Phil with students from Winchester University | February 2020
Phil writes on the sad news of Tom Watkins' death... | 14 March 2020
R.I.P. Tom Watkins who managed Ian Curnow and me for over three years in the 1990s, steering us to tremendous production success with acts like East 17. I'll always have fond memories of the time that Tom spent with us in our P&E Music production suite within Strongroom Studios. He spent a lot of time in the studio with us because fundamentally he was a creative soul, and whilst his fierce reputation was to control all aspects of his acts' careers, and some pretty 'massive' marketing overspends, he knew how to work with a creative team like Ian and myself. He co-wrote, as a top-liner, most of the Deuce songs (uncredited).
This East 17 song 'It's Alright', was a crucial stop-gap for the band between albums 1 and 2. Tom spent many hours driving Ian and me to make this epic production - hence the dramatic piano introduction that explodes into the broken down intro chorus. In my view it's probably the best production we achieved for East 17 and it paved the way for the 'OTT' orchestral production the following year on 'Stay Another Day'. I think every great Pop Production team needs a brilliant team-leader and Tom Watkins was that for us. The music he has influenced will live on!
East 17 | It's Alright