October 1957 in Harrow
When and why did you start playing?
Started playing aged 18. I had wanted to play for several years but in those days, teachers were not so readily to hand, especially when being in a boarding school. A friend of a friend was a teacher, so once I’d left school, a few years later, I got the chance to start taking lessons.
I’ve always been a guitar fan ever since hearing Jimi Hendrix and seeing Deep Purple live way back in 1972.
Which instruments do you play?
Guitar primarily…….. Thereafter bass and a little drums.
What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix. Its also the first song I give to my guitar students.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Ritchie Blackmore… For his total control of the guitar, his tone, the way he conjures up spectacular lead lines…….. Also for his stroppiness which is in a class of his own!
Joe Satriani for some of his songs and his approach to playing.
Jimi Hendrix for being way ahead of his time and probably being the coolest man to ever walk a concert stage.
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
Quite a few, from watching videos and DVD’s to see what they are doing….. But on a personal level, I’ve worked with John Couglan (drums, ex Status Quo), Mick Underwood (drums, ex Gillan, Quatermas and Strapps), Nic Simper (original Deep Purple bassist) to name just a few. I’ve had pointers and advice from most and have always learnt something.
Describe your first instrument.
A 1976 Fender Stratocaster, which I still have.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighbourhood or town?
Far too many to mention!!! One highlight was playing to a packed festival in Switzerland with John Coghlan. There are some memorable jams, gigs and things that have happened along the way…… Some not mentionable publicly!
Who are your favourite musicians? Groups? CD's?
I’m a bit blinkered when it comes to music so for me my favourites are Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Rainbow… Favourite CD’s include DP’s Made in Japan, Deep Purple in Rock and Who Do We Think We Are. Jimi Hendrix’ Electric Ladyland CD is pure genius.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
I have three options…………… Try to make out it didn’t happen…. Maybe even play the “mistake” twice to make out I meant it! Laugh it off.. and some of them are quite funny….. and thirdly, get right annoyed with myself for making a pants over a part!
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Sometimes…. Adrenaline is good for the body in moderation.. it focuses the mind.