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Geoff Travis

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Geoff Travis
Travis in 2016
Born (1952-02-02) 2 February 1952 (age 72)
Stoke Newington, London
OccupationRecord company/record shop manager
Years activeMid-1970s–present
Known forHead of Rough Trade Records

Geoff Travis (born 2 February 1952) is the founder of both Rough Trade Records and the Rough Trade chain of record shops.[1] A former drama teacher[2] and owner of a punk record shop,[3] Travis founded the Rough Trade label in 1978.[4]


Travis was born on 2 February 1952 in Stoke Newington, London, and was raised in Finchley.[5] He is Jewish, his ancestors emigrated from Romania and Ukraine.[6] Travis studied English at Churchill College, Cambridge.[7] 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.[8][9] He claimed that he chose the location because it was close to Powis Square, where Performance, one of his favourite films, was made.[10] Travis was also instrumental in the foundation of the independent distribution network The Cartel.[9] While Rough Trade was a key independent label, Travis also co-ran labels with major record companies, including Blanco y Negro in 1983 (with WEA) and Trade2 (with Island Records).[9]

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.[11] 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.[9][12]

Writer Douglas Wolk credited Travis as virtually defining "the British post-punk sound",[13] and XFM viewed his impact on independent music as greater than anyone else's in the country.[14]

Jamie Travis[edit]

Geoff Travis has a son called Jamie, who is one half of the post-rave pop duo Babeheaven with singer Nancy Andersen.[15]


  1. ^ Hotten, Russell (10 September 2006). "Rough Trade: Rough and ready". Independent Online. London. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  2. ^ Burrows, Tim (19 July 2007). "This Rough plan makes sense". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  3. ^ Murray, Robin (11 September 2008). "Rough Trade Is 30!". Clash.
  4. ^ Glinert, Ed (4 March 2001). "Rough justice". Sunday Herald.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3, p. 363
  6. ^ Lester, Paul (17 February 2014). "Life in Rough Trade: How Geoff Travis became a major player for indie bands". The Jewish Chronicle. London.
  7. ^ "Churchill College Phoenix Society". Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2012. Geoff Travis originally studied English at Churchill and supplied many of the records that started the College's weekly ent, Pav in the early 1970s.
  8. ^ "The Billboard Q&A: Martin Mills & Geoff Travis", Billboard, 12 January 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2010
  9. ^ a b c d Hart, Gerry (2003) "Rough Trade: 25 Years of Anarchy, Mayhem, Catastrophe...and Success", CMJ New Music Monthly, 15 December 2003. Retrieved 20 June 2010
  10. ^ Glinert, Ed (2001) "He likes a bit of Rough; Rough Trade, former home to early punk – not to mention The Smiths – is celebrating its 25th anniversary", London Evening Standard, 16 February 2001
  11. ^ Spitz, Marc (2005) "The Smiths The Queen is Dead", Spin, July 2005. Retrieved 20 June 2010
  12. ^ Cromelin, Richard (2004) "Indie's new adventure; Rough Trade, a force on the '70s and '80s scene, has found renewed life", Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2004
  13. ^ Wolk, Douglas (1995) "Lida Husik & Beaumont Hannant – star", CMJ New Music Monthly, January 1995. Retrieved 20 June 2010
  14. ^ "Geoff Travis: From The Smiths to The Strokes Archived 31 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine", XFM, 2 July 2003. Retrieved 20 June 2010
  15. ^ "One to Watch: Babeheaven". the Guardian. 12 December 2020.

External links[edit]