[INTERVIEW] Ruby Munslow

If you had told the feminists of the 60s and 70s that fifty years from then we would still be discussing a woman’s place in the music business, they would likely have been horrified. Having said that, they had probably never met a female manager, or roadie, or technician. They would certainly never have met a young woman like Ruby Tuesday Munslow, who is part of the quiet yet undeniable force of female power set to upset traditionally male dominated roles, like touring, in the near future.

Despite only graduating from Southampton Solent University this summer, she has already been appointed assistant tour manager for Peter Doherty and the Puta Madres. And of course, the subject of inequality and prejudice on the road soon arose in our conversation.

“I’ve of course experienced sexism in my line of work, I’ve had work turned down on me as I said I had a boyfriend,” she says with a hint of despondency. “I’ve had people ask about my sexual relationship with band members… as of course this is the only way I was given the job,” she adds half in frustration, half sarcastic. Perhaps most revealing weren’t the chauvinist jeers, but the “looks of bewilderment” she still gets from the ordinary person when she points out that she is “in fact the assistant tour manager”.

Munslow admits that the dominance of men in the touring industry will be difficult to break. “But by speaking up we can encourage more women to get involved, if they like. It’s especially important for men to speak up, also.” One such man who has been especially key in her development is the artist and official photographer for Primal Scream, Grant Fleming – who she first met when she was 16.

“I was backstage with Primal Scream and he took a shine to me after I chewed Bobby’s ear off about a revolution” she says. This friendship then grew as she helped him with some of his exhibitions, which then led to her introduction to writer and musician Simon Mason. It begins to feel like a game of Guess Who as she tells me Mason later invited her to a Libertines gig, having toured with Peter Doherty himself. “I went to Bournemouth and unexpectedly got an interview with Peter” she adds. Doherty took a similar liking to Munslow, as her enthusiasm and love for music shone through their conversation, and he later asked if she’d be interested in the managerial role. “It’s now been a few years and we have toured France, Germany, visited Montreal, and played a number of festivals,” she tells me with a clear sense of well-deserved satisfaction.

With her talks of ‘revolution’, innocent name checks and musings of the future dynamics of the music industry” she muses, it’s difficult to remember just how young and new to the business Munslow is. “I’m actually thinking of some time off from the music industry, it’s great but I never had time out since I finished university, so I plan to travel for a while.” With her undeniable talent and unrelenting enthusiasm, it’s difficult to believe her ‘time off’ will last very long.

Any final pearls of wisdom before she heads off into the horizon of her ‘holiday’? She laughs, “Keep on keeping on. Don’t let yourself be questioned about your job goals because of your gender, if you want to haul amps across a muddy field for your job, fucking go girl.”

Words by Briony Warsop

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