The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Interview with Dave Cairns of Secret Affair

David Cairns at The Marquee Club

Guitarist Dave Cairns played extensively at The Marquee Club as a member of New Hearts 1978 and from 1979 to 1980 as a member of Secret Affair.


What is the first image that springs to your mind when you hear the words Marquee Club?

What springs to mind is how important back in the 70's The Marquee Club really was in terms of being a focal point for every type of band looking to break the UK.
Getting your first support slot was a big deal, getting your first headline show a real step up and getting a residency meant you were well on your way!
But equally was the sense of community within musician/band circles, sadly lacking today I feel - there has never been another live music venue like it since.

Do you remember the very first time you ever visited the club?

I started bunking off school to go to The Marquee when I was only around 14 years old. I could never get into the sold-out shows by acts like David Bowie at the time but would go see the weekday acts until our parents and the school found out... harking from darkest Essex they were horrified that we were hanging out in a Soho nightclub when we were only there for the music!

Can you remember the first time you ever played at The Marquee Club?

That would be as 'New Hearts' supporting an act I can't recall to be honest but probably listed on this site.

As far as I can see in the records, it was on the 23th of January, 1978. Can you remember who got your gigs at the club?

I think we started by approaching bands appearing in person and asking for a support slot but later we were booked by The Cowbell Agency.

As a member of the audience at The Marquee Club, is there any band that you remember especially?

Too many to mention to be honest, I was there so often, sometimes four or five nights of the week. The Marquee bar was simply where everyone met up before either watching the bands or moving on to other venues and clubs.

Which was your most memorable night at The Marquee Club?

Appearing as Secret Affair in 1979 during our residency and selling out.. a great feeling.

Did you ever see other members from your bands performing at The Marquee before or after you played with them?

Yeah, we saw Seb Shelton with The Young Bucks at The Marquee and nicked him for our own band, Secret Affair.

Do you have any particular memory about any of the managers of the club, Jack Barrie and Nigel Hutchings?

They were lovely guys. Nigel in particular I think could see the value in letting musicians in for free to drink at the bar because it made it a proper hang out for musicians and bands, most of whom were playing there off and on anyway.

New Hearts played at the Reading Festival in 1978, right? What is your memory about it?

We played on the same bill as The Jam and Sham 69, I think. Unfortunately, Sham 69 attracted for the first time at Reading a skinhead following who gave us and everyone a hard time and managed to knock out our guest guitarist with a rock thrown from the crowd! Nice.

Did you ever visit The Marquee Club or keep in touch with people from the club after you quit playing there?

Secret Affair went on to headline The Rainbow Theatre and Hammersmith Odeon but we still hung out at The Marquee bar.

What did you think when you heard about the demolishing of the original building at 90 Wardour street in the 90's?

Very very sad and the new premises in Charing Cross Road just wasn't the same.

If you had to define the effect that The Marquee Club had in your life or in your musical career, how would you put it into words?

A very important venue at the time for any band trying to get somewhere in the business and to have gone from sneaking into The Marquee at 14 years old to headlining at 20 years old says it all.

Interview by K. Barroso, January 2008.
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