Christian Carlisle

RGM The Vlog : Are parent band managers a good or bad thing? We Discuss.

Are parent band managers a good or a bad thing? Let’s discuss.

Please leave your opinions in the comment section below.


Thanks for the contributions :-

Jimmy Mac – JM Promotions
Nic Simmonite – Landlord of Music venue, Frog and parrot, Sheffield
Ryan Oxley – Penistone FM DJ
Christian Carlisle – BBC Introducing Sheffield Presenter
Sam Christie – Propeller Management

We also asked  parent band managers for their thoughts, they were unavailable to film so sent us the following insights.

Graham Walker – Sundance

Helen Tate – Hands off Gretel

Bob – Delerium

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  1. Kevin Donoghue

    July 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Kevin Donoghue Native Records
    Interesting topic.

    I managed my son’s band ReVerbed for a period of 4 years. He had been in a covers band previously and as he was only 13 at the time, my involvement then was simple, I drove him to rehearsals and gigs, bought him his gear. In the same way that I picked him up and dropped him off from his guitar lessons, and took him to football and hockey practise and matches ~ Like you do.

    When he was fourteen, he started ReVerbed with some friends from school. And they started to develop quickly. There was definitely some talent there, and they where writing some descent songs.

    Up until now my involvement was that of a caring parent, one who shows interest in his child and wants to give them every opportunity that they can. It’s a natural situation, one that you will find in every sport and most performing arts situations.

    Where my situation differed from many, is that I have managed bands before. Quite a few in fact, including top 20 artists, for major labels like Sony, CBS, Epic, and Phonogram. I have also worked at BMG and RCA. Further, I have run an independent label, Native, for 32 years.

    So it was natural that I would extend my knowledge and help towards my son’s band. They where still under 16, comprised of 2 boys and 2 girls and so required chaperoning, and none of them where old enough to drive yet.

    I think in most cases, an emerging talent need as much support as it can get, and that parental support, is the easiest and probably the most natural support for them to seek. After all, it’s highly unlikely that a professional manager is going to manage an artist who cannot generate an income.

    As an independent label, I have worked with many bands that where managed by their parents. I have worked with bands that lived together, commune like, at one member’s parents [Ok, that was a bit weird]. I have worked with bands whose parents where part of the band and part of the song-writing team, and I have seen the pushy parent that believes their child has a talent that is really just not there.

    Would I turn a band down because they where managed by their parents ~ No.

    Every band that we speak to at Native asks the same two questions. Will you managed us? And can you get us gigs? Of course it’s the same question really.

    My response is that they don’t need a manager. They need to do things for themselves. They need to learn how the industry works… but we obviously try to help in anyway that we can and end up unofficially managing by default.

    In the life of most bands, there is a stage where professional management has a definite role. Most major labels will not work with bands that have no manager. The major labels need someone to talk to and to argue with, about the pricklier parts of the bands career, and it’s hard for them to do this with the artist. Hence, the need for a manager.

    In summary, yes it is natural for a parent to become involved in their children’s activities.
    Is it a good thing ~ I believe that in most cases it is a positive thing.
    However, there is a time to step away.

    I ceased to manage ReVerbed when they where 19, they where all at university now, and young adults. They had observed and learnt, and where more than capable of managing themselves, as they now knew how to arrange merchandise, book gigs, and even tours.

    Did they have problems adjusting? ~ I know that they did.
    Did I have a problem adjusting ~ You bet I did. But every bird has to fly from the nest at some point.

    A few successful parent manager combinations include;

    The Jackson Five, Gary Numan, The Jam/ Paul Weller, Beyonce, Ashanti, Miley Cyrus, British Sea Power.

    From the world of sport there is Judy and Andy Murray, Brian and Nigel Clough, Steve and Alex Bruce, to name just a few.

    And we must not forget Ozzy, who was managed by his wife. Now there is a topic.

  2. Jim DeBarker

    July 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Nothing quite strikes fear and dread into a sound engineer more than the words “Hi I’m xxxxxx’s dad/mom, I’m the bands manager”.

    In 20 years I’ve yet to see an artist who is managed by their parents in what I would consider to be a better off position than if they were professionally managed. Successful management relies on hem being able to take one step back ant see the bigger picture, something almost impossible if all your emotions are wound up in one of the band members (same goes for artists managed by their partner which is an arguably worse scenario).

    Bands who are managed by their parents are invariably not at a level where they even need management per se except in a few extreme examples (The Jacksons for example), if mommy and daddy want their little cherub to succeed then they would do better to just fork out the cash for a professional management team.

  3. Ed the Duck

    July 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    ” Can you turn up my son ”

    If hes driving the band to a gig fair enough but thats where it should end.

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