Batttttty was the production assistant for the
Legends of Rock tour and is webmistress for Barry Sparks
(Dokken/Uli Jon Roth) and a UFO tribute site amongst others.
How did you become involved in the music business?
I ask myself that question nearly every day, and I honestly don't
know the answer. I think the internet was the diving board, cos just by the
nature of the interactivity of the internet, it became so easy to be part of
what was going on.
Although I was a fan of certain bands/musicians for years, it was only when
the messages and reviews that I wrote were responded to by some of the
people in 'the bizzzzz' that I got friendly on a personal level with them.
Also, I found that if you learn to say "I'm with the band" with just
the right amount of nonchalance, and walk around like you own the place, you
don't have any problems gettin past security.
You have been heavily involved in the recent Legends of Rock tour.
How did that go? What are the logistics/planning that goes into such
a big tour? Would you do it again next year? Any great stories from
the tour at all?
First of all I must make it clear that I do not work for a PR
company or anything like that. There were people hired to do that job
for the Legends tour - my main function was to maintain the website, and to
liaise with the fans.
I'm in my element with all that, even the time-consuming stuff like
answering emails from people wanting travel information on how to get from
Heathrow Airport to Shepherds Bush Empire on a Sunday night
with only £5 in their pocket and not speaking any English apart from
the lyrics to Smoke On The Water. I love all that. And meeting the fans was
wonderful - especially the fans of Frank Marino who had waited twenty years
to see him and were soooo excited that they would
get the chance to actually talk to their hero!
Some nights I got up to five boxes of Ferrero Rochers - just for making it happen!
The tour itself went very well, which was a triumph in itself
considering two days before it started we nearly didn't have a show. Some of
you will know that our bassplayer, Barry Sparks, got a call to return home
to Arizona because his father was dying. Apart from the
terrible cloud this put over everyone - Barry is such a lovely
person, and it was awful to know this was happening to him and we weren't able to help him in any
way - it left us with the 'impossible' task of finding a bassplayer who could learn
both Uli's and Frank's set in such a short time.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month
(literally!) we still hadn't got one - and then a miracle happened in
the shape of Francois Garny from Belgium. He learnt everything by staying up all
night and listening/writing/practicing, and he saved the day.
The only problem was that it didn't leave Uli or Frank the scope to
improvise (which is what they both excel at and prefer to do) cos it just wouldn't have
been fair on Francois.It meant the audiences didn't get to see the full scope of what Uli
and Frank are really capable of when Barry is there doing his tantric telepathy thannnggg,
but all credit to Francois, he is da man!
We still got quite a few of those moments though, particularly
during Uli and Frank's version of All Along The Watchtower, which
went from strength to strength each night, and also Uli's set with
Jack, which on many occasions became telepathic poetry.
And yes, I would do it again next year! I know it's what I was born
How easy is it to promote a new artist? Any tips for newer bands
trying to get gigs?
Pretty difficult I should think - I'm glad I'm not a talented
musician trying to start out now, cos I would get so demoralised. Everything
is money-orientated and you can't get anywhere without a hefty budget.
Quality is no guarantee of getting anywhere.
Neither is being in the right place at the right time, cos even then
you only have a short shelf life. MTV and programmes like Pop Idol have ruined the long-
term outlook for anyone with talent, cos everything is marketed towards you being a has-been
in two years time.
I get really angry that performers who have worked so hard to
maintain their integrity are having to finance projects for themselves and having to juggle and
struggle to put an album or a tour together, when a plastic-tasting
boil-in-the-bag-ready-in-fifteen-minutes group of kids with the right haircut can have a multi-million pound
marketing and merchandising campaign behind them, which gives them the privilege of
hiring the 'best' producers, 'best' road managers, best everything, so that their whole
careers are streamlined and their tours run like clockwork.
That's one of the reasons that I would move heaven and earth to help
the people who are genuine musicians and who I have respect for. I see it this way....
if, one day, you go to a restaurant, and have theeeeeeee most amazing meal, where you taste
flavours that youdidn't even know existed, and where the service is excellent and
you're made to feel really welcome.... well, it's only right that you
not only pay the bill, but leave a tip for the waiter, yeh?
OK, well, I sometimes feel the need to go that little bit further.
Apart from seeking outthe chef to compliment him on the meal, I'd probably start by
building him a website, and telling everyone what a fantastic place it was - and then when they
got really busy I'd go in in my spare time to help lay the tables, peel the spuds, wash the
pots, and polish the cutlery. OK, so I'd also end up chatting with the customers while
they're trying to eat, and I'd probably end up dancing on the tables and getting the whole
place singing along too, but that's the kinda gal I am.
How do you view the current UK rock scene?
Too many fast-food burger bars - maybe if there was a magazine that
really did specialise in writing about proper restaurants it would help....?
Who are your musical heroes and why?
Well, they're mainly dead or past it. First off, it was Led
Zep. Because at the time there was Led Zep, and that was it. No-one
else even came close - if music was chocolate, Led Zep would be the
Ferrero Rochers. But then came Thin Lizzy and UFO, and it
was the close-to-the-edgeness of both of those bands that I fell in
lurve with. Led Zep were already too 'safe' by then. UFO won by a
nose (Phil's, hahahaha), mainly cos they drove their motorbike over a line of 43 buses and landed with a
backflip double somersault into the barrel of a cannon which shot them straight through a
burning hoop and over the Grand Canyon to land triumphantly in the
centre of a trampoline above a tank full of alligators.
Any bright hopes for the future (bands/labels/venues)?
Yes, if I was in charge - certainly. But as things are, I think the
days of real innovation are gonna be a while coming round full circle
(if we're talking about the genre that is 'rock') - at least until someone
comes along with something exciting that hasn't
been done before, and there is someone willing to take the risk to
team up with them, spiritually and financially to make it happen. Blimey,
I'd do it - I want to do it. I know where I can get the ingredients, and I
have the keys to the kitchen. I could even start to
learn to cook - but I just havent got the resources to fly to remote
Tibetan hillsides and pick berries off rare oogligoogli plants at the exact
moment the sun comes up over the horizon and other stuff like that. It's
Interview © 2002