Have A Cigar: Saluting The Scene's Supporting Crew

The former City banker exchanged his old life for a new one in music when he became The Enid’s road manager.

It’s about 90 miles between Canary Wharf, the financial heart of the City of London, and The Lodge, The Enid’s recording studio-cum-home in Northampton. For Duncan McLaughlin, however, it’s a lifetime away. A former financial ombudsman with HSBC bank, he left a successful career in finance earlier this year to “join the circus” and move in with the band as their road manager,

“I am used to working to keep the shareholders happy,” he says. “This is 3,000 times more real.” McLaughlin, a close friend and former bandmate of The Enid’s vocalist Joe Payne, received a call earlier this year that would change his life. “I was in banking for 10 years,” he recalls. “That stopped at the end of last year and I was looking for a change. Joe called me when they came back from Germany [where the band have a private studio] and said they needed someone to help them take care of the day-to-day rubbish so they could get on with the act of creating. And I thought I was destined to have a normal life and a pension!”

So far, McLaughlin’s immersion in The Enid’s world has been all-encompassing. His role (“not so much a job, more a way of life,” he reckons) has seen him move into The Lodge with the rest of the band, and tackling anything that gets in the way of The Enid creating music. One day he might be doing banking reconciliations; the next he might be filming a documentary. His self-appointed title of ‘road manager’ doesn’t quite seem to cover it.

“Intense is a good word to use. What I really like, and you rarely find it in any other industry, is that these guys are madly passionate to do the best they can, and they drive one another so hard to get the best out of each other – that’s a real blessing to observe.”

Next year, the band go back on tour and release a new LP, Dust, meaning McLaughlin’s workload will increase. But the ex-banker, who considered himself a “square peg in a round hole” in his former life, wouldn’t swap it for anything. “It’s good to do do something that makes me happy for once.”

For more, visit theenid.co.uk.