Pat Garrett interview - December, 2000
A lot has been written at this site about Pat Garrett, "the man who brought Lindisfarne back to the States after more than 20 years". And indeed, no wonder, some fans still can't get enough and now expect from him to organize another tour in the States. Well, that leads me to the major question,
RG:How big is the chance for Lindisfarne to return to the States for some shows?
Pat: I'm glad to have been a part of getting the bookings for Lindisfarne going that resulted in the 1999 and 2000 US Concert Tours. It was also very important to the fans here in the States to finally have a chance to see the band in person. ( and I should add that it was important to me as a devoted fan too ) I have received many thank you's from long time fans, and also from folks that had never heard Lindisfarne before, and who now wonder just when they will be back over here on tour again.
RG: What are the chances of that happening in the near future?
Pat: Well, that is dependent on quite a few things. One possible is that with some of the contacts I have already made with some high profile festivals, that those will come thru with an offer for what we need to have to be able to tour. That is a big dollar anchor show or two. If we get a few solid festival shows then I will have no problem booking the lads for as many quality club shows around them to make a nice tour come together.
Of course, since Lindisfarne has done so well on the current UK tour as a five piece band, it only makes sense to do the US again only if they can make some money over here. It was good to get the band back to the US in 1999 and 2000, and we did accomplish the goal of getting them started touring in the US, but the tours were really just designed to break even, which for the most part they did.
Any future tour has got to make a profit. It is a rather large effort from the band and from this agent to put all of the work that goes into organizing and executing a month-long tour overseas, and at some point the process has to do more than just get the band's name out and win a few new fans. It needs to make a living for all involved.
RG: How will you make it happen?
Pat: To make it happen we need those anchor shows. To make that happen, I need to have the time to hound the festivals I am after about the bookings, but just as important, fans and concerned Lindisfarne followers need to be vocal and to start writing and emailing the media, both locally and across the US, and to be after festivals in their area of the country with requests for the band.
It comes down to one thing for a festival to want a certain band. Do they have folks that will come out to hear them?
Of course, some venues are presenting artists that are not household names, but are known for presenting just real good music. ( no pun intended ) Thanks to those venues artists like Lindisfarne do get a chance to show just how good their music really is. But even those festivals need to pay the most $s to a true headliner to make their concert series work. It helps having fan support to convince them that there is a market for the band.
RG: What can American fans do to make this happen?
Pat: Again, they can start a writing campaign to national magazines like Dirty Linen, Rolling Stone, Folk Roots Magazine, Sing Out! Magazine, Pollstar and any and all local news media and their entertainment departments.
They can also contact the best clubs and venues and special events in their area and ask them to check out both the Lindisfarne web site and my booking web site.
Also, and this may sound nuts, but if there is any fan or group of fans that would want to sponser even a private event or concert that would be willing to pay enough to make it a good anchor show, it is sometimes possible to use that as part of the whole picture to help get the band over here. Even someone who might be able to get us a big time travel deal might be just the person to get the thing rolling. Remember, I started the whole deal as just a fan, and now look at how much it all ended up expanding. Someone that is a US Lindisfarne supporter that wants to have one hell of a big birthday bash, and has a few thousand dollars just itching to be spent on a big blow out, could be combined with some other anchor shows that I might get, and then the whole thing snowballs into a tour. Sometimes it is just that simple.
It just takes a few good ones to pay the tour's upfront expenses, and then all of the other fill in shows can go to making a profit.
RG: Some Radio shows were done and the band even performed in Washington, DC from The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and the 1-hour show went out live on the internet. This should have given the band some extra new fans. Did you get any feedback from this event?
Pat: Yes those shows did get a good response. However, the radio and national media depend much more on the hype from a good record label, and from a " buzz " about a band, then from just one or two good shows. There are a lot of artists that have a ton of good press going for them, and still do not make it big in the US. Then there are others like The Grateful Dead that never had the big hype from the media, but that just kept it going with great fan support and great music and great concerts.
Had Lindisfarne had the constant exposure in the US and had been touring three times a year here for the last thirty years, I have no doubt that Lindisfarne would have been as popular as the Dead. Maybe an Ice Cream named after them, too. I would love to be able to go to my local grocery store and pick up something like Alan Hullabaloo Chocolate or Marty Craggsberry Crunch.
RG: While spending a one week holiday this summer in NYC I found out that all major record shops had some Lindisfarne CDs in stock, from 'Here Comes The Neighbourhood' (most of them) up to 'Magic In The Air'. Well, doesn't this show some general interest in Lindisfarne music?
Pat: Yes, even in Tucson I can go out and find Lindisfarne CDs and records in many of the shops. I do find that interesting. It would seem to speak towards some success that could be had here, but it still comes down to a simple fact. Venues hire performers because they can bring in a crowd, not because the music is good, or the band has a fantastic history.
If we could talk a really high quality record label into producing the next Lindisfarne CD, and if we could afford to spend $5000 on a top publicist, and if my agency could afford the time to put exclusive booking time into a two month US tour, then perhaps we could put a small dent in getting the band known and the concert fees up where they need to be.
However, we have not had the right record label in the US come forth yet, and there is no money for a publicist. I am over worked as it is, trying to book around 300 shows a year for 10 different artists on my roster. So it has to be a roots thing to get the band back for more than just a one off show.
Hope and good wishes can do quite a lot, but it is no replacement for just plain hard work, and sometimes just a bit of magic and good fortune. We need all of that to get Lindisfarne back to the USA for 2001.
RG: Let's talk a bit about 'Real Good Music'. How is the business going? I remember seeing a long list of tour dates for 'Equation' and 'Tarras'. Have these tours been successful?
Pat: This last year or so has seen major growth for Real Good Music. We have done some major tours, like the 55 show tour that Equation just finished this last fall. I booked many shows and some full tours for Danu, Tarras, Tempest, The Kennedys, Equation, Old Blind Dogs, and of course Lindisfarne from late 1999 to late 2000. Around 300 shows altogether.
Of course it has taken quite a lot of money and time the last year and a half to get the roster built up the the quality it is right now, and to get it to the place where I can make a living at it. It comes with a price. I have had to take a full time job out of industry this year for some time just to keep it afloat. ( I hope to cut that off by spring ) Right now I am working my mornings and evenings and days off in the booking office, and the rest of the week selling furniture ( bah-hum-bug ). Lot's of work, but it is paying off.
Danu', from Ireland, has taken off big time and I have a tour booked for seven weeks this March and April and tours with some big bookings already for June and September, and have been getting requests for shows in 2002.
Equation is doing very well too, and is touring this March and April, and September. Most likely some touring in the summer, too.
Little Johnny England is doing a tour next November for two weeks, and October Browne a tour this January on the West Coast. I also am working on a spring tour with Old Blind Dogs and will be doing ongoing bookings with them.
I have been firming up and making changes in my roster for 2001. This needs to be done from now and then, to make sure what you are booking is working, and to keep a balance in your roster that works.
The official roster as of Jan 2001 is: October Browne, Danu', Equation, Lindisfarne, Little Johnny England, Morgan Le Fay, and Old Blind Dogs.
I am looking to add one more artist, and have been looking at French singer/player, Gabriel Yacoub, a Breton style player with a great history, and who will be touring as a trio of guitar, fiddle and bass. I may look at one or two more before firming the roster up, but will do that once I go back to completly full time as a booking agent this spring.
About your specific questions about Tarras and Equation and the sucess of their tours? Equation is very sucessful in all areas. They are wonderful to work with, can run their own end of the touring management very well, and have a wonderful repoire with all of the venues and staff. They will continue to be one of my high priority bands to grow with for the future.
Tarras? Without going into much detail, wonderful players and incredible sound and performance, but due to problems that are business related, RGM will not be continuing on as their booking agent.
RG: Of special interest might be your engagement for another Newcastle/Whitley Bay based band 'Morgan Le Fay'. Didn't they come to Arizona only to open a few shows for Tarras?
Pat: Morgan Le Fay, from Newcastle? These guys ( and girl ), are the real thing. Both as artists and persons they have a shine and a style that is totally captivating. I will be touring them for their first full length US tour in September and October. They did make a flight out to Tucson this fall to perform as openers for Tarras at our English Faire in Tucson, and impressed the hell out of a big crowd of Arizonans and also this agent and his wife and friends. They will be invited back to the Faire for next September, this time as a full band, and as headliners. They stuck around Tucson for a few days as tourists, and we all had a ball. Sometime we should put Michael Bailey's photo on the web where he got dragged up on stage at Old Tucson Studios, and dressed in drag with the Can-Can girls dance routine. We all got a great chuckle on that one. Nice legs, Mike.
RG: What will 2001 bring?
Pat: I hope it brings more Real Good Music.Special wish list, I would love to have one or two new Booking Agents ( anyone interested ? ), a full time secretary, and, of course, another Lindisfarne tour.
One special request is for Mr Reinhard Groll to make a first live performance here in Tucson, so I can thank him personally for all of his support for my efforts to get this business going in the first place. Maybe some of you don't know this, but he has set up and maintains my Real Good Music web site entirely out of the goodness of his own heart, and for free [like I do for the lads Pat].
He also continues to be a great support of the music, and a wonderful sounding board for opinions on day to day operations of my business. He not only keeps your Lindisfarne web going strong and ever changing and interesting, but he continues to bring other deserving artists to my attention, and then follows thru by helping to get them known on my web.
Put your hands together for a big round of applause for Mr Groll.
Happy Holidays, Pat
Dec. 2000, Reinhard Groll - [Pat asked me not to edit the last part and so I didn't; just in case that anyone likes to know what I am doing in my spare time - apart from this website]
P.S. Pat's website is available at www.rgmbooking.com