About Me … The Long Version (continued)
I was broke and had no-one else who was willing to come and play on my tunes.
So even though I didn’t have much choice, I’m am extremely grateful that I decided to go it alone anyway – as it’s helped me grow so much as a musician.
And because of not being able to afford studio time either, I began to built up my own studio from scratch.
It started with a Fostex 4 track tape recorder and slowly over many years it’s become a gorgeous recording space that I love and adore.
So how did all these musical adventures begin?
Well…they began long ago….when my Grandparents bought a pianola.
what the heck’s a pianola?
The best way to describe a pianola is a humungo piano that has a big metal mechanism inside it. The mechanism played paper rolls, which you bought separately. Each roll had dozens of small holes dotted about randomly and when inserted into the pianola the piano would then play a piece of music all by itself.
Pretty darn cool.
It also functioned just the same as a regular piano and I would stop by my Grandparent’s place as often as I could and just noodle away.
I’d play a mixture of stuff I’d heard on the radio and also my own creations (most of which were bloody awful). I loved the freedom to be able to create what ever I wanted.
After a year or so of noodling fun I began having formal lessons from a woman I’m certain was a part time piano teacher / part time witch. She made me play these epic classical pieces of music and forced me to sight read as much as possible. While now-a-days I fully appreciate that these pieces were very cleverly written, 7 year old me really couldn’t care less and found them rather dull and boring. Not only that, I was (and still am) *very* dyslexic and struggled reading words never mind notes on a stave.
I was made to prepare and do grades and after my Grade 4 piano exam I decided to quit piano all together.
Around the time I quit playing piano my Dad had decided to try his hand at playing guitar. He bought a cheap n nasty classical guitar and an instruction book.
…….and that’s as far as it went.
I saw the guitar propped up in the corner of the lounge and thought I’d give it a try.
The strings were half a mile off the fret board and it really was a hideous sounding guitar….but hey, it was better than nothing at all.
The instruction book really didn’t inspire me, so I went straight to the back where all the chord shapes were and began teaching myself all the different chords.
Before I knew it I was writing my first few songs and so began my love of songwriting.
By 15 I had left school with no qualifications and started trying to gig as much as humanly possible. I played in dozens of rather seedy pubs and bars and the most I ever made was £5 (I have plenty of horror stories, ask me next time you see me and I’ll tell you all about it).
By the time I was 17 I had taught myself bass and drums and was gigging around 4-5 nights a week in various bands as well as performing my own material.
Because I was gigging so often (and getting paid a lot better than my early £5 a gig days!) I was able to quit my day job and focused fully on music. Along with gigging as much as possible I had a very strict daily practice regime. I would rehearse for 7 hours every single day. I’d practice drums, bass, acoustic guitar and vocals. I’d also work on new tunes and material for the various bands I was working with. I worked my little booty off as I wanted to be the best musician possible.
…and from there I kept on keeping on…I love music. Always have, always will.