posted on September 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

a filigree diamond filched from a ring

around age 16 music assumed a new significance for me

some new urgency possessed me and i could procrastinate no longer

something told me to play the bass guitar

what was that something i wonder

that something that sometimes guided me like a oracle….?

my father agreed he would buy me a bass for my birthday and he did

in sept 1970 i started my long journey with the bass guitar

you all know by now it was a violin bass a cheap copy of pauls

my father rigged me up an amplifier made from an old school p.a.

it was tinny and crackly but it worked

the bass on its own without an amp was a kinda uninspiring sound

a bit of a metallic rattle without much note in it to be heard

i had absolutely no idea how to play it whatsoever

i strapped it on and pretended to play to records

i gazed upon it in awe and wonder

i held it and ran my fingers over it

i was not a natural musician but i plugged away

i had a book about tuning it and what all the notes were

i began to pick out simple riffs and then slightly harder riffs

friends who played guitar came over and we began to understand

around the same time i bought a $10 acoustic guitar and learnt some chords

i knew i wanted to write songs but i didnt have much of a clue

my earliest attempts are maudlin whiney tripe

muse : that stuff goes down well today with boy bands…..

embarrassing 4th form poetry (i was in 4th form after all)

kids came over with drumkits to my dads garage

my dad was incredibly kind generous and tolerant

he lent me the dough to buy a maton amplifier

and i plugged in and so did 2 or 3 other kids on guitar

we played rock around the clock over and over

there was a constant rotation of kids all with bits n pieces of knowledge

one day my fingers started doing little runs between notes by themselves

i’m sure the passing notes were all wrong but it was the principle of it

i was starting to improvise…..

then theres the legendary ben a ginger headed guy a few years older than me

he popped over one day and in one hour taught me enough to be going on with

scales and slurs and slaps etc

that was my first and only lesson and i figured it all out from thereon in

the secrets of music revealed themselves bit by bit

i was not a musical prodigy by any means

i guess i plugged away and that was it

i encountered new things and took them onboard

i drifted thru a few half rate bands

i was writing and singing and playing bass

a thousand rehearsals a thousand jams

a thousand times loading all my stuff in my van on a cold night

a thousand cigarettes a thousand arguments

i kept losing my voice

i was a shouter more than a singer

everything that came along influenced me

i absorbed music like a sponge and squeezed out my own version

i wrote a thousand mediocre forgettable songs that were all forced

i was glam rock i was prog rock  i was gutter rock i was space rock

i lugged in and i lugged out

no one clapped that much it was bloody woeful i guess

yeah hard to believe isnt it….ha ha ha…

eventually i wound up in a room with a tape recorder

i percolated therein until i had finally written some decent things

i spent 3 years experimenting with songs

figuring out how to overdub my voice

all that kind of thing

just kept on writing and writing

immersed in music and reading the music papers

trying to figure out the zeitgeist….its impossible

i had long songs and short ones

weird ones and conventional ones

instrumentals poems raps sci-fi blips and blasts

sped up n slowed down i tried everything

somewhere in there i found myself

one day putting down a guitar track i thought hang on

this is starting to sound like me

just think of that

my very own me…!





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