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Telling Tales: Confessions Of A Female Tour Manager by Kim Hawes – Book Review

5/5 The “Rock And Roll Kerouac

From mistaking Tony Iommi as an intruder to spending new year with Jasper Carrot, Kim Hawes ‘Confessions Of A Female Tour Manager’ lives up to its title. Touring alongside names such as Hawkwind, Motorhead and Rush Hawes has a hat full of stories to tell. From selling t-shirts to managing bands. Reading this intimate memoir will likely make you want to have a pint and discuss music with Hawes. 

Author Kim Hawes with Motorhead’s Lemmy – circa 1987/88

Right away it is made obvious that Hawes is a strong figure. Early on in the memoir, Hawes humorously and intelligently sneaks backstage at an Elvis Costello gig. No one would guess a young girl from Lancashire would fool security stating she worked in America with the band. Pretending she was part of the bands live crew got her to meet them, and then landed her a job selling t-shirts. Hawes’ first step into the business when she took on the merchandising role was only given to her because Mike Stuart (promoter) intended to use her for sexual favours. As he offers her a hotel room with him it becomes apparent that she was purely taken on because of her female beauty. In moments like this Hawes takes an honest perception into the working industry. In today’s society, the media tells us that steps are being taken to overcome gender inequality – equal pay movements, data collection to balance even recruitment of both men and women. But is this the case? 

When it comes to emotions this book is incredibly well balanced. The risky lifestyle that goes hand in hand with rock and roll will not disappoint music fans. On a tour with Gamma, Hawes recounts incredibly perilous stories involving drugs and alcohol. One of the books highlights involves her and her friends passing lines of cocaine across to other vehicles on the A5. As a reader it is hard to take your eyes from the pages. In scenes like these Hawes really achieves being the ‘Rock And Roll Kerouac’. Her descriptiveness is next to none and very applaud worthy.  

This is further demonstrated in an in depth chapter about the years Hawes spent touring alongside Motorhead. ‘If I could handle Motorhead, I could handle anyone’ opens Hawes boldly. She backs this up with some shocking stories that prove life on the road is not all it seems. Hawes recounts the tour manager’s girlfriend getting abused by an ensemble of hells angels who broke backstage. She discusses her differences with band members Phil Taylor and Fast Eddie. Unlike many major figures, Hawes doesn’t have to be everyone’s best friend. Revealing all and keeping no prisoners, there is no wonder that the members of Concrete Blonde picked her out as their tour manager.

Many moments in the book are moving. Hawes impressively tours through pregnancy right up until the last minute. Something that in many professions would get her time off. In this moment you really see a comradeship between Hawes and the rest of the crew. They support her with her work right until the last minute with no complaints. This is also apparent when EMI pay for a holiday for Hawes and her daughter to go to disneyland. The love shown in these chapters is beautiful and gains a real respect for humanity. 

Hawes’ American travels however, bring stronger elements of fear into the mix. In her already huge responsibility things become overwhelming. In one part of the book she was advised to carry a gun (to America). The sugar coated cover is pulled off the perception of touring and a bleak image is left. This led her to taking self defence lessons in Penwortham before leaving. With the encouragement to put male clothes around her hotel room you can’t help but respect Hawes for not turning around and giving up on band management. It’s no wonder her career has been prosperous with the bold attitude she approaches these situations in. Something inspiring to many following her footsteps. 

In retrospect this memoir is incredibly motivating. In sliding doors fashion Hawes takes every opportunity she is given. She has lived to the fullest and doesn’t hesitate to write it all down. Humorous, sad and tense all in the space of a few chapters, this is a page turning debut, leaving you wanting more. 

Type SOUNDS as your exclusive discount code at https://unbound.com/books/tour/ to receive 10% discount on Kim’s book