At 6 years old I was drawn to the piano at my friends house and allowed to make as much noise as I wanted.
I asked my parents for a piano of my own and a deal was struck, ” Have proper piano lessons and you can have one”
They very generously gave me a piano and the lessons started and continued until I was a teenager.
8 years later at the age 14, I found myself sitting at an out of tune pub piano with a line of pints on top, The landlord said “Keep playing son , and I’ll keep the beers coming” I remember thinking then that I was on to something.
Later that year after travelling round various venues in Bristol and playing guest spots for local singers and bands with my school mate Jason Bryant ( now the drummer of the firebirds ) we found ourselves backing Tony Garrett an already established singer with an amazing voice.
We called the band The Sidewinders, and the gigs came pouring in.
For a lot of the early gigs it was only the pair of us providing the backing, just piano and drums,at some really big gigs. I decided that I needed find a way to make as big a noise as I could on the piano. It’s a habit that has stayed with me to this day.
A couple of years later I decided that it was time for me step up and sing lead vocals.
I called the band The Late Shift, it quickly took off and the band played all over the South West.
The next step came in 1988 when I joined forces with Gary Bacon on bass and Andy Potter on drums we called the band The Fabulous Doughboys and just gigged relentlessly for a year until Andy Potter left and Alan Eden joined on drums. We played all over the country and used to be introduced as the busiest band in the west, often playing every night of the week.
I remember one December having only Christmas Day off.
Late in 1999 Gary Bacon left and Paul Brown joined on bass. This line up continued for a number of years until the departing Paul was replaced by Matt Venn.
Matt’s musicianship and sparkling stage presence made a real impact, not to mention additional strong vocals to the line up.
When Alan Eden departed the band Matt Venn moved seamlessly on to the drums and we recruited Rich Miller on bass.
This new line up clicked, and straight away felt like we had been together for years.
The most important thing about playing in a band is to enjoy what you do.
I always feel a buzz when Matt, Rich and myself take to the stage, and after 30 years of playing gigs I’m having more fun now than ever ..
Below are just a few of the highlights for me..
Shows at Bristols Colston Hall
Shows at The Bristol Balloon Fiesta
Ashton Court Festivals
N.I.A. ( National Indoor Arena ), Birmingham
UEFA Champions League Cup Final, Old Trafford, Manchester
Gigs in Hyde Park, London : 20,000 audience, Walk the Walk Breast Cancer Charity
Back to Back pianos with Linda Gail Lewis (Jerry Lee Lewis’s sister) duetting Jerry Lee Lewis songs backed by my good friends The Firebirds!