What is the first music you remember hearing around the house as a child?
The first music I remember was Live Aid on the tv - Clapton, Phil Collins, Dire Straits and Tina Turner et al. I don’t remember much but I do remember the music made me feel good and Tearing us Apart by Clapton and Tina Turner I remember being pretty cool! At home we only really had two CDs before I was old enough to seek my own music - best of Motown and best of the 60s so I know these inside out and back to front! On a rare occasion, my Dad would get his records out which was always a treat - especially when Led Zeppelin was on the record player. My Dad also had lots of Bob Dylan which was good …but not as good as an old Bluesbreakers LP with Peter Green - I remember trying to work that stuff out very early on - to varying degrees of success!
When did you first pick up a guitar?
I was a late starter to the guitar - had an acoustic for my 18th Birthday and promptly swapped it for a purple Squire Strat about two weeks later! Definitely wish I had gotten into it earlier.
What do you consider the best decade for music?
Tough question - 1970s I’d say!
What is right and what is wrong about music in 2022?
To me, music is stronger than ever. The industry, formulaic pop music, autotune, quantizing or the streaming world can bring negative energy into music and that’s not healthy. So music to me is still very wonderful in every way - putting on some Classical Music such as Carnival of the Animals, Listening to the fire of Bireli Lagrene’s gypsy playing, Derek Trucks tearing your heart out with his slide playing, the feel of Brazilian Jazz or grooving with Tower of Power or the vibe of the Sunday Service Choir - it’s all amazing!! There is some truly brilliant new music out there today too - including some true masters of blues guitar! Music, she is alive and very well! :)
Who is your favourite singer/songwriter?
Stevie Wonder is hard to beat.
If you had to choose one would your preference be the studio or the stage?
Creating something spontaneous on stage is very important to me and thus wins this contest! There is something very special about creating music with other musicians in the moment and that being felt by the audience. I find these days that it is best to let these things happen organically rather than try and force them out.
Favourite place in the world visited?
How do you like to prepare yourself before a live show?
I prefer not to eat before a show and pre-gig songs of choice are usually Barber Blues and Modern Day Heroes by the Impossible Gentleman - if I get to hear these pre-gig, they usually give me a good mindset and an (important!) reminder of restraint, taste, rhythm and intensity.
The best concert you have attended?
Tedeschi Trucks Band live in Germany - in a school hall!!
Tell us about how you became a member of Climax Blues Band.
I’ve been a fan of Climax since I was playing piano with Lester Hunt in a band at the age of 16. I first got to see them play with an old drummer friend of mine at Reynolds Bar in Stafford when I was probably 18 or so. To me, they were a classy unit but with some dangerous playing too! Over the last 8 years, I’ve been playing with Roy Adams and Neil Simpson in various other bands and projects and when Les became ill I was asked to cover some gigs. This was quite an honour for me as I’ve looked up to the band and Les for so long as a guitarist. So these gigs went well and I was asked to join officially when Les had to very sadly step down.
It was also quite a twist of fate to join Climax Blues Band. Some years back I was playing in Stafford with Roy and was approached by Pete Evans (Pete Haycock’s old manager). Sadly, Pete Haycock had passed away. I had always felt Pete was an outstanding player and had his Guitar & Son album some years before. I loved his album and learned quite a few of his tunes like Lucienne (beautiful tune) and Dr Brown I Presume. So, Pete Evans was very kind about my playing and felt he could hear some of Pete’s vibe in my playing and wanted me to carry on Pete’s vibe and gave me one of his guitars which I still have. It was a really kind gesture and I was extremely honoured - the twist of fate being I can hopefully do everyone proud going forward!
Do you find creating new music easy?
I do find that new musical ideas appear quite naturally - the music just comes out! Often I’ll put my instrument down and sing lines or ideas, that way the music comes through without the constraints of the physical element of playing taking charge. I’ll also often play ideas with just one finger, it’s amazing how you phrase differently with that method.
Do you play any other instruments?
I can get a tune out of most instruments but can get by ok on piano, bass & drums.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I would love to say original, charismatic and cool but the honest answer is I have zero clue about fashion!
Any tattoos? If not, planning any?
A gentleman never reveals his secrets. 🙂
The favourite venue played in your life.
Too many to mention!
Previous bands before Climax Blues Band?
So many bands - constant sideman!
Are there any albums that you rate 10 out of 10 on every track?
That’s a great question - probably not but purely because some tracks are killer!
The closest to me is the album “Hot Wired” by Brent Mason. He is a monster Nashville Session guitarist and songwriter and also my favourite player if I had to name one. I’ve met him and he is super nice and so humble but absolutely wicked and gifted at pretty much any style. This also includes his own very identifiable personal style when he is not being a chameleon. I would recommend this album to any musician due to the amazing and tasteful playing.
Is there anything you collect?
I have an unintentional collection of odd guitar strings and plectrums that will never be used!
Favourite film soundtrack?
Sorry, but I can’t even remember the last film I watched! :)
How many guitars do you have and which is your favourite?
Guitars are funny things - some days they like you and some days they don’t so my favourite changes a lot! I do like my Gibson 347 but lately have come across a nice Strat so it has competition!