Thursday, 13 February 2014

Mill Hill Music Complex is 35 years old tomorrow !

Imagine my surprise. Kelechi, who is our in house marketing genius at my business Mill Hill Music Complex, was reading through our website earlier this week and said "It says here that you opened the studio on 14th February 1979" I said "Yeah, thats right". He said "What are you doing to mark the studios 35th Birthday?" I said "I hadn't really thought about it". In fact it hadn't registered at all. He said "You can't let the date pass without doing something". I suppose my biggest fault is I'm not that interested in looking backwards. He is of course right. It is a monumental achievement to reach our 35th Birthday.

You may well ask why we opened on Valentines day? Well the answer is quite funny really. We'd been rehearsing as a band in my bedroom. Having a whole bunch of teenage punk rockers blaring out music was starting to drive my parents mad. My father had some spare space in the derelict caretakers cottage at the site of his business in Bunns Lane. He said "Why don't you rehearse there". I thought this was a great idea. It meant I had the keys to somewhere which was to become the centre of the Mill Hill Rock and Roll Scene. We struck a deal. He said that if I gave him £5 a week in cash, I could use it for band rehearsals and if I rented it out to my mates, keep the profit if I made any. So I set out begging and borrowing some equipment. The Malone brothers up the road had a band and some gear, so a deal was done. They could rehearse once a week for free and we'd let them keep their gear there. We could rent it out to anyone else. Once we had a basic sound system, I hit on a master plan. I said to my Dad that I was having a launch party. I asked for a donation to get some booze. In fact this was a ploy to ask some of the girls I fancied down to the premesis for a tour of the sites. I thought Valentines night was a great night to kick off. I was still at school then, so having access to such a place was a massive coup for me. My Dad duly coughed up £25 and said "Get a good variety". I decided to get as much cheap cider as possible. I made a list and invited all of the fit girls I could think of down for the party. I also asked a few mates in other bands. As it happened, I was at school with Boz Boorer and Phil Bloomberg from the Polecats. They asked Alan Warner, highly respected guitarist of the Foundations down for a mozey. As it turned out, we had a great party. Despite my wicked intentions, the studio immediately had bookings every night, as there was nowhere to play at all in the area.

For the next two years of A levels, the studio paid my bar bills. The Polecats got a record deal and were soon on top of the pops. In 1981, my own band went on tour of Scandinavia. Back in those days, a night out cost £3-4 so I was doing very well getting £5 a session six or seven times a week. The success didn't go unnoticed and another local musician, John Basil approached my Dad and rented a workshop off him to use as a rehearsal room. He actually spent a few quid on doing it up and took away the better customers I was getting, but I had enough to get by. In 1984, John Basil and STN studios moved out to Colindale.We moved out of the caretakers cottage and into the studio they'd been using (now Studio 2). By this time, friends of mine were renting the caretakers cottage and so were sick of the nightly rehearsals.

Most readers of this blog will know me purely as a blogger. In actual fact, the blogging was purely accidental. I consider myself a musician first. I am immensely proud of the business I've built up and the great work I've done promoting Mill Hill and the London Borough of Barnet through the studios. Two years ago we opened a purpose built new studio complex costing over £1 million to put together. It has been a phenominal success locally. As someone who has struggled with dyslexia, I urge anyone with dyslexic friends and family members to consider what you can do with help and support. At every stage of the way, my friends and family have given me rock solid support. Thanks guys.

If you've never heard of us but are interested in music, please check out our website. I generally don't use this blog to promote my business, but I am sure you won't forgive me on this special occasion. I would have posted this blog tomorrow, but I wanted to spend the evening indulging my beloved, who does all the hard work running the studios, allowing me to do all the silly things I spend my life doing

You can visit our website here


John S said...

Congratulations on your 35th year of Mill Hill Music Complex well done

Jude Bassil said...

Amazing what you can find on the internet!
John Bassil was my Dad. Fascinating slice of history here. Thanks for blogging!