I was born in Wimbledon,London. My first experience of music and the thing that changed my life and gave me the passion i still have to this day for music, was down to an Uncle i never had privileged to meet.When i was 5 years old I inherited a box of records,they were 7 inch singles……there was probally 500 vinyl’s in this box.It was like every big song from 60’s and 70’s from Dusty Springfield to The Beatles ,some with picture covers,Frank Sinatra to Black Sabbath and Free-‘Alright Now’, Elvis to John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band-these were really weird…wailing and screaming experimental madness. It was just crammed full of amazing music.
I would just sit for hours listening to this wondrous sound that came from from a mere piece of plastic(vinyl).In fact i would sit there playin “Air drums “along to the tunes(ironic,cause i ended up being a guitar player)….LIFE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME FROM THIS POINT ON .
So thanx to uncle Carole if your looking down on me from that great venue in the sky.You had massive impact on me and my love for music.As I said I never met him,he died from cancer aged 40. I only recently found out he was actually the “black sheep of the family”, he was Gay (in 60’s this was big deal) and still to this day, I know little to nothing about the man !
I started playing guitar when i was 12, i didn’t have a guitar….but my older brother had bought an acoustic guitar.But he wouldn’t let me near it. But I would get home earlier from school than him,which meant i could play for an hour,before he came in from school , even if it meant getting a beating from him,if he even thought I had played it….but my love for music outweighed the risk,I wanted to play badly !!
When I was 14 my best mate also played guitar ,he was amazing.within 6 months . I remember going round there after school one day,He said “I’ve just learnt how to play “Eruption”,by Van Halen(a sublime 2 min guitar solo) by ear,off a cassette machine! I was never that good , I’ve developed my own style and in time…..a long time….can now play….but i knew i was never gonna be a Stevie Via or Eddie van Halen .I wasn’t naturally gifted like he was,I had to work hard at it.
Teenage Kicks….I formed my first band aged 19,a 4 piece band.We were together for a couple years,we gigged and generally had a laugh doing it. My mate Al ,the singer went on to join The Levellers .By this time I realized I was always gonna b a musician and I’m very creative, my heads always full of music and ideas.So I knew I had to have a facility to record/rehearse from, and generally make loads a noise.
This is when I formed my next band ‘Mystic Warrior’ a Reggae/electronic band, a group of 7 crazy characters ,we gigged a bit,but it was more a learning curve,a vehicle to experiment with electronic music,arrangements,and song writing ,learning the ropes as we went.It was great fun, but I wanted to get a more professional band together. During this time I worked on building sites ,decorating for 2 years, saving money so I could set up Washouse Studio in Brighton…..in the early 90’s. It was a 16 track studio,using reel to reel 1/2 inch tape,aimed at local bands to record demo’s .With the audio on the reel to reel,synced to the computer, an Atari 1040, running cubase for the Midi sequencing,using Akai samplers,good old days! The studio ran for 10 years,and in this time I learnt how to engineer,program and produce.I found I had a talent for recording the vibe of a session,I could capture the spirit and the soul of the band I was recording.
My next band was called ‘Bud’, we rocked.We would gig in London and Brighton. We worked hard writing and recording in the studio,learning and experimenting with our demo’s (Niall the Bud bassist,now teaches music tech).We had a few releases on compilation CD’s, During this period load’s of Brighton bands I recorded got record deals, it was a great time .’Bird Dog’ signed to Island Records for £100k, my band ‘Bud’ were offered £40k by Real World Records. ‘Don’ signed to Polygram for £1million budget-they worked with all the top producers,Spike Stent ,Mike Hedges in Abbey road etc. but I still got asked to produce their B sides for their singles… ‘Slyder’ (with guitarist Steve James from ‘Dogs d’amore) were signing to EMI. Steve still says” it was the best sounding recording he ever done”. . I also recorded for Captain Sensible (The Damned) he did demo’s for an American film company-he got the job!!, Matt Hartley (ex Cure) was a regular, Annie Knightingale (bbc radio 1+2) came in to learn about mixing desks and multitrack recording, and many other local Brighton celebs came to record at Washouse Studio’s too!
After ‘Bud’ split, I was asked to join ‘Core’ a local Brighton 4 piece Heavy rock/Metal band ,I knew the guys ,I had recorded for them and we all got on. We gigged and spent 2 years rewriting and honing the sound and the songs.I was not playing guitar! I was the keyboard/looper/arranger. We worked on the songs and turned an average metal outfit into something unique and different.We would play in Nottingham at Rock City a fair bit ,the promoter loved our sound,and he gave our demo to Limp Bizcuit and Korn when they played Rock City on their world tour. In 2 years of touring and thousands of demo’s they were given,they would play our demo’s on the tour bus,singing along with the songs… and Fred Dirst said “soon as they finish the tour, they would get us out to L.A”. A six month tour turned into a two year world tour as Bizcuit and Korn went huge around the world. Then one day Fred phoned us, he was A+R for Flip Records in Sunset Boulevard and next thing we were out in L.A in rehearsals and studio’s tasting the Hollywood lifestyle.It all happened so quick,we were gonna go on tour with Korn and Bizcuit, our girlfriends were gonna move out, it was mental !!
But life has a funny way of putting a spanner in the works,lets just say between personal disagreements, large sums of money, contracts, greed, let alone the Sex,Drugs n Rock n Roll, all played there part.It wasn’t meant to be. I came back from U.S.A. this was when my Life started to go Crazy…with mates ,business partners,and wife all dying. I won’t deny….. it sent me mad…with sorrow and loss.