• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Kai Davidson

Care worker, music promoter and manager; Born September 8, 1962; Died June 13, 2007. KAI Davidson, who has died aged 44, was manager of the Proclaimers during the group's formative years and a tireless promoter of musical acts; he also showed great compassion to disadvantaged children and adults as a care worker.

Care worker, music promoter and manager; Born September 8, 1962; Died June 13, 2007.

Loading article content

KAI Davidson, who has died aged 44, was manager of the Proclaimers during the group's formative years and a tireless promoter of musical acts; he also showed great compassion to disadvantaged children and adults as a care worker.

If things had gone to plan, earlier this month Davidson would have been at the Citrus Club in Edinburgh watching Vic Godard and Subway Sect, the first-generation London punk band that was such a huge influence on the capital's music scene. The band was supposed to be staying at Davidson's high-rise flat in Restalrig, Edinburgh, a friendlier alternative to decidedly un-rock'n'roll B&Bs.

As it was, an array of elder statesmen from a personal and professional network - some might call it an underground - that had grown out of punk was in attendance, though their suits and black ties were a giveaway. Because, the afternoon of the gig, after his body had been discovered outside the flat where he lived alone, Davidson's packed humanist funeral played host to a roll-call of friends and colleagues.

Whether as a tireless promoter, as a member of crucial but unsung bands such as the Cateran and the Joyriders, as an early manager of the Proclaimers before they became international stars, or largely as a lifelong fan, music was a matter of great importance to Davidson. Not for nothing did his funeral open to the sounds of the Ramones' call to arms, Blitzkreig Bop, and close with Motorhead's equally thrilling Ace of Spades.

By the end of the weekend, Glasgow band the Beat Poets had dedicated a song to Davidson during its West End Festival set, and other acts such as the Thanes had added tributes to the resounding praise of Craig and Charlie Reid, who as the Proclaimers had been guided by Davidson to their early successes.

It is a shame that such recognition occurred only after such a tragedy, although the attention is something that Davidson - whose depression had been brought on by a debilitating lung disease - would never have courted, despite his in-built promoter's penchant for good publicity.

The secret gig by the late Seattle-born grunge star Kurt Cobain's band Nirvana, which played Edinburgh's Southern Bar in 1991 at the behest of Davidson and the Joyriders, is today regarded as legend.

Born in Lerwick, Shetland, in 1962, Davidson grew up in in Inverness, where, despite being as far away from a metropolitan scene as possible, he latched on to a nascent punk scene when still in his early teens. In 1977, he formed his first band with friends from school. If decent society's reaction to punk was one of horror, the Hormones' occasional gigs before a handful of like-minded souls ran the gauntlet of what was then a particularly puritanical back-water.

It was this initial unleashing of creative energy during his formative years, though, that carried Davidson to the centre of things in later life. Landing in Edinburgh in 1980, Davidson played in assorted bands, one of which, Reasons for Emotion, also featured Craig and Charlie Reid. When the band split up and the Reids formed the Proclaimers in 1983, Davidson became the group's first manager during the period leading up to the band's debut TV appearance on Channel4's The Tube in January 1987, and the release of its debut album, This is the Story, later that year.

By the time he left the Proclaimers to their own world-conquering devices, Davidson was playing bass with the Cateran, a group of similarly-styled Edinburgh-based Invernessian expats, including life-long friend Murdo MacLeod alongside Sandy MacPherson, Cameron Fraser and Andy Milne. The Cateran played a form of hardcore punk, and modelled their sound on Husker Du and the Dead Kennedys. In 1989, the Cateran was asked to support the then relatively-unknown Nirvana on its first UK tour.

Chaos ensued, with the Scots more than holding their own both onstage and off with the future superstars, as they also did supporting Grant Hart, formerly of Husker Du, and with the Lemonheads' Evan Dando. A final Cateran album, Ache, was released in May of that year, and a single the following March, before the band split in 1991.

Davidson and MacLeod formed the Joyriders, which, despite being tipped for great things, over the next four years managed to release only two singles. While both were made NME singles of the week, the Joyriders' most memorable moment came through their renewed association with Kurt Cobain. By the end of 1991 Nirvana was touring its breakthrough album, Nevermind, and a secret fundraising show for Edinburgh's Sick Children's Hospital was arranged in the Southern Bar.

For someone so clearly concerned about others, Davidson's move into social work was an obvious extension, and no-one who came into contact with Davidson ever found a bad word to say about him. The music industry's excesses may have taken their personal toll, but Davidson remained active, and planned to teach English abroad.

At a recent festival in Dingwall, the Proclaimers dedicated a song to Davidson, who was in attendance. As recent events have proved, it would not be the last song dedicated to a man who had given so much to so many. His four children, Katrin, Kai-Scott, Keira and Sonny, who survive him alongside his parents, two sisters and a brother, Calum, will know this most of all.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

PARCH1.860542