David Enthoven RIP - Richard Norris
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David Enthoven RIP

I received a call some time in 1991 from a man with a sonorous Chelsea accent, who seemed to be in a state of rather delightful agitation. “I’ve just heard your first album,” he said. “It reminded me of the first Roxy Music album. I cried when I heard it. I must manage you.” So began a great and fruitful period in the Grid’s – and my – life. Being managed by the irreplaceable David Enthoven, who died yesterday.

We were impressed with David from the off. He was the E out of EG records, home to Eno, Harold Budd and all manner of other sonic delights. In the seventies he seemed to be playing management top trumps and holding most of the cards – he looked after Roxy Music, King Crimson, ELP, Marc Bolan (he came up with the name T Rex).

David came to manage the Grid at a time when we were both a bit of a crossroads. The Grid had been dropped by Warners after one album and spend six months in limbo without a record deal, which could easily have been the end of the band. It would have been for most. Luckily, we had a champion in Boy George, who asked us to remix one of his songs and convinced Simon Draper at Virgin to sign us. Simon called David, David called us.

David had been on sabbatical for a while, I got the impression that his wild years had left him a little outside the music business, and he needed something new to sink his teeth into. And that he did. The time we spent putting the Grid ‘456’ album together was a golden period for us, and wouldn’t have been the same without David. He introduced us to Robert Fripp, who came and played magnificently on the album with great glee and for no fee. He got us to remix Eno, and be remixed by Eno in return – Eno’s 18 remixes of ‘Heartbeat’ came with a letter containing diagrams and a filthy joke. Dagmar Krause from Henry Cow, Phil Manzenera and Andy Mackay from Roxy were also enlisted, at David’s request. That period living on Golborne Rd W10, with Virgin Records, Eastcote studios, our PR, club promo, designer and publisher all operating within a few metres of each other on Kensal Road, will always stay with me. And it was David who orchestrated some of its finest moments.

Around this time the Grid’s percussion player Pablo had begun playing with Robbie Williams. When it was clear Robbie was looking for a new manager it was natural that he was pointed in David’s direction. David, Robbie, Tim Clark and the ie management crew made a great team.

I will mainly remember his humour, his great kindness, his deep, genuine interest in people, his ability to say and do the right thing in times of difficulty. And his stories. Many of which are unprintable. I particularly enjoyed the one he told me of ‘borrowing’ (ahem, stealing) John Barry’s canary yellow E-type Jag in the late sixties, so he could drive it up the Kings Road for a laugh.

When I was needing advice on a new record deal a few weeks ago, I emailed David. I hadn’t seen him for 15 years but instead of just replying to the email, he asked me and my bandmate Martin in for a meeting, went through the contract, and pulled Tim out of his meeting to laugh at one of it’s clauses. I left with a bear hug and an open invitation of help.

David Enthoven was of the most caring, kind hearted people I ever met. And possessor of the filthiest laugh. RIP old chap. You were one of the best. XX