DEREK’S DIARY: Lessons learned in music business

Derek Allan
Derek Allan

In 2013, the Gazette published excerpts from the diary of Derek Allan, one half of the acoustic duo We Steal Flyers. After taking 2014 off from being a diarist, Derek, from Broomhill, is back again.

January 12

Monday is still a day mostly of fresh calls and call backs to venues for tours. Sam Gibson gigs did well today we got him four gigs (after calling quite a lot of venues) and he has some good gigs coming. It is a lot of pressure being self-employed. We not only have to secure gigs as agents for Sam, but also for We Steal Flyers and Acoustic Magic. As is usual this time of year, there have been cancellations, Sam two gigs since Christmas and three for us. As with most people, it means January brings a budget after the most expensive month of the year.

January 13

When we met Sam he wanted to turn pro like most of the people we meet, but he had a drive that would carry him through the difficult business. I was also very ill last year and we needed someone to help Melanie with a few Acoustic Magic gigs if I was not around. Sam and I went fishing every Tuesday for eight months, from Amble Harbour Northside mostly. I took this time to teach him what I know about the basics of the music business. I taught him mostly that he may never be rich from music, but he will be able to choose how hard he works for a little or a lot. I choose to be with my family but still manage over 200 gigs a year. Ellie has been invited for county cricket trials today at eight years old. This she loves very much and her love for the game makes me happy.

January 14

Today we should have been in the studio working on the new album, but something not so nice that I can not write about happened and we could not do it. We will do two dates next week instead. We need the songs recorded and then to get the album everywhere. There are 100s of radio shows and many counties and countries wanting us now so we need to choose well. Australia, Italy, America, France, Spain and Malaysia are offers we are considering. However, there is still time to do all of this when we are able to take our family. I love seeing our world, our country, our counties and most of all home, there is a lot to be seen.

January 15

Today we played a shared gig night in Tynemouth. Sam started, then We Steal Flyers and then two acoustic bands. It was a reminder of the Clear Blue Skies gig days where most sets were 30 minutes long and four to six bands played every night. It was a nice enough time and for us it was something different. We sold more CDs and shared a nice time.

January 16

I have been loving the Big Bash Twenty20 league in Australia. I love all cricket and for me it is nice to see some of the greatest England players playing and topping the averages; Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Durham lad Ben Stokes and so on. It will always amazing me that I can watch anything in another country from home. People are amazing and do amazing things like invent everything we could ever imagine.

January 17

A gig in Seaham today, a two hour We Steal Flyers gig and more CDs sold. We are always doing well and moving on with more people adding to our following. Facebook have 11,000 followers. It keeps us ticking. I never mind playing a gig and never tire of them, but I would walk the earth if this was at all possible. I love the calm of walking and the way I can view places and meet people.

January 18

I keep thinking that January feels new. I think it is because more people feel this way too. This is a good way to feel. I must remember to never wish a week away for a weekend or wish a year away for a new year, we are not here long enough as it is. I am reading more poetry now and I like reading the thoughts of these thinkers. Walking actually saved me more than ever last year and I loved walking with people, mostly Ellie, and alone. It is important to me to live life like I am being watched and I try to remember that I can inspire people by doing inspiring things. Simple things can change everything now.

Read the next installment of Derek’s Diary and here’s the previous installment, if you missed it.