From pen to now long-time pal, Music Business student, Ewan Pyrah struck success when he managed to get in contact with Ramones Manager, Danny Fields, as part of a Study Skills project.
Countless emails and Skype calls later, Danny Fields packed his bags and decided to take the 3,000 mile journey from New York to meet Ewan and speak to our students about his incredible career in the industry.
Hi Ewan, great to have you in for a quick chat – bet you’re still on Cloud Nine! How did it all start, what made you get in contact with Danny Fields?
It was part of a Study Skills report where we had to choose an inspiring person in the music industry. A lot of people chose to do the obvious ones, like Simon Cowell. But, I was looking for someone that was a bit different, who I didn’t know anything about. I thought if I’m researching it, I want to learn something about them too. I was looking for someone who had something to do with the Punk scene and tried to find someone who started it all off.
So, I started looking at some of the first punk albums, like Ramones, and Proto-punk which came a bit earlier. Then, that was when I found out Danny Fields managed them. I didn’t know who he was, and even his Wikipedia page was short and sweet. After a bit of research, I found out he founded The Stooges, MC5, and also worked with Jim Morrison. I then found a documentary, ‘Danny Says’, and thought why does no-one else know who he is.
Credit: Seagrave Social Photography
Well, he certainly isn’t your average bloke! How did you actually get into contact with Danny Fields?
After watching the documentary, I thought I’d try and do some primary research because I knew it could bring my marks up. I noticed the documentary maker, Brendan Toller, had only a few hundred followers on Twitter, so I thought if I message him he will probably see it, whether he replies or not. He didn’t reply. He forwarded it straight to Danny Fields.
I didn’t know how to react. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I’d only been on the Music Business course a couple of months, and to get a success with something like that, it was kind of like I had hit the ground running. It was the best day of my life.
So, what would you say it is about Danny that intrigues you most?
He has done so much in the music industry. Almost every iconic 60s and 70s artist, he’s known and he has been a part of their life. But, he’s not too bothered about being in the limelight. Even when you speak to him, he plays it down and doesn’t seem to think anything that he has done is that amazing.
What did Danny think of Manchester, did you get up to much while he was here?
He really liked it. He was taking pictures all the time. He was amazed by all the buildings and the way they were all built. He’s from New York, so I didn’t think it would be that dissimilar. Maybe, it’s because he has lived there all his life, and this was his first time in Manchester – I don’t know.
We took him to the Northern Quarter on the Sunday – the last full day that he was here – and went to some record shops and stuff which was cool. So many albums have his name on them which is crazy. Even ones where he hasn’t actually worked on, they all say special thanks to Danny Fields. I’d never noticed it before.
So, controversial question perhaps, but are you a fan of the Ramones?
Yeah, definitely. I’d listened to the classic first album they did a few times and really liked it. When I first got in touch with Danny and started writing my report, I started to listen to the music of people he had worked with. I got into The Stooges, MC5 and stuff like that, and it gave me a good opportunity to a listen to a lot more music I hadn’t listened to before. So, I guess you could say that since I’ve been in touch with Danny, I’ve branched out more.
Bet you’ve discovered all sorts. Do you see yourself following in the footsteps of Danny and going into Artist Management then?
I don’t know about roles; I’m still stuck on what to go into. I think when I do my work experience next year, I’ll find out. But definitely, I wouldn’t say no to a career like he has had.
How did you leave things with Danny, do you have any plans to go over to America to see him?
I’m not sure, that ties in a little bit with work experience. So, potentially – although it may be a bit of a stretch – maybe going over there. That would be a really big thing. I might be going to see him in London because he is here until about 19th June. So, it’s definitely not the end for me and Danny.
Finally, what’s your favourite Ramones song and why?
I like ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ – I don’t know why. I feel like you can always tell a Ramones song. When you listen to them, you can pick out the anthemic ones and can almost tell which ones were going to be hits.
Well, Ewan that’s one hell of a claim to fame. It certainly looks like you’ve got a bright future ahead of you!
Main Image Credit: Seagrave Social Photography