People from the era tell their stories.
» Ken Lintern
It was 1979 and a chance meeting with Kevin Draper (KGD Concerts) saw me suddenly sitting in an office at No1 Queens Square behind a desk running a Rock Agency, Rainbow Entertainments. Kevin bought it from the previous partners because he fancied the office address, and finding he knew nothing about that side of the business asked me if I fancied running it with him, to be honest I didn't have a clue either but 15 years as a working 'pro' had given me a pretty good start.
Taking over Rainbow meant we booked everything into The Granary, most of the bands into Crockers, handled some almost famous Folk Acts like Mechanical Horsetrough and were constantly being called by London Agents looking for places for their bands to perform, and Students Unions throughout the South West wanting the next big thing for as little as possible.
At that time things were pretty good, I was booking people like Robert Fripp into the Granary and although Les (Pearce) who was the manager at the time, gave me a hard time 'Robert who, has he got a demo tape...' it was great fun and I got to see whoever I wanted, wherever I wanted free.
Kevin decided to he needed a more 'corporate Image' (strange as he was in charge of flyposting in Bristol) and changed KGD Concerts to Rainbow and run the 2 side by side. At that time we were promoting many really big acts into Bristol, Cardiff, Bath etc, the likes of Squeeze, Flock of Seagulls, Saxon, Hawkwind, Paul Young, OMD, Gary Numan to name but a few. The problem seemed to be that there was no middle size venue for up and coming bands and local bands to really have a bit of decent exposure.
This lead to the regular Tuesday Nights at Carwardines which we promoted as The Rainbow Rock Club placing up and coming bands like U2 (we paid them £300 if I remember rightly would you believe), Stray Cats and Split Endz, they were topping the charts but already contracted so had to appear for a flat fee, we had many local bands playing support and often had 2 local bands to cover the night.
Around that time we also tied in loosely with Andy Leighton and Alison Clout to promote their Fried Egg Record Bands.
Unfortunately for me, my share of the profits was minimal (Kevin was a very good business man) and I had been left with a massive VAT bill when my band split, again stupidly it was all in my name so I started hiring out my PA, about 2.5kw, foldback etc which I soon found was great for Crockers, The Green Rooms, I even did Carwardines with it and quite a few other local places, in fact soon I was working 3 or 4 nights a week.
I soon got into a lot of the local bands, although now I cant remember them all but have fond memories of Juan Foote in the Grave, the Untouchables, Joe Public, Various Artists and Art Objects who were all massive around Bristol at that time, there were loads of other bands, but what I remember most is there was masses of talent.
After a year of killing myself with all the gear a guy in Bath made me an offer for the PA and Truck that would clear my debt with said Vat Man and I retired from that side of the business.
Kevin relocated Rainbow to Henleaze as he had decided to get into Video shops and suddenly I was in a poky office above the video shop, I couldn't stand it and after a few months I left to form my own management company Elephant Management.
I signed the Vice Squad who were in negotiations with EMI, a heavy rock band Shiva who I signed to HM Revolver and a Gloucester Dance act Ron E Was Another One that I signed to Black.
I had a great couple of years before wandering off to sell Fender Guitars for a living because I really liked the idea of a regular salary.
These days I am back to my routes, living happily in Weston, playing cover music for a living and writing and recording during the day...I often wonder what became of everyone, there was so much talent, so much promise, still Neal Taylor did well and found a good job.
Thanks for reminding me about those days.
Ken Lintern April 2009