In an interview with classsic pop magazine, Suggs talked about how hard musicians find it to play in London: “When Madness started, there were six or seven pubs in Camden alone where you could get a gig,” he says. “There’s a chapter in Chrissie Hynde’s book where she writes about coming to London back in the mid-70s, how it was absolutely made for musicians: there was cheap public transport, you could go on the dole, you could squat and you could find an abandoned warehouse to rehearse in."
“Now? Fuck, try going on the dole now. I know Henry Conlon, who runs The Dublin Castle, and he says the energy a new band needs just to keep going now is massively harder to maintain. The Dublin Castle doesn’t charge, but a lot of pubs make bands stump up £200 before they’ll let you play. When we started, you were alright so long as you brought enough people to buy a couple of pints. “And, of course, bands can’t afford to live in London anymore anyway. You have to be an Etonian to become a fucking musician nowadays, or get mummy and daddy to pay for you. I really do worry for new bands.”
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In other news, Richard Ashcroft on the alternative music scene.
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Ph: Bazza Mills