Tuesday, 24 August 2010

tHe InDePendAnt mEdiA IntErvieW by ClAre DWyeR HOgG

My greatest mistake: James Brown, editor of 'Jack' magazine and founding editor of 'Loaded'

'We could have been massive but, instead, we were downtown chucking lemons at each other'

Interview by Clare Dwyer Hogg

Tuesday, 6 August 2002


Naturally, because I'm big-headed, I don't think I've made many, but probably my greatest mistake resulted in a career-changing decision. It was 1992, and I was managing a band called Fabulous. I blagged a meeting with Seymour Stein and Mo Austin in Bel Air. Seymour ran Sire records and Mo ran Warner Brothers. It is fair to say that they were responsible for 50 per cent of the hits in America, and had been for 20 years: they were two of the five most influential people in the world, and I turned up late for dinner. I kept them waiting for an hour and a half in front of their friends, which was unheard of. Why? Because Simon (the singer of Fabulous) and I were throwing lemons at each other in a swimming-pool.

At Seymour's dinner, we ordered 10 bottles of wine and the bill came to £4,000. Because we'd been late, Seymour didn't pick up the tab, and my friend Kevin (who managed The Farm and who had helped get us there) had to pay. After the dinner, we went back to the hotel and shouted at each other. I threw some chairs. We were so close to snatching something and it had gone. We'd talked ourselves into an opportunity – these people could write a cheque for £40m without blinking – and we lost it. We could have been massive, and instead, as the meeting started, we were downtown chucking lemons.

It was the first time that I'd suffered a tremendous disappointment, and it was really the end of my short sojourn in music management. What that "mistake" did show me was that you could have a fantastic time. When it was all over, I thought about how I could get the lifestyle and the money. This was the seed behind Loaded. I couldn't have done it without that experience: I treated Loaded like the rock star, and us like the band. Even though it was my greatest mistake, I wouldn't change it: it was probably the best time in my life.

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