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Fame: Derek Shulman

How did you deal with having a smash hit single with Kites in 1967 when you were with Simon Dupree And The Big Sound?

It changed everything. What we didn’t like was what went with pop stardom. That wasn’t what we started the band for.

Is that what led to the band splitting up?

Completely. We got paid big money to play clubs. But all people wanted were our hits.

Gentle Giant got a lot of respect for their music, but little commercial success. Were you happier with that than with pop fame?

We didn’t sell millions of records, but didn’t do badly. We were never a commercial flop. We were a cult band, which was fine.

When you became an A&R man did you look for talent or artists who’d sell millions?

I tried to strike a balance. I knew the business heads were after big success, but I also encouraged the artists I signed to be creative.

Were you able to use your experience of fame to guide bands like Bon Jovi?

Quite a lot. I tried to get across to them that fame is always fleeting, but if they do the right things, they could build a long career.

How do you react when people claim you helped to shape the ‘big hair’ music phenomenon of the eighties?

Delighted. That was a great era for music, and I’m proud I played a part. But I was more than a big-hair man; I also signed Dream Theater and Pantera.

Do you ever wish you’d had more fame as a musician?

To me, what mattered was making quality music that would last. And with Gentle Giant we did that.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.