Mal Campbell

Independent Venue Manager — Hebden Bridge

Name, where are you from?
Mal Campbell - Hebden Bridge

Describe your style in three words?
Someone described me as looking like an Emo Alan Bennett, that’s pretty funny.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Curtis Mayfield at Dingwalls in Camden 27 July 1988. I was doing a bit of work for Dingwalls at the time, working in the cloakroom, doing the lights for some of the bands. Knowing I was a big Prince fan, someone from the club told me that Prince was going to get onstage and jam that night. I made sure I was in the front row when the show started. Prince’s guitar was by the side of the stage, but he never showed. The first time I ever heard 'Freddie’s Dead', 'Pusherman', 'Don’t Worry If There’s A Hell Below', all those great songs, were from Curtis Mayfield singing two feet in front of me. It was just transcendent.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Most of them - apart from Casuals. Still no love for them, sorry.

If you could book a line-up of any two bands in history to play the club?
I’ll go for Savages and PJ Harvey. I don’t want to bring any old bands back - they all hated each other, anyway.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history? 
It’s been ten years, and we all still miss Tony Wilson around here. I’ll have an hour with Tony, please.

Of all the venues, aside from your own, which is your favourite?
I had a soft spot for The Astoria in London. I saw the Cramps there, which was one of the wildest Rock n’ Roll shows I think I will ever see. At one point Lux Interior pulled Ivy’s wig on and was swinging on the stage curtain pretty much naked while she abused him with one of her stilettos. At least I think that’s what was going on; I wasn’t wearing my glasses.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
A Girl Called Eddy. Her album is a lost classic.


Mal Campbell is the manager and booker at the respected independent venue, The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge.

The Trades Club is just one of the clubs taking part in Independent Venue Week 2018. The week of events brings together Britain's independent venues along with breaking and established artists, promoters, labels, media, bloggers and tastemakers to create a nationwide series of gigs at the end of January. Find out more at www.independentvenueweek.com

Read our Subculture Uncovered feature on The Trades Club here.

The first track you played on repeat?
My dad had a record called IMPACT - designed to showcase the wonders of stereo sound. It had an instrumental track called 'Soul Coaxing' which I loved. I still love the track now; it’s post-Pet Sounds easy listening, I suppose. When I play it I’m transported back to 1975 and the big green swivel chair next to my Dad’s music centre.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Life On Mars' - I painstakingly taught myself to play the Rick Wakeman piano part when I was 13 and would spend every lunchtime in the music wing trying to avoid a kicking and playing this song on a loop. 

One record you would keep forever?
All my songs are all stored on my internal hard drive, I can play them whenever I like, and I’m keeping them ALL forever.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
‘Now Jack, he is a banker
And Jane, she's a clerk
And both of them save their monies
When they get home from work’
'Sweet Jane' – The Velvet Underground

I had an office job for a short time when I was 18, and it made me so miserable. Lou sang it with such disdain. I knew I had to get out of there.

A song you wished you had written?
'Til I Die' written by Brian Wilson and performed by the Beach Boys. 2mins 29 seconds, no chorus, perfect lyrics. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Best song to turn up loud
'California Soul' by Marlena Shaw.
You just can’t have this on in the background.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
What people? They should mind their own. I don’t know how to answer this, so I’m just going to pick a brilliant record - 'Just Because I Love You' by BC Camplight.

Best song to end an all-nighter on?
'I’m The Man That Will Find You' - Connan Mockasin
I don’t stay out all night anymore. I’m a slip-away-early-without-saying-goodbye person. As my dear friend Elliot says ‘How do you spot a promoter? He’s the one with his coat on’.

Any new bands you are listening to right now?
Childhood, Lunchtime, Shame, Space Panda, Working Mens Club, The Music Waves.

Name, where are you from?
Mal Campbell - Hebden Bridge

Describe your style in three words?
Someone described me as looking like an Emo Alan Bennett, that’s pretty funny.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Curtis Mayfield at Dingwalls in Camden 27 July 1988. I was doing a bit of work for Dingwalls at the time, working in the cloakroom, doing the lights for some of the bands. Knowing I was a big Prince fan, someone from the club told me that Prince was going to get onstage and jam that night. I made sure I was in the front row when the show started. Prince’s guitar was by the side of the stage, but he never showed. The first time I ever heard 'Freddie’s Dead', 'Pusherman', 'Don’t Worry If There’s A Hell Below', all those great songs, were from Curtis Mayfield singing two feet in front of me. It was just transcendent.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Most of them - apart from Casuals. Still no love for them, sorry.

If you could book a line-up of any two bands in history to play the club?
I’ll go for Savages and PJ Harvey. I don’t want to bring any old bands back - they all hated each other, anyway.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history? 
It’s been ten years, and we all still miss Tony Wilson around here. I’ll have an hour with Tony, please.

Of all the venues, aside from your own, which is your favourite?
I had a soft spot for The Astoria in London. I saw the Cramps there, which was one of the wildest Rock n’ Roll shows I think I will ever see. At one point Lux Interior pulled Ivy’s wig on and was swinging on the stage curtain pretty much naked while she abused him with one of her stilettos. At least I think that’s what was going on; I wasn’t wearing my glasses.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
A Girl Called Eddy. Her album is a lost classic.


Mal Campbell is the manager and booker at the respected independent venue, The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge.

The Trades Club is just one of the clubs taking part in Independent Venue Week 2018. The week of events brings together Britain's independent venues along with breaking and established artists, promoters, labels, media, bloggers and tastemakers to create a nationwide series of gigs at the end of January. Find out more at www.independentvenueweek.com

Read our Subculture Uncovered feature on The Trades Club here.

The first track you played on repeat?
My dad had a record called IMPACT - designed to showcase the wonders of stereo sound. It had an instrumental track called 'Soul Coaxing' which I loved. I still love the track now; it’s post-Pet Sounds easy listening, I suppose. When I play it I’m transported back to 1975 and the big green swivel chair next to my Dad’s music centre.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Life On Mars' - I painstakingly taught myself to play the Rick Wakeman piano part when I was 13 and would spend every lunchtime in the music wing trying to avoid a kicking and playing this song on a loop. 

One record you would keep forever?
All my songs are all stored on my internal hard drive, I can play them whenever I like, and I’m keeping them ALL forever.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
‘Now Jack, he is a banker
And Jane, she's a clerk
And both of them save their monies
When they get home from work’
'Sweet Jane' – The Velvet Underground

I had an office job for a short time when I was 18, and it made me so miserable. Lou sang it with such disdain. I knew I had to get out of there.

A song you wished you had written?
'Til I Die' written by Brian Wilson and performed by the Beach Boys. 2mins 29 seconds, no chorus, perfect lyrics. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Best song to turn up loud
'California Soul' by Marlena Shaw.
You just can’t have this on in the background.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
What people? They should mind their own. I don’t know how to answer this, so I’m just going to pick a brilliant record - 'Just Because I Love You' by BC Camplight.

Best song to end an all-nighter on?
'I’m The Man That Will Find You' - Connan Mockasin
I don’t stay out all night anymore. I’m a slip-away-early-without-saying-goodbye person. As my dear friend Elliot says ‘How do you spot a promoter? He’s the one with his coat on’.

Any new bands you are listening to right now?
Childhood, Lunchtime, Shame, Space Panda, Working Mens Club, The Music Waves.

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