Geoff Travis - Biography


Travis was born on 2 February 1952 in Stoke Newington, London. Travis is an alumnus of Owens School and Churchill College, Cambridge. He worked as a drama teacher before opening the original Rough Trade record shop in Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London on 23 February 1976, setting up the record label two years later. He claimed that he chose the location because it was close to Powis Square, where Performance, one of his favourite films, was made. Travis was also instrumental in the foundation of the independent distribution network The Cartel. While Rough Trade was a key independent label, Travis also co-ran labels with major record companies, including Blanco y Negro (with WEA) and Trade2 (with Island Records).

Rough Trade was home to The Smiths, but by 1986, after three years on the label, the band were in dispute over finances. The song "Frankly Mr. Shankly" from The Queen is Dead was reportedly a jibe at Travis. The label was wound up in 1994 after briefly being revived in partnership with One Little Indian, but revived by Travis in 2001 with breakthrough acts The Strokes and The Libertines..

Writer Douglas Wolk credited Travis as virtually defining "the British post-punk sound", and XFM viewed his impact on independent music as greater than anyone else's in the country.

Geoff Travis was raised in Finchley.

His brother Alan is Home Editor of The Guardian.

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