Pete Fulwell of Eric’s dies – a Liverpool music legend and ‘miracle worker’

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Eric’s legends Ken Testi and Pete Fulwell

Eric’s legend Pete Fulwell has died, Getintothis’ Peter Guy reports on the man who shaped much of Merseyside music.

Pete Fulwell, best known for partnering Roger Eagle at the legendary Eric’s club has died.

Fulwell, alongside Eagle and Deaf School‘s Ken Testi, was responsible for shaping Eric’s which became an iconic venue on the national tour circuit hosting the likes of Elvis Costello, the Buzzcocks, The Clash, Joy Division and Ramones.

Fulwell, alongside Eagle helped promote nights which also included Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Slits, The Stranglers, Ultravox, Wire, XTC and X-Ray Spex – many of which were in the formative years.

Eric’s also saw early gigs by U2, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Mick Hucknall in his Frantic Elevator days marking Fulwell and the Eric’s team as being ahead of many music bookers in the country.

Fulwell, who ran the Inevitable record label, and later to become manager of Liverpool bands It’s Immaterial and The Christians, was also responsible for launching a legion of Liverpool bands including WAH!, Black and many more.

Fulwell died on Thursday February 20.

Getintothis contributor, Bernie Connor, wrote this tribute: “Pete Fulwell was an enormous figure in the history of Liverpool music.

Together with Roger Eagle and Ken Testi, he steered Eric’s through one of the most creative, fertile periods in modern British history.

For me, he was a great source of wisdom, a great educator. I was 16 or 17-years-old, and he knew it, hanging about in a nightclub by day. He was always kind and gracious to us.

He and Doreen Allen were the day to day existence of the club, and through the persuasive powers of Kevin Connolly and Alan Jones, pretty much bankrolled our existence, always finding odd jobs and errands to run.

He was a conversationalist, he could talk endlessly, and with authority about any subject you may wish to raise. He had this thing about the future.

Post Eric’s, he founded Inevitable Records and management and oversaw the debut releases from Wah!, Pink Military, Holly Johnson, Dead or Alive, China Crisis to name but a few and, managed The Christians to international acclaim and success.

Even if he’d only done that, his name should be in neon lights across the sky. But his fingers dipped into many pies.

He was instrumental in the creation of Crash FM, something that seems to get overlooked.

He was the first person to show me the internet, and try to explain it, in his own eloquent way. I thought, and still think, it’s sorcery.

I hope his name is remembered for his huge achievements, others get lionised for much less. Love to his friends and family. And thanks.

Doreen Allen

Speaking on social media, Doreen Allen said: “As you know I worked for Pete for many years at Eric’s then Inevitable/Eric’s Records.

The last time I saw him was at the launch of Roger’s book Sit Down and Listen to This [by Bill Sykes]where he gave a warts and all heartfelt speech about him.

“I saw Pete’s wife Christine just before Christmas in town when she told me he was very ill. Much love to her and his daughter Sophie – Pete will be sadly missed by many.”

Eric’s – a personal journey through Liverpool’s iconic punk club

Adding to the growing reflections on social media, Pete Wylie gave this emotional tribute: “The man directly and literally changed my life.

“I met him first when he partnered Roger Eagle to run Eric’s, the legendary Liverpool launchpad for so many of us music-mad youth.

“Everyone knew Roger; few knew Pete. He preferred, in his own words, to be the ‘eminence gris’, a title he never relinquished, no matter what heights his management took us, the acts he looked after.

The first run of gigs at Eric’s

Because that’s what he did; He managed. WAH!, The Christians, It’s Immaterial, Black, and more.
He made me do the demos that made WAH! Heat. He took them on and protected us from the business side which we all had doubts about.

He steered me and supported me throughout the 80s, and that wasn’t always easy! From the early indie post punk classics, through The Story Of The Blues and the madness that followed [Milan Airport, anyone?]. We had our differences. There were challenges.

Doreen Allen interview – from The Beatles to Planet X and a lifetime in Liverpool new music

But we never needed a contract, he was straight and honest- maybe too much for the music biz; he was a super-intellectual psychologist at heart, and he couldn’t help that coming out at times.

“He had a fierce dream/desire to promote and help local talent, and not just music. We used local artists for record sleeves, did as many videos as we could up here, and ALWAYS tried to promote the city and its talents, as we did when he and I set up our label, Eternal.

His greatest wish though,was to promote music of black origin, for want of a better phrase, and in particular the music of L8 -Toxteth to you- and, as a black man in a white world, he knew the challenges that brought.

“Racism is and was real, even in the so-called open-minded music world. After we stopped working together, we remained friends [eventually!].

And he went on to set up organisations like MMDA to help and promote Liverpool music in a very real way..
He will be remembered as a straight, great, honest man and some time miracle worker. 

I will miss you so much Pete, with tears in my eyes. But I will continue to fight for your legacy. I owe you [though you’d never suggest such a thing]. La lutta continua. And thank you Pete! Yours, heartbroken. Pete Wylie. I love you.”

Crowds outside Eric’s

The Christians posted this message on their Facebook page: “Today we heard the very very sad news that The Christians original manager Pete Fulwell has died.

“The man that broke not only The Christians but also The Mighty Wah and It’s Immaterial Pete was responsible for a load of good things that happened that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for him.

“Thank you Pete for believing in us back then and for being my ‘voice of reason’ over many years …”

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