The family of Alexis Grower has paid tribute to the “extraordinary” maverick music lawyer following his passing in April, at the age of 79.
A longtime ILMC member, Grower represented a wide array of artists including Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Motörhead, Marvin Gaye, John Lydon, The Smiths and The Stranglers.
He also worked with the likes of AC/DC, Kirsty MacColl, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bill Wyman, Jocelyn Brown, So Solid Crew, Barrington Levy, Freddy McGregor and Eddy Grant to name but a few in a storied career spanning more than half a century.
“He was known for really fighting for the artist,” his daughter, the actor and film director Mercedes Grower, tells IQ. “He just loved what he did – maybe that’s why he related to all the musicians – he understood the business side of the industry, but more than anything was a true music lover who fought tooth and nail for his clients.
“Even after his passing, we are still getting messages from unsigned artists who want to pay their respects and let us know that dad had saved them from a dodgy contract and unethical deal, and charged them no money for doing it. It was never about money for Alexis, it was always about what was fair and justice.
“Alexis was vicious when it came to winning a case, you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him, he patterned his own contract which became synonymous with his name, and is still mentioned in law classes being taught in today’s universities.”
GROWER WAS A PIONEERING HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER, MOST FAMOUSLY WORKING AS A SOLICITOR FOR THE FAMILY OF ANTI-RACISM ACTIVIST BLAIR PEACH
Grower started off as a pioneering human rights lawyer, most famously working as a solicitor for the family of Blair Peach, a teacher and anti-racism campaigner killed during the 1979 Southall riots, and the Anti-Nazi League. He was a partner at the family law firm Seifert Sedley with Stephen Sedley and the late Michael Seifert, going on to work for Magrath and Co and latterly as a consultant for SSB.
“What’s interesting about Alexis and [SSB partner] Paul Spraggan is Alexis started Paul off in the business, and then as dad got older he went to work with Paul at SSB,” “Paul said when he first turned up at his office, Alexis told him, ‘Don’t ever come here in a suit again unless you’re going to court.’ Dad never wore a suit, and this was back in the ’80s.
“Alexis was very charismatic. He made himself from nothing, He was quite wild really, even though he was a lawyer. I think that’s why all the musicians liked him. Lots of up-and-coming kids, who didn’t think they’d get anywhere, started off with him and he didn’t charge them until they made something. I guess that was his way of carrying on his socialist beginnings.”
Twice married, Grower had three children by his first wife Susy Grower: Mercedes, Claudia and Leo, and two by his second wife Josephine Grower: Nathan and Julius. The family was inundated with messages of goodwill from the music industry following his death in April.
“So many people have been calling , it’s been very touching,” says Mercedes, who reveals that one such message came from the CEO of Universal Music Group, Sir Lucian Grainge. “It said, ‘I have many fond memories of Alexis . He acted for so many of the artists, but personally as well. We travelled so much together, we loved our beloved Arsenal. He was a character and a one-off with a counterintuitive brain, as well as someone with a great joie de vivre,’ which is a nice thing to say isn’t it. He was an extraordinary person.”
She adds: “One of the last times I spent with Dad he dragged me to the Borderline to see a heavy metal band he was convinced was the new Led Zeppelin, you couldn’t tell him any different. If they were his clients they were going to be a No.1 hit.”
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