When and where does inspiration come from? Is it a colour, a thought, a person, a sound, or probably all of these things combined?
For me, it was all about being at the right place at the right time – specifically, the late 1970s at a club called Eric’s. This was a music club in Mathew Street, Liverpool, and became one of the top Punk venues in the country.
Eric’s opened its doors in October 1976 with The Stranglers playing. It became notable for hosting early performances by many famous Punk and post-Punk bands, and for giving a creative platform to people who had nowhere else to go to experience it. It featured the likes of Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, Deaf School, Yachts, Wah! Heat, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and many others.
I was a young art student at Liverpool who had just arrived from Northern Ireland and landed a job as a barman at the club. We had Holly Johnson (of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) flipping burgers and (Dead or Alive frontman) Pete Burns on the door.
The combination of raw energy, visual fun, passionate people and independent attitude struck a chord with me that has never left. Once you’ve served Rat Scabies a pint, anything seems possible. My inspiration is not based on nostalgia, but on the lesson that Eric’s taught me – when the right people come together, anything is possible. Of course, a large quaff always helps.