead right. I think people do get brought up
with the music and people are still going to theatres and
even in this climate theyíre still relatively full. Itís
still popular and the audiences are getting older but some
of them have still even got their own hips!
Iíve seen three very retro shows recently and they all had
a creditable audience.
Itís good value for money and people do like to forget
their troubles, even if just for one night. Like going to
watch a film, you go to watch to switch off and forget and
to get entertained and have a good time. I kind of think
thatís got something to do with it as well, getting away
Does The Internet have much of an impact on your business?
Yeah, I think it does. Itís difficult to say, but weíve
got quite a good name in the business and everybody knows me
for what I do. And itís not just sixties I do, I do a lot
of stuff. But I get on with everybody and everybody seems to
get on with me.
You mentioned Brian Poole. What other acts are you
representing and promoting?
Oh my, everybody! Wayne Fontana, The Tremeloes, Mike Berry,
The Outlaws, The Mindbenders, Eric Haydock from The Hollies,
Vanity Fair, The Dreamers, Edison Lighthouse, The Easybeats,
The Manfreds, The Searchers, Dave Berry, Dozy Beaky Mick and
Tich. Most of the American acts like Dionne Warwick, Buddy
Guy Ė Iíve promoted most of them. They all worked for me
at some time.
Itís funny how there are sometimes incarnations of a band
which arenít quite the band, containing the neighbour of
the drummerís cousin. Iím exaggerating, but you know
what I mean.
But youíve got to realise that if you sit in the stalls at
Manchester United youíre not going to see George Best
playing, are you?
Thatís true and thatís a very good point and Iím
guessing someone has said what I said to you before!
You canít expect it. Itís not about the people anymore,
itís about the music. Youíve got to jeep the music alive
even if the people and the bands have gone. Okay, The
Fortunes have got none of the original members in there now but what do you do? Letís let The Fortunesí name go and
youíll never hear those songs again live? Itís all about
the music and not the people.
Good point. What do you enjoy most about your business?
Going home at night! No, obviously I still play myself and I
still meet a lot of people and I still enjoy the crack on
the phone and the business side of things. Some of them here
will hang me and kick the stool away from under my feet, no
problem. Iím a nightmare in the office.
I spoke to Sid Bernstein and he said that the arrangement
where The Beatles were going to play in America was done
over the phone between him and Brian Epstein without them
ever meeting face to face, all on a gentlemanís agreement
on the phone.
Thatís what you do. 99.9% of business is done on the
In what direction are you heading with BCM Promotions? More
of the same?
Itís never just more of the same. Youíre always looking
for new artists, new venues. You canít just sit still.
Iím forever looking forward. So you can never sit still.
It is difficult because people donít want to spend the
money or people are too frightened to book a show because
they donít want to lose money, you see.
They must take the occasional riskÖ
Yes, you do, but a calculated risk. Thereís no point in
taking foolish risks, which Iíve seen many, many times.
Ray, thanks very much. It's been great talking with you.
Many thanks David.