Martin Hudson, founder of the Classic Rock Society. They have their own magazine, run a website plus put on
concerts in the Rotherham area. Well worth checking out...
How did you become involved in the music business?
I became involved in the music business simply because I was a fan of
'classic rock' and was unable to listen to it anywhere - pubs and
clubs played the same old pop pap day in and day out and radio (well
enough said). So I formed the Classic Rock Society not knowing how
big it would eventually become.
How did the CRS come about?
Well the above answers it really but I found a pub in Rotherham that
was willing to let us have a night to play the music and from there
we put on a gig (Steve Gibbons band) and have now done 180 gigs. We
also put together a poorly produced fanzine which is now a full blown
Which new bands would you recommend rock fans to check out?
New bands? There are so many that the older classic rock fans seem to
shy away from. However, Mostly Autumn and Karnataka are two bands
that we have sort of founded and pushed on to the bigger stage.
Strangefish play here on the 1st Feb and are great, Gabriel are a
good band too, and there are many foreign bands that are more than
worthy, Ricocher, Nice Beaver (I kid you not) and Plackband from
Holland and Armenia is surprisingly good for the classic rock style
of music. But they don't have to be bands, we openly promote
folk/rock, country/rock, blues, heavy rock, prog rock, singer
songwriters. Gina Dootson is a superb singer songwriter.
How easy/hard is it to get people along to gigs that feature newer
artists/bands as opposed to established names?
It is the most difficult thing in the world to get people along to
see new and up and coming bands mainly because the general fan of
classic rock is no youngster and some of them feel as if they are
past it. Our youngest attendees are in their teens and the oldest are
often in their late 60's so people have nothing to fear.
As I have mentioned Steve Gibbons was the first CRS gig back in 1992,
or was it '91.? Then we had The Groundhogs and a new band to us at
the time, Pendragon. Pendragon remain popular as do IQ in the prog
rock line but thankfully we are winning the battle to promote other
styles of classic rock. Mostly Autumn and Karnataka are now popular
but the biggest crowds come out for Rick Wakeman (our Honorary
President and great mate), Wishbone Ash, to name but two.
What state do you think the UK rock scene is in at the moment? Is
it all nu-metal or are classic rock/prog metal etc growing on the
back of the nu-metal genre?
The UK rock scene is in an amazingly healthy state if only the people
could get to hear the stuff and if the fans of real music would get
off their backsides and come out and enjoy themselves. There are tons
of bands who struggle to get heard in the UK.
Any bands/artists that you would like to have appear at a CRS gig?
Steve Hackett actually jammed on stage along with ex-Yes guitarist
Peter Banks a few years ago at the end of one of our annual CRS Best
of the Year Awards nights but I am hoping Steve will come along this
year with a band. I am still waiting for Fish (he's a good mate but
is always busy). Asia know about us but still haven't got up here and
I find that the Marillion PR machine is the worst in the land and a
night with us would be great.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Anything else
you still want to achieve?
Highlights so far are too many. Getting to know Rick and getting that
trust is a good feeling. Me and Sharon were even invited to his This
Is Your Life which was great. Interviewing people like Alice Cooper
(twice), Rick many times, and all the guys out of Yes has been
special. Knowing people like John Wetton and getting them to come
along on a regular basis to play is good. The gig highlights are
many, Magnum played here and Bob Catley is a star. Other highlights
are still to come with such an impressive gig list ahead of us that
includes Rick and the English Rock Ensemble, Focus, Wishbone Ash,
Bob Catley, John Wetton, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, PFM, Saga.
However, the biggest highlight is the way the magazine has evolved
from a poor fanzine. It now rates with most of the national
glosssies, although you can only get ours by mail. I am immensely
proud of the magazine.
Any rock'n'roll tales to tell?
Tales are many but things that happen to you can be funny like when
we were doing an Awards Night some time ago and Fish was on stage
presenting an award to someone and all of a sudden the audience
roared with laughing. Fish thought it was his story but in actual
fact it was Rick Wakeman at the back of stage who had appeared and
climbed up the ladder to clean the lights. Fish never knew. I've had
Rick pour buckets of water on me on stage and all daft things like
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I keep mentioning him but Rick has been superb. In the early days I
did my first interview with him and asked if he would be the CRS
Honorary President and he said he'd be the honorary anything for us.
Now he will turn up to events when I ask him if he's not busy but now
he's back with Yes we won't see too much of him. My wife Sharon has
been brill, even if she does moan a lot. It's a lot to put up with
when something like this takes over your life.
What plans does the CRS have for the rest of 2003? Any personal highlights eg
albums/tours you are looking forward to?
We have already recorded the first gig of the year. Dave Cousins of
The Strawbs is one of our directors and the Acoustic Strawbs are to
play for us on 20th Sept Karnataka, Sleeping Giant (formerly Mr So & So), the Miv Cameron Band (folk), Gina Dootson (CRS
Solo Artist of 2002) and a local 20 year old singer songwriter, Tommy
Binks, to perform at the CRS Acoustic Sessions. We recorded it and it
has come out great. We released the CD in April as our second release
on Hudrok records. The magazine has to break even this year and so we
need lots of new readers but we are increasing the gigs and doing
loads. Subscribers get their gig tickets cheaper and so save money across the year.
To subscribe contact 01709 702575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview © 2003