Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

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9780957570061: Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

Dave Robinson was once a roadie to Jimi Hendrix. He also managed Brinsley Schwarz and was behind their ill-fated publicity stunt when he flew journalists to New York to see their gig at the Fillmore East. By 1974, he was managing the Hope & Anchor pub in Islington.

Jake Riviera had been road manager for Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers and later Dr Feelgood.

In1976, this maverick pair were to launch Stiff Records, supposedly on the back of a £400 loan from Lee Brilleaux of the Feelgoods. In fact, they never cashed the check.

The genius of Stiff was to take old pub rockers that they knew and turn them into new wave stars. Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe were all going nowhere until they were signed the label and reinvented. For a while, the major labels didn’t know how to respond to Stiff, particularly their brilliant marketing – coloured vinyl, different coloured sleeves for the completest market and their slogans, such as “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a fuck".

Riviera left the label in 1977 to form Radar Records and took Costello and Lowe with him

The label signed quirky acts such as Wreckless Eric, Devo, Rachel Sweet, Lene Lovich and more. Many of them were sent on package tours reminiscent of the Larry Parnes’ tours in the 1960s.

They also launched Stiff America to no little success.

Robinson signed Madness and The Pogues to the label before it went bankrupt in 1986. However, it re-launched in 2006 under new management and is still going strong.

Richard Balls has interviewed over 50 artists and Stiff staff to tell a story that is long overdue. Shane MacGowan, Lene Lovich, Chas Smash, Wreckless Eric and more tell what it was like to work for the world’s most outrageous record label.

Tony Judge, who runs the Be Stiff website has provided lots of rare photos along with badges and memorabilia to make this a celebration of a great record label.

Balls' other book on the life of Ian Dury sold a hefty 30,000 copies, so he has a following.

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About the Author:

Richard Balls wrote Sex& Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll: The Life of Ian Dury for Omnibus in 2000. It sold over 30,000 copies and is still selling today. Richard is a publicity manager for Norwich City Council and lives in the city with his wife and two daughters. He is a passionate fan of Norwich City FC. He is the cousin of Ed Balls, Labour's Shadow Chancellor Of The Exchequer.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

As ever with Stiff, money was tight. Jake did his sums and reckoned their prestigious date with Television would just about cover their trip to Los Angeles. But the artfully edgy New York band fronted by the charismatic Tom Verlaine, refused to have Stiff’s increasingly infamous punks on their bill. The snub was a bitter blow.

Rat says: “We went to see them and I remember Jake throwing a lot of abuse. ’Show us your tits!’ I think is was what he shouted. The tragic thing about it actually was that we really liked Television and Little Johnny Jewel was what everybody really talked about. That was the first punk single or one of them. They were something else and they gave punk an absolute musical credibility. But their attitude was so punk, because it was completely out there, with Little Johnny Jewel specifically. There is some good stuff on Marque Moon, but the kind of griminess that Richard Hell put on it just wasn’t there. It was like freeform jazz that made sense and it was kind of intellectual. And I was really pleased. ’Okay, I’m in a punk band and everyone’s saying punk bands are three chords. But these guys are really accomplished and you could put them on any stage anywhere‘. So when they said, ‘You can’t do it’, we were actually quite gutted. I know we got a bit spiteful about it. But that was one of the reasons we were a bit spiteful because we thought they’d be on our side. I doubt they’d even heard us. I think it was more our reputation preceding us and Tom Verlaine saying, ‘I’m not having a fucking freak show going on before me’.”

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Richard Balls
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ISBN 10: 0957570066 ISBN 13: 9780957570061
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Descripción Soundcheck Books, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Told here for the first time, the complete story of the legendary Stiff Records. Started in 1976, by maverick music entrepreneurs Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, Stiff changed the landscape of a moribund record industry. Both men were involved in the pub rock scene and their genius was to take un-hip pub rockers, such as Ian Dury and Elvis Costello, and turn them into cool new wavers. It didn t stop there either, with Stiff releasing the first ever punk single (The Damned s New Rose ), in October 1976. Filled with interviews and memorabilia this is the perfect guide to Stiff. Nº de ref. de la librería AAT9780957570061

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Descripción Soundcheck Books LLP, 2015. Estado de conservación: New. The story of Stiff Records has never been properly told until now. Richard Balls rectifies that by interviewing over 50 people who either recorded for the label or worked on it. The book comes complete with rare photos of the bands, plus badges and other memorabilia making this a celebration of Stiff. Num Pages: 348 pages, 2 x 8 pages colour plates, plus black and white halftones. BIC Classification: 1DBK; AVGP; KNTF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 233 x 164 x 29. Weight in Grams: 592. . 2015. Paperback. . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780957570061

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Richard Balls
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Descripción Soundcheck Books, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Told here for the first time, the complete story of the legendary Stiff Records. Started in 1976, by maverick music entrepreneurs Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, Stiff changed the landscape of a moribund record industry. Both men were involved in the pub rock scene and their genius was to take un-hip pub rockers, such as Ian Dury and Elvis Costello, and turn them into cool new wavers. It didn t stop there either, with Stiff releasing the first ever punk single (The Damned s New Rose ), in October 1976. Filled with interviews and memorabilia this is the perfect guide to Stiff. Nº de ref. de la librería AAT9780957570061

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Descripción Soundcheck Books LLP. Estado de conservación: New. The story of Stiff Records has never been properly told until now. Richard Balls rectifies that by interviewing over 50 people who either recorded for the label or worked on it. The book comes complete with rare photos of the bands, plus badges and other memorabilia making this a celebration of Stiff. Num Pages: 348 pages, 2 x 8 pages colour plates, plus black and white halftones. BIC Classification: 1DBK; AVGP; KNTF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 233 x 164 x 29. Weight in Grams: 592. . 2015. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Nº de ref. de la librería V9780957570061

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Descripción Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Not Signed; Told here for the first time, the complete story of the legendary Stiff Records. Started in 1976, by maverick music entrepreneurs Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, Stiff changed the landscape of a moribund record industry. Both men were involved in the pub rock scene and their genius was to take un-hi. book. Nº de ref. de la librería ria9780957570061_rkm

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