Steve & Eddie
"When the first issue of 'Friends' came out we had to fold all the copies by hand, which we did in an office at 140 Park Lane owned by these two guys who were backing the magazine, Steve and Eddie. And there we were with Alan sitting on the floor surrounded by people rushing around and he was completely out of his mind on dope and kept saying 'Christ we're working hard'. We were, but he wasn't."
"Steve and Eddie didn't seem to take a very active part in the paper, which was fine by us. They had other things to do and in March they put together their magnum opus: the great Brinsley Schwartz Hype.
Where Alan discovered Steve and Eddie I don't know, or remember. There were a lot of covert meetings - 'Rolling Stone' had been very keen on that kind of thing, endless huddling by elect, Alan, Jon Goodchild, whatever. So there was more of that and the next thing was that Alan appeared to have obtained us these junior league entrepreneurs. Before that, after Mick Jagger's office had thrown us out of Hanover Square and sent the locksmith's round to make sure we couldn't get back in, we decamped lock stock and barrel to Pat Bell and John Leaver's flat in Redcliffe Square. Filing cabinets, IBM machine, art room stuff, the lot. That lasted about one night - all very excited and not really knowing what to do. Next morning Jeremy Beadle and Tony Elliot materialised, they were having discussions about something called 'Time Out in the North West'. A non-starter."
"The promoters in Notting Hill, apart from us, Clearwater, were Famepushers, who worked above 'Friends'. Eddie and Steve. They were a couple of film guys; they had made money out of films and they wanted to get into the music business and that's how Dave Robinson, with his Irish blarney, conned them. And they did the Brinsley Schwarz hype. There was some film they'd made money out of it and they were flashing it around. They put this whole Famepushers package together. They did a beautiful con, but it was Dave who did all the conning, It was he who arranged for Aer Lingus to do the airplane, it was he that arranged for Head Limousines to meet them in New York. They couldn't get the band into America. They had to get a private plane to fly them in to New York without immigration. Dave's arrogance was amazing, but it was also his selling point. And Famepushers had an amazing image, though certainly it didn't sell. Later, of course, he created Stiff."
"That was my first visit to America. A brilliant scam, one of the great scams. There was a split between the underground press who'd been busy buying multi-coloured papers in New York and the drunken straight press who were seriously uptight, And there was about three ounces of dope that had to be smoked between New York and London. I was completely done in by going to America. Things like a stereo radio in a car were new. I'd heard that we were going to be taken from the airport to our hotel by Head Limousines Incorporated, which was run by this doper taxi driver and their pledge to us was stereo sounds and reefers in the ashtrays. So we get there and we come rushing out ahead of all the people, including the guy from the 'Jewish Chronicle'. Poor guy. Trapped in the Fillmore East and all he wants is to visit his family. 'They call this music...' We come rushing out and there's this long line of limos and from numbers four to twenty are guys in uniforms, but numbers one to three - fruitcakes. And we go rushing up 'Hey man, are you from Head Limousines' 'Yeah man, right...' So six or eight of you get in and it's like all the movies you've been watching for a million years. Then you crammed it all into 24 hours because you were off the next day and you wandered about rubbernecking. The guys who ran it were also my clients, I did their doctoring, Eddie was very brash, Steve was very nervous and wound up."
Famepushers vanished soon after Brinsley Schwarz. Presumably they lost their ten grand, and probably more. We did find a little bit more about them: one of their enterprises was a private detective called Malcolm. After they failed to pay his bills he started looking at their background. It turned out that when they'd claimed to be 'at college in Canada' they, or at least one of them, had been doing two years - in Canada - for fraud."
Update March 23 2000: Will Birch's book, "No Sleep Till Canvey Island", is an in depth history of the British Pub Rock scene of the '70s containing a wealth of information on Brinsley Schwarz, Famepushers, Barney Bubbles, Stiff Records, Friends magazine, and other stuff mentioned on these pages. Now available in association with Amazon.co.uk.