Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver strings. Well that's not exactly true, I didn't start playing until my middle teens and I barely picked up an instrument through my 30s but the spirit of rock / blues / making some strange racket keeps coming back to me.
I've never been the most adept of musicians but my approach has always been "We know three chords - let's form a band and do a gig!". Although this has led to some odd performances at times it has, in most cases, served me well and has resulted in lots of good times (often for the audience as well).
Here is a selection of some of the bands I've had the honour to play with:
The Rhythm Coalition are a six-piece rhythm & blues band with whom I'm currently playing bass. I've never been in such a big band before and it's been an interesting learning experience for me, finding how to make my contribution count while leaving musical 'space' for the others. And lots of fun! After many years away from the bass it's been great to find I can still cut it with real musicians.
From left - Bill Gething (sax, harmonica), Bill Laslett (drums), Matt Clay (guitar, vocals), me (bass), Matt Smith (guitar) & Shay Parsons (vocals)
Video clips and songs here.
Gadje Dilo performed music from 'Eastern Europe and beyond', mostly Rom, Balkan and Greek folk tunes & songs and mostly for people to dance to. The band consisted of Lucy Fredman (vocals & doumbek), Jacqui Watson (vocals), Bill Henderson (piano, accordion, doumbek & vocals), Rory O'Connell (clarinet, saxophone, gaida, flute, doumbek & vocals) and me (guitar & tamburas).
The band grew out of The Findhorn Festival Band who were the 'house band' for the annual Findhorn Dance Festival.
There are videos of several of our performances here.
Bergie's Band (aka Dinner at Bergie's) played soulful rock and roll with a constantly changing lineup, the one constant being Bergie himself on drums. I played a few gigs with them on bass.
There's a video clip of us performing Six Blade Knife at the Universal Hall, Findhorn.
Rosadusha played regularly for folk dance events in the Findhorn area. Our repertoire was mostly Rom and Greek but we also played Klezmer, Armenian and other traditional music. The line-up was Laura Shannon (vocals & percussion), Stella Sofer (vocals, accordion, whistle), Rory O'Connell (saxaphone, clarinet, gaida, flute, vocals) and myself (electric & acoustic guitar, Macedonian tambura, bass guitar).
There's a video clip of us playing Karavana Chajka with guests Maria Marta Suarez (vocals), Beth Bahia Cohen (violin) and Paddy League (drums).
Blood featured Tanya Stone (vocals), Dave Bessell (guitar) and myself (synthesizer, electronics and drum machine). We played minimalist techno avant-garde dance music (a bit like Suicide meets Siouxsie and the Banshees), dressed wonderfully, and did just one gig at Reading Town Hall.
St. Vitus Dance played slightly techno dance music. Lineup was Tracy (vocals and synthesizer), Dave Bessell (guitar), Kevin Williams (vocals and percussion), Tony (bass) and myself (synthesizer).
The only band I've been in who made it onto a record, we did the track I've Been Used on the Reading compilation album Beyond The River which can be found on my Recordings page.
Rhythm System were an electro dub reggae band, with Dave Bessell (guitar, drum machine and mixing) and myself (synthesizers, drum machine and mixing) with the help of Grizzly (I never learned his real name) on the sound desk. We did a few memorable gigs in the Reading area. (I suspect the picture is from a St. Vitus Dance gig, but that's what we looked like.)
DAN were an electro-pop trio, ahead of their time and sadly unrecognised by the music industry - we wallpapered our practice room with rejection letters from record companies. Nic Coome (vocals), Dave Bessell (guitar and programming), and myself (synthesizer and programming).
You can hear Company Man, one of our demos, on my Recordings page.
Headroom played psychedelia (I can't think of another way to describe it), my first collaboration with the wonderful Dave Bessell (guitar). I played synthesizer (once I could borrow one), Stylophone (before then) and drum machine. We did one gig as the Heavenly Music Subsidiary but quickly came to our senses. Pictures are from Reading Technical College, 15th April 1978.
Sex King Cole & The Defects were the nearest thing to a punk band that I played in. We did medleys of 60s pop songs (at 100 miles per hour) with the charismatic and uncontrollable Sex King Cole on vocals and vitriol. Awesome stuff. After one unannounced gig in Reading University we retired at the peak of our success. I played primitive electric guitar.
Ithica (yes, that's how we spelled it) played twin guitar classic rock (think Wishbone Ash) back when I was at college. Lineup was Kevin Botting (guitar and vocals), Steve Day (guitar), Simon Hutton (drums) and myself (bass). We won the University of Reading 'Battle of the Bands' competition but only after the winners were disqualified for being 'too rowdy'. Pictures are from a gig at Reading University Student's Union, 30th June 1976.