These days, he spends his time as amateur chef with Blokey Bloke kitchen, and captain of the Narrowboat Chianti. However, we caught up with him to discuss Grapevine’s humble beginnings and his own career as a musician.
Adrian Shave, Steve Stone and Mark Lenny Hebden were long-term friends; Adrian and Steve had played in bands together during the eighties and owned Gippeswyk Printing at the time, but it was Mark Hebden who sparked the idea of Grapevine, as he wanted a database for musicians in Ipswich so they could all give each other work.
Adrian recalls, “We went to a pub, which is no longer there now, called The Beaton Track in Fore Street. Over a couple of beers, we came up with this idea and thought, ‘let’s combine the whole thing and call it the Grapevine’.”
Continuing, he explains, “We created the first edition in March 1991, and it was basically an A3 piece of paper folded into an A4 size; we printed 500 copies. I went out and sold adverts to cover the cost of the printing. The first advert I got was Out of Time Records and I’m so glad to see them still in business. The early adverts were all from around where we were based, in the centre of Ipswich, and that paid for the printing. We just went out once a month and delivered these by hand to pubs, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Rapid changes happened pretty fast though, as Mark tragically passed in 1992, and in the same year Adrian decided to pursue his own musical career as a trumpet player, after receiving a work offer to be a professional musician.
As a result, Adrian has spent the last 30-40 years working on cruise ships and being a headline entertainer around the world. He shares, “I’ve been around the world three times, and my favourite place is Sydney, Australia where I used to go at least twice a year. I do miss travel, but I don’t think travelling is going to come back in the same form as it used to, so I’m glad that I’ve had the best years.”
He and Steve remain good friends though, and even joined forces again three years ago to launch Get Classical with his wife, Fiona Jessica Wilson, as the editor.
Reflecting on those early days, Adrian shared how “it was nice to go around to the local pubs and meet the landlords when delivering the Grapevine.” He also added, “Back in those days there was such a great live music scene, and you’ve only got to look at the early listings to see there was something going on every night of the week in some pub or other, and there was no such thing as karaoke then!”
Thinking about why Grapevine is still important to the community, Adrian explains, “30 years on, it’s still important to keep music live. Simple as that! Basically, I have an adage which I’ve used all my life, which is, ‘you can’t sell if you don’t tell’. I invented that, and I’m a firm believer that if people don’t know about something, you aren’t going to be able to sell it. You can’t sell, if you don’t tell, and this [magazine] is a great way of telling everybody what’s going on”.
Continuing, he admits, “I’m very proud of the fact that it’s still going after 30 years, and that really is a credit to Steve and Sue. I’m so glad it’s still going, and still doing what we set out to do. Originally, we only set out to be an Ipswich-based magazine, but I’m very proud of the fact that we came up with the idea, and I think we can probably put that all down to Adnams beer in The Beaton Track. Had we not gone out and had a few beers and talked it through, it would never have happened.”
Understandably, the industry has had to adapt a lot towards the digital world, with virtual shows becoming the norm – but Adrian confesses he’s not a fan and doesn’t see the positive to it. He expands, “I personally think that, certainly in my game, a lot of my entertainer friends have been doing virtual performances for free, and I think what’s going to happen now, and it is starting to happen already; venues are opening up and they’re asking musicians to play for nothing which is absolutely wrong in every way. I feel very strongly about that. As soon as bands started to do their free virtual performances, that was the day the coffin lid shut, and I think it’s going to be very difficult now for musicians to get paid for doing their work. Let’s take the example of musicians on cruise ships; now they’re being asked to work for less than half what they used to which is just wrong and I’m not going to go back to work for that.”
However, while we await the return of live gigs and patiently wait for venues to reopen, he agrees with our message of keeping up support for live music, by supporting artists and venues by buying merchandise, music or tickets, including, he adds, “my son’s band, Jora the Fortune Teller, they’re a band from Southwold and they have just been signed to a London label. They’ve got a tour coming up in October and a couple of festivals to do later on this year, so I urge everybody to go out and support the local bands and follow them. That’s the most important thing these days, follow them on their social media and connect with them.”
These days, Adrian is settling-down a little bit having retired from being a musician due to COVID-19. He explains, “Yep, I’ve hung up the music. Last year in March, when everything was closed down, I had 20 weeks of cruising cancelled and all the work finished, so I’ve retired. It’s a different world now, and I’m too old now to be part of it”. He adds, “I’ve always loved live entertainment and I’ll still continue to support it, even though I won’t be partaking in it myself.”
It’s not all bad news though, as he has instead set-up his own new business; a narrowboat rental business in Ely, Cambridgeshire, for his Narrowboat Chianti, where when aboard, Adrian mentions, “we’re very musician-friendly if anybody wants a few days on the river”.
For Narrowboat Chianti enquiries visit www.narrowboatchianti.co.uk.