Like many teenagers, I tried my hand at playing an instrument and being in a band.  I was in several bands actually, but most were severely held back by my inability to play drums to even a mediocre standard.  I liked playing drums, and still do, but just not enough to dedicate any serious time to getting good at it.  I still marvel at the abilities of accomplished musicians, and the work they’ve put in to become so.

As the old joke goes, “What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?”, “A drummer!”  So when I hung up my sticks, I became a band manager.  This was around the same time I started working in recruitment, and many of the same skills were called for.  What’s more, it was the next best thing to being in the band.  The first band I managed were called The Wild River Apples.  This was at a time when bands from Glasgow were very much in demand, and very soon we had built a loyal following, and secured a record deal with Chrysalis Records.  All the while I was working full time as a recruiter. Other bands came and went, but I stopped managing when No1 son made his appearance.

In the intervening years my love of live music remained undimmed, and I encouraged my kids to learn to play. In my experience, children who play instruments learn a discipline that greatly helps them in school.

Late in 2009, I learned that a band I’d previously had a marginal involvement with, were about to celebrate their 20th anniversary. I’d actually filmed their first (riotous) corporate gig, The Media Ball (a Christmas event for Scottish advertising agencies).  This band was, and are, Big Vern ‘n’ the Shootahs, who went on to become the biggest soul band in Scotland.  Initially modelled as a Blues Brothers tribute, this 9 piece band with a stellar line-up of musicians, including the best horns in the business, has remained true to that level of excitement, energy and entertainment over the years.  In fact the level of musicianship is quite breathtaking.  You can read much more about them on our website. I say our, because I have now joined as an official hanger-on, in a management capacity, and couldn’t be more chuffed.  It’s even impressed my kids a little, who are now gigging regularly with their own bands.

So if anyone is looking for a phenomenal night of entertainment for a corporate or charity event, or just want to splash out on a fantastic party, you know who to call.  We’re not cheap, but we are spectacularly good!

PS. We’re playing the Women of Influence Awards at the Glasgow Hilton on Sunday, with Alison Moyet.



Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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