Future's looking great if Jake stays on right track
CLIFTON teenager Jake Bugg is on top of the world after his self-titled debut album went straight in at No. 1 on Sunday's chart.
But the 18-year-old won't be shopping for a country pile or an Aston Martin just yet, says Paper Lace's Phil Wright.
"These are very different times," says Wright, the guitarist with the Nottingham band who topped the singles chart in 1974 with Billy Don't Be a Hero.
It was last the last time a city artist topped either UK chart before Bugg's success this week.
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And the 38 intervening years have seen vast changes in the fortunes of artists.
Wright, 64, said: "We sold more than a million copies of the single and it was instant riches. These says you don't need to sell anything like that to get to No. 1."
In fact, Bugg's album sold 35,785 copies to beat Leona Lewis to the top.
"You did concerts to promote those records back then. The concerts were small potatoes in terms of a financial return for the artist. But you did it to sell more records.
"Nowadays you are giving the music away virtually in the hope that people will come to see you in a live concert. And I think that's the better way to do it because what you are paying for, albeit very expensive, is a unique moment. It's not recorded, it's happening there and then and you paying to be a part of it."
He was 26 when Paper Lace reached No. 1.
"We were hoisted on a flag and we were out there," says Wright of the fame that followed their success. "It was hysteria. I think fans were much more adoring in those days."
Bugg has already played in Europe with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds in front of crowds of up to 7.500 people. He's appeared on Later... With Jools Holland opposite legends like the Beach Boys and opened for Manchester giants the Stones Roses at their secret London gig in front of Olympic gold medallists.
Dealing with so much at such a young age, Wright believes, will serve him well in the future.
"18? Crikey. It's a fantastic position to be in. He's done it really early and he's got his whole life ahead of him. I'm sure he and his music will mature well over the next few years. The guy is obviously a very talented writer and performer.
"If I had any advice for him it would be to keep your wits about you. Keep your feet on the ground. And don't believe your own publicity."
Bugg flew out to the US yesterday to support Gallagher's band on a short tour. Cracking the US market is something that Wright knows all about.
"We were very lucky. We had a No. 1 in the States. I wish Jake every success."
Phil Long, a music industry veteran from The Park who has worked with everyone from Queen and Sir Cliff Richard to Blondie and the Sex Pistols, said: "He's a young lad who has done very well in a short space of time and he doesn't seem to be affected by the success. But it's important that he has good people around him to keep him focused."
He agreed that a No. 1 album did not mean a healthy bank account: "The artist has to pay back the advance, which is essentially everything the record company has spent on them, including making the album, the promotion, funding the touring..."
This can run in to hundreds of thousands depending on the artist's contract. Long, who worked for EMI, Island, Chrysalis and Warners, said: "It depends on his management, what his publishing deal is, what his recording deal is...
"I think longevity is important for Jake. People like Duffy and KT Tunstall had great success with their first albums but were let down by their labels pushing them in a new direction. As long as he goes with his gut instinct about the musical direction he should take, he'll be OK. It's served him well so far."