Timm Cleasby was standing in a Miami hotel suite drinking complimentary champagne and preparing to go to dinner with Puff Daddy, one of America’s richest and most famous music stars, when he had a sudden moment of realisation: he would swap it all to be back home near Maltby.
The then tour manager of the Arctic Monkeys had spent the last five years guiding the High Green band from four scamps playing tiny pubs to one of the world’s biggest cultural phenomenons. Along the way there had been Brit awards, sold out stadiums and more business class air miles than he could keep track of. He’d partied with Paul Weller and Steven Tyler, been side stage at Glastonbury, and once had to tell David Bowie to move seats to make way for the band’s family. He was so well regarded by the group, when they won their first New Musical Express award for best band, he was dragged on stage.
But standing there in that hotel room - rich, still young, and fully aware he was living the rock n roll dream - he realised he was unhappy.
“I loved the band and I loved the job,” he says. “But at that moment, more than anything else, I just wanted to be at home with my wife Sam and our three kids. I realised I was missing out on them growing up. I was getting ready to go out with Puff Daddy - Puff Daddy! - and I thought if this doesn’t make you happy, it’s time to stop. It was simple as that. I told the band a week or so later I’d be leaving.”
Today, four years on, Timm is sat in his new home, a sprawling stone cottage in Horseshoe Lane, just outside Maltby.
He’s still involved with music - he helps organise Tramlines and loosely manages the Sheffield band Dead Sons - but these days he is determinedly turning another passion into a profit: photography. He and Sam, 32, have just set up The Picture Foundry, a company which specialises in family portraits and commercial projects.
Timm - the extra M is a teenage affectation - had been in the music industry since his late teens. He worked at The Leadmill before becoming the tour manager for a series of American punk bands. He was then employed by momentarily-mega British rockers The Darkness when a friend asked him, in 2005, to work with four Sheffield teenagers causing something of a stir in the city.
He went to Glasgow with them, saw the reaction of fans, and signed himself up. His favourite memories are organising the famous Old Trafford shows in 2007 and later being named Tour Manager Of The Year by his peers.
But he also recalls with fondness meeting Karen Gillan, the then Dr Who assistance. “She was a little...worse for wear,” he says diplomatically. “I had to help her to a taxi. But my kids are all huge Dr Who fans, and afterwards she sent us loads of signed stuff. That was lovely.”
He still misses it all, he admits, three years after he left in 2010. “It’s the five minutes before they go on stage, I miss,” he says. “That’s when all your work has come together and you can relax a moment and enjoy it.”
See Timm and Sam’s work at www.thepicturefoundry.com.