If you’ve read any of my previous material you may have noticed a passing interest in the beautiful outdoor world about us and the benefits that are available to us if we simply choose to engage with it and open our minds to it. I have loved the countryside since I was a child, sampling its benefits even then whilst not understanding why.
However, I lost touch with the outdoors in my late teens and early twenties due to a large fascination with various substances. Thank heavens I woke up from them!
There is one love though that has constant all my life and that is music. Maybe I should clarify that a little because music is a very varied term and music to one is often noise to another. Obviously music is present in the countryside, birdsong, the wind in the trees, waterfalls etc. I think most of us would get that. I was never popular when site working for banning radios when working outside. But I also love the sound of an unsilenced motorbike, the thud of a V twin Ducati, the rasp of a V3 or a V4 or the scream of an inline 4. Even a V8 car!
But what I am talking about here is the music made by people playing instruments. I’m not that picky about which instruments either, I love music produced by an orchestra as much as that made by bands playing electrically amplified music. Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber is one of my favourite pieces of music as is Hospital for Souls by Bring me the Horizon.
I love going to see my favourite bands live too and the sheer escapism you can get from loosing yourself in an amazing gig too. Most recently Tool at the O2 arena and as frontman Maynard James Keenan said, ‘Nothing else in the world matters for the next two hours, they are ours!’ And how right he was, the next two and a half hours were one of the most amazing celebrations of light and sound I have ever experienced.
What I’m talking about here is the sheer unadulterated joy of actually making music yourself. Most of my music career has involved writing and recording and performing music and the reward of experiencing people utterly getting off on the music you have created is indescribable. But I have to try. It just lifts you up, you put so much of yourself into the music and when people understand that, or take it to mean something special to them really is one of those experiences that lives with you for ever. Makes your heart warm and sends tingles down your spine.
It does though mean that playing covers can be tough or dull sometimes and it can be hard to keep the chemistry going.
So where did it start? For me as with most, the recorder at primary school. And the violin. The violin didn’t last very long and the recorder morphed into a clarinet and then a saxophone. An alto whilst at school and later in life when I discovered the talents of Kenny G, the soprano saxophone.
That was all fine until I discovered Pink Floyd and Heavy Metal, a child of the eighties it was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, NWOBHM, nwobum in every day speak! Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead and Judus Priest to name a few. Woodwind instruments were seriously uncool and just didn’t do it. I had to have a guitar.
I got one, a Gibson copy, an Avon. Happy bunny, I was going to be the next great Axeman. Dave Gilmour, Steve Vai or
I couldn’t do anything with it!
Then a mate had a bass guitar. I picked that up and I could do something with that. I knew it within minutes of getting my hands around it and as the say the rest is history. I have a few CD’s of music I have written with some lovely people and I still play them from time to time and think ‘Yep, I wrote this.’
The last band I had been in had folded in 2014 and I hadn’t managed to find either musicians or a band that I had chemistry with since.
That is until about 3 months ago. I got an e mail out of the blue from a fella named Ray. He had a band playing Celtic rock Music and he thought I was just the fella for the job, was I interested?
I have no idea where he got my details from and every ounce of reason said I didn’t have the time to do it and I should say no. So I phoned him up and said ‘Yes, I’d come over and see what happened’.
We all got on really well and I had a lot of fun. In fact after a couple of hours jammy about, I went to use the bathroom, and when I returned Ray said, Yep, we’ve had a chat and we like you to join. And despite all logic I said, ‘yes!’ Again.
Funnily enough two of the projects I was involved in have just come to an end, so, devine intervention, I guess I have time now…
I can be heard with the Flailing Angels in Whitstable at two gigs over the jubilee weekend, at the New Inn at 5pm on the 2nd June and at 6pm at the Old Neptune on the 5th.
The next chapter begins