As Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity suggested, the dream for any strung-out, addicted, music lover seems to climax at the point where they win a Grammy, or own a record label or run a club-night.
And while some of us (ahem) may not have gotten around to making that dream a reality, there are those who’s combination of hard work, a love for music, and a positive attitude, seems to make things happen. Take Phil Saunders; he may not have a Grammy (yet) but if you’ve had a night out on Teeside in the past twenty years, it’s likely that he’s played some part in the organising, promoting or managing of it. Not that that was ever the plan mind…
“In 2004 I was working for the Council shuffling paper and would speak regularly to the owner of Ten Feet Tall. We started chatting one day and when I told him I worked in payroll, he said why don’t you do that for me, and basically from there I ended up down the rabbit hole and doing all sorts of things with them including stage managing, helping out in venues like the Cornerhouse and The Empire, and working on Middlesbrough Live where we had 100 bands playing across 10 stages.”
A growing list of experiences, and a strong reputation, saw Saunder’s progress to running Sumo, one of the North East’s greatest Rock nights; and stay in the role for well over fifteen years until covid put an end to things.
“When covid started we had to stop Sumo’s, and some of us were so worried about what lockdown might do to the music and clubbing scene. It was a frightening time and so I thought that maybe I could write a few ideas down to reflect on the importance of live music, and before I knew it I’d written a full book.”
Considered as Part biography, part almanack, part local history project, ‘This Club Could Be Your Life’ is written as a “Henry Rollins style tale where there’s snippets of stories, and insights, and set lists, in a way which can be read in all-in-one go, but also can be picked up and skimmed little by little”.
Never designed to be a “proper book” Saunders instead wanted This Club to use a more jovial, conversational, style of storytelling, “telling stories like we would if we were catching up and talking about past nights out, or remembering some of the great gigs we’ve been to”.
Excited to see the scene come back in full force after Covid (“The Teeside scene and venues have really come roaring back since Covid, and both Sunderland and Newcastle always seem to have good shows and venues, so there’s always something going on”) Phil may have left the business side of the live scene to one side but he’s still part of the revelers and still a punk enthusiast at heart (“I’ve always enjoyed Rollins Do It Yourself style so I tried to write and edit and publish this with just myself and family and I really enjoyed the challenge”).
He’s already run the club, now how’s about the Grammy? Come to think of it, Rollins won a Grammy for Get in the Van didn’t he!?
This Club Could Be Your Life, is being released into the world on Nov 1st 2022.
You can pre-order, pre-pay and reserve one, today! Read about what you get in this deluxe pack and order yourself a big old book here.