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Backstage Stars – Mikey Jonns

Backstage Stars
11 February 2018
This Feeling; This Feeling TV with Red Stripe; Episode 3.
After running a marathon following a two-day bender with Kasabian, it’s no surprise emerging bands want Mikey Jonns in their corner. The director of This Feeling – the promoter, club night and fanzine – runs stages for upcoming acts at some of the UK’s biggest music events and has aspirations to run his own festival.

What are your first live music memories?

“My first gig was Paul McCartney at Wembley Arena with my mum, dad and brother Chris. We were about five and six-years-old and had brown cords on, and McCartney invited us up on the stage. Bizarrely enough, Billy Joel did the same at our next gig at the same venue.

“The first gig I went to as a teenager was at The Island in Ilford and was Mansun and Sleeper. I also saw Oasis and The Verve at Earl’s Court when I was 16 and was blown away. I was completely in awe and in love with those two bands and still am.”

 

How did you get into the music industry?

“I did Business Studies at Sheffield Hallam. I had a 13 per cent attendance record, got a 2:2 but should have got a 2:1. I spent most of my time in The Leadmill, which was the best degree I could ever have wished for.

“When I was at university, my mate’s band Little Ze from Sheffield asked me to manage them. It started as a joke, they wanted to get this mad for it cockney lad to manage them because I was good at talking to people and making things happen. I got them tours with Kasabian, Tim Booth and The Rifles and things all stemmed from there.

“Rupert Dell who was at The Leadmill gave me early advice, guest-lists, hook ups and help. I even stayed on his floor for a year, and never did the washing up.”

 

How has your career developed?

“I managed bands whilst temping for various firms. I used to get in early to use their colour printer/paper, make posters and flyers. Every lunch-time I was on the phone and doing emails.

“I then started promoting and pushing new talent with This Feeling through the Jack Daniel’s Jack Rocks stage at shows across the country and festivals including TRNSMT, The Great Escape, Isle of Wight and Reading festival.”

 

What have been your greatest highs and lows?

“Managing bands and not getting them signed was a low. I put my heart and soul into it, and when it doesn’t go as you [and the band] want, it’s heart breaking and soul destroying.

“Similarly, when you give a band your all, do everything you can to help them and promote them, and they betray you, that hurts. My greatest strength – how much I love and will help new bands – can also be my greatest weakness, because it leaves my heart exposed.

“A real high was getting a stage at the Isle of Wight Festival. I asked John Giddings when we were out in the zone, [he’s a bit of a hero of mine] and we just made it happen. This Feeling has had a stage there for the past three years and it’s always the best weekend of the year.”

Do you have any observations about the way the industry is moving?

 

“There’s a great group of bands, bloggers, photographers, venues and gig-goers all over the UK, meeting up at This Feeling nights up and down the UK, emerging right now. The spirit is all inclusive, it’s a scene, a community, and a family. The underground will become the overground sooner rather than later and it’s going to be glorious.

“We’re going to be doing more gigs, more cities and towns, visiting anywhere that’ll have us. We are hitting Dundee, Grimsby, Plymouth and many more this year. If there’s a good band in a city/town we think we can help, we’ll get involved.”

 

How do you wind down?

“I barely ever stop, I’m always out. It’s not work or a job for me, it’s what I do and love. I have the best, most tolerant wife [just married] ever, but have promised this year if I say I’ll be home by 12am, I will, and not to roll in at 7am and go straight on the school run with Ray Ban’s on.

“I do collect Marvel prints and comics and am a season ticket holder at Liverpool FC.

“My aim this year is to run a marathon under five hours and be healthy while doing it. The first one I did was 10 years ago in New York and I had the flu. The second in Kilimanjaro, I did off the back of a two day bender post NME awards. I left Kasabian’s hotel and went straight to the airport. I got to Kilimanjaro and my bag ended up in Cape Town, so I had to run the marathon in the converse I had on at NME awards two days before. I am doing the London Marathon this year for Teenage Cancer Trust.

“I’d also love to have my own festival one day and book all the bands, big and small, that I love.”

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