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
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
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
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
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 (www.jarcrew.com) 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