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Blog: Thanks To Lamacq

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Today is the day that Mr Steve Lamacq celebrates his 30th Anniversary in BBC Broadcasting and also comes to the end of his "drive-time" radio show on 6music. In the lead-up to this there has been a LOT of talk about all the amazing bands he's discovered over the years who have gone on to be COLOSSAL and, while this is all well and good, I think there is a vast and vital part of his legacy that hasn't been covered half as much i.e. all the amazing bands he's discovered over the years who did NOT go on to be colossal.

I speak as ONE WHO KNOWS for LO! that would very much include me and The Validators!

Steve first played us in about 2003 when This Is Not A Library came out. I will never ever forget the afternoon when he rang me up at work to let me know he was going to play one of our songs as IT WAS STEVE LABLOODYMACQ ON THE PHONE!!!

He was on the Sunday show at that point and I ended up becoming a vaguely regular GUEST, popping in several times over the next year or two. The first time I went in I sat nervously in the corner of the tiny studio, started playing a song, and then FORGOT THE WORDS so had to stop and ask if he knew what they were. We were live on the radio at the time, but he was very nice about it! Afterwards we went to the pub and a few of the Assistants asked me how Steve had found out about me. This seemed like a weird question - obviously I'd just sent him a CD and he'd listened to it, wasn't that how EVERYBODY chose the music for their shows?

It turned out that this was VERY MUCH NOT how everybody else chose, or chooses, music for their shows, and I think that's the key thing that has made him such a LEGEND over the years. Basically, if you sent something to Steve Lamacq (by post, by email, or indeed by THRUSTING CASSETTES at him in the pub back in the previous century) he would almost certainly give it a listen and, if he liked it, PLAY it. This is TOTALLY different to how most national radio people have ever worked, who rarely even GET a choice of what to play and, if they do, tend to hedge their bets and go with what's IN. There ARE still other people - WONDERFUL people - who play stuff just because they like it, many of whom I know and think are GRATE - but Steve Lamacq is one of the very few who made it all the way up to having a national station and STILL did it.

Since that first gig I popped into his Sunday show quite a few times, notably doing weekly re-writes of The Fair Play Trophy (again) for Euro 2004 and then writing and performing Good Luck In Your New Job for when he went over to DRIVETIME. He kept on supporting us over the years since then too, booking us for a live session at Maida Vale as an act of VENGEANCE against Radio One when they ended The Evening Session, phoning in LIVE to a show during the Edinburgh run of My Exciting Life In ROCK and even providing a free VOICEOVER for Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez.

That was his idea, by the way - I bumped into him on a train and he suggested it! He also made that album an "Album Of The Day" on 6Music, which was very strange indeed, not least because it led to George Lamb unwittingly playing Do The Indie Kid, including "Music Of The Future", during daytime!

He's since played something from NEARLY all of our albums on his various shows - he wasn't so keen on Dinosaur Planet but I can FORGIVE that terrible error - and has booked me and us for various thing over the years too. I am thus EXTREMELY grateful!

But the thing is, he's done this with LOADS of other bands over the years too, irrespective of their potential for COLOSSALNESS, and ALL because he's just KEEN on hearing STUFF. I give the examples above not to show off - well, all right, a BIT to show off - but to illustrate that he's the sort of person who'll stick with something he likes even when it is MANIFESTLY CLEAR that it is not and never will be COOL and therefore will not make him look good in any way, and that he's been doing this every week for YEARS. If you listen back to his show you'll hear a lot of the bands he's known for, certainly, and lots of acts who sound like The Next Big Thing, but in pretty much every single show you'll also hear as much of the OTHER stuff - the loonies, the oddballs, and (IN MY CASE) the unacknowledged genii - as he can get in. It didn't make HIM look cool but it definitely did make US look cool, if only for an afternoon!

And it is for this that I, and I'm sure many others of my ilk, will SALUTE him. He has done us a GRATE service over the years, and I'm sure he will continue to do so for ever onward. I, for one, would not like to try and stop him!

posted 20/10/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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