Records, which has a reputation as pretty much of an esoteric label?
MIKE: Well, Virgin Records, unbeknown to us, were looking for a rock band to go on their label, ’cause they figured they needed to expand . . . they were very nice .. .
OLLIE: We were friendly with all of them, with Richard Branson, the boss, and the people at the Manor.
MIKE: Yeah, they took a personal interest in the band, and that turned out to be the deciding factor. They looked after us. You know, if you’ve got a problem, you can ring up Richard and talk to him . . . it’s a nice feelin’.
RATW: Why do you think that there’s more of an underground scene in England than there is in America?
MIKE: You can’t earn much bread in England, in a band, unless you’re, like, The Who, an’ they’ll lose money when they tour England, ‘cuz the halls aren’t big enough. So the guys that really mean it and stay in the business will find their backs to the wall quite a lot of the time. You don’t compromise ‘cuz there’s nothing to compromise for; you tend, as a result, to experiment a bit more, and try other things .. .
RATW: Someone mentioned to me that the only wa), for a musician to learn about the business was to get contracturally screwed three of four times. Do you think that a good business sense is a necessity for a musician today?
MIKE: You’re correct. You do need to know somethin’ .. .
OLLIE: Or you need to know somebody who does know about it, to help you cope with business types .. .
KEITH: The thing is, you have to know enough not to let the guy who’s actually takin’ care of the business screw you. That’s how much you have to know.
OLLIE: The business people around us have all been good, from Nigel, our manager, on through to Richard Branson of Virgin . . . Richard loves the band, he really does, so .. .
MIKE: He sees credibility in the band as far as musicianship goes. He knows we’re not junkies, and we’re not gonna fall Duet sideways. We are musicians, that is our wa.■ of life . . . we shall always carry on. Boxer has lit a fuse, we’re headin’ high an’ that’s where we want to head. There’s no stars in this band; we’re all on a certain rung of a ladder which perches on respect. There’s respect for every member of this band by other musicians.