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JOHN BARROW

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How NOT to make it in the pop world
by JOHN BARROW   

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Category: 

Music

Publisher:  Trafford Publishing ISBN-10:  1412014131 Type: 
Pages: 

279

Copyright:  Dec10,2003 ISBN-13:  9781412014137
Non-Fiction

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Trafford Publishing
Amazon
How NOT to make it in the pop world

"How NOT to Make it in the Pop World"
(Diary of an almost has-been)
(A bitter sweet / humorous diary of my quest for unlimited fame and fortune in the fickle world of pop)
JOHN BARROW is one of the journeymen of pop music. In a playing career that spans more than twenty years he has played recorded and toured with world name artists that include:

BOY GEORGE / CULTURE CLUB / THE FUN BOY THREE / IGGY POP / MUSICAL YOUTH / THE SWINGING LAURELS / JERRY DAMMERS / THE CLASH / RHODA DAKAR (THE SPECIALS) / CRAZYHEAD / THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH / BANANARAMA/ IST

  "How NOT to Make it in the Pop World"

(Diary of an almost has-been)
(A bitter sweet / humorous diary of my quest for unlimited fame and fortune in the fickle world of pop)
JOHN BARROW is one of the journeymen of pop music. In a playing career that spans more than twenty years he has played recorded and toured with world name artists that include:

BOY GEORGE / CULTURE CLUB / THE FUN BOY THREE / IGGY POP / MUSICAL YOUTH / THE SWINGING LAURELS / JERRY DAMMERS / THE CLASH / RHODA DAKAR (THE SPECIALS) / CRAZYHEAD / THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH / BANANARAMA/ IST / UNCLE FRANK / RADIO RIDDLER

Excerpt
"How NOT to Make it in the Pop World"
(Diary of an almost has-been)
(A bitter sweet / humorous diary of my quest for unlimited fame and fortune in the fickle world of pop)
JOHN BARROW is one of the journeymen of pop music. In a playing career that spans more than twenty years he has played recorded and toured with world name artists that include:

BOY GEORGE / CULTURE CLUB / THE FUN BOY THREE / IGGY POP / MUSICAL YOUTH / THE SWINGING LAURELS / JERRY DAMMERS / THE CLASH / RHODA DAKAR (THE SPECIALS) / CRAZYHEAD / THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH / BANANARAMA/ IST / UNCLE FRANK / RADIO RIDDLER


Professional Reviews

Synthpop
John Barrow proclaims himself to be one of that all too un-rare breed of those who try to make a living from the music business and fail. John plays tenor sax and has sustained a playing career for over 20 years, albeit not always a paying one. Hailing from Leicester in the UK, John moved from band to band from the 70's thru to the 90's, and this is his diary of those days and the adventures he had. John Barrow is a real journeyman of the trade in all sense of the word.

John's main claim to fame is his part in the group The Swinging Laurels, a band who could have been but never quite made it. The Swinging Laurels played an unusual combination of synth and brass, and received much critical acclaim. One of their near-miss singles also featured backing vocals by Boy George just after Culture Club went huge. They appeared on tour backing Culture Club, played as session brass section for Fun Boy Three on The Telephone Always Rings (one of their best tracks imho) and had a video produced by Midge Ure of Ultravox. On top of this they did numerous TV appearances either in their own right or as backing for others.

There is a lot more to be told on this story and on either side of The Swinging Laurels. The story of how much luck plays on whether you make it or not, the commitment and hardship of trying to play for a living, the responsibilities of having a family and juggling work with your true love of music. The basic premise that holds this narrative together is timeless and is incredibly apt for a scene like the modern synthpop one where very few bands or artists are able to sustain full-time musical careers.

John himself has no regrets about anything he has done, even though he admits it has cost him in financial terms at the very least. His story-telling style is very down to earth and he has a rich deprecating style that just seems at times to be like a conversation you'd have with your mates in a bar. At times he tends to namecheck and wander off on a tangent, but this is not a "look who I knew" kind of deal. John documents the times and puts his experiences into perspective with those around him at the time. He is never bitter and actually rarely has a bad word to say about anyone.

I can't recommend this book enough. Anyone currently in the business of making music will recognize most of what has happened to John Barrow. Those who aren't can see what happens to those unlucky enough not to get the breaks. A hugely enjoyable read.


Reviewer: Si Wooldridge
Score:
Related Link: Trafford Publishing
Amazon ISBN: 1412014131
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Make-World-Diary-Almost-Has-been/dp/1412014131/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323341216&sr=1-1


Eartaste
Subtitled “Diary of an almost has-been”. This book was easy to put down, but I don’t mean this in a harsh way. As I read the book it was very easy to picture John in my living room talking. As I finished a chapter, I’d put it down and ramble through my memories of similar scenes. Much like a discussion was taking place. Small things, like the descriptions of ‘dressing rooms’ and ‘rehearsal spaces’.

John was active in the live music arena during the same years I was – the only difference is most of his experiences were in England, with some in Europe, whereas mine were stateside – mostly in California. I knew the music of and/or reputations of 85% of the bands he mentioned in the book. The band he was/is most remembered for is The Swinging Laurels – a group that had some press over here, but I cannot recall if I ever heard them. No matter, he could say the same about the bands I was with.

But the stories of the clubs, the club owners, the reality of the pay for performing in venues, the truth of being the “opening band” for a ‘major’ artist, the escapades of a band, the thefts that took place of band equipment, other people’s perceptions of your wealth once you’ve been on TV, etc, etc, etc. John brings the truths of a band on the road to life for all of the thousands upon thousands of bands that perform, record, perform, record, perform.

Every one of those guys were like John and I – gave up the chance for a secure future for a dream. But we would have never become who we are if we had not pursued the dream. I have friends who stuck with corporate life – one guy in particular makes me realize how good it was that I didn’t do that – 1 1/2 years away from retirement they “laid” him off. He was in one of my first bands, and although he doesn’t talk about it, I’d bet he wishes now that he had taken the road less traveled.

This book is definitely a way to stir up memories if you were in a band. If you are in a band, you’ll also get some giggles – because really, nothing has changed. If you’re not in a band, this book may make you glad you didn’t take that route. If you simply love music and are interested in how bands survive on a daily basis, you’ll learn a lot here. Thanks John! Paperback or Hardback




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