|Location||273 Broad Street|
|Owners||Paul and Michael Berrow|
(late 1970s - mid 1980s)
|Genre||Punk, Electronic, New Romantic|
|Associated acts||Duran Duran|
|Duran Duran at the Rum Runner 1981|
The original club was opened in the 1960s. One of the first "house" bands, playing the cover versions of the day, was Magnum, featuring Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin. They left the club in 1975 to play their own material of melodic rock.
Entrepreneurs Paul and Michael Berrow relaunched the club in 1979 with an eclectic power playlist borrowed from Studio 54 in New York. Paul and Michael's father was a well known in the Birmingham entertainment scene, and Michael played saxophone with several local bands. Other staff included Nigel & Jimmy (managers) and Al Beard (security).
The success of jazz and funk nights which were strongly influenced by New York's Chic power disco were followed by Roxy/Bowie nights. According to Paul in 1981, "The Rum Runner was adopted by the posers. To date no serious contender for their affections has arrived on the Birmingham club scene, although the Holy City Zoo, a live/disco club beneath the arches of the old Snow Hill railway station tries, and the Cedar Club holds a certain appeal as one of the other few gigs venues in the city".
The Rum Runner and Duran Duran
A real milestone in the history of the Rum Runner was when a newly-formed group of musicians called Duran Duran walked in one day with a demo tape. There was an instant mutual appeal between the Berrows and the band, and the Berrows offered Duran Duran a place to rehearse and play gigs.
The band found themselves becoming heavily involved with the running of the club with John Taylor working the door, Nick Rhodes deejaying for £10 a night, Roger Taylor working as a glass collector and Andy Taylor polishing mirrors, painting and cooking burgers for cash. In 2000 Nick and John compiled a radio show called A Night at the Rum Runner featuring music from the club, and later in 2006 compiled Only After Dark that included tracks from the radio show.
A few months later, the Berrows signed as Duran Duran's managers. The Berrows and the band then formed the Tritec Music Company (named after the triangular-themed bar inside the club). The label used the Rum Runner office upstairs from the club as its official address.
Michael mortgaged his house to send Duran Duran as a supporting act for Hazel O'Connor's Megahype Tour in the UK during late 1980, which led to the band's signing with EMI in December. 3 years later was Duran Duran's MENCAP concert at Villa Park, with the after show homecoming party held at the Rum Runner.
Other bands and later history
In developing the club's musical identity the Berrows also gave free rehearsal space to bands like Dexys Midnight Runners and UB40, with The Beat filming a video for their song "Mirror In The Bathroom" taking full advantage of the many mirrors that walled the club.
As time went by they opened more and more different evenings. One of the newer residents was DJ Dick who later went on to form Rockers Hi-Fi and Leftfoot at The Medicine Bar.
The club held a final "Demolition Party" on 27 June, 1986.
A selection of memorabilia
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