Eddy Says

Eddy Says: How Ibiza Rocks started part three – Rock arrives on the island of house

By | Published on Monday 22 August 2011

Eddy Temple-Morris

I’d not long arrived back on terra firma after losing my mind at the Manumission closing party, when the previously mentioned Andy Mckay – the man in charge of the back room at the king of all Ibiza clubs – called a meeting to plan what was happening in Manumission’s ‘Music Box’ the following season.

My manager, my promoter and I met up with Andy, and he told us how he loved what I’d done in the back room at that year’s closing party, and what we were doing with Remix Night back in London, getting indie-dance crossover acts to play live and DJ. He wanted to do more and needed a name for it. Straight away I suggested Ibiza Rocks. “Dance Rocks” was the strapline of my Xfm show and the name of my compilation album, and it just seemed like the perfect name for this.

“You can own the island”, I said.

“Hmmm”, came Andy’s reply. “I’m not sure, I have a brand to protect. I think perhaps it should be called ‘Manumission Rocks'”.

“No no no”, I insisted. “Like it or not, Manumission, as a brand, is on the wane with the genre it’s attached to. Here you have a chance to create a new brand to take forwards, that could grow wings and fly on its own!”

“Still not sure”, he said. “Let me have a think about it”.

My manager and promoter both agreed ‘Ibiza Rocks’ as a name was a great idea and said so at that initial meeting. And the next time we met, Andy too said it had grown on him, and he even presented us with some logos he’d had knocked up. Guitars in the shape of the island, that kind of thing. The brilliant plectrum logo still used today came a bit later.

It was agreed that I would ‘host’ the first year, working in tandem with Andy’s office in booking bands and DJs. I’d try to get mates rates to help get things going, and together we’d make this the best year ever in the back room of the greatest club in the world, a club within a club, a brand within a brand.

So, I got on the phone to my mates. There were a few key people I wanted to get involved. Adam Freeland was first on the list, because he’d had a terrible time when he’d played Manumission once before, years previously. Two tunes into his set, the Spanish owner of Privilege, the club where Manumission took place (and not Mike or Claire from Manumission, I must stress) came barrelling up to the booth and exclaimed: “THIS IS NOT HOUSE MUSIC!” To emphasise his point, he jabbed his finger towards the twelve-inch on the turntable as if it was a freshly laid dog turd.

He took the needle off the record and, in front of the stunned crowd and even more stunned superstar DJ, ushered Adam away from the booth, to be replaced by a Spanish resident quick-smart. Adam had never returned to Ibiza. I’m not surprised. He was made to feel as welcome as a pork pie at a bar mitzvah.

Similarly, I wanted Barry Ashworth on board. He had played Ibiza regularly, way back at the start of the island’s notoriety, when things were more ‘Balearic’ and DJs were playing more random good music, with less emphasis on strict 4/4 house.

And, of course, I wanted to involve Zane Lowe as well. I can recall Andy’s eyes lighting up when I mentioned he was my friend and I could hook them up.

So I booked all three of them, along with other friends, like The Freestylers with MC Sirreal, and The Breakfastaz, all Remix Show stalwarts at the time. Meanwhile the Manumission office booked Babyshambles to play the launch party, and some other Remix-friendly acts like Hard Fi and Tom Vek. Summer approached and we were ready to go. All good.

Except, on opening night poor Andy had the look of a man asked to lick his own elbows.

“Eddy”, he gasped. “It’s Pete Doherty… he’s asked for crack and smack ON HIS RIDER! I don’t know what to do, he’s refuses to play unless we come up with… with this stuff”. He scratched his head. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin looking!”

Whether or not he personally succeeded in that hunt I never found out, but someone certainly managed to get hold of the two drugs not generally associated with Ibiza’s party vibe. Later that evening, there was Pete Doherty sucking on a miniature brandy bottle filled with wire wool, the foul, burnt plasticky clouds of crack smoke all around him and his vile cronies. Pete must have learned, presumably the hard way, that it was better not to be in possession of Class A controlled substances and to instead have them stashed with his entourage. Consequently he was being spoon fed lumps of crack by one of his mates.

It was a loathsome scene and it depressed me so much I had to leave. I was the first person, ever, to interview Pete Doherty. The distance between that bright eyed, bushy tailed, sparklingly intelligent teenager and this hollow, washed out shadow of his former self was just too much for me to bear. I ended up a single dad with custody of my son because his mum got into that stuff, the smell of crack just depresses me and makes me feel sick.

The gig was awful. Doherty couldn’t remember his own lyrics, and kept tripping up on his own microphone cable. There was, however, still a palpable feeling of excitement, of the birth of something new and exciting, as well as a turning point in the cultural history of this island – an ‘I was there moment’, as I like to call them.

Conversely, it felt like Pete Doherty was at rock bottom of a downward spiral, and this could be the last gig he played before he was found slumped on a hotel floor, his heart finally having an ‘I’ve had enough of this’ moment. A thousand paparazzi and gutter journalists were presumably delighted that this was not to be, giving them something to snap and write a stream of bollocks about ever since.

But, all that said, that something infamous did kick off a first Ibiza Rocks season full of much happier memories.

For starters, the time when somebody fooled Adam Freeland into eating a space cake. The poor boy lost the plot halfway through his set and I had to finish it for him. He actually got lost in the DJ booth, a space the size of a sofa! At this stage of my life I’d given everything up, even coffee, and my drug of choice to get me through to 9am was a single vodka and Coca-Cola. The enormous hit of caffeine right there would power me through, wide eyed, until breakfast time and even the aftershow on the terrace at Space.

When Barry Ashworth returned, predictably, he ended up staying awake for three days. I kept bumping into him after I’d slept another night, and he’d still be going hard at it with James Lavelle or another of the other ‘big boys’. Baz was in his element and clearly overjoyed to be back in Ibiza. Mid-way through our one-on-one set in the Music Box, I was hunched over my bag, flicking through my vinyl (nice historical yardstick there, I was still using vinyl, but haven’t done for years now) looking for the next tune, when I felt a god awful whack on my back. It gave me a massive shock, knocking the wind out of me. It was Barry. His body had finally given up, mid tune, and he had simply passed out. I finished alone, with a few savvy people in the crowd signalling: “Where’s Barry?”

There was something about that place that turned even the most normally clean living, sensible DJs into monsters with rolling eyes, puking backstage before, during or after their sets. I have some very funny images scorched into my memory from that season. You’d be surprised who fell from grace after being there for a few hours! I should possibly be in the Guinness Book Of Records as the first ever resident of Manumission who got through an entire season without taking any Class A drugs. Even if I wanted to, I was being drug tested in a hideous court room custody battle at that time, and the reason I have custody of Tone is the simple fact that both my annual drugs tests during that period were clean and normal.

All in all, that first season had been a great success, and Ibiza Rocks had arrived. Sadly, and this has happened before, and will happen again, my generosity proved to be my downfall. I noticed the way Andy’s eyes went ‘kerching’ when I first introduced him to Zane. If nothing else, Andy knows which side his bread is buttered, and when it launched for year two, the website had changed from “Ibiza Rocks hosted by Eddy Temple-Morris” to “hosted by Zane Lowe”. I enquired why and it was awkwardly changed to “Zane Lowe and Eddy Temple-Morris”, but I was only booked for two or three shows that year. One of the insiders told me it was Zane’s management (not my biggest fans, shall we say) and Radio 1 who said they wanted Zane in and me out. Of course, Andy knew who was more valuable to him.

No call came at all the next year, so I ended up doing my own night, Dance Rocks, at Es Paradis. My manager showed me a vile email she got from Andy, along the lines of “You can’t use the name ‘Dance Rocks’ – I own the word ‘rocks’ on Ibiza”. My manager reminded him that it was me who’d given him the name in the first place, something I’d done with nothing but love and no strings attached. This possibly made him nervous, as the night was now heavily sponsored and he was in bed with Radio 1; certainly a story went round that he, or someone at NME, had come up with the name. This was odd, as there were two witnesses to my giving it to him, and like I said, I had no agenda. I was at the time totally in love with Manumission and the island of Ibiza, a love affair that has never stopped.

It’s such a massive shame my personal involvement ended so sourly, but I’m glad Ibiza Rocks worked, and that it went from strength to strength, and even more so that Doorly ended up as a resident: he’s one of my favourite DJs and a lovely man. After telling Andy he would “own the island” and encouraging him to start his own brand, I remember showing him pirated Ibiza Rocks t-shirts from San Antonio market. People were already adorning themselves, voluntarily, with his new brand.

So, there you have it, my friends: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the birth of Ibiza Rocks, my part in it, and the silly reason why I’m never asked to play there any more. It all seems unbelievable looking back, and I know there will be people saying “if you’re nice, you’ll always get fucked over”, but I disagree. I think it’s entirely possible to get through this business with your head held high and with your sleep patterns largely uninterrupted. It’d just be nice if, occasionally, people were less suspicious and just see a person and what they do for what it is.

In the words of my favourite lyricist, Scroobius Pip: “Some people are just nice”.

X eddy