|Born||September 3, 1943|
|Origin||Watford, United Kingdom|
|Occupation(s)||Former Legal executive, Music manager, Impresario, Technologist, Material Science & Quantum Physics Researcher and Developer|
Tony (Anthony) Defries (born September 3, 1943) is a British former music manager and impresario. He managed David Bowie's career during his elevation to global stardom,but later fell out with him in a contract dispute. He established a rights management organisation called MainMan and helped launch the careers of Iggy Pop, Mick Ronson, Mott the Hoople, Dana Gillespie, Lou Reed, Luther Vandross, and John Cougar Mellencamp. Defries and MainMan have received multiple awards for their achievements in the music industry.
One of four children born to Edward and Lily Defries, the family had a second-hand and antique business close to Shepherd's Bush Market. In 1944, children were being evacuated from London to escape the V-1 flying bombs. Defries was too young to be evacuated as his mother had two young children and was expecting another, he was placed into foster care and only returned to the family after the War. He suffered from severe asthma and attended a school for children with special needs.
Defries started his career at the age of 16 in a number of junior positions at various firms of solicitors. Whilst he was a legal executive at the lawfirm of Martin Boston & Co.in Wigmore Street, London he advised Mickie Most in a dispute involving The Animals in 1964. For some years after that he worked with Most, advising him and later working with Allen Klein on his behalf and helping Mickie set up his own independent label Rak Records, and music publishing Rak Publishing. Defries learnt about bargaining techniques, the intricacies of master recording ownership and how to squeeze the best from every deal from Klein. Because of his dealings with Most and his problem-solving abilities, he was approached by his future business partner, Laurence Myers, whose accounting firm were handling Most's accounts at the time. Myers said "Tony was a visionary. I remember him telling me many, many, many years ago that one day everyone at home will have a laptop computer".
Defries later worked with photographers to resolve their copyright and other issues, starting with Don Silverstein, an American photographer living and working in London, who had taken photographs of Jimi Hendrix. These images were being used without his permission and Defries helped him retain the rights to his images and the related revenue. Through Silverstein, Defries was approached by other photographers such as Brian Duffy, David Bailey, Terence Donovanand Antony Armstrong-Jones. In order to best assist them, and future photographers, he helped found the Association of Fashion and Advertising Photographers (AFAP), in 1968, which later became the Association of Photographers (AOP). Defries would later commission Brian Duffy photograph and to design the cover of Bowie's Aladdin Sane , and Terry O'Neill to shoot the Diamond Dogs album cover. In addition MainMan commissioned rock artist Guy Peellaert to provide futuristic paintings which were used ultimately used for that album.
Defries and Myers worked with songwriters, composers, performers and producers, including Mike Leander, Geoff Stephens, Peter Eden, Barry Mason, Roger Cook, Mike D'abo, Donovan, Roger Greenaway, Lionel Bart, Ossie Byrne and Tony Macaulay.Defries was responsible for proposing and overseeing legal proceedings for Tony Macaulay in what became a landmark case against his publishers, Schroeder Music to recover his copyrights. The case of Schroeder Music Publishing vs Macaulay was resolved in Macaulay's favour in the House of Lords, setting a precedent used by many other songwriters to gain better terms.
In 1969 Defries and Myers formed the GEM Music Group, an independent music label, music publishing, rights management and personal management company. GEM's first release, on Bell Records, was "Love Grows (Where my Rosemary Goes)" performed by Edison Lighthouse, and written and produced by Tony McCauley. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in 1970.
In 1970, Olav Wyper, the head of Philips UK, recommended Defries to Bowie who was dissatisfied with his manager Ken Pitt and needed help.Defries realised Bowie's potential and Myers has said "Tony had the vision. His great ability was, far more than I did, he knew what a star David was going to be". Defries had a reputation for renegotiating contracts and proceeded to extract Bowie from all his existing contracts: management, recording (Mercury) and publishing (Essex Music). GEM signed an exclusive contract with Bowie in 1970 and when the Mercury contract was terminated in 1971, Defries was free to sign a record deal with RCA. Defries would go on to sign Iggy Pop, Dana Gillespie and Mick Ronson with GEM.
In 1971, Defries had decided that breaking Bowie in the US would require a permanent corporate presence and suggested to Myers that they open offices in New York. By that time, GEM had established a significant position in the UK industry and Myers was uncomfortable about risking that base in a new US venture. As a result, Defries and Myers discussed a division of the various talent GEM represented and reached a settlement which would allow Defries to keep certain artists while the rest remained with GEM. They signed an agreement where Defries would take David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, Dana Gillespie and Mick Ronson in return for a financial settlement.
Defries formed the MainMan Group of Companies in 1972,with offices in New York, London and Tokyo. These companies had a management structure that combined ingredients of the movie studio with those of the independent producer, record label, music publisher and management. The original MainMan team was made up of members from Andy Warhol’s The Factory and his now-famous production of his play, Pork . The company’s management included Cherry Vanilla, Tony Zanetta and Jamie Andrews.
Defries had a zero-tolerance drug policyand no unauthorised press access policy. As a strategy to control the narrative and create demand, all access public and press was denied. This was based on protocols used by the movie studios in the 1950s to make their stars famous. MainMan had their own in-house photographers, Mick Rock and Leee Black Childers, and forbade all other unauthorised photographers.
A key part of Defries’ strategy with MainMan was to control the creative process of Bowie's next album, Hunky Dory , by funding it independently, before approaching RCA.This gave Bowie creative freedom, without being forced to fit into any traditional record company genres and co-ownership of his music copyrights. Tony Zanetta (President of MainMan, USA) said "Tony threw the book out the window. He loved to take huge gambles…"
After Lou Reed’s disastrous first solo album for RCA, MainMan arranged for Bowie and Mick Ronson to produce his follow-up album, Transformer . [ by whom? ]Bowie and Defries invited Reed to make his first UK appearance as a surprise guest at a 'Friends of the Earth, Save the Whale Benefit Concert' with Bowie and The Spiders from Mars at the Royal Festival Hall on July 8, 1972. This concert took place just two days after Bowie's performance of "Starman" on Top of the Pops - widely considered to be a turning point in his career.
With Bowie on the brink of stardom ( Ziggy Stardust hit #5 and Hunky Dory #3 on the UK charts and hundreds of Ziggy clones attended his concerts),Defries informed his staff "As far as RCA in America are concerned, the young man with red hair sitting at the end of this table is the biggest thing to come out of England since the Beatles. And if we get this right there’s every possibility we will be as big as the Beatles, if not bigger". Defries arranged to fly over American journalists to see Bowie live in preparation for his upcoming US tour.
Defries instructed Tony Zanetta to set up the MainMan office in an Upper East Side New York apartment and he employed a cavalcade of exotic characters.The first North American concert date was September 22, in Cleveland for an audience of three thousand and the tour ended December 2 at Tower Theatre, Pennsylvania. After that first concert Defries had promised they would come back to play Cleveland in a bigger venue holding ten thousand people and that is exactly what they did.
MainMan artists were among the best rock 'n rollers of their time,and the company's culture was to treat all their artists as equals and to ensure that all their needs were met. A lot of cash was spent as the artists had a high burn rate. Bowie was doing well, but "not selling anywhere near a Rolling Stones or Elton John-like level until 1975".
Defries saw Mick Ronson as an extraordinary musical talent and believed he could have a solo career and together they devised a course to stardom, starting with concerts at the Rainbow Theatre.According to Ronson "the question of whether those Rainbow concerts were good ones or bad is beside the point. The fact that I managed to sell the place out two nights running must mean that people thought I was worth seeing". Ronson's production and arrangements of notable albums such as Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane showed his skills in the studio and in live playing. "Ronson made David Bowie’s new music bigger, tougher and sexier. He was the muscle in the mix," Bowie recalled, "Mick was the perfect foil for the Ziggy character, Ziggy and Mick were the personification of the rock & roll dualism". Ronson, who wrote the string arrangements for both Bowie's "Life on Mars?" and Lou Reed's "Perfect Day". John Mellencamp also said that Ronson helped save and arrange "Jack & Diane".
At the start of their relationship, Bowie and Defries became very close friends. Bowie described their relationship as a "marriage-made-in-heaven" and said they were "very, very strong buddies", even though he understood that if they had no business together, they probably wouldn't see each other.Defries believed that David Bowie was going to be a superstar and should be marketed under a brand name "Bowie". Defries determination and talent for promotion were a major contribution to Bowie's success.
Towards the end of 1973, and after a successful world tour, Bowie was living in London and Defries in New York.Bowie saw many musicians, producers and girlfriends come and go from his life, but Defries’ oversight remained constant. "It could be anything: business, what people see, girlfriends, Tony would orchestrate it all," said Ava Cherry. On top of the distance between them, their friendship began to deteriorate as Bowie developed a cocaine habit. Defries’ no tolerance to drugs policy and Bowie's increase in drug use created strain and estrangement between them.
The employment contract between MainMan and Bowie shared Bowie’s net royalties fifty-fifty. Although Bowie later came to resent the royalty split. "Defries helped make one key business decision that played a large role in allowing Bowie to take charge of his career: He negotiated the singer's 1970s RCA deals so the two would own the recording copyrights, a provision almost unheard of at the time. At the time, no one knew how valuable the rights to recordings would become -- or how important Bowie’s would be. According to Billboard's estimates, his recordings and publishing rights are now worth about $100 million -- and likely even more".
Due to Bowie's increased addiction to cocaine and heroin, which led to a paranoid suspicious environment on Bowie's part, Defries and Bowie could no longer work together so they came to a settlement in 1975 between RCA, Bowie, MainMan and Defries. Defries gave up personal management but retained a shared control of other aspects of Bowie's catalog and career that Bowie resented.
As Bowie and Defries co-owned the rights to everything they published and recorded together, Bowie would later require a large cash injection to buy Defries out. As a manageable way forward, David Pullman came up with the idea of securitising the intellectual property against future earnings.Resentment by Bowie against his former friend lingered, so Pullman dealt with Bowie and Defries separately. In an interview later Pullman said "It’s like a marriage. The flipside is Tony is very savvy. I didn’t realize he’s an attorney, not just a manager. Tony didn’t have anything to say about David. They helped each other early on. Tony taught him some of the things he learned along the way about owning things." In 1997 the Bowie Bonds began as a stock of $55 million and appeared on the cover of the Wall Street Journal.
In 2011 MainMan, Defries and others were sued by Capitol Records and others for alleged copyright infringement. MainMan and Defries denied the alleged infringement by claiming that "no rights concerning Mick Ronson, Iggy Pop, John Mellencamp or any other MainMan artists were ever sold to or shared with Bowie. These still belong to MainMan or their successors and have been wrongfully exploited by David or others, including the plaintiffs". "Plaintiffs secured a default judgment when no answer was timely filed consequently no inquiry was raised concerning personal jurisdiction, Defries told Law360".The default judgment against MainMan, Defries and others exceeded US$9 million.
In 1991, he founded IOTA Inc, a private technology research company which worked with major universities and government agencies on a range of communications and other technologies, securing a number of patents.Defries worked with Oxford University Communications Engineering Department and leading UK optical / photonic companies and research groups on the design and development of optical wireless technology.
In 2005 Defries founded Matter Inc, a Caltech/Stanford startup for plasmonic research and development with scientists from Stanford, California Institute of Technology and New York University to work on materials science, nanophotonics and energy related projects.
In 1975, Tony's long-term girlfriend, Melanie McDonald, gave birth to his oldest daughter, Fleur Dominique Defries. Tony married Marlene Weir in London, in 1986, and their daughter Tatiana Alexandra Defries was born in 1988.
David Robert JonesOAL, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Rolling Stone placed him among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and named him the "Greatest Rock Star Ever" following his death in 2016.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is the fifth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 16 June 1972 in the United Kingdom by RCA Records. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. Most of the songs were written around the same time as its predecessor Hunky Dory. After that album was completed, recording for Ziggy Stardust commenced in November 1971 at Trident Studios in London, with further sessions in early February 1972.
Michael Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. He achieved critical and commercial success working with David Bowie as one of the Spiders from Mars. He was a session musician who recorded five studio albums with Bowie followed by four with Ian Hunter, and also worked as a sideman in touring bands with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features contributions from Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey – as well as pianist Mike Garson, two saxophonists and three backing vocalists. It was recorded at Trident Studios in London and RCA Studios in New York City between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.
Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA Records. Following the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie took time off from recording and touring. He settled down to write new songs, composing on piano rather than guitar as on earlier tracks. Following a tour of the United States, Bowie assembled a new backing band consisting of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and began to record a new album in mid-1971 at Trident Studios in London. Future Yes member Rick Wakeman contributed on piano. Bowie co-produced the album with Ken Scott, who had engineered Bowie's previous two records.
David Bowie is the second studio album by English musician David Bowie. After the commercial failure of his 1967 self-titled debut album, Bowie acquired a new manager, Kenneth Pitt, who commissioned a promotional film in hopes of widening the artist's audience. For the film, Bowie wrote a new song, titled "Space Oddity", a tale about a fictional astronaut. The song earned Bowie a contract with Mercury Records, who agreed to finance production of a new album, with Pitt hiring Tony Visconti to produce. Due to his dislike of the song, Visconti appointed engineer Gus Dudgeon to produce a re-recording for release as a lead single, while he produced the rest of the album.
Diamond Dogs is the eighth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 24 May 1974 by RCA Records. Bowie produced the album and recorded it in early 1974 at Olympic and Island Studios in London and Ludolph Studios in the Netherlands, following the disbanding of his backing band the Spiders from Mars and the departure of producer Ken Scott. The absence of Mick Ronson led Bowie to play guitar on the record. The album featured the return of Tony Visconti, who had not worked with Bowie for four years; the two would collaborate for the rest of the decade. Musically, it was Bowie's final album in the glam rock genre, though some songs were influenced by funk and soul music, which Bowie embraced on his next album, Young Americans.
"Suffragette City" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was originally released in April 1972 as the B-side of the single "Starman" and subsequently appeared on his fifth studio album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). The song was later reissued as a single in 1976, with the US single edit of "Stay" as the B-side, to promote the compilation album Changesonebowie in the UK. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, it was recorded by Bowie at Trident Studios in London with his backing band the Spiders from Mars, consisting of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey, at a late stage of the album's sessions. The song was originally offered to English band Mott the Hoople, who declined it and recorded Bowie's "All the Young Dudes" instead. It is a glam rock song that is influenced by the music of Little Richard and the Velvet Underground. The lyrics include a reference to Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange and the famous lyric "wham bam, thank you, ma'am".
The Man Who Sold the World is the third studio album by English musician David Bowie. It was originally released by Mercury Records in the United States on 4 November 1970 and in the United Kingdom on 10 April 1971. The album was produced by Tony Visconti and recorded at Trident and Advision Studios in London during April and May 1970. It features the first appearances of guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick Woodmansey on a Bowie record, who would later become famous as members of the Spiders from Mars.
"Starman" is a song by English musician David Bowie. It was released in April 1972 by RCA Records as the lead single of his fifth studio album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Co-produced by Ken Scott, Bowie recorded the song on 4 February 1972 at Trident Studios in London with his backing band known as the Spiders from Mars – comprising guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey. The song was a late addition to the album, written as a direct response to RCA's Dennis Katz's request for a single; it replaced the Chuck Berry cover "Round and Round" on the album. The lyrics describe Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth's youth through the radio, salvation by an alien 'Starman'. The chorus is inspired by "Over the Rainbow", sung by Judy Garland, while other influences include T. Rex and the Supremes.
"Fame" is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was released on his 1975 album Young Americans and was later issued as the album's second single by RCA Records in July 1975. Written by Bowie, Carlos Alomar and former Beatle John Lennon, it was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City in January 1975. It is a funk rock song that represents Bowie's dissatisfaction with the troubles of fame and stardom.
"All the Young Dudes" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by the English rock band Mott the Hoople in 1972 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bowie, he gave the song to the band after they rejected Bowie's "Suffragette City". Bowie would subsequently record the song himself. Regarded as an anthem of glam rock, the song has received acclaim and was a commercial success. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated "All the Young Dudes" No. 253 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and on its 2010 update was ranked at number 256. It is also one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
"She Shook Me Cold" is a song written by David Bowie in 1970 for the album The Man Who Sold the World. Mick Ronson's solo guitar is influenced by hard rock as played by Cream, Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck. Although solely credited to Bowie, this and other songs from the album were constructed around jams by all of the musicians. Tony Visconti, who played bass on the track in addition to producing the entire album, was quoted as saying, "The songs were written by all four of us. We'd jam in a basement, and Bowie would just say whether he liked them or not."
"Song for Bob Dylan" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie for his 1971 album Hunky Dory. The song references Bob Dylan's 1962 homage to Woody Guthrie, "Song to Woody". Yet while Dylan opens with "Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song," Bowie addresses Dylan by his birth name saying, "Now, hear this, Robert Zimmerman, I wrote a song for you."
"Moonage Daydream" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was originally recorded in February 1971 at Radio Luxembourg's studios in London and released as a single by his short-lived band Arnold Corns in May 1971 on B&C Records. Bowie subsequently re-recorded the song later that year with his backing band the Spiders from Mars—comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey—for release on his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The re-recording was co-produced by Ken Scott and recorded at Trident Studios in London in November 1971. The re-recording is a glam rock song that uses melodic and harmonic hooks, as well as percussion and guitar influenced by heavy metal. On the album, the song directly introduces the character Ziggy Stardust, who describes himself as a bisexual alien rock superstar who will save the Earth from the impending disaster described in the opening track "Five Years". It features saxophone played by Bowie and a guitar solo and string arrangement by Ronson.
"Lady Stardust" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie that appeared on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). Co-produced by Ken Scott, Bowie recorded it with his backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. The song is generally interpreted as alluding to fellow glam rock icon Marc Bolan. The original demo version was entitled "He Was Alright ". A 4-track demo version of the song was sold as a picture disc single during the "David Bowie Is" exhibition in Japan in 2017.
Hype was a band formed by David Bowie in 1970. The band were originally titled 'The David Bowie Band' for their first gig on 22 February 1970 at the Roundhouse, London. The second Hype gig on 23 February at the Streatham Arms, London was performed under the name 'Harry the Butcher', for their third gig they were billed as 'David Bowie's New Electric Band' with the subtitle 'So New They Haven't Got A Name Yet'. Not to be confused with HYPE BAND, a children’s rock/pop band in the Philippines. Bowie settled on the name 'Hype'. "A phone call sparked a discussion over what to call themselves, with a chance remark – “The whole thing is just one big hype” – providing a name that seemed to suit". The band has been credited with helping to form the glam rock scene in the 1970s. The band was also the debut for Mick Ronson when they played at the Roundhouse supporting Noel Redding's Fat Mattress on 22 February 1970.
Kevin Armstrong is an English rock guitarist, record producer and songwriter, best known for his work with David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Morrissey.
"Soul Love" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, it features Bowie's backing band known as the Spiders from Mars – comprising guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey. It was recorded on 12 November 1971 at Trident Studios in London and features a saxophone solo from Bowie and a guitar solo from Ronson. Lyrically, the song is about numerous characters dealing with love before the impending disaster that will destroy Earth as described in the opening track "Five Years".
Paul Trynka is a British rock journalist and author. He was the editor of the music magazine Mojo from 1999 to 2003, and has also worked as editorial director of Q and editor of International Musician. In 2004, he edited publisher Dorling Kindersley's compilation of the Mojo Special Limited Edition issues on the Beatles. He has also written for The Independent and Classic Rock magazine, and contributed articles on music, fashion, design or travel for The Guardian, Elle and Blueprint, among other publications. Before turning to journalism, he worked as a professional musician, recording albums for the Beggars Banquet and Fantasy record labels.