Working Wednesdays: Managing a Rock Band

Jonny Blair was manager of rock band the Waves in 2006

Working Wednesdays – the time i managed a rock band – The Waves at a recording session in Southampton, ENGLAND in 2006.

Of course travel leads you to random job opportunities all the time, some voluntary, some well paid, some just for the hell of it and others because of a pure passion for something (such as my travel writing and organising football events). For today’s Working Wednesdays we head back to a cheeseburger counter in Bournemouth, ENGLAND in 2005 and I was standing next to a rock star cooking burgers. I had met Ben Paulley, the songwriter and lead guitarist of local band The Waves. As we sold cheeseburgers, he invited me to his gig that Sunday night in Mr. Smiths (a rock venue which has since closed down). Immediately I loved the music and started to hang out with the band, going to the next lot of gigs which were in London, Bournemouth and Southampton. Soon I had become the Band Manager of The Waves. Not your everyday normal travellers job I can tell you!!

Jonny Blair managed the rock band the waves in 2006 while living in England - he now travels the world

Working Wednesdays – Managing a rock band! I managed the Waves in 2006 and we toured Bournemouth, Poole, Southampton and London!

My Job role was to do the behind the scenes stuff for the band. Although there was no specific tasks, it was all about the music. Promoting the music! I loved the music. Fronted by James Corbin, a typical rock ‘n’ roll frontman. James was made for the job. Drummer Ryan Glover was a session drummer for Kasabian at one point. Ben Paulley my work mate wrote some amazing tunes and Andy Galliers the Bass player was a quiet lad. To describe their music would be a mixture of Oasis, the Bluetones, Embrace and R.E.M. The music sold itself – they could play and they were fantastic. In fact I was absolutely convinced we (yes, I felt like it was my dream too) would become monumentally famous. If the music industry was simply about good music and good PR, then we would have been. BUT we learnt the hard way, factors such as money, geographic location, time off work to play gigs and that special “in the right place at the right time” factor are more important in terms of making it. Shit bands have got decent record deals. Good bands have been touring for years and never sold a CD. It’s just the way it is.

Jonny Blair lives a lifestyle of travel but he once managed the Waves rock band!

The Waves rocking the Playrooms in Paddington, London in 2005!

I would turn up at gigs, invite people to gigs, do fliers, try to sell CDs, create an e-mail list, play the band on radio (I was an FM DJ for Nerve Radio which is run by Bournemouth University). I also organised a few gigs. This progressed over a period of months and the band had two decent recording sessions.

Ben Paulley James Corbin Ryan Glover and Andy Galliers - The Waves 2006

Having a band meeting over a beer after a gig in Southampton in May 2006!!

The biggest problem was we were all busy working, and we had girlfriends so our time together was basically gigs and recording sessions and it was back to work the next day. Looking back we were the best band at every gig we played at. EASILY. By a mile but things had changed by June 2006. The drummer didn’t turn up for a gig in the Green Rooms in Boscombe the night of the Sweden v. Paraguay World Cup match fueling rumours the band had split. I was piggy in the middle. Because we were all busy working, a bit of e-mail tennis led to a gig in the Southampton Joiners which we all kind of knew was the last ever “The Waves” gig.

The Waves live at Southempton Joiners 2006

James Corbin, lead singer of the Waves rocks the place at Southampton Joiners in June 2006. This was the last time the Waves played together as a four piece and under that band name.

After that Ben and James played a few acoustic gigs together including one at Bar Fruit and I moved to London. The last band member I saw in the flesh was Ryan Glover at an Ash gig in 2007 and I saw Ben Paulley the same week as he called round to drop in a CD of his first solo album, Multiples. The odd thing is when I moved to London I suddenly got all these music contacts as I worked in PR for Apple and Sonos. It was too little, too late and the memories were fantastic. I know this isn’t an everyday travel story for the Don’t Stop Living blog and it’s a bit different but remember, this is my journey to share with you and every Working Wednesday is a different work related story from round the globe. When I managed the rock band “The Waves” I didn’t even have a travel blog (I started Don’t Stop Living in 2007).

Ben Paulley's solo album Multiples was released in 2007 - Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel

Ben Paulley – Multiples – his first solo album released in 2007. I sadly haven’t seen Ben since.


In late 2007, I did some PR for Ben Paulley’s solo album Multiples and well, that was 6 years ago now. I still play the band all the time on my iPod and I know we were the best rock n’ roll band in the world at that time. Somehow my destiny was in travelling the world sightseeing and writing about it, not in managing a band. Cheers for the memories guys, may we meet again and rock to “Kaleidoscopes” again, some sunny day…

Working Wednesdays will return next week with a more ‘normal’ work related travel tale, or possibly not!

My Favourite ‘The Waves’ Songs: Fighter, Looking Like A Liar, Kaleidoscopes, Surrender, Something to Shout About

Other ‘The Waves’ Songs:  Create the Light, Blood on Your Hands, Simple, Redemption, The Tom Song

The Waves Gigography:
saturday 21/5/05 club destiny, bournemouth
wednesday 25/5/05 jongleur’s, southampton
wednesday 1/6/05 the talking heads, southampton
tuesday 14/6/05 mr. smiths, bournemouth
sunday 19/6/05 the wedgewood rooms, portsmouth
wednesday 27/7/05 the joiners, southampton
sunday 14/8/05 mr. smiths, bournemouth
thursday 1/9/05 o’neill’s bar, bournemouth
thursday 15/9/05 lennon’s, southampton
saturday 29/10/05 the playrooms, baker street, london
thursday 22/12/05 the opera house, boscombe
monday 9/1/06 the joiners, southampton
sunday 19/2/06 mr. kyps, parkstone, poole (AFC Bournemouth Festival)
good friday 14/4/06 the orange rooms/west one four, west kensington, london
wednesday 19/4/06 klute, bournemouth (acoustic set)
thursday 27/4/06 the bullet bar, london
friday 28/4/06 the joiners, southampton (jar music group showcase)
friday 12/5/06 the nexus, southampton
saturday 20/5/06 the opera house, boscombe
thursday 25/5/06 planet sounds, southampton (bunker showcase)
tuesday 30/05/06 centre stage, westbourne, bournemouth
thursday 15/6/06 the green rooms, portman hotel, boscombe
monday 19/6/06 the joiners, southampton

Videos of ‘The Waves’ (I have full gigs on VHS somewhere!!):

Face to Face clip from Southampton Joiners, 2006:

Fighter (acoustic) clip from Green Rooms, Boscombe, 2006:

You can read other The Waves related posts here:

The Waves – 2005 – 2006


Ben Paulley – Multiples

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