Founder, Eleven: A Music Company & John Watson Management
Q. What’s your link to Townsville?
Like my parents and grandparents, I was born and raised in Townsville. I went to Ignatius Park and James Cook University before moving to Sydney when I was 20 to pursue a career in music.
Q. Where are you now?
I live in Surry Hills with my family — my wife Belinda, our 16-year-old son and our daughters, who are 14 and 11. My company manages musicians like Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Missy Higgins, The Presets, Gotye, Silverchair and Birds Of Tokyo. It’s our responsibility to oversee their recording and touring careers so it’s never boring. We also have a record label.
Q. What project are you currently working on?
We’re just coming off the back of new album rollouts for Missy and The Presets. Over the last few years I’ve also been very involved in helping Jimmy Barnes’ with his memoirs and the associated live shows.
Q. How did your time in Townsville set you up for success?
In the early 80s I worked part-time at two record stores in Townsville (Wavelength and Pet Sounds). The things I learned there gave me a fantastic grounding in music and what drives people to consume it. While I was working there I got a Cold Chisel poster from a gig at the old Dean Park Soundshell and put it on my bedroom wall. That same poster is now on my office wall as the band’s manager, so it sums up a 35-year journey.
Q. Do you still come ‘home’ to Townsville to visit?
I used to get up there two or three times a year to visit Mum but since her funeral in early 2016 I’ve only been back once for Midnight Oil’s gig last year. I still have some close friends up there including the couple who owned those record stores, Gary and Susan Hunn, and their family with whom we’re very close.