Copies of Steve Jenkins' autobiography on sale ahead of our game against Coventry...
WALSALL-born, Steve Jenkins has enjoyed a fantastic career in the music industry that has seen him awarded over 260 platinum, gold and silver discs and work alongside some of the biggest names in the business.
The 58 year-old Saddlers' fanatic has put all of his fascinating stories from over three successful decades into print in his autobiography, 'The Future is in the History'.
The book centres on his time as a music producer but also includes stories of growing up in and around Walsall and his great passion for Walsall FC, which began half-a-century ago and is still as strong today as it has ever been.
Copies of the book will be on sale from the Priory Lounge ahead of Bank Holiday Monday’s game against Coventry City. Steve will also be on hand to sign copies and share his memories.
It's interesting to note that part of the inspiration behind him writing the book came from penning a regular column in our Matchday Programme!
"A few years back I was asked to write a column for the programme, which I did for a few seasons," he recalled. "I really enjoyed it and it gave me the confidence to write.
"Around the same time there was an exhibition of my work at Walsall Museum and whilst doing all the press and media for that, people were constantly telling me that I should write a book on my experiences.
"I had no intention of doing so, but the more people told me it would be a good idea, alongside a little gentle persuasion from my wife, Susan, it convinced me to at least look into the possibility.
"I made a start under no pressure, with no contracts agreed, promises made or deadlines to meet, just to see how things panned out. It didn't take long for me to decide that I really enjoyed it and everything went from there.
"I was adamant that I didn't want a ghost-writer; I wanted it to be a true reflection of me and my story and the only way I was going to achieve that was by writing the book myself.
"On reflection, writing a book is like life; you go through some highs and some lows. If you are to be totally honest you have to go back and unlock the bad times, which can be a very painful process but is essential if you are to get the essence of the book right.
"The story starts with me growing up in Walsall and goes through to the halcyon days of Jive Records, the World's number one independent record label, and all the artists that I have worked with over the years.
"For me, the book works on three levels. Level one is that the various artists and records spark different memories for people from that particular time in their own lives. Level two is that there have been no prominent books ever written on the record business in the UK and how it worked in its heyday; the stories I tell reveal how the artists were discovered, how their hit songs were put together and delves behind-the-scenes on the tours.
"Finally, the third level is that I wanted to inspire young people to chase their dreams. My story shows that whilst it is very difficult, it is possible to achieve something with hard work and dedication. I want to inspire the youth of today and if I can do that for at least one kid, I will be happy.
"'Chasing your Dream' was actually the working title of the book, but with the record business being in trouble in the modern era, I made a comment in an interview that the future of the business was in its history and the title we eventually went for evolved from that.
"The book took a total of three years to write and I have learned a lot about the writing process during this time. They say that women are much more organised and regimented in their writing style. They will start at a set time each day and work for a consistent number of hours on a regular basis, whereas men write more inspirationally with no routine and a cavalier approach.
"I tried to write like a woman - but failed miserably!
"Some days I would sit down and just write for hours and hours, then I wouldn't do anything for days on end. What this process did tell me beyond any doubt is that I am most definitely a man!
"I am delighted with the finished product. If I am being honest, it has turned out better than I expected and I can't wait for others to read it and give me their feedback."
It was during our Division Two campaign of 1961/62 that Steve attended his first Saddlers' game as a wide-eyed eight year-old. "It was my grandad who took me to my first game," he recalled. "Dad used to work for Co-op on Bridge Street, so he was always at work on a Saturday, but grandad would take me to the matches. Dad was a fan too and would always attend the midweek games.
"I was hooked on it pretty much straightaway. My first hero was Allan Clarke; I was fortunate to see his time at the club and then watched his career develop after that.
"Colin Taylor was another of my favourites - I have never seen anyone hit a ball as hard as him!"
A few years ago, through the Official Walsall FC website, we broke the story that Britney Spears was a Walsall fan, but have any of his other artists taken an interest in the club?
"I would always be telling them about the latest goings on at the club and would have memorabilia in my office, which was always a talking point," he went on. "I've had many conversations with Britney about the club, but most of the time she would have a glazed look on her face as I celebrated a victory or lamented a defeat.
"I remember R. Kelly was over here once for a concert at the NEC. I took Chris Marsh along with me and they chatted back stage after the gig.
"A few days later we played Leeds in the FA Cup and Match of the Day showed extended highlights. I was watching it and Marshy scored before being interviewed afterwards. R. Kelly was in the room at the time and got pretty excited that the guy he met a few days earlier was on TV!
"Of all the artists that I worked with over the years, R. Kelly was the most talented. He had 27 hit records over 14 years but not only that, he could sing, play instruments, perform and record - the complete package."
There are a wealth of stories contained within 'The Future is in the History' by Steve Jenkins. Make sure you get your copy…