01 How did you first get interested in Promoting?
I was actually asked if I wanted to run a club night by the Mean Fiddler organisation. I had been filming bands with a mate and had put out a video fanzine featuring bands like The Buzzcocks, These Animal Men and other acts from the NWONW scene (the one just before Brit Pop). I suppose we were being seen at loads of happening events and a vacancy for a night at The Powerhaus in Islington had arisen. A friend who was working at One Little Indian put our name forward and that’s where it all started. We just called a few mates up who were in bands, booked them and tried to get the bands we liked watching to come to us. Our first night featured The Flying Medallions supported by Sexton Ming & his Diamond Gussets. It was mental! A video was filmed at the event which was shown on MTV. Check it out here!
02 What are you main Musical and Cultural influences?
I was force fed Jazz as a kid and still struggle to come to terms with it to this day. The only artists that my parents used to listen to that I could tolerate were Simon & Garfunkel and Johnny Cash.
I remember asking my Dad to buy me a Johnny Cash album from a shop in Southend when I was about 5 and I played it to death on an old turntable that he gave me for my bedroom. Other singles I remember owning as a kid were ‘Popcorn’ by Hot Butter and ‘Tiger feet’ by Mud.
Punk though, got me hooked on music. I borrowed ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ when it came out from a mate whose older brother had it. I just thought the swearing was funny and didn’t really get into it at the time (I was 11 in 1977), but I suppose by 1979 I was seriously getting into music and buying the occasional record with money earned from a paper round. The first gigs I went to were Stiff Little Fingers at The Rainbow and The Damned at The Lyceum. If I went without school dinners for a week I could buy a gig ticket with the money I saved. Travel cards were only 40p then and most Saturdays I would visit the Rainbow, Hammersmith Odeon & the Palais or the Lyceum to buy tickets for up and coming gigs and then head down to Portabello Road to buy bootlegs and records from a stall outside Honest Johns. I still get a buzz every time I discover a great band wether it be at a gig or on record.
Cultural influences have to be pop artists. I have a few Jamie Reid prints on the wall indoors. Whenever a big name like Warhol or Lichtenstein is being exhibited I try and go.
03 What types of Events have you put on in the past?
Mainly bands and comedians but also theatre, burlesque, cabaret, magic. Most of these in pubs & clubs but have done a few boat gigs on The Thames which have been great fun. I hardly ever put on an act I don’t like myself and have had the pleasure to promote some of my favourite live acts such as Earl Brutus and The Damned. I once booked a mini tour of pub circuit venues for Harry Hill & The Caterers which were great nights combining music and comedy. Harry Hill is a one off and would love him to come and play a Showplug event. I will keep asking! Enjoy a clip from one of my past shows here.
04 What types of Venues have you been involved with over the years?
I have been lucky enough to be involved with prestige shows at the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and other major nationwide venues, have DJ’d at Brixton Academy on a number of occasions, and have worked at venues such as the Borderline, 100 Club, Astoria and LA2 and loads of other London Clubs. I also promoted music and comedy at a pub venue in Tooting before retiring form the game for a few years for health reasons.
05 You have been involved with some well known Comedy Events too?
I picked up some work as the regular weekend DJ at the Cosmic Comedy Club in Fulham which is where I started to get to know a few acts. When that club closed in 2000, I went to a pub in Tooting that had a barely used function room and asked if they were interested in letting me use it at weekend to promote music and comedy. I continued to work with the booker of the Cosmic who between us managed to secure me shows by little known at the time Mickey Flanagan, Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Andy Parsons, Rhodes Gilbert to name a few. We even worked together booking the shows for Swanage my adopted home Town, so I’m sure we will be seeing some major names of the future appearing at our local venue for Showplug via Comedy Plug. I am working alongside some of you folks at Eyeplug as you have worked out by now 🙂
I also did the occasional gigs as Tour manager with Avalon and got to work with some fantastic acts such as Al Murray, Harry Hill, Richard Herring and Dave Gorman who were all fantastic to work with and I learnt a lot about putting on a show from all of them.
06 What have been the highs and lows of your Promotional Career?
I suppose when I was asked to DJ for Roxy Music’s end of World Tour was a bit of a highlight. When I turned up with loads of glam rock to play with Bryan Ferry wanting to hear loads of Sister Sledge and disco was a low light! I remember being asked to put the same record on again because Bryan had liked it, which to everyone in the room no doubt sounded terrible but I guess he was paying!
I suppose putting on the first Darkness gig where Justin donned a catsuit was memorable? MTV had come down to film that night but the pub landlord made them erase the tape as they had not asked permission beforehand! That footage would have gone global a few months later when they were massive! Also DJ’d alongside Bazden from Pip! Pip! at our early Darkness shows. They use to amaze the audience with their mad rock operatics in such tiny venues! Priceless! You can also see my Harry Hill unseen video on this page which is well worth a look!
When you only try and book bands that you really like, you don’t have too many lows. I have been lucky in that respect.
07 You have been developing a new venture called Showplug, can you tell us about it?
Showplug is a new venture between myself and some of you folks at Eyeplug. We used to work together about 10 years ago, went our separate ways but recently started talking again and believe that between us we can start putting on diverse, quality events at affordable prices, eventually nationwide. We invite bands that can pull a decent crowd to get in touch and are pretty open minded, although we seldom put on shows with folks that we do not dig!
08 Where can folks catch your current Shows?
We are based at The Legion in Swanage. The venue is great and is retro chic! Barry Asworth of the Dub Pistols walked in and said ‘Fuck me this is old school! We are going to have a right laugh tonight!’ The acts that perform here appreciate the uniqueness of the venue and all seem to want a return booking. It reminds me of the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club but by the Seaside! It is a real community venue that serves all ages and needs.
09 What Events have you got planned for 2014?
A full and varied program! Regular Film Plug and DJ nights. Live Plug for bands and Comedy Plug for (believe it or not) comedy. Sometimes even Comedy bands. We have spoken word shows, a thing called PID (Purbeck Island Discs), we have Sports and TV personalities, Book launches, film screenings, and much more. check the website and join the mailing list here to be kept up to date on all Showplug stuff and to simply get in touch if you think you deserve a Show.
10 If Bands, Acts and Entertainers are looking in, how can they get in contact to maybe get a Booking?
I generally only book acts that I have seen live and believe that others would also be prepared to pay money to see. Saying that though, I do have certain friends whose opinion I trust and would book an act on their referral. If you are a comedian, unless we have an open mic night it is all booked via the Cosmic Agency so mayeb contact them instead.
Should you have a band/show etc please email me via the Showplug website . I will try and come to one of your shows and if I like what I see, then we take it from there. Please send as many details as possible if you are really keen, where you have played, who with, youtube clips etc. I am not interested in booking any tribute acts though so even if you are the best Elton John tribute act in the World I am not interested! Original acts only please!
11 How do you view the current Entertainment Industry around the nation?
It’s changing. People do not have a lot of money these days, so need to get value when they go out for a night. Saying that though, the live scene is quite healthy. people seem to download or stream free music but then pay out to see a live band when they are in town. Comedy clubs seem to be closing though with big names like Jongleurs going out of business and allegedly getting a reputation for not paying acts. A few years ago, comedy was supposedly the new rock‘n’roll, but TV companies have put so much on the idiot box that people stay in instead of going out to live events. We have to make our shows the best we possibly can for the budgets available in the hope that customers have a fantastic night and then keep returning. Comedy in Swanage now has a great reputation on the circuit for being well run and an enjoyable place to come and visit too. If we continue along the same path, I’m sure we will have a club that continues for many years? We will also develop into other venues, we aim to expand at just the correct pace, region by region – so please get in touch if you want to work with us mutually on a Showplug project.
12 Can you tell us a decent Joke?
Not at all. Come to our Comedy Plug night on the 29th March and hear the professionals tell them. Trust me, it will be a lot better!
* Dave Showplug Taylor joins Eyeplug as an author, with a special exclusive series of interviews with all of his up and coming Artists. Welcome aboard Dave!