Rock legends descend on Westminster to back bid to save legendary live music venues

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Rock legends descend on Westminster to back bid to save legendary live music venues


By Mikey Smith, 10 Jan., 2018

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Sandy Shaw and Billy Bragg were among the pop-luminaries who lobbied Parliament to change the law to protect pubs and clubs

Rock Legends descended on Westminster yesterday today to back a Labour MP’s bid to save legendary live music venues under threat of closure.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Eurovision legend Sandy Shaw and singer-songwriter Billy Bragg were among the music luminaries in Westminster to back John Spellar’s bill.

The Warley MP has proposed a law which would force developers to pay for soundproofing if they want to build residential properties near existing clubs and bars.

It would also recognise in law that someone moving next door to a music venue understands that there will be some noise.

In recent years, legendary clubs and pubs such as Sheffield’s Boardwalk, which hosted early gigs by the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks and the Arctic Monkeys, have been forced to close due to noise complaints from new neighbours.

The bill also has the backing of Sir Paul McCartney, Feargal Sharkey and Craig David.

Sandy Shaw, who won Eurovision with her hit Puppet on a String in 1967, said small clubs were essential to ensuring talented musicians are able to develop and get noticed.

She said: “If we’re going to keep the music industry vibrant and leading in the economy, we need young talent to come through. You can’t rely on the cream just being there, the cream has got to rise to the surface.”


Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason (Image: AFP)

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, who played drums in prog-rock legends Pink Floyd, said: “I do support young musicians. I have sons and now a grandson both of whom play drums. And so from my point of view I would like to see them have some of the opportunities we had.

“I think it’s a much tougher environment now than 50 years ago, because the record companies no longer have the muscle to try and develop the numbers of bands that they used to do.”

“It used to be really easy to release a record and see how it went. Now, before you get a record deal it appears you need to have made two relatively successful self-sold records and have 100,000 followers on Facebook. That’s tough.”

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg said Britain was a world leader in music culture, and allowing small venues to close would “cut it off at the knees.”


Billy Bragg (Image: AFP)

He suggested Ed Sheeran was an example of how the small venue circuit can build an artist up to global stardom.

He said: “Look at his career path. Gig after gig after gig. It’s still there, that circuit. But the tidal wave of property development is starting to threaten it now.”

UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher, who arranged today’s rally and is backing the bill, said: “The UK music industry contributes more than £4 billion to our economy and brings pleasure to millions of people at home and overseas.

“It’s time for the Government to get behind the legislation and help save the venues that are such a crucial part of the music industry.”

Tom Gray from indie rockers Gomez said most people were confused that this isn’t already the law.

He said: “It’s kind of a silly thing. The annoying thing is that we have to get these technical changes made to the law in order to save music venues.”

And Crispin Hunt, who fronted Britpop act The Longpigs and has gone on to write songs for Newton Faulkner and Florence and the Machine said: “Life without music is like life without colour, so we’ve got to support small live venues.

“It’s very bad farming to only fatten the already fattened calf. We need to make sure that we don’t pee on our own vegetables and make sure the future of music is where it needs to be rather than stuck underneath the pictures on the top of an iPhone.”

Mr Spellar, who saw his bill successfully introduced today, said if it wasn’t for small pubs and clubs putting on live music we wouldn’t have had the Beatles.

“It’s a ladder of opportunity for many youngsters, often from inner cities, working class neighbourhoods, in small towns as well. This is a route by which they can get into this business and become national and even international stars.”

“Music is a big industry for the UK. It’s part of our soft power. It’s part of the cultural attraction to Britain. But there’s a lot of grey hair in the industry.

I declare an interest in favour of grey hair…but we need that pipeline of talent as well.”


Source : Mirror