Bass Guitar / Guitar / Slide / Vocal
I was born in Stafford in 1949 and knew Richard at Primary school, when I was 8 years old my brother Bob was playing guitar in a Skiffle group called ’The Gamblin Men’. They used to set up in our tiny lounge and rehearse, this had a huge effect on me at this young age and I taught myself how to play simple chords. People like Bert Weedon and The Shadows were on the radio so I would practice playing the songs I heard by ear, then my Dad bought me a piano and I was sent to piano lessons, although it didn’t take long before the piano teacher told my parents that they were wasting their money and his time as I was playing by ear and wouldn’t read the music in front of me, he told them he couldn’t teach me. My influences at a very early age were Lonnie Donegan, The Shadows, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, then along came The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and I was hooked!
In my early teens my guitar playing progressed although it was never picked up by my music teacher at school. A bunch of us lads would take our guitars and play during our dinner hour, eventually I would invest in a Watkins Rapier guitar and a Watkins Dominator amplifier which had 4 inputs so we we all used to plug into it. I then started rehearsing with drummer Dave Emery and bass player Dave Kirkland, we formed a band called ‘The Alaskans”. I then joined a band called ‘Barry and The Ravens’ on guitar/vocals when I was 17, guitarist Dave Cotten still remains a good friend. We would spend most weekends doing the working mens clubs around The Potteries
Climax Blues Band
I joined Richard as part of 'The General Erection’ (with Pete Haycock) which eventually led on to the formation of Climax Blues Band in 1968. After several albums and many years slogging around the clubs in the UK, Climax came under the management of Miles Copeland who got us to the USA. The USA was an incredible time for us, we were touring with people like ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, ELO, ELP, B B King, Marshall Tucker Band and playing to huge audiences nightly. Our first ever gig in New York was at Carnegie Hall with Albert King and T-Bone Walker, we played Madison Square Gardens with Bad Company and headlined two nights at The Academy Of Music which was recorded for WNEW, this recording became our FM Live album.
Climax On The Road
When Climax had the big hit with "Couldn't Get It Right", gigs got bigger and better, we were then headlining and would attract various support acts who needed better exposure on their way up the ladder within the business, many up and coming bands joined us, Dire Straits, The Stranglers, Squeeze, to name a few in the UK, and in the USA, Status Quo, The Cars, Thin Lizzy, Bachman Turner Overdrive to name a few more. Climax then had a record deal with Warner Brothers in the USA and recorded ‘Real to Reel’ in Air studios Montserrat, Flying The flag and Lucky For Some, recorded in LA. Flying The flag album contained the single "I Love You" written and sung by me which became a top ten single in 1981.
After moving on from Climax due to varying internal wrangles, I was introduced to Roye Albrighton, by our old manager Miles Copeland, Roye had been the Lead guitarist with German band 'Nektar' but now found himself in search of something new, like myself. He flew over to The UK and stayed with me for six months while we wrote some new music together along with my drummer friend Brendan Day. Miles had got us a record deal with A&M and off we went to tour Europe and America, we had a great time and probably some of the happiest times of my life were spent with these guys and our intrepid crew, Tony Brinsley, Steve Glenndinning and Steve Botting.
Through the 80’s I had a great time working with various musicians and celebrities,I was invited by Stewart Copeland to help him write some music for ‘Lucasfilms,’Ewoks and Droids’ animated series based on Star Wars. Invited to Miles Copeland's Chateau Marouatte in Grand Brassac in France to join in a songwriting workshop, with such amazing people, Timothy B Schmit, Chas Sandford, Lisa Loeb, Jeff Beck, Stewart Copeland, Corey Stevens, Tom Schuyler to name a few.
Night of The Guitars
I was invited to join The Night of The Guitars tour in 1989 as bass player/ vocalist/ keys/ backing artists like Jan Ackerman, Alvin Lee, Leslie West, Andy Powell and Ted Turner from Wishbone Ash, Robbie Kreiger from The Doors, Randy California from Spirit, Steve Hunter from Lou Reed, Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music, Pete Haycock from Climax. Our live show from Hammersmith Odeon was recorded for an album and DVD in 1989 Pete Haycock and I collaborated on the sound track for ‘One False Move’ a film by IRS Media, in 1992, launching the careers of Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton. I got to play bass guitar for one of my heroes Chuck Berry in 1987 in Spain on a small tour, this was one of my career highlights, an unforgettable experience.