I was born in Leeds Maternity Hospital, Hyde Terrace, Leeds on 12 June 1962 and spent my formative years in the mining town of Lofthouse.
I remember hearing music playing almost all the time growing up. My mother would play The Beatles, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, Burt Bacharach and my father played organ records by Klaus Wunderlich, Alan Haven and Harry Stoneham, the bloke who led the band on the Michael Parkinson show.
The organ music was always instrumental and introduced new sounds rarely heard on the pop stuff. Klaus Wunderlich, I later found out, would often use electronic musical instruments to really go to town on some of the songs, and although they weren't technically synthesizers they were as close as you could get wthout scaring the organ aficionados.
I was just starting piano lessons, which were usually classical pieces, so the mix of music was quite interesting.
One day we were over at Auntie and Uncles house for dinner and Uncle Ron decided to show off his new stereo system. The speakers were huge, I remember seeing two really big speakers behind the mesh fronts and what I thought at the time were flattened black trumpet horns on top. The amplifier smelled like it was about to catch fire. Uncle Ron picked out a record from his collection, placed it carefully on the turntable and the next thing I know I'm listening to Bach like I'd never heard it played before. The album was Switched On Bach played at a volume so loud my dad shouted at my Uncle to turn it down which he did, just a little bit. Every note, every sound, was crystal clear. I was able to follow everything that was being played all at the same time as if I had stepped into the music.
My Uncle let me borrow Switched On Bach and another album he had used in his stereo system demo by Jimmy Smith. I played them both a lot.
I saw my first actual synthesizer one day in a music room in school. It was a Wasp with a static metal keyboard. The teacher wouldn’t let any of us actually play it, but I had at least seen and heard one in real life which was cool yet frustrating.
Fast forward to 22 years old and I'm out of Art College and working as a designer at sign company during the week and a music store called Alpha Music at the weekends. This was around the time Yamaha launched the DX7 and the Sequential Circuits their Six-Trak. I really liked the Six-Trak, it was easy to use and had a great sound, but the DX7 although fascinating didn't do anything for me. I owned a Roland Jupiter 4 and a Crumar Roadrunner at the time and was in a couple of local rock bands, continuously lugging them from rehearsal room to rehearsal room via the busses and they were heavy.
While crossing the shopfloor of the sign company I worked at, designing pub signs for local and national breweries, a guy I was friendly with who played guitar in a punk band called Abrasive Wheels handed me something he'd torn out of Melody Maker. It was a classified ad for a job as keyboard salesman at a music store on Kilburn High Road. Two weeks later I caught the train down to London and got the job.
A friend of mine from art college who had been sharing a flat on Ladbroke Grove with some other guys from college was moving out and there was an available bed. I moved in the following week and later started hanging out with a group of people who were friends with a guy in the basement flat.
We formed a band and recorded a demo that we hawked all over town. The singer in the band had a friend who was the manager of a band called The Bolshoi who he'd recently signed to Situation Two records. Turns out he knew Mick Ronson who was also friends with a guitarist who was helping us with the demo, and Mick had just recently hung out at one of our reharsals and stood next to me watching me play. I had a Roalnd Juno 106 at this point and was mainly playing string pads. He showed me some chord inversions he thought would work better. One thing leads to another and I'm approached by the manager at a nightclub called Pigeon Toed Orange Peel and asked if I'd be interested. I met the band one dark and stormy night in a pub in SE London and hit if off right away. I was asked if I wanted to join and a couple of weeks later made my debut at The Marquee club on what happened to be their first sold out show there.
The band was in the early stages of writing music for a new album and was now signed to Beggars Banquet records.
Friends, produced by Mick Glossop was released 1996 and we soon started touring countries where songs from the album were popular. I remember the day I went down to the phone box to take my daily call from the manager and was told to make sure my passport was current because were were going to America for a tour. A few weeks later we're on a Pan Am 747 flying to Los Angeles via Newark.
Rather than go into detail as to the what happened for the next couple of years let me just say it was an amazing time, but all good things come to an end and we disbanded in the wee hours of the 80's.
My move to Seattle was a completely fresh start. The band had never played here while on tour although from time to time I'll meet people who actually own or owned Bolshoi records, but it was a guitar based band kind of town and I didn't see many opportunities to turn my love of music into a career here. I was still recording music with every intention of releasing an album, but along came the internet and I slowly drifted away from music and towards computers, software and the internet.
After ripping some pages of the calendar for a couple of seconds we'll arrive at a moment fairly recently where I realized I had everything I needed to not only make an album from old and not so old recordings but also the means to mix, master and distribute the music via any number of incredibly powerful new tools that were often times freely available. Which brings me to the present day and some new projects I'm excited about, the first of which is the release of music I've been working on since The Bolshoi called Granbretan, a collection of tracks I'm really proud of and happy didn't just fade away unheard. And for course there's new music I'm working on with Mick Glossop producing and mixing that I'll be focussing on after Granbretan is released.