BIOGRAPHY

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ROB GRETTON

Full name: Robert Leo Gretton
Birth: Thursday
15 January 1953 Wythenshawe, Manchester (UK)
Death: Saturday 15 May 1999 Manchester (UK)


 

BIOGRAPHY

Rob Gretton's introduction to the music business was similar to that of many unassuming young managers of the late seventies. He was, quite simply, a fan who suddenly found himself caught up in the zeal of punk and went on to manage his favourite group. Self-styled svengalis and street-wise tycoons proliferated in the wake of McLaren, but the majority were swallowed whole by the rapacious music business. Few achieved any real entrepreneurial power and were merely pasteboard figures in comparison to the great creative masters of the sixties
Once the punk ethic had been eroded by the lure of the capitalist record industry, pampered pop groups found themselves 'managed' by embarrassingly dependent and ultimately redundant yes-men. Beyond this legion of failed svengalis, however, there were some hard-working and imaginative managers capable of growing in stature alongside their newly successful discoveries. They diversified their interests, bought or founded record labels and strengthened their artistes' reputation. One such manager was Rob Gretton
His pre-managerial career was decidedly inauspicious. A bored insurance clerk, he abruptly decided to leave his job and seek travel and excitement abroad. Accompanied by his girlfriend, he worked in a kibbutz for seven months before returning to Manchester and signing on the dole. Early in 1976, the first rumblings of punk were heard in the city and although Rob Gretton had previously never bothered to listen to white rock music, the energy and aggression of this movement proved irresistible. Rob Gretton struck up a friendship with Slaughter And The Dogs and began traveling with them, contributing fivers towards the petrol costs, just to be part of the show. He even provided them with a 200 loan to record their first single. By his own admission, he was always regarded as a hanger-on, a starry-eyed supporter who even ran the Slaughter And The Dogs fan club. In most respects, he was the complete antithesis of a professional music business manager
Acts such as Siouxie And The Banshees, Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers and the
Buzzcocks were among the bookings, but the financial remuneration was poor. On a couple of occasions, Rob Gretton got badly stung when groups failed to appear and these setbacks effectively ended his short career as a punk promoter. Instead, he continued working part time as a disc jockey at clubs such as the Electric Circus and Rafters. Rafters was a punk cellar incongruously situated beneath a cabaret club named Fagins. It was there that Rob Gretton first saw the group (Warsaw) that would establish his name as a manager

Rob Gretton about Joy Division (still called Warsaw at the time): I thought they were the best group I'd ever seen. There was something really weird about them. I'd met them before because they used to come to Rafters and ask me to play records by Kraftwerk; they always asked for pretty weird stuff. It was around then that people first said 'Fascists' because they dressed so differently. They were smart, punky, but not scruffy; it was unusual. And the music was absolutely wonderful


 

EDUCATION

St-Bede's RC College Manchester (UK)


 

PREVIOUS JOBS

Baggage-handler at Manchester Airport Manchester (UK)

Worked as a DJ at the Rafters (favouring northern soul and reggae) Manchester (UK)


 

RELATION WITH THE BAND

He is best remembered, in a professional capacity, as the manager of Joy Division and as a directing force behind Factory Records