Born and bred in Ipswich!
My biggest dilemma in my teens was whether I should be a star footballer or a rockstar.
I'd started playing the bass guitar when I was about 14. My older brother Keith, who I shared a bedroom with, had a guitar and had become really good on it - wearing a hole in the carpet foot-tapping to Rory Gallagher riffs. However, I didn't want to spend all those hours practising, I wanted to be on stage NOW!
. . . so I bought a bass guitar.
For a few years I carried on at night-school (with a wonderful teacher, Bernard Reader) and I took myself through the early piano grades. The culmination of this process was going to Colchester Institute as a full-time music student when I was 29. I had never imagined I could go to music college (it was like suddenly becoming a member of the cast of Fame), but I did and spent five great years there, learning so much. The last three years studying a music degree. I ended up with a 2:1, specialising in Composition and Music in Education. It was here I took my grade 8 piano, although I still preferred modern music styles and song-writing to classical piano playing.
When I left in 1995 I started my career as a self-employed musician, mainly teaching but also recording other musicians and performing in bands. I worked in all sorts of schools teaching music; state, private, special needs, running bands, teaching one-to-one and class. I worked for years in an EBD school (emotional & behavioural difficulties) where I set up a couple of bands. I also began teaching pupils from home, mainly children from my local community, who came to learn music in my home studio blah blah.
Just to put things into perspective (as my dad frequently reminded me) I've never made a penny out of my songwriting. I did once do a commission for a client who asked me to write some music for putting people to sleep - he was a hypnotherapist, and liked my work.
Anyway, song-writing is something I'll probably do all my life. As well as the 'expression' it allows me, I'm simply fascinated by songs & songwriting.
Part of the reason I rented Dove Studio was to give it a boost. To attract musicians and to be able to rehearse and record easily. Being able to easily accommodate a real drummer for instance, rather than drum machines, and to be able to record all together
... to capture the magic and atmosphere of a band playing together.
In April 2010 I gave it all up! Sounds dramatic but I knew I needed a break - mid-life crisis some said. I had a year away from music and now I'm back, refreshed, and with a nice big musical space to work in.
Throughout all this time I have always had a passion for songwriting, it's what drove me into music really at 14... ... always encouraged it with my pupils, played as much original music in bands as I could, and preferred recording musicians playing their own music.
I see song-writing as a craft, a long process of experience & knowledge (ooh la la) and I've done a long apprenticeship!
For the last many years I have been working with singer, Ollie, and guitarist, Jason Scopes.
The video clip left if from a gig at Clare Priory I did with 'Albino Cubana' a latin & World Music Band.
Recent recordings can be heard at our Soundcloud page (click link below). We call ourselves 'White Foot Lane'. The mp3 player on the right has older 'pre-Soundcloud era' recordings.
Moving on quickly, I've played in all sorts of bands since then, over the last 30 years; punk, alternative, jazz, pop, rock, big bands, show pits, function, salsa & world music, always keen to try something new really. I either played bass, guitar or piano/keyboards in these bands - always been a bit of a jack-of-all-trades).
By the time I reached my early twenties I do remember feeling frustrated with what little I knew about music, I wanted more, the whole picture and had a burning desire for a broader knowledge of music than 4/4 rock riffs. So I started going to night school and also started learning to read music. A girlfriend bought me a knackered piano for £50 and I started to learn to play.