From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Wednesday 29th October):
1944. Denny Laine (Moody Blues/Wings) born Brian Arthur Haynes on the island of Jersey.
1997. Adam Yauch (The Beastie Boys) joins a rally in Washington D.C. to protest against China’s human rights abuses in Tibet during the first visit of the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin.
1999. David Lee Roth files a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court against his former personal manager, Ed Anderson. Anderson had, with the singer’s agreement, set up a web site to sell Roth merchandise but had been asked to remove it in February. Dave’s lawyer, Jeff Bernice said the suit was, “Roth attempting to clean up the bootlegging and piracy of his image off the internet”.
1981. Ten years on from the day of Duane Allman‘s death, Allman Brothers’ Band bassist, Lamar Williams undergoes surgery, at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Los Angeles, to remove part of his lung and two ribs. Two years ago he was diagnosed as suffering from lung cancer which doctors speculate may have been caused by contact with Agent Orange in Vietnam.
1967. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (ABC, U.S.A.) The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”
1963. Michael Holiday dies in Croydon General Hospital aged 35 after suffering a drug overdose.
My comments about Future Publishing yesterday really did bring back some memories. It was a rather insane period between 1999 and 2002. I had heard about First Tuesday, a networking event held around the country that brought together entrepreneurs with accountants, solicitors, advisors and most importantly, angels and venture capitalists. Within six months, I’d gathered a team of people who should have been far too sensible to hang around with me and was pitching for money.
If you’ve ever watched “Dragon’s Den”, you’ll have an idea of what it’s like. First Tuesday was great because it encouraged the concept of the “elevator pitch”. Imagine you’ve walked into an elevator (or lift for those of us on this side of the pond) and there’s a wealthy venture capitalist or investor. You’ve literally got the time between floors to interest or excite them.
I did the elevator pitch to a number of companies and one bit. So much so that I ended up pitching to the European board of a major international science and technology company for £ 32 million! Yes, really. That much! At one point, we (there were two of us there) even had the board up on their feet playing air guitar though one board member asked if he could play air sax! Unbelievably they said yes and passed it to their board in the States when the bubble burst.
Back at First Tuesday, I was approached by a fund manager who’d been head-hunted by Future looking to expand their business into radio and TV. They thought Rockmine was a one-stop facility that could power these and more. The buy-out never happened. The day before they were due to make their offer for the archive, Future’s share price was more than £ 9. Within weeks, it had fallen to 19 pence!
Luckily for me, no-one knew how bad it was going to get. Fully anticipating a turn-around and the ability to come back with an offer at a later time, I was put in golden handcuffs. The company paid me an editor’s salary not to work for their competitors and to give them first option on the Rockmine Almanac.
From time to time, Classic Rock would phone up and ask for info assuming they could access whatever they wanted. When it was pointed out to them that under the terms of my contract they had to pay me for anything, the phone calls soon stopped.
One day, about seven months into my contract, I got a call from Scott Rowley, the editor of Total Guitar. He wanted to know who I was and why I was on the payroll without providing anything for Future. It seemed anyone who knew of the offer to buy Rockmine or my golden handcuffs had left and although they found my contract, it didn’t say why I’d been given it. Scott was sent north to interview me and prepare an internal report to explain what I was being paid for.
The report was done and apart from getting a copy, I never heard anything more. When I contacted the company at the end of the year to let them see the almanac, there was little interest in it as such but they did ask if I’d consider pitching to start a new magazine with it as the basis!
I came home, thought about that for a few days and figured it was a non-starter. First Tuesday slowly fell apart. The glory days of free bars and serious drinking were gone. I did some diligence work for investors but gradually lost touch with everyone and just buried my head in the archive.
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