Billingham box man's quest to make it big

By day, Michael Heaton is business manager for storage company Box Clever. By night, however, he’s packing out venues across the UK. He tells Francesca Craggs about his quest to make it big.

Michael Heaton, business manager for storage company Box Clever
Michael Heaton, business manager for storage company Box Clever

Box Clever storage facility in Billingham provided the perfect location for rock band, A Fable for the Curious, to shoot their latest video.

Little did bass player Michael Heaton know that years later he’d end up managing the place. The 39-year-old, who is business manager at Box Clever, has been a member of the four-piece band for a number of years. Fable, as it’s known, has a great reputation on the heavy rock/metal circuit in the North East and across the UK. The band are currently working on an album and may have interest from a record company.

Fable have toured the North East rock circuit extensively over the years, and were performing about 50 gigs a year at venues including Trillians and The Cluny in Newcastle. The band also headlined at the O2 Academy, The Cockpit in Leeds and The Studio in Hartlepool.

Michael, who has two sons, Jacob, 16, and George, 14, said: “We were doing so many North East gigs, so we wanted to cool things down a bit, so have concentrated on spreading our wings a bit further over the past year and have played at the likes of The legendary Cavern in Liverpool, Glasgow, London, Middlesbrough music Live, Hartlepool’s pitch invasion festival, and The Beermageddon Festival in Derby.”

The rock band also supported indie rock band The Futures on tour and have played with bands such as the Young Guns, Falling Red, Wheatus and My Passion.

“I love being in a band. It’s something I have done since I was at school and it still feels the same. I love writing and performing the songs, getting on stage is a real buzz and we have a great connection with our fans. It’s a complete change from work, but I love my job at Box Clever too. As someone who used to drive car transporters for up to 15 hours a day, it’s great to be in a job where I can meet and interact with people. I love meeting and talking to people and both the day job and with the band, I get to do that,” said Michael.

The video shot at Box Clever was for one of Fable’s most popular songs, Don’t Say Goodbye.

“It was a good iconic location for a video, so it seems strange to be back managing the place!”

Michael previously worked as a lorry  driver and as manager of Teesside youth  charity BCT Aspire. This was a community interest company social enterprise and won Best New Company award in the North East Business Awards community sector. Here  Michael worked with young people, providing them with a place to go and something  to do. This included lots of music workshops.

As well as playing in the band, Michael is also a keen biker. He has ridden motorbikes with his dad Robin since the age of 16, and recently competed the Boundary 500 charity ride on his 750cc Kawasaki Ninja  in aid of   the Great North Air Ambulance. The 500-mile challenge’s route was  from Berwick to   Scarborough and across to Whitehaven and Barrow.

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