Bruce Findlay was practically born into the record industry as his mother ran a record shop.
He worked for a stint in a bank and had a brief flirtation with the RAF, but always worked in the
record shop at weekends.
He took off at 17, hitch hiking to to Morocco, Spain and France, and arrived back in Glasgow just as The Beatles
were taking off, returning to the record shop as manager. After specializing in imports (Tamla Motown, Stax and
Atlantic) he took off again, travelling to Majorca to work in a beach bar for six months.
In the late sixties, after a brief spell in a record shop in London in 1967, he started a record shop in Edinburgh with his brother. Bruce's,
which becomes best known independent chain in Scotland, ultimately grew to 13 shops.
In 1970, spurred by the Commonwealth games being hosted in Edinburgh, he tried to arrange a free concert by The Grateful Dead.
The council turned him down, but he was approached by the Lord Provost a couple of years later who
suggested that he promote a series of concerts. He ended up booking Can, Procul Harem, Fairport Convention
and The Incredible String Band and organising folk concerts for the Edinburgh Festival.
Island Records approached him with funding to start a label. His first suggestion of Cafe Jacques were turned down
by Island, so he became their manager instead, and signed them with CBS Records. He was the manager of the band from
1975 through to 1977, but became tired of it as it wasn't working out.
Meanwhile the chain of record shops started to suffer from competition, so Bruce sold them to Guinness. They retained
him as an advisor on the board. So, with more time on this hands, he founded Zoom Records with distribution by
Arista. It was a singles label only, with finance from Arista for seven or eight releases a year.
Bruce quickly released singles by The Values, Questions, PVC2
and The Zones throughout 1977.
Therefore when Simple Minds supported Generation X in Edinburgh,
Jim and David Henderson paid a visit to Bruce
Findlay, as he was the main man in Scotland to see.
Bruce was well known as giving straightforward and informative advice to new bands.
He had previously seen Johnny And The Self Abusers
supporting Generation X the previous year, but
hadnít remembered them.
After leaving a demo tape, the two departed - Bruce couldnít see the band that night, but his assistant,
Brian Hogg, was able to catch the Minds - and he
raved about them.
To the extent that Bruce played their demo tape, thought it was incredible, and then drove to Glasgow to see
them at the Mars Bar. He was blown away.
For the later half of 1978, he neglected his record shops by driving the band to gigs, hustling for dates, and
talking though the night with them about their plans and desires.
He also raved to them to his distribution and marketing bosses, Arista Records. He told them that Simple
Minds were already too good to be signed to his singles label, but the band were hungry to sign to an independent.
Arista, hungry for new talent, signed them in a separate deal through Zoom in November 1978.