Paul Dixon ‘The Real Dixie, The Music, ‘Svengali’ and ‘The Scene’.

Dixie & Dixie

Tell us a little about yourself personally and creatively?

Well I grew up in the sixties, as I child I was forced to go to church and wear a suit! Which explains why I never wear one not even to get married ! That was a laugh Me, Michelle (bride), Gary Wood (The Scene) and Bernie Wood though she might have been Taylor not Wood at the time. No one else, I hate weddings. Bow registry office East London. Complete coincidence we all turned up wearing black, the registrar looked up as we walked in and said ‘My this is a somber occasion isn’t it ?’ When it was over the registrar said ‘There now that wasn’t so bad was it ?’ Gary pretends to break down crying ‘I could never go through that again !’ He says through the fake sobs! They thought we were nuts!

Anyway back to the church bit I fucking hated it I knew they were lying and spent the rest of my life rebelling against it ! Luckily it was the 60’s and music was the ultimate escape, and Christians fucking hated the devils music it questioned them, and they had no answers! Not one!

How did you end up working in the music business?

Well I was going to be a civil engineer, everyone was saying ‘job for life’ but my first year working there I went to see The Who at Wembley arena, I was 17. I’d seen loads of bands and loved them but the moment The Who exploded onto the stage was an epiphany! Music was a threat to the established order and rebellious, but The Who were more that a threat, they were an invading army attacking the system with power, volume and superhuman energy. This was more than music, this was an all out attack on the senses.Townshend diving across the stage skidding on his knees, arms flailing like a manic windmill in a hurricane! The sheer volume was deafening while at the same time electrifying the central nervous system, shivers of excitement rushing down your spine as Daltrey spits and stutters the ultimate anthem for disaffected youth – My Generation

‘People try to put us down just because we get around things they do look awful cold I hope I die before I get old!’

I’ve seen The Who about 35 times no other band comes close!

2 years later The Sex Pistols burst onto the scene and on jubilee day in 1977 play God Save the Queen was like an act of treason. I loved it! I had to kick civil engineering into touch they hated punks in my office plus for the last year I didn’t go to college once. I had to go on music paper day – Thursday NME , Melody Maker and Sounds 3 big selling music papers were out on Thursday, I used to sit in cafés and pubs around Swansea reading every word ! I joined a punk band in Cardiff around that time we did some really exciting gigs . Cardiff punk festival x Ray specs headlined ! Exciting times !

What bands have you managed and do you still have anything to do with the industry?

The first band I ever managed was 007 who became The Scene. I’d just moved to London and was putting on a bank holiday gig in Brighton 1981 I think ? The Chords headlined and 007 asked for a slot on the bill. There was murders in Brighton, not the Mods, The police behaved like fucking animals virtually tried to close Brighton down. Turned all coaches back to London, did everything they could to sabotage the gig. It was on the front page of all the tabloids next day, the gig was brilliant!

Then we got a gig with The Jam at Alexander Palace the London date of their Transglobal Tour, we did some cracking gigs from under 18 gigs at Le Beat Route Greek St W1 on Saturday afternoons, to supporting the Untouchables at Hammersmith Palais . The Scene were the one band that stuck with being a mod band when nearly all the other bands were denying their mod ness The Scene were boasting about theirs! Well it was either that or make them New Romantics and seeing Gary or Drew with handbags didn’t seem right somehow ? Welshy would have got away with it I guess!

I managed Gouge two boys two girls we were so close and yet so far. Michelle had been behind me managing Gouge and after that I was never ever going to manage another band ever again! Enter Jonny Owen singer/songwriter with The Pocket Devils he’d asked me to come to see them in Cardiff, Michelle wouldn’t come.
Jon is a really nice bloke so I went out of respect for him to make it clear I wasn’t going to manage them . Michelle’s last words as I left for the gig were ‘if you manage these that’s it we are finished !’ All the way there I was working out my rejection speech . They went on stage and blew the fucking place apart, rejection speech out of the window.

2:30 AM I’m back home waking Michelle up ‘Michelle , Michelle, they were fucking brilliant !’ She wasn’t so enthused !

The Broken Vinyl Club was the last band I managed, they split just before Christmas.They are on the Svengali soundtrack though!

How do you feel about Jonny Owen’s character in ‘Svengali’ being based on you and how much is Jonny’s character like you?

Well I’ve got to say apart from my Kids Tom and Holly, ‘Svengali’ is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

Jon phoned me one night in 2008 and said ‘you’ll never believe it Dix they’ve asked me to play a band manager!’
I pissed myself laughing as he wasn’t very Rock and Roll, I said ‘You’ll never carry it off Jon!’
To which he said ‘Dixon, I’m an actor I’m going to play him as someone!’. I still wasn’t convinced and thought he meant Malcolm McLaren or Kit Lambert The WhoManager. It wasn’t until the first pilot I realised he meant me!
Then when I told anyone, no one believed me! My boss reckons he’s exactly like me in the film, an irritating cunt, but I’m more irritating in real life, according to him! There again my boss loves Svengali because he loves horsey ……. and hates Dixie!
What I really love is he has captured the humour and blind optimism you need to survive the music business! I think overall the character is bigger than me but I feel really honoured to have inspired something so brilliant! And I have met the most amazing people through it! Alan McGee was my hero and still is, but because of Svengali he’s a mate now too!
It’s a bit surreal one night I’m in London, Alan McGee is introducing me to people ‘you know Svengali ?’ They say ‘yes’ and he says ‘this is the real Dixie !’ Then I have to drive back to swansea two hours sleep before a 10 hour day and my boss is shouting ‘Hurry up you cunt you’re late !’ :0(

What are your favourite bits in the film ‘Svengali?

I honestly couldn’t tell you because I loved it all! I went to quite a few of the shoots and knew it was going to be good!

I’ve only seen it once at Edinburgh Film Festival and it was much much better than I had hoped for, and I had high hopes, it got a standing ovation! My daughter Holly turned to me at the end and said ‘Paul that’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen in my life !’ The music is amazing The Who, Jake Bugg etc. Dixie’s girlfriend Shell has same name as Holly’s mum my ex too !

What does ‘Mod’ and ‘The Scene’ mean to you now compared to 30 years ago when you were managing the band ‘THE SCENE’ ?

Well I’d never have thought this but Mod seems to be not dated anymore, it’s not like a retro revival now and it’s cool sort of esoteric cult, which is a phenomenon! I know Irish Jack well, Pete Townshend’s inspiration for Jimmy in Quadrophenia and I used to dream of being the inspiration for a cool film, isn’t that mad?

Me and Gary Wood were supposed to be dead by now so we never really planned for any post mod existence! It was great for a few years before then being a mod band was the kiss of death as far as getting signed was concerned! All the bands were in denial of their past!

Why are you supporting MOTM’s?

What’s not to support you have been brilliant with Svengali and the gig with The Scene playing and Jonny Owen DJing, well how spooky is that? I think the Teenage Cancer charity is so worthwhile! Keep up the excellent work!

Thank you to Dixie for taking the time to do this interview, we appreciate your support of the work we do.
Svengali goes on general release on 28th March 2014
And The Scene and Jonny Owen are taking part in Reading’s MOTM’s