A libertine dream, James Endeacott’s story

'The Fat White Duke', Pic:Unbound

‘The Fat White Duke’, Pic:Unbound

James Endeacott, Catford resident and the man behind some of the greatest records of the 21st century, is getting music fans to pledge money so that he can continue to write his book that chronicles his life within the alternative music industry.

In association with Unbound; a new way to connect authors and readers, Endeacott has pitched his idea as well as displaying some extracts from his forthcoming book.

A goal for the number of pledges made is set, and as fans make their donations Endeacott is one step closer to getting his book published. If he does not reach his target, those who pledge will get their money back.

‘The Fat White Duke’ is willing to reward fans who donate, not only with his explicit tales of rock ‘n’ roll excess, but a chance to share a lunch with the man himself.

East London Lines interviewed Endeacott, the northern boy who found love in music, moving to London in 1986.

The music industry was once a glamorous place, bubbling over with Cristal champagne and unlimited budgets. Today, it is more about closing record shops, dying record labels and many argue that ‘guitar music is dead’.

Amidst all the doom and gloom, Endeacott still sees hope, “I am a big defender of rock and roll. It’s changed a lot now but people are still going to gigs and buying records.”

As the proprietor of independent label 1965 and once A&R man for Rough Trade Records Endeacott says “the internet has allowed people to engage with music both past and present.”

Having famously A&R’d indie giants, New York rockers The Strokes and English rapscallions The Libertines, he says “It’s about having a conviction about certain bands and being relentless, to anybody and everybody, not caring what other people think, and telling people takes a certain amount of determination.”

Endeacott started out as a teenage fan, “At fourteen years old I just had an interest in music, enjoyed talking to bands and would often write to bands in my spare time.”

His eyes light up as he pictures the scene and paints the details of his first ever gig, “My first gig was in February 1979, it was ‘Stiff Little Fingers’ at the Halifax Queen’s Hall, it only cost 75p. I knew all the words to the songs and was so happy that I took my then 11year old brother by the hand to find out what was happening backstage, not really knowing what backstage was.”

Smiling he reminisces, “the band were so stunned that two kids had bothered to find them, that they invited us into their dressing room and we missed the last bus home.”

Growing up in Halifax, Yorkshire, his interest in music was always his predominant past time. He studied English and Drama at Exeter University, and takes great delight in telling me about hitchhiking to the nearest record shop in Plymouth

It wasn’t until he moved to Catford, that an opportunity to work with music, came into focus, he says, “My first job was at ‘Our Price Records’ as a shop assistant, and I would regularly attend gigs at a club called Bay 63 in Notting Hill.”

It was his persistence and boundless energy that landed him a job at Rough Trade, the driving force of alternative music, that had already had success with iconic indie band The Smiths.

Having managed rock band ‘Tinder Sticks’ in the early nineties and set up Rough Trades’s singles club, he was given an A&R position by owners Geoff Travis and Jeanette Lee in the late nineties. He remembers, “I didn’t realise quite what the job  was. In reality it meant I got to go to gigs every week, find new bands, speak to people and pretty much continue the life I was living anyway.”

For him, it was the ideal job and Endeacott did not let Rough Trade down. His ear for the best, rejuvenated the label and brought guitar music back into the mainstream. With The Strokes they released NME’s top album of 2001, ‘Is This It’ and with The Libertines they influenced huge acts such as Arctic Monkeys.

Endeacott recounts the first time he saw the Libertines play, “I heard them in a rehearsal room, they had no bass player. To me they were two very sweet looking boys, it was the words of the songs that really grabbed my attention, it was like seeing The Beatles in Liverpool’s Cavern Club.”

Now in his late fourties, Endeacott is a true to life rock and roller who still dives in and out of venues, signing new acts such as Dundee four piece The View and Holy Ghost Revival to his own label 1965 Records. Late last year, Endeacott he also took South London band Filthy Boy under his wing as their primary manager.

“The passion is in the label, the people’s beating heart for music and artists. A good label has a good relationship with it’s artists. You also have to remember that it is all about the artists and not you.” He says

So, whilst future label workers might not be sipping the finest champagne, Endeacott has a message to those who are currently in the industry, “Kids will always want to buy records, see live bands, party and be rock and roll, because after all rock and roll is about having a really good time.”

Pledge today via Unbound, and you can read more of Endeacott’s tales.

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