I suppose it’s only fitting that as the oldest of the Rockulus crew, I should go first. I spent most of my formative years in bands and have just been coaxed into joining another.
I started piano lessons when I was five, and carried on playing classical music until I was 14 when I decided it wasn’t for me, gave up the lessons and started writing my own music, which I’m still doing. Whenever my interest started to wane, my parents spurred me on – they told me that ‘a piano player is always popular at parties’. And they were right… although actually finding a piano at parties was not always that easy, if found, my keyboard skills worked well on the girls!
At 18 I joined my first band with my younger brother who was lead vocals, my best mate on bass and my girlfriend’s brother on lead guitar. We were a motley crew! It was all coming together but to move forward I needed better kit and we got into a bad habit of paying for it on hire purchase… which got us all into debt but gave us our band name – Instant Credit!
After a few local gigs, we started playing to a more select audience – the movie crowd! We were lucky to have a foot in the door as my girlfriend worked at Pinewood Studios, so we wangled our way in to play at parties for movie producers and big film directors. We couldn’t believe it. At one point we were even considered to be in the movie Who Dares Wins, but we unfortunately lost out to Fairport Convention! Yes, FairportConvention!
On one particularly memorable night we played at he film party for Fred Zimmerman’s last movie Five Days One Summer. The cast included Sean Connery and Anna Massey… so we were pretty star-struck. We were playing a great set when Sean Connery started walking towards me mid-song! I couldn’t believe it… my finest moment was coming. But then he leaned over to me and shouted, “Can you turn this f***ing noise down”! HUGE disappointment!
Nearly there, again!
As time went on it became obvious that the band was never going to get anywhere. There followed a mass sacking, including our lead singer/my brother (slightly awkward for a while) and the bassist/my best mate (slightly awkward for a while) and eventually I too left and joined a new band, Jiff Boy Jive, which morphed into my most successful band to date – General Seven – a seven-piece rock/pop band.
It was brilliant. We were all on the same page and put our whole lives into the band with constant writing, rehearsing and gigging. This really paid off as we started to get interest from lots of record companies. This was it… we’d progressed from local pubs and clubs to major venues in London – the Marquee, The Mean Fiddler, Dingwalls and the Hippodrome. We were hitting the big time, gigging with the then unsigned Howard Jones.
On the road we were support for JoBoxers’ nationwide tour. We won two big talent competitions and recorded in Soundmill Studios, sharing the place with The Pointer Sisters and the Cocteau Twins! It was amazing. We were hanging out with the right people and being recognised by the right people.
But soon after it all started to happen… it all started to fall apart. The line-up changed and I felt the band was no longer creating the music I loved. So I left General Seven and started writing and recording music on my own.
The solo years
Initially I started writing and recording instrumentals and pop songs, building quite a catalogue of material but soon I started feeling my classical roots coming back. Using the new technology I realised I now had the ability to record more complex orchestral pieces. So in 1992 I threw myself into writing my first and to this date my only Symphony The Awakening. As lover of movies I started writing imaginary soundtracks and this in turn started my journey into writing music for corporate videos, which is something I do to this day.
A new beginning?
Bring it on!! I’ve been asked to consider playing keyboards for my brothers band These Certain People (yes, he forgave me eventually!! The lineup also includes my old lead guitarist from General Seven, so it’s like stepping back in time.
It’s early days as I’ve yet to gig with them, but who knows where this will lead… we’re not expecting too much… festivals, arenas, maybe an acoustic set at the Albert Hall – unless of course its me that gets sacked this time!