I managed my first group, The BLUES by FIVE, when I was fifteen years old and my business card listed the number of the local telephone box in my native Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.
I moved to London when I was seventeen years old and studied to be a civil engineer, but the music business was my real distraction and I was more interested in writing about the London scene for Irish music papers than surveying, planning and drawing.
My real education began when I took on the multiple role of manager, lyricist, roadie, sound-engineer and agent for the Belfast band Fruupp. We signed to Dawn Records and worked around the UK and Europe for several years in the early seventies. Sheba's Song, with one of several sets of my lyrics from that period (the fine music was from band member John Mason) was sampled and recorded as Soon The New Day by American Rap artist Talib Kweli with Nora Jones guesting on vocals for Talib's latest Warner Bros album, Ear Drum. The album entered the Billboard USA top 200 at #2 on 2nd September, 2007. Norah Jones also featured Soon The New Day on her "Featuring" album, released on Nov 16th 2010 on Blue Note Records which was also a USA Billboard Top 20 album.
Fruupp eventually spilt up after four albums but by that point I had met Paul Fenn and we became firm friends and, eventually partners in the Asgard Agency where, over the last 30 years, I've been lucky enough to be agent for a wide range of quality music acts including: Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ray Davies, The Blue Nile, Christy Moore, Don McLean, Elvis Costello, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Rory Gallagher, Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder, Robert Plant, Planxty, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, The Waterboys and The Undertones. I've also programmed the acoustic stage at Glastonbury Festival for the last 20 years.
Music has always been a major force in my life and I have a need for the music of The Beatles, Hank Williams, Nick Drake, Otis Reading, Bob Dylan and the artists we've been lucky enough to work with.
But as well as all of that I'm also a committed book reader--and collector--particularly British Detective fiction, and I have always loved dabbling in writing, lyrics, sleeve notes, short stories, etc., so in 1996, inspired by Colin Dexter (the creator of Inspector Morse), I attempted my first Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy Mystery, I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass, which was published the following year. Nine further Christy Kennedy titles followed, including 2008's The Beautiful Sound of Silence. In 2007 The Dust of Death, the first of a new series featuring Inspector Starrett was published. Family Life the second in this series set in Donegal was published in Sept 2009. Recently published Down on Cyprus Avenue the first of the McCusker Mysteries set in modern day Belfast. (Dufour Editions). Also published is First of the True Believers, a novel concerning the Beatles, and two Castlemartin novels, The Last Dance
and The Lonesome Heart is Angry, plus three factual music books Playing Live, How to Succeed in the Music Business, and The Best Beatles Book Ever and the Prince of Heaven's Eyes a novella from the Fruupp days re-published recently as an ebook.
2016 saw the publication of two books: St Ernan's Blues, the third Inspector Starrett Mystery (Dufour Editions), and One of Our Jeans Is Missing, the final Castlemartin novel. This is my first title with Fahrenheit Press who specialise in ebooks but One of Our Jeans is Missing (or OOOJim as its affectionately known) also due out shortly in print. For this story I took a Castlemartin teenage resident, David Buchanan, and moved him to London in the Mid 1960s.
(Click any title to read about the book)
Inspector Christy Kennedy novels:
A Pleasure To Do Death With You
I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
Last Boat to Camden Town
Fountain of Sorrow
The Ballad of Sean and Wilko
The Hissing of the Silent Lonely Room
I've Heard the Banshee Sing
The Justice Factory
The Beautiful Sound of Silence
Inspector Starrett novels:
The Dust of Death
St Ernan's Blues
Down on Cyprus Avenue
One of Our Jeans Is Missing
The Lonesome Heart Is Angry
The Prince of Heaven's Eyes (A Novella)
The Last Dance
First of the True Believers
The Best Beatles Book Ever
(The Complete Guide to) Playing Live
How to Succeed in the Music Business