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Interview: Dave Clarke (Planet Earth Publicity)


Dave Clarke has been in and around the music business for more years than he cares to remember. He now works for leading music PR company Planet Earth Publicity.

How did you become involved in the music business?

Er, well that means telling you my life story!! In a nutshell, I'd always had a huge interest in music as a kid before I started playing in bands when I was 17. I then started a college course studying music and the music industry itself. Anyway, to cut a very long story short I answered an advert in the local paper for a PR company that was looking to take on a part-time PR Assistant...thankfully I got it.

How do you go about promoting an artist? How easy/hard is it to gain exposure for newer artists?

It's not an exact science. Each artist is different and therefore the plan for each campaign/project is always tailored to suit the needs of the artist. With regards to newer artists, I won't get involved unless I genuinely believe they are excellent. If you have a genuine enthusiasm for something then other people tend to pick up on it. If you haven't got the enthusiasm then you're not the person for the job. I also think that although it may be harder to get press for new artists, it is incredibly satisfying to see a new band that you really believe in go from having no profile to featuring in national publications.

Is there any genre/type of music that is easier to promote/gain exposure for than others?

Not really. There are publications for just about every genre of music. How high profile that coverage is is a different matter...

What has been the highlight of your career so far? Anything else you still want to achieve?

Widespread Panic in New Orleans was one of the best experiences I've had in my life, let alone career. Everyone involved - from the band to their management, from the record label to the extremely colourful fans of the band made sure we had a truly great time. What a show Widespread Panic put on...I still get goose bumps thinking about it.......After that I'd say, Bad Company in California, Robert Palmer in Switzerland, meeting Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell last year and accompanying Barry White to his address at the Oxford Union was pretty memorable. There are hundreds of things I'd still like to achieve....lasting 90 minutes on a football pitch with out getting injured, not arguing with my better half while shopping, catching a 20lb pike in front of John Wilson, and seeing my beloved hometown of Portsmouth in the Premiership....

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Without doubt my most embarrassing moment was being strip searched in Canada! I was working with The Jeff Healey Band at the time. We had just arrived at Ottawa. I was standing with journalists from The Independent and The Express. We were stood at passport control when I looked down and saw a Black Labrador sitting at my feet, wagging it's tail like it was my best friend...the next thing I know I was pulled out of the queue and marched off for questioning!

It turned out that the sniffer dog could smell traces of weed on my shoes. You see, the night before I had been at a certain band's rehearsal room where the floor is covered with dead roaches..hence the dog picking up on it. How unlucky is that? I laughed it off and told them to do what they needed to do as I had nothing to hide...bad move...the next moment I was manhandled into a cubical with 4 armed guards! They read me my rights, strip searched me and ordered me to squat in front of them. Not my proudest monent.

Anyway, 90 minutes later I was a free man again although I was not happy! That said, the chaps from the record label thought was fantastically hilarious. For the record, I still own those shoes, although I don't take them abroad. And I bought the aforementioned band a bloody great ashtray for their rehearsal room.

How do you view the current UK music scene?

It depends what music scene you are talking about. Right now the rock scene is flying at the moment. I have seen more good new bands live in the last 6 months than I have in the previous 5 years.

Any rock'n'roll tales to tell?

What's "Rock n Roll" to one person is "you sad bastard" to another, so...No.... Not to tell anyway.

Who are your musical heroes and why?

Jimi Hendrix - Because of the three Experience albums. Genius. Genius. Genius. In that order

Jane's Addiction: Because I always seem to get where I'm going a hell of a lot faster when I listen to them in the car.

Flea - I'm a bassist, nuff said.

John Taylor - he is the single biggest reason I got into music. But I was only 9 years old at the time.

Francis Dunnery - because he expresses himself in a way I can only dream of.

You were involved in the recent Sign of 4 tour. How did that go?

Very well indeed. It was exceptionally well received. I think a lot of people were surprise to see Phil Mogg on such good form. The Marquee date was excellent.

Any bright hopes for the future (bands/labels/venues)?

Jarcrew ( from Wales. See them at 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, Feb12, (Label: Complete Control Music). Also, Fat Dragon from Essex. I've been a fan for a long time. (

Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie

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