Outsider Artists Inc didn’t really begin, it just evolved slowly and in interesting circumstances. They say life is what happens to you while you’re working out what to do with it and that could not be truer in this case!
Having evolved his backstreet pub into a respected touring music and comedy venue, by late 2007, Steve Pitt was still looking to secure an acoustic gig with Nik Kershaw, who hadn’t played live in the UK for a number of years. It was ‘still’ because he’d been e-mailing messages to Nik’s web-site for quite a while but always received polite ‘no plans at this time’ replies from Kershaw HQ. Then, without warning, following a Merry Christmas message to the Kershaws in December, Steve suddenly got an e-mail saying that Nik said yes to a gig on 31st May 2008. It sold out in 2 days. A second was added and that sold out within a week. They were memorable nights and Steve made a connection with Nik.
We’d started something. People wanted to see Nik, that was clear. Steve secured some more gigs for later in 2008 and the audiences loved this stripped-down version of their hero. This turned into a national tour in 2009 and another in 2010. Most recently, Steve joined Nik for the day to look after him at the 2013 Cropredy Festival, where he supported Fairport Convention and then joined them on stage for several songs – a memorable night!
Now, Nik also wrote the Chesney Hawkes No1 The One and Only and the two remain close friends, so introductions were made early on at the first Cellars gigs and it became inevitable that Steve would also put together some solo acoustic dates for Chesney, to showcase the immense song-writing talent of one of the nicest guys in the music business.
Back at The Cellars, Steve continued to work with first class touring bands and as a result of friendships forged, also ended up booking some of the shows for Mick Avory’s Kast Off Kinks, a superb band who skilfully avoid anything which could make them ‘cabaret’ and stay true to the rock ‘n’ roll ethics of the band In which 3 of them served long stints.
Another meeting which proved fateful was due to a random intervention by Steve’s long-suffering partner who pointed out an article in The Times about an artist called Terry Reid who was returning to the UK for some gigs after a very long absence. Stumbling across Terry’s name on an artist roster, an enquiry was made and a booking secured. The legend of Terry Reid proceeded him and the magic which Terry can create at times in a gig, moving grown men to tears, is something which struck as real chord with Steve. Terry returned twice more and on that third occasion, and argument between Terry and his agent on the phone resulted in a parting of ways. Terry turned to Steve and said ‘will you be my agent ?’. The answer was yes, and now 4 years later, Steve manages Terry, dealing with all of his business globally.
The same thing happened with Denise Black when she first played at The Cellars in 2013 and when The Mods picked a new front-man in early 2012, guitarist John Kennard called for a chat and they agreed Steve would help out with some of the gig bookings.
Outsider Artists isn’t just about booking people, it’s about understanding artists’ needs, so Steve has personally tour managed many of the gigs over the years, handled the hotel bookings, arranged the contracts, sourced equipment, drivers, cars and even designed the posters. It’s a personal thing for him.
So, if you were looking for a booking agent who is corporate and all about business, you’re in the wrong place. Outsider Artists is a family. Sometimes a slightly dysfunctional one, all creatives have their own little ways, especially Steve!, but there’s more to us than business, we all like each other!