Jools Holland: Government must support musicians amid the pandemic

Jools Holland says the Government must support musicians, who cannot work even if they want to.

The musician and TV presenter, 62, has returned with his famous Later… With Jools Holland series, filmed from his South London recording studio because of the pandemic.

He told the PA news agency: “A lot of the musicians who work with me, lots of musicians everywhere, they’re self-employed…

“What really is important is that the Government support musicians because musicians won’t be able to work.

Jools Holland with Robert Plant (BBC)
Jools Holland with Robert Plant (BBC)

“It’s no good saying: ‘You’ve got to go back to work now,’ because they can’t. There isn’t any.'”

And he added: “It’s harder now because … downloads of music means these people aren’t getting the money from records any more. So it’s a double whammy.”

The pianist and bandleader said singers and musicians trying to break into the industry are struggling with the closure of live music venues.

“It’s particularly difficult for anybody trying to do new music at the moment. It was hard enough anyway with small venues struggling,” Holland said.

“Now, there’s nowhere for you to do a gig… there’s no money from live gigs, so it’s very difficult.”

Holland, who chats to former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and is joined by Declan McKenna on the next episode of his BBC Two show, is enjoying broadcasting from his recording studio, saying it is more “intimate” than the TV studio.

“We also discovered that by having the person at the end of the piano, it is the perfect length of keeping a person socially distanced,” he said.

He hopes to bring back the TV fixture Jools’ Annual Hootenanny on New Year’s Eve, albeit in a smaller form than usual.

“We want to have one,” he said. “Also, I think the country wants to have New Year’s Eve.

“We are planning to do something. It might have to be scaled back because of the amount of people we would be allowed to have in the studio. But it’s good to have the year marked, so we can move on to the next year,” he said.

Holland said of the power of music: “When you listen to the right thing first thing in the morning, everything is kind of better. It might be Bach, it might be boogie woogie – but enjoy it.”

Later… With Jools Holland continues Friday nights at 10pm on BBC Two.