Music’s always been a major part of my life. I’ve been singing and playing guitar for years and started at school in Stranraer, Scotland. I’m never completely quite sure if I’m a singer who plays guitar or a guitarist who sings.
Over the years I’ve been in numerous bands, playing venues from the tiniest pubs to large corporate events and open-air events. I lived in Jersey for 13 years and the main bands during my time there were The Scratch Band, Alibi and Wavelength although I’d regularly ‘dep’ for missing members in other bands. Shortly before leaving Jersey in 2002, I played the part of Judas in a run of the Rock Opera, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at the Jersey Opera House.
In the mid-80s I gigged around the south coast of England as the youngest member of ‘Deaf Boy Hug and the Hearing Aids’ … I learned a lot from the guys (Nick Hug, Dave Gilson, Mark Andrews & Chris Hughes) about performance, working as a band, and the importance of listening! We were also fortunate enough to have occasional guest appearances in the line-up from John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick and Spike Edney. Sadly, front man Nick Hug (tremendous singer, harmonica player and bass player) died of Leukaemia in 2006 and it was a privilege to be part of the Nick Hug Tribute set dedicated to him at the Gosport Festival that year.
I took a break from playing in 2002 until 2007 when I was inspired to start again by close friends and family. These days, as well as real gigs, you’ll frequently find me socialising and playing on Thursdays at the Milton Barn in Portsmouth where I’ve met some incredibly talented people and valued friends.
From my early teens, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd shaped my musical life along with a smattering of Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company . These days I listen to tons of really varied stuff (some WAY too cheesy to admit here) but I always end up back with the classics. Vocal influences have included Paul Rodgers, Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and Joe Cocker. On guitar, my influences include David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Snowy White, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore and the man whose playing inspired me to pick up the guitar in the first place … Ritchie Blackmore.
Electric Guitars – My old and battered mongrel black strat remains my first choice …. I got it in about 1979 and most parts have been replaced since then. It was originally natural but got resprayed black about 15 years ago. More recently the pickguard was swapped for a black one to be truer to David Gilmour for the Floyd band. The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan Vintage Strat (bought in 1981), the bridge one is a DiMarzio Vintage Strat (from 1982) and the middle one is Fender. I have a few other guitars I’m rarely without the black strat.
Acoustic Guitars – I have a 2010 Martin OMCX1KE Acoustic in standard tuning and a 1970s Eko Ranger which is either tuned to Gilmour tuning for ‘Hey You’ or tuned down a tone.
Amplifier & Effects – I recently moved to Blackstar amplifiers from nearly 30 years of using Marshalls. Their tone is superb. My combo of choice at the moment is the HT Club 40. As for effects, I have an array to choose from. The ‘usual suspects’ are all there …. compressor, chorus, distortion, overdrive, phaser, delay … and (for the Floyd 77 show) wah.