Nick Mason descended upon Parliament today alongside fellow musicians, politicians and eminent music industry figures to lend his support to a new bill.
Labour MP John Spellar’s Agent of Change Bill seeks to protect live music venues by forcing property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses - including clubs, bars and concert venues – before they get the green light for a building project.
Placing the onus on the developers themselves, they would need to find solutions for potential noise issues for their future tenants; for example, they may be required to fund extra soundproofing at a venue near to their proposed development.
Backed by Music Venue Trust, UK Music and the Musicians’ Union, it’s hoped that the bill will be pivotal in the fight against the closure of grassroots venues.
More than 75 MPs and peers have also given their backing to it together with musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde, Billy Bragg, Feargal Sharkey, Brian Eno and, of course, Nick Mason.
Nick Mason and Feargal Sharkey © PA Images
Speaking to the Press Association outside the Houses of Parliament, where the bill was receiving its first reading this morning, Nick Mason said: “More and more of these small venues are disappearing.
“It’s more and more difficult to get a record deal now, it tends to be something you get much further along in your career and so, if you also lose the opportunity to make a modest living playing live, it’s going to be extra tough.”
Asked if Pink Floyd would have struggled to get their career off the ground today, Nick responded: “Hopefully we’d survive but I think it would be a lot more difficult … it might have taken us longer to get established.
“I think people assume you just transit from picking up a guitar to playing the O2, there’s a really tricky part between… learning to play, developing a fan base and making your initial recordings. That’s learning the trade, the apprenticeship.”
Paul McCartney said: “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different. If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.”
Following this morning’s initial reading, the good news is that the Agent of Change Bill was well received by MPs and it has passed to a second reading on Friday 19th January.
For more information on the Agent of Change bill and how you can help it become a reality, head to the Music Venue Trust website.