Until I saw Ian Ford's fan site for I am Kloot I was unaware that 8th December 1999 was a date written large in my life. The memories of that day are still very fresh but the date itself had been lost. It was the first time that I had ever seen I am Kloot play. Not remarkable in itself but by this time they and I had already released their debut single To You/Titanic.
I had met Johnny early in the summer and in the course of a discussion about a gig booking at the Night & Day for a talented singer songwriter I was working with [Steve Finn], John had convinced me that I really ought to have a listen his latest musical offering. In the following months, I met his new combo, Pete and Andy, met his producer Guy [good name nice man] and fallen in love his new project. There are more stories surrounding all that which hopefully i can take you through another time.
But on 8th December 1999, I went to that London to see the fast emerging I am Kloot play at the Kasmir Club. "it's not easy to find" said Pete Jobson and he was dead right. The west end in rush hour is the place of Satan but all those evil one way streets around Harley street and baker street were causing me an absolute nightmare. Ordinarily I would have parked somewhere easy and got the tube in but I had Andy's drum kit in the back of my car and time was getting close to sound check time. Blood pressure rising I made the gig, unloaded and went for a walk around and picked up a copy of Time Out.Time Out made for exciting reading.
There were 5 recommended gigs for the evening. Elton John - Wembley or somewhere like that, Ian Brown somewhere big and brash and third on the list I am Kloot at the Kashmir Club. This was a moment of pure ecstasy.
Later at the venue I met the man responsible for the piece Andy Fraser, was the London based press agent whom Kloot's then manager had recruited to help spread the word in the papers and magazines, that decide on our behalf what is good and what is worth listening to. Andy was a diamond geezer and every inch the cockney waif/music biz mover and shaker I had envisaged from my previous phone conversations prior to us meeting. He was gentleness and sincerity personified [rare commodities indeed in this part of the business] he took me through his meticulous plan for the night and ongoing with the band with a passion born out of his total belief in the band and the music.
The plan for the night involved his new band, who were called The Libertines. They had a very teenage/underage looking pretty boy lead singer, who had I known he was a rabid QPR fan who wrote for a club fanzine, I dare say I would have had a chat with him. But I didn't so, I can't say I ever met Pete Doherty, but I saw the Libertines play one of their early gigs.
Another dramatic coincidence that evening was the guy doing the sound. Dave Dickie is another of those rich characters that populate the London music business. I had worked Dix on the very first record my brother and I released as Ugly Man records. He was half of Black and produced the smash hit Wonderful Life. Now after a lifetime in and out of the studio and on the road he had settled in SW London and was helping with running the Kashmir Club. The loveliest of coincidences prior to seeing Bramwell Jobson and Hargreaves justify my blind faith in their musical abilities.
For blind faith replace that with astute musical intuition, I am Kloot were/are/ will be one of the greatest live acts I have ever seen. In the intimate cellar room I could scarcely conceal the most cheesy of grins. I was working with a most incredible musical act. All the spacey atmospheric vibes that Bramwell had described to me on a bar stool in Night & Day and had then put on to vinyl rang totally true in this jazz den in London's west end. It was total bliss.
Later I would realise that wherever and whenever they played, they would always be totally on the money, great tunes, played well, great banter, whether you were stood in field, in a cellar, in a dance hall, I am yet to see anything less that complete and total consistency, without losing any of the bite, beauty and humanity.So that, I will take to my grave with a sense of intense clarity and immense pride. That night I was Kloot, too. Magic
This article was originally published by Ian Ford on his excellent I am Kloot Fansite