Mr Show Business takes stock

Tuesday November 28, 2000

Hugh Lynn has decided it is time to part with a lifetime's worth of show business souvenirs. Herald Picture / Brett Phibbs

By KATHERINE HOBY

Chameleon Kiwi music promoter Hugh Lynn is selling more than 40 years of concert memorabilia – but the stories stay with him.

Like the first time he met veteran underground rocker Lou Reed.

“We ran out of petrol outside a mental asylum in Dunedin,” Mr Lynn says. “Lou thought it was a sign from God.”

Or the keenly awaited first local concert by Joe Cocker, where he was so out of it he was singing with his back virtually to the audience.

“New Zealanders don’t like that sort of rubbish,” Mr Lynn says. “It was so disappointing. He didn’t get half the crowd the next time. That’s what Kiwi fans are like – they don’t forget.”

Or how about Neil Young singing a waiata at a Ngati Whatua marae while cradling two special needs children in his arms?

Hugh Lynn has been on the stage since the age of 3. He comes from a world of circus performers and dance professionals, and was sixth in the world in Latin American dancing in 1964.

His involvement in music really began when he started working as a compere at the age of 20. It was also his first introduction to drugs – he took diet pills to stay awake.

In the mid-60s he set up Eden Security and managed the La De Das – a Rolling Stones knockoff – until 1967.

He hit the big time when he was chosen by Paul Dainty to promote some big-time acts Down Under, including Bryan Ferry and Fleetwood Mac.

The 1983 Serious Moonlight tour by David Bowie was a recordbreaker, with 83,000 attending the Auckland show. It was the biggest concert held in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.

“Bowie, surprisingly, was a very ordinary guy. I say that in a good way. There was no ‘get me drugs, get me chicks, get me parties’ … He was past that. He wanted a four-wheel-drive to go exploring in.”

Mr Lynn says 12 years managing homegrown group Herbs was a great experience.

By 1990 the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle had started taking its toll. He was ready to get out of the business.

When the lead singer of Guns ‘N’ Roses told the crowd at an Auckland concert that year that heroin “was the drug,” Mr Lynn says he had an overwhelming feeling of regret that he was partly responsible for bringing that attitude to New Zealand.

He “went bush” for three years and came back, having connected with his spiritual side.

“I get high on God now.

“I think some of the people I used to hang out with think I’ve gone soft. I don’t see the Hell’s Angels so much now.”

Hugh Lynn has been involved with more than 150 international touring acts.

His house is a wonderful chaosof posters, tickets, programmes, itineraries, souvenir clothing, and photographs – most of which will be for sale.

He is keeping some of the one-offs, or pieces of special personal significance.

“The rest is all up for sale,” he says, waving his arms with a flourish.

“After all, 20 years is a long time to have ZZ Top in your lounge.”

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~ by admin on 11 July, 2008.

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