Experts in the history of British rock music have waded into the fight to save the venue where the Rolling Stones first "cut their teeth".
Author and Director of Musicology at Kansas University, Dr Roberta Freund Schwartz, and ex-editor of MOJO magazine, Paul Trynka, have added their voices to the cries of local campaigners desperate to conserve the musical heritage of The Ealing Club.
The Ealing Club, currently known as the Red Rooms, is being threatened with demolition by developers Benson Elliott, a property investment company who bought up a large part of Ealing town centre in 2012.
Paul Trynka is the author of acclaimed biographies of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, was editor of MOJO, the international bible of rock’n’roll music, and has written about music and popular culture for publications including Elle, Blueprint, The Wire, Shortlist, Inventory and most of the UK’s broadsheets.
He said: “It’s doubtful that any other music venue was as important in the development of rock music in Europe; the Cavern Club, demolished and then ‘reconstructed’ was home only to The Beatles, whereas the Ealing Club helped launch a whole wave of music.
“Although its history stretches back just 50 years, this small building is as important a slice of history as the Roman or Georgian remains that are protected by statute; its loss would be a tragedy; what looks like a quick profit for developers would be an irreparable loss for London, and the country as a whole.”
The Ealing Club was the home of Blues Incorporated and it is for this reason that Dr Schwartz lectures on The Ealing Club in Kansas, USA. She is also the author of 'How Britain Got the Blues: The Transmission and Reception of American Blues Style in the United Kingdom'.
She said: “Without understanding the vital role played by Blues Incorporated and the movement that it inspired at that location, it is impossible to fully comprehend how, less than a decade after rock’s emergence, British musicians became the primary innovators in the genre. Blues rock, progressive rock, art rock, hard rock and heavy metal are all outgrowths of the British R&B movement, which got its start at The Ealing Club.
“Without the Ealing club, there would have been no Rolling Stones, Cream, Yardbirds, Pretty Things, or Led Zeppelin, nor any of the bands they subsequently inspired; in short, most of the rock music created after 1963. The Ealing Club deserves the same reverence in posterity as Sun Records in Memphis, the Grand Old Opry in Nashville (where Elvis Presley got his start), and the Cavern Club in Liverpool, perhaps even more so, as its influence on the entire history of rock is so significant.”
A spokesman from Londonewcastle said: “The new accessible and welcoming town centre pedestrian route we are proposing between the station and The Broadway means it is not possible to keep the current building that houses the Red Room club in its basement.
"We have had a number of interesting approaches from organisations that would like a creative space within our site, ranging from music, through to comedy and film. We will explore these ideas and, in conjunction with the council and other stakeholders, see what might be appropriate for our upcoming planning application. This will need to bear in mind progress and plans at other key locations such as the town centre’s growing Cultural Quarter.”
Information about the consultation can be requested via info@9-42TheBroadway.com or freephone 0800 881 5430. All consultation materials will be published on www.9-42TheBroadway.com from January 29. A planning application will be submitted in the Spring.