The Music Years

My dad was the guitarist in a band during the sixties and he’d tell me stories about what he got up to playing in the pubs and clubs around Dundee. I didn’t stand a chance really. There I was, an impressionable kid, listening to tales of drunkenness and debauchery; it was only natural that I’d want to follow in my father’s footsteps. I learnt a few chords and started writing songs. My first songs were angst-ridden confessionals filled with heartache and pain. From what I remember they were fairly atrocious, however, that didn’t stop me imagining myself on Top of The Pops, up there with Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, selling millions of records, and buying yachts. When I was fourteen I started a band, played a few gigs, and that was that, I was hooked.

My early twenties were a bit of a blur. I was working with a vocalist called Sarge and we played more gigs than I remember. In short we had a ball and I now had some stories I could tell my dad. Everything about Sarge was larger than life:  large voice, large ideas, large ego. We shared a house on the outskirts of Stroud where we wrote songs and fine-tuned our plans for taking over the music biz. It used to get so cold in the winter, and we’d be so hungry, that we would flip a coin to see whether we should buy bread or coal. Not that that bothered us. We were artists. Artists were supposed to starve and freeze. If you didn’t suffer for your art what sort of artist were you? And it was a good learning experience. I learned how to sell myself, how to deal with the public. Hunger is a good motivator; if we didn’t get on with the punters, we didn’t get booked again; if we didn’t get the bookings we didn’t eat… or have money for coal. By the time the man from the music biz knocked on our door it was too late. Starvation had taken it’s toll (not to mention the late nights, the whiskey etc.). Sarge and I had reached the point where we couldn’t be in the same room together, never mind sharing a tour bus, or being locked away in a studio for six months.

I needed a change of scene so I moved to St Albans, gave up whiskey, and enrolled at the local university where I did a degree course combining Business Studies and Electronic Music. While at university I met Jon. Jon wanted to build a recording studio and that sounded like fun. We built the studio on the side of his house - my first and last skirmish with manual labour. I didn’t know a huge amount about equipping a studio, and Jon knew even less. Somehow we got it up and running, and I spent an enjoyable couple of years recording and producing local bands.

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