31 Aug EssexTV chats to author Gary Raymond
From a life of rock and roll to now near retirement and writing books, we caught up with Gary Raymond.
1 Tell our readers who is Gary Raymond?
Well, in my teens I wanted to be a professional footballer and almost made the grade at Southend. I even had a spell playing in Norway. But by a twist of fate, I ended up working in the music industry where I made my name working with unsigned bands. However the rock and roll lifestyle took its toll on me so I now concentrate on my writing and spilling the beans on whats wrong with the music industry these days.
2 First things first, lets talk about Blag Steal & Borrow – how did the book come about and whats the story behind it?
Quite simply Blag, Steal & Borrow is my autobiography. I had a very interseting upbringing, especially my days living in Southend. I even lived in a zoo for a while.
When I was managing bands I would sit in the van travelling between gigs and tell people stories of growing up and of the music industry and they would say “You should write a book.” So in the end I though f**k it why not. The book is in two parts with the first being about about growing up and family life and the second of my time making history with a band from Colchester called Koopa. We took on the might of the record labels and everyone in the music media and for a brief moment in history the band became the most famous band in the world. Sadly, we were spinning out of control from day one as drugs, alcohol and attitudes took centre stage so it all ended quite dramatically.
3 Is being an author still a feasible career path young people could follow in this day and age?
Its really tough to make a living from just being an author, well unless your JK Rowling or the like. But you should never give in if you want to write. It’s a tough journey writing a book but a very rewarding one in the long run. If you want to write, then just bloody do it.
4 You also have some music background in you, is band management something you still want to pursue?
I don’t think the music industry would welcome me back with open arms but also I don’t think my hearts in it anymore. The industry is stagnent these days and radio are dictating to everyone what they should listen too. Its tough being a new artist and getting national airplay or coverage. Theres some amazing unsigned bands out there, record labels just need to get off their arses and go looking for new music and feel the energy and the buzz of a live performance instead of sitting at their desks watching youtube.
5 In your opinion what makes a band succeed?
If I was being cynical then I would say money and lots of it helps, so many rich kids get the breaks on big tours by paying to be on the tour rather than agents and mangers picking more talented bands the will put on a show. Thats why you hear ” The supports were rubbish” at so many gigs these days.
If your a band then just keep playing live shows and making great music and do what we did back in the days, try to be ingenious and think of something that gets you attention but before you do make sure you have amazing songs.
6 You say your semi retired but surely there is a part of you that still wants to get back into the action?
I like being semi retired as it gives me time to see family. But I am looking to get back out on the circuit and publicise the book some more and I now have a great manager who is helping look at new opportunities for me.
7 What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Funny you should ask that, I am just about to start writing my second book which is all about Sunday Morning Football. It has a working title of ‘Pies, Pints & Punch Ups. Should bring back lots of memories for everyone who has played Sunday morning football on those awful pitches and smelly unwashed football kits.