North West bands and venues can profit from their own speciality blends
From Drury’s ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ to fawning groupies and halcyon tours, band culture has long been awash with romanticised stereotypes.
But the reality for many musicians is somewhat less glamorous: less about decadent days of youth on the road, more about trying to make a living in what can at times be a very gruelling industry.
“Often, at gigs, they just want a nice brew,” laughs Jason Palmer-Dawson; whose new business Rocks Off Coffee partners with bands and organisations to create unique speciality coffee. “Especially those in my age bracket (35-45). A lot of collaborations like ours focus on alcohol but we wanted to start with something different.”
Palmer-Dawson launched Rocks Off in October, following eight years of working in music; first as a photographer and then as founder of Flick of the Finger - a digital magazine, artist management company and record label.
When COVID-19 struck, forcing the industry (and Flick of the Finger) to a standstill, he was forced to adapt. And so, inspired by a love of travel and sampling coffee worldwide, the Rocks Off subsidiary was born.
As well as offering its own line - including The Rebel Rebel, The Anarchist, The Modernist and The Eyeball Tickler - Rocks Off partners with bands, events and venues to create their own ‘guest coffees’ via a menu of beans and flavours. Profits are split 50/50 and partners can also choose to share proceeds with charities like Music Venue Trust, ensuring vital support for an industry devastated by the pandemic.
Current blends include The Music and Space Monkeys, with more (including collabs with several Liverpool bands) to be announced soon. Meanwhile a special one-off coffee will see 100% of profits donated to Manchester nightclub 42’s which, after being threatened with closure due to the coronavirus crisis, recently launched a successful crowdfunder.
Future plans include a mobile gig café that will pitch up at festivals, and a range of boozy bevs - for now, though, it’s all about the coffee. Both single origin and blends are available via the Rocks Off online shop and wholesale; all ethically sourced, freshly roasted to order and sustainably packaged.
Palmer-Dawson said: “It’s just great to be working again. I love music and the industry and I’m gutted we all can’t go to gigs at the moment. Cancelling three tours and several shows up and down the county has been very depressing, I’m sure it’s been the same for many others too. After music, coffee is my second obsession so it was a natural progression really. It’s also great to be able to help others that we’ve met along the way in the past eight years that are in similar situations.”
Stay tuned and get your Rocks Off at rocksoffcoffee.com.