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MUSIC, BOOKS, AND MUCH MORE 

I took up writing novels and screenplays when becoming diabetic I was forced to take a break and step back from the front line of the music industry for a while. Thankfully returning, my life continues both in music and writing. Hence you won't be surprised to learn that my novels and screenplays inhabit that same space. Everything you've heard of the drama in the music business and much more is revealed in the thrillers 'To Excess And Back' & 'A Song For Maria.'
 

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Maria is 18, sensitive, painfully in love with Richard, and would do anything to make his dreams come true. It is a desire that will cost her more dearly than anyone could possibly imagine. 

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A SONG FOR MARIA

© David Montague 

SCREENPLAY / NOVEL  

A Romantic Tragedy Set In The World Of Music.

Adult Reading.

Set in the glamorous piranha pool of the music industry, where to a few money, power, fame, or a moment's sexual pleasure means more than the lives or loves of others. And against a backdrop of studios, stadiums and overwhelming

press attention, A Song For Maria tells the story of young love tragically torn apart in a world in which honesty, innocence and trust seem to exist solely for the amusement of the puppeteers. 

 

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Richard is 20, complex, and desperate to escape his harsh south London background. Shy and insecure he nevertheless comes alive on stage. A brilliant guitarist who plays in a band. Music was his hiding place during a disturbed and violent childhood. In troubled times it is still the place to which he escapes. 

Scott Leisham is a successful record producer. Possessing no morals he thinks only of himself. What he wants for the moment is all that counts. 

Ralph Evans is a heavy, volatile and menacing multimillionaire manager. Ruthless beyond the point of law, he has turned revenge into an art form. He would never have chosen to be dealt such a cruel hand, but will play it right to the end, for all its worth, whatever the consequences. 

TO EXCESS AND BACK 
© David Montague 

SCREENPLAY / NOVEL 

To Excess And Back tells the story of Keely Kelda, the most talented and successful female artist of all time.

Being the toast of the musical fraternity and fans alike, Keely's success belies the fact that she is suffering in a loveless abusive marriage and being compromised and cheated at every turn.

At the age of 18 Keely was cajoled into marriage by the inept boss of her record company. A company that unbeknown to Keely was funded by the Miami Mafia in order to provide a legitimate front for laundering money. 

With Keely's appearances allowing for drug profits to be laundered through ticket sales and memorabilia, and further facilitating the movement of blood diamonds, it is a massive earner for the Miami Mafia, and not something they will give up easily.  

Meeting Alan again, an old flame from her teens changes everything, when it sparks a romance that renders her life in mortal danger. And when her own husband agrees to her being killed ...

Stardom, stadiums, attempts on Keely's life and Mafia murders, make for a cocktail of glamour, public adulation and constant danger. That all contrasts with Keely's desire for simple down to earth true love. 

 

The Birth of Toni & Guy 

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FREELY AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO ENJOY ON YOUTUBE: THE BIRTH OF TONI & GUY
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From the dusty slopes of Mount Vesuvius to the international fashion leaders they became, the birth of Toni & Guy tells of the genius and fortitude of the Mascolo family, and of their hard earned success in hairdressing and product design. It tells of the poverty and of the terrible tragedy that befell their grandparents and indeed their own parents, that would thereafter shape the lives of the young brothers.

Following in their parents hairdressing footsteps, it wasn't until their breakthrough years during London's swinging 60s that their unique talent began to be recognised and gain the attention of a wider audience. And whilst they didn't realise it at the time would soon bring about a change in the family's fortunes.

The pain, suffering and sacrifices that had befallen their family is told here in stark detail by Guy. As he explains how all that their parents had instilled in them by way of a morals, work ethic and knowledge, formed the basis of the company they later founded with the desire to offer the best possible innovative styles and service to their clients. With their styles soon gracing the front covers of top fashion magazines, their reputation was soon to spread throughout the world

Through Guy Mascolo we learn of the losses and sacrifices, and of the sheer hard work that eventually resulted in Toni & Guy becoming the world's largest independently owned hairdressing company, with salons and products throughout the world.




 

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The Five Day Week Straw People

Please see our video on Youtube. Showing how The Five Day Week Straw People got made and how it now features in Record Collector 100 Greatest psychedelic records. Google YouTube or view below.     Record Collector 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records. The Five Day Week Straw People.

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A very fine Sims and Paul Stevens luthier built guitar that I commissioned in tribute to Guy: Alder body, flame maple neck crafted to personal hand specification for comfort and ease of playing. Suhr V60LP wound pickups (for a true vintage vibe). Paul Stevens truss and double carbon inserted rods for neck stability. And a printed scratchplate depicting Guy and I recording the demo's for our first album.

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Where do I begin:

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Rehearsals three floors up in a scruffy room accessed by an external fire escape. Far right playing a Hofner Verithin through a Watkins Copicat and a Watkins Westminster amp. Aged 14 years.

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My first Fender Strat'. For which I had to play a lot of gigs and clean a lot of wheel hubs. This was subsequently stolen from me along with my Vox AC30 and my Binson Baby Echorec, following a pub gig in Brixton: Age 16 years.

One of my first gigs enjoying my new Strat'. Obviously an early low key affair, since I'm still playing through a Watkins Copicat and Westminster amp'. It must have been a  family party or something, since Mike's (centre) pregnant wife is there. Irene subsequently gave birth to Shane, now a fine professional drummer who lives in Dublin. 

A bit of a setback when local criminals stole the whole of our equipment and ruined our van.

Naughty crooks we said! 

Oh' well, another few hundred gigs playing cheap guitars, and I suppose more car cleaning! 

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A few months later, whilst not able to replace my previous equipment, I purchased a second hand (now referred to as a vintage) Gibson 335. 

Unfortunately I looked like a stick insect hanging on a leaf. 

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It wasn't long after this that musical differences entered the band. (For those that don't understand "band talk" that's a euphemism for wishing to beat the crap out of each other.) Hence I decided to leave and began writing with my long time friend Guy Mascolo: And thereafter my real career began.

Guy was a true artist in all that he did. A classical guitarist who at the time was under the tutorship of John Williams (who in the late 50s and 60s taught at London's Spanish Guitar Centre). Stepping back in time and recalling: I was 13 when I first heard Guy play. We sat in the garden of his family's rented home (in what was then considered a poor neighbourhood in south London), and Guy played in such a way as it reached my soul. 

 

Following the release of The Five Day Week Straw People and sundry songs placed with publishing companies, my move into band management was a natural progression. 

My feeling is that unless you are in a band or a solo artist that in your teens or early twenties has gained a vast and loyal following, then by all means keep playing, writing and performing: but in order to continue earning a living in the industry you love, think about band management, or working in an area of entertainment where you are in at the beginning. It can be rewarding in so many ways.                                       
                                                                                                      

These are some of the bands that a few years later I managed.

Band Management 

                             Right Said Fred

The Actors

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At the time of being introduced to the Fairbrass Brothers they were professionally known as The Actors.    
Upon learning that they were in a very restrictive and constraining publishing deal, the first thing that I had to do was to free them from it. The company involved recognised the integrity of my argument: i.e. "You can't hold on to someone unless you are actively promoting their career." The release was therefore immediate and thanks to the company involved was concluded in a mutually agreed gentlemanly fashion. Their career thereafter is well documented. 

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Çava Çava 

A top hit band in Japan. Two minor UK chart hits, but as they say: Big in Japan.

On the back of a hit album we toured there in 1984. Playing to capacity audiences. After which multiple TV shows and radio interviews became a part of daily life. 

 

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Japan, was the perfect territory for Çava Çava. Where their music, looks and approach perfectly suited the Japanese youth culture.  

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A good gig. 

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Storm Of Glass

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An eighties band that should have been huge.
 
Great musicians with tremendous personalities and humour. I've never laughed so much. 

Sadly they only released one album under the name Storm Of Glass, that being an album entitled Laugh. Released only in the far east. But still a firm favourite.
       
A Great Band.

Left to right: Peter Collins drums and programming. Steve Yeates an outstanding vocalist. One of the best I've ever worked with. Adam Barber Keys, and last but not least Chris Collins, guitarist and major humourist: I never finished a meal or a drink without laughing.

Laughter In The Garden

A three boy two girl band that were followed by the BBC as they pursued their dream of securing a recording contract. The programme a 30 minute documentary was first shown in December 1983 on BBC TV Southern Region, then nationally in 1984 on BBC One.

Other Activities 

In The Studio

Lunching at mine during a break in recording.

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Having been a fan of the Beatles from the outset. Loving their performance, but possibly more so their imaginative melodies, song subjects, and recording genius. In my teens I stood on a seat in the stalls of the Hammersmith Odeon, captivated by such things as the time change in 'We Can Work It Out.' The energy of 'Day Tripper,' and McCartney's riveting Little Richard style vocal when closing out the show with 'I'm Down.' I was spellbound. Five years later, having spent my time playing in various bands and recording, I was saddened at the news of the dissolution of The Beatles. A few months later rumours began to circulate that Paul maybe starting a new band. I was quick to act and wishing to be considered wrote to him at his home. In my enthusiasm totally overlooking the fact that my letter would probably be delivered along with a thousand items of fan mail. Nevertheless a week or so later he was driving along the Kings Road Chelsea in a green Rolls Royce. I tapped on the window which he wound down and I explained. Linda called to me "Write to 1 Soho Square." Rather than mail I hand delivered to Paul's office. I never got to audition, learning soon after that Jimmy McCulloch (the brother of our drummer on 'The Five Day Week Straw People' album) had got the gig.

To go into greater detail as to what happened next is beyond the scope of this overview. But my friend Bernard Brown was at the time the head of The Beatles Apple Music Publishing. 

David Bowie 

Sound + Vision  

International press launch and photo shoot.

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In 1990 I was privileged to co-host the international media launch of David Bowie's Sound + Vision tour. Staged at the Rainbow theatre Finsbury Park, where in 1972 David had famously presented his Ziggy Stardust character. The international media gathering was for the purpose of announcing David's forthcoming 1990 Sound + Vision tour. Being of international interest it was an invitation only event attended by global press and visual media, along with senior executives of promotion companies. During the event David played 12 string guitar and sang and answered questions regarding both his past activities and future plans. 

                           View https://youtu.be/aF1R9hQzOWU

David and I were born within two miles of each other. And whilst neither knew the other, co-incidentally in our 20s we lived less than a mile apart in Beckenham Kent. During our time chatting we shared of the pubs and clubs we'd independently played when starting out. 

I liked David. Particularly as he always appeared more concerned with the success of a project, rather than his own celebrity or part in it. He spent two or three days at the Rainbow, and aside the press release had a photo shoot there. Many of the photos in the Sound + Vision tour program were taken at the time. 

  The Rainbow Theatre

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My desire to see the Rainbow theatre reopen was thwarted by the high cost of repairs. £11.5m for internals alone. The total bill would have been around £16m at 1990 costings. It was a time following the stock market crash of 1987 when banks were running scared. In some cases commercial property values were falling at the rate of 20% per annum. And as we know, despite all that is said, banks are not interested in what goes on by way of activity. "I would cite particularly in arts and entertainment." All Banks are interested in is a win win situation. And the prospect of negative equity in the building made it a non starter. Be it a football stadium or an entertainment venue, banks are not really interested in its function. All banks want to know is how much they can sell it for if all goes wrong. As a matter of academic interest the Astoria (i.e. The Rainbow), was built in 1929 and let on a fixed 99 year lease of five thousand pounds per annum. I was offered the freehold for £1.2 million. I had Islington Council, Inner City Grants, The Police, Showsec all supporting me. With Islington council saying that if I could find a company willing to build a car park, that they would purchase the adjoining properties for that purpose. I had everyone behind me, including that expressed by David himself. The banks not one. 

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Having been discarded. An advertising sign that once hung high up on the front of the Rainbow Theatre.

A guitar signed for me by David.
Dedicated to the Rainbow Theatre. 

Sadly, as described above, finances prevented reinstatement of the building. A huge disappointment. A great building with a tremendous history of entertainment. 

Interesting isn't it that in 1997 the Blair government ordered the building of the Millennium Dome at a cost of £789 million, approx £1.5 billion by today's standards, without a clue as to what to put inside it! After its first year it was deemed a failure and languished empty for years at a maintenance cost of £1 million per calendar month. Before being saved by the entertainment industry.

The Horniman Museum 

Of all the items that I had the pleasure of placing in the Horniman Museum, my favourites are the 1937 Art Deco Bakelite and Chrome Rickenbacker guitar and the 1962 Hofner 500/1 Violin Bass with a Paul McCartney appended signature.  

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Only the second year of production. This the first electric guitar to be mass produced: A Bakelite and chrome 1937 Art Deco Rickenbacker. This example may possibly be the best outside of Rickenbacker's own museum.  

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A 1962 Watkins Westminister amplifier as used by many groups at the time, and indeed as used myself in my teens.

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A 1962 Hofner 500/1 Violin Bass with a Paul McCartney appended signature. 

The Watkins Copicat

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copicat ......  
 

copicat ......

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copicat ......

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In 1958 Charlie Watkins invented the world's first truly portable echo unit: The Watkins Copicat. Within 3 years it revolutionised the sound of British music, and at just over £38. (approx £350 by today's standards), was a must for every aspiring band. Charlie eventually grew a workforce of 60 and produced thousands of them. 

I was fortunate enough to meet Charlie when, as a child, having just taken up the guitar I would visit his Balham guitar store every Saturday morning, just to sit and drool over the guitars hanging on his wall. After about a year (God bless him for his patience), I did in-fact purchase my first electric guitar from him: A secondhand Hofner Club 50. What was to follow was the purchase of a Watkins Westminister and a Watkins Copicat. 

Some 30 years later when about to place a Watkins Copicat in the Horniman Museum, I first took it to Charlie to test and clean. As usual Charlie was meticulous, ensuring that everything was right. At the time I mentioned that in the 60s it had an immeasurable impact on the British music scene. Hence after some conversation beween us we decided that we should relaunch a Watkins Copicat Retro Classic. And in so doing I had my friend Philip Rose (possibly one of the greatest wood craftsmen in the world today) make presentation cases for Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson's guitarist) and Paul McCartney. Other clients included David Gilmour and Pete Townshend. Plus one as a competition prize in Guitarist magazine. Needless to say, given my client list and the publicity I was able to generate the leatherette covered shop model was an overnight success. With both studios and artists pressing for examples. A huge success, the model later adopted the name of one of Charlie's earlier models: the Watkins Shadow.  

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 Licensing Deals 

As is still true today, fans in the late 70s had a tremendous appetite for images of their favourite artists. High value merchandise was still in its infancy when I spotted the opportunity to arrange licensing deals between artist management and /or record companies, in order that the following artists' images might be silk screened on to what popularly became known as pub mirrors. 

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Debbie Harry and Blondie courtesy of Chrysalis Records.

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ABBA courtesy of Bocu / Polar Music / Century 21. Selecting images and the like required me spending a lot of time with Keith Shackleton at Pinewood Studios. A great man, serving a great band, and for me a wonderful experience. 

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Rod Stewart courtesy of Riva Records.

Can you believe, having many persuasive friends, the only example that I managed to keep of any of these multi-selling items is one of ABBA. I just couldn't let it go! Too many great memories. 

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Showaddywaddy and many of their chart peers were also featured in this way. 

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Nazareth courtesy of Mountain Records. Artwork by Rodney Matthews.

Jimi Hendrix

The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix
 

by

Monika Dannermann

It was late 1994, whilst sitting in a costal coffee house reading a newspaper, that I came across an article in which was displayed a number of paintings of Jimi Hendrix by Monika Dannermann. Monika Dannermann was Jimi's lover, and the girl who was beside him the day he died. I was immediately struck by the quality of her work and touched by the fact that Monika had dedicated 25 years to painting pictures of Jimi. The article mentioned that Monika lived in a "south coast hideaway." Therefore you can imagine my surprise when I found her number in the telephone directly: and even more surprised to find that she was just ten miles away in Seaford East Sussex. After a brief telephone conversation outlining my thinking, a few days later we met to discuss the possibility of finding a book deal for her. I was successful in my endeavours and a deal was signed with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. With the book 'The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix' being published the following year.

In the course of several meetings at Monika's home, I met Uli Jon Roth of The Scorpions; but having only been introduced to him as 'Roth', was unaware that they were married.

I feel the following as if it were yesterday: I was standing shaving on the morning of the 6th April 1996, just a few days after having last spoken with Monika by telephone, when the report came on the radio to the effect that Monika Dannermann had taken her own life. To express my thoughts and feelings would serve no purpose. If interested in Monika's work you may be lucky enough to find a copy of The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix on Ebay.   

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Monika owned the guitar as pictured with Jimi on the front cover of 'The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix,' plus as above featured on the front of Guitarist Magazine. On one occasion whilst visiting Monika's home she told me that she had been offered $400K for the guitar, but said, "I don't want to sell anything of Jimi's." Whatever else might be written or surmised about Monika, I truly believe that she was totally sincere and in love with Jimi, and had never recovered from his passing. 

As a matter of interest I believe that if the guitar was to appear in auction today, it would command a figure in the millions.

 

I have no idea where it is?

A bit of personal info'.

(It's always nice to know that somebody likes you.) 

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As a kid I was horrified by the scenes coming out of Africa; of those starving and lacking water. In a letter to Her Majesty I proposed that there should be a national lottery, with the proceeds being invested solely in British industry and British technology; that might once and for all solve these problems. i.e. Desalination plants and well drilling and that of providing farming equipment and training. Hopefully benefitting millions of lives. Along with the lottery proceeds benefitting British industries and in turn the economy. On the 30th September I received a reply from the Home Office. 

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Given to me by singers that paint. Certainly in the case of the person who painted the Koi Carp, you will have heard her music on many occasions. 

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Oh' I nearly forgot! 

My Songs & Music

Please go to 'My Songs' to listen to a handful of tracks that I hope may display a range of styles and lyrical ideas. 

Okay, it's been seven years, can I change my opinion?

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I'm sorry, but I can only accept your first answer!

Thank you for visiting my site and wishing you the fullness of health, happiness and success.                                         

Kindest Regards,

 David

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