Tommy Tee RIP

Tommy Tee, Manager of New Model Army and The Almighty, has died aged 46 after suffering a sudden and completely unexpected medical emergency (a thoracic aortic dissection) on the evening of 23rd December.

Justin Sullivan, New Model Army’s frontman, says "Tommy's death leaves a huge hole in all our lives, not just professionally as the man who organised every aspect of the band's life but most especially as a friend and the best kind of road companion. And this sense of loss increases rather than decreases with each day that passes."

A University drop-out, Tommy first joined New Model Army as a driver in the summer of 1982. Partly because of his boundless energy and ability to organise but especially because of his love of the road, he quickly became their Tour Manager and shared all the adventures of the band's early years. He left in 1990 to manage The Almighty, signed them to Polydor, and found considerable success for a few years before internal differences took their toll. In 1996 he returned to New Model Army as full-time Manager.

Seeing early on how the Internet was going to completely alter the Music Industry, he quickly helped to restructure NMA into a self-contained unit, where they own and control all aspects of their recording, publishing and merchandising making them perfectly equipped to deal with the changes that have taken place around them. As a result they have outlasted most of their peers. There are very few bands in NMA's position of still being able to record and release what they like when they like, maintaining, and in recent years increasing, a worldwide following, without making a single compromise.

Tommy was straight-forward old-school with a equally fearless attitude to both working and partying. He believed a band's place was foremost on the road playing their hearts out to sweaty audiences. He approached business with a brusque honesty and believed that anything was possible with a bit of organisation and steady application. He had no time for 'attitude' or hierarchies and was equally at home in million dollar business meetings or while loading the band's trailer at the end of the night. He was happy to turn his hand to merchandising, lighting design, stuffing envelopes, co-ordinating a worldwide network of Independent distributors for the band's Attack Attack label – absolutely anything that the situation required. Tommy embodied everything that makes the music business actually work and did it with a wide grin and a heart full of love.

He lived his life at a pace that was a wonder to all those who knew him and still had time for family. Tommy leaves behind his wife, Jube, three children and a band of friends that depended upon him for just about everything. He will be much missed.

Michael Eccleshall