I started playing bass at 15 years old in 1967, when almost every street in Birmingham had at least one or two guitar players trying to emulate The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Learning to play guitar was about the only way for skinny and spotty faced youths like
myself to get girlfriends. Greater love of music came later.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
It was Sunday July 20th 1969 at Mothers in Erdington, Birmingham. My mate Tim Lantz asked me to help him collect glasses there and so I saw Deep Purple for free.
What gear do you use?
I used to have a Fender Mustang left handed bass till someone lifted it from a posh restaurant I played at in Worcester. Desperate (and broke) I bought a Washburn active bass which lasted me quite a few years. I later found out I'd paid £250 for a guitar that was made out of plywood. These days, I play a bass that I made myself from a beautiful piece of sycamore. I can pluck a note and it'll go on almost forever. Amplification: I use an Ampeg B115 for most gigs, but sometimes I use a doctored Asda home cinema bass unit. It has unbelievable depth.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I've made my living from being in bands on and off since 1971 when I first "turned pro". The bands varied in style, but the one thing that remained constant was featuring vocal harmony. I lost heart back in 2000 when I had to disband a fun group I'd been with for 17 years. The rising price of petrol made it impossible to commute from Newcastle to Birmingham where the band was based. I gave up for about eight years but then fell in love with music all over again when I joined Horace Silverman and the White Gardenias who play excellent music from the 1930's. In that band I met a wonderful multi instrumentalist Lucy Falkenau, who introduced me to Denise Jones and the three of us perform songs that feature really close harmony. We call ourselves The Attic Band.
What's the biggest audience you ever performed to? What's the smallest?
Now that was a really memorable one. The Caravanning and Camping Club of Great Britain held a national get together at Tatton Park and one of the songs we performed was"Singing In The Rain". At one point in the song, Ted our singer opened up his tatty umbrella and 30,000 umbrellas popped open at the same time ......magic! I played Pebble Mill at One live in front of 6 million viewers in a 1974 comedy band called The Mutton Chop Banjo Band, but the smallest audience was a restaurant in Wellingborough. There were four people in it. We asked them to run around to make the place look full.