A Potted History of My Involvement in Music
I first discovered my desire to make music when I was a young child at primary school and one of the teachers announced he was going to teach recorder to anyone who was interested. After some time of torturing my parents and neighbours with its incessant squawks he later said he was going to teach guitar! A couple of years of guitar lessons later, I really wasn't much further than "Bobby Shafto" and to be honest my junior acoustic Kay spent more time gathering dust than being played. Fortunately though, this had two effects. I knew what all the notes were on the fretboard, and I still had an interest in playing music.
Although I occasionally picked up my little guitar, it wasn't until many years later (I was around 18) that I suddenly dived back into playing music by picking up a friend's bass guitar. I loved the sound it made, and even my limited background on guitar meant I knew where the notes were. And of course, you don't need a lot more than that to play the bass! I bought a second-hand bass guitar (Epiphone semi-acoustic) for about £30 GBP and practiced in earnest. A couple of years later, I picked up a cheap acoustic guitar from a car boot sale (about 2 quid if I remember!) and started learning chords for the first time in my life. It was on this guitar that I did my first proper gig. Me and a mate got ourselves onto the Whaley Bridge Community Arts Festival Folk Marathon — a bizarre event where you play a short set in a pub, then move onto the next one and so on, covering about ten pubs over the evening. We had just three days practice and off we went! We thouroughly shat ourselves but enjoyed it immensely, so more gigs were to follow, by which time we had taken the name "The Limestone Cowboys".
The Limestone Cowboys did a number of gigs and later turned into "The Sweaty Dogs" — a full-on folk-rock outfit featuring guitar, mandolin, whistle, drums and me on bass. After about 18 months of this the Dogs split and "Panic!" was formed from myself, the drummer and the mandolin player (now on guitar) performing Neil Young style rock. Across this time I was also involved in a local band called "The Village Idiots" who were formed to do a number of charity and fun gigs. Panic eventually ceased to be and I eventually joined up with friend Rob Gould to help form "Fula" — a contemporary progressive rock outfit &mdash who have done quite a number of gigs (some at pretty prestigious venues) and recorded several CD's. Fula is kind of on hold at the moment while Rob works on some solo work, although I have also been involved with this.
Over the years I have picked up a number of musical instruments and now have a Westfield 5 string bass, Westfield Les Paul style electric guitar, Stagg electric mandolin, an Evolution MIDI keyboard and several whistles. In 2004, I was nominated for "Best Bass Player" and "Best Multi-instrumentalist" in the Classic Rock Society's annual awards.