Paul Dainty was arguably the top Australian rock promoter of the 1970s. The list of major international artists he brought to Australasia in that period features some of the biggest tours to hit this country, including Yes, Lou Reed, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones. In an industry where bluster, ego and arrogance are usually considered valuable job skills, the urbane, softly-spoken Dainty stands out because of his laid-back style and his reserved personal manner. As Dainty himself observed in Stuart Coupe's book The Promoters, he is considered something of a loner in the blokey world of rock promotion: "I don't run with them and hang out with them. Gudinski and Coppel chat to each other." Dainty had always been a "big ticket" promoter. He quite happy to leave breaking acts and 'fringe' performers to former employees like Michael Chugg and say that his expertise is in "chasing a Neil Diamond or Bee Gees or Rolling Stones or a U2 ... what I call event entertainment."

Paul Dainty was born in the UK and first came to Australia in the early '70s as an employee of the UK agency that represented Roy Orbison. Despite the shambolic nature of that tour which Dainty was assigned to manage, he sensed the opportunities available to a capable promoter, even though his UK bosses had a low opinion of Australian promoters. The combination of the distance, time and costs involved prevented many acts of the Australia here, although  of slapdash local promotion and inadequate venues provided further disincentives.

When he returned to Australia, he became friends with veteran entrepreneur Kenn Brodziak, from whom he rented his first office. Dainty recalls Kenn as "a canny, smart impresario ... he was the classic: cigar smoking, very wise and a very nice guy." Dainty set up his own company, The Paul Dainty Corporation, and began bringing oversas acts into the country, always targeting the biggest acts he could sign.

At that time there were no large indoor venues in any major Australian city -- Sydney's only large indoor arena, the 10,000-seat Sydney Stadium, had closed in mid-1970 and the Sydney Entertainment Centre would not built for another decade. Most tours of that period either played multiple dates at smaller venues like the Hordern Pavilion or large shows  in outdoors arenas like the Sydney Showground or Melbourne's Kooyong Tennis Centre, where they were vulnerable to the vaguaries of the weather. Early Dainty tours had to contend with the sometimes primitive conditions, and on one of his first promotions (the 1973 tour by The Jackson 5) the Perth venue was an Olympic swimming pool which held 5000 people, with the group playing on a tiny stage that Dainty had specially built over the pool.

Although there were numerous obsctacles and the potential hazards were great, Dainty enjoyed great success with his early tours, including Cat Stevens, The Kinks, The Hollies, Freddie & The Dreamers, Gerry & The Pacemakers and the landmark 1972 tour by The Bee Gees. Dainty recalled to Stuart Coupe that one of his biggest early challenges was deciding whether he could get away with charging the then outrageous price of $6.50 for Cat Stevens tickets, but he gambled that Setvens was one of the hottest acts in the world at that time and that the market could bear it, and it paid off handsomely.

Dainty next tour was the one that really established him as a major name. While in London, he received a call from Peter Rudge, the tour manager for The Rolling Stones, who had heard about the success of the Cat Stevens tour from Stevens' manager Rudge visited Dainty later that day, and after a long evening of drinking and talking Rudge announced "Right, you've got the tour." Dainty didn't have the kind of money needed to finance such a venture, however but, by luck, when he and his partner went to the ANZ Bank in London to raise a loan, the bank manager they encoutered turned out to be the father of record producer and former Abbey Road engineer Chris Thomas (Roxy Music, The Sex Pistols, The Pretenders) and he agreed to loan Dainty the £100,000 pounds needed for the deposit on the tour.

The 1973 Australian visit by The Rolling Stones was a landmark event, and it made Dainty's name as a promoter. Not surprisingly, there were of course more than a few 'incidents' surrounding Keith Richards, but these were handled without undue fuss and the tour's success created a lasting relationship with the Stones, paving the way for their 1995 'Voodoo Lounge' tour and their 2003 tour.

Circa 1975 the Dainty Corporation acquired the coveted Clair Brothers PA system that had been built and brought to Australia by Roy Clair and Bruce Jackson for the 1973 tour by Blood, Sweat & Tears. To save on tranpsort costs, it had been left in Australia in Jands' care after the band departed, so that it could be used for another tour later in the year by Johnny Cash and The Carter Family. The purchase of the Clair Bros PA (plus a lighting rig created by Billy McCartney) was instigated by Dainty tour manager Ron Blackmore, primarily to service the needs of the Dainty Corp. tours, and it was widely used by international touring acts over the next few years.

Following the Rolling Stones 1995 tour, Dainty became involved with Kerry Packer's Consolidated Press Entertainment with his former tour manager, Michael Chugg. 

References / Links

Stuart Coupe
The Promoters (Publisher, year)

Grahame Harrison, Colin Baldwin & Julius Grafton
30 Years of Rock Lighting and Sound in Australia