12. Determination Inc
Let’s do this
So began our life in Clubs & we called our Club promotions company Determination Inc. We were young, hungry & certain we could change Newcastle’s night life for the better.
After all our Trent experiences, we were set on bringing a diverse & inclusive scene to the city & we brought it like a steam train – We weren’t going to let anything stand in our way & we weren’t just doing it for a laugh any more…
We were doing it for three specific reasons – To make the world a better place, to put ourselves in a position where we could realise our dream & get our own actual Nightclub & to woo the ladies…
All three in equal measure & in no particular order.
Over the following decades, the evolution of everything else we’ve done in Newcastle, has given the Rockshots takeover of the mid 80s some perspective & hopefully made it seem a little less harsh. We’d like to think so anyway.
Let’s face it, nobody died, nobody lost a limb or an eye & no animals were hurt during the making of this Club takeover. A few egos got slightly bruised – yes. But that was about it.
The truth of it is, it was a pivotal time for Newcastle Clubland & those two moves were the catalyst, that this city actually needed to move forward.
We had game, so first thing we did was up the publicity stakes.
We made a badge (Hey! Original thought!)
It was like a small metal shield & it had the words ‘The Urban Soul Boys Cannot Lose’ engraved on the back of it.
It cost a fortune to do, but we did a couple of hundred & gave them to all the right people. It was a simple thing to do but it really worked.
If you want to raise the game, it’s simple. You do what other people don’t do.
The whole – ‘Our Clubnight copies your Clubnight, lets all pretend we love Motown & we’re Soul Jam for a term’ nonsense, that swept the city during Autumn 2013 is not game…
That’s just copying other people’s game. Any one can be a mimic, but you can’t do that & have game.
You can kid your self you have it & maybe some other people too, but not people who think about stuff.
No, to really win & be on top, you need your own game & you need game to get it.
Basically, you have to be the guys who come up with Soul Jam…
(Editor’s note: Jake & Jackie P – The Soul Jammers, pictured earlier, at the beach)
Not the ones who copy them… Having game means being original.
That’s what game is – Originality & if you stop copying other people, you’ll get game.
You’ll have the time & the need, so you’ll develop it & then you may even end up as motivated, focused & obsessive as those same people you tried to copy in the first place.
Just think about that… Hang on a minute..!
Was that the sound of light bulbs switching on, in copycat promoters skulls all over the city that we just heard…?
We do hope so.
And we’re back in the room
Back then this was pre-computer days, so all lettering had to be either done with Letraset…
(like a transfer thingy you pencilled over, to make a transfer of each individual letter stick down)
…or professionally typeset, so design took forever.
One of the most memorable Rockshots posters of this era was the ‘Gun’ poster.
A Media massacre Frequented by Gays
This was an outline drawing of an automatic rifle with the caption ‘Rockshots blows you to bits’.
A pal who was working in the Trent at the time, had drawn it, as part of his student art project & as it was so different to any of the publicity we’d ever done before, we ran with it as a Rockers poster.
We printed 2000 A2 size posters, dished them all out & then just one day later, unbelievably & totally out of the blue – A mad, gunman lunatic down in Hungerford, shot a load of people in cold blood, with a similar gun…
This was the first real gun massacre on this scale, there had ever been in the UK.
Local media had a field day, printing the poster in the paper, saying it was in bad taste & implying we had created the poster after the shootings to ‘cash in’ on the tragedy.
That was bollocks, it was just a really bizarre & mad coincidence & as you can probably imagine, something of a public relations disaster…
Enlarge this clipping & check out the way condescending the Chronicle described the Club as being ‘frequented by Gays’.
That was the patronising way that many ordinary people looked upon sexual equality in those days.
Can you imagine that being cool to speak like that in the Chronicle now today, in 2017, in the era of the Gay Pride Festival etc..?
Without the Community & the openings Adrian & Rockshots gave us back in the day, there would have been no Determination Inc. & thus no World HQ.
You can rest assured if we see or hear any anti Gay sentiment we will call it out…
Bigtime – exactly like nigger.
Sexual freedom belongs to the individual, not the state, or the media, or the bigots…
It belongs to each of us reading these words now.
You can see the original Gun Poster these days, framed & displayed, hanging above your head, with our other old Club posters, in the lobby of WHQ.
Determination Inc ups the game
The Determination Inc. Clubs at Rockshots ran for years. On the back of our mad success there, we decided to expand & hit a load of other towns to try our luck.
We punted a load of Clubs to see what would stick & soon we were spinning six nights a week, doing nights at Chambers in Sunderland, the Q ball in Durham, Banwell’s in South Shields & the Front Page Club in Carlisle, as well as our two wonderful Rockshots nights.
We gained vast experience of every kind of crowd, every kind of doorman, every kind of Club manager & every kind of door hustle.
We would go into a Club & take over a quiet or under performing night.
We’d then raise the door price, guerilla promote it our own way & take two thirds of the door proceeds. We would always tell the Club owners, that it was far better for them to have a third of something successful, than all of an empty Club.
Despite this, once the loot started rolling in, we were regularly swindled & scammed by unscrupulous Club owners & Doormen, who got jealous of our split.
They would then start to ‘massage’ the door figures to skim from us. We did all we could to try to stop it, but that was the nature of the beast in the 80’s.
It was just how it was, so we could only really keep pushing on & look upon it as an extra tax we had to pay.
We spread our net wide, so that there was always money regularly coming in from somewhere.
Depending on the time of year & the venue we were spinning in, we could be playing to crowds across different venues in the region, of from 900 people (our all time record high), right down to just 4 people (our all time record low).
Bizarrely, those two shows happened in the space of the same week & thankfully, packed out Clubs were our usual deal.
We stayed switched on, watched how all these other people ran & managed their Clubs & kept a close eye out for anything we could learn.
We learned plenty, gained relentless hours of hands on experience behind the decks.
We worked tirelessly, serving the type of school of hard knocks Dj & promoter apprenticeship, that many of the kind of people you see today, promoting Newcastle Club nights (& spatting with each other on Facebook) don’t even know exists.