When did you first start playing music? Embarrassing living room concerts for extended family?
Unfortunately this sounds remarkably accurate! I began playing the drums thanks to my step-Dad who is a session musician professionally, however I soon switched to guitar after he showed me up innumerable times. The first show I ever played was in a school hall at age 11 singing a cover of a popular AC/DC song entitled It’s A Long Way The Shop If You Want A Sausage Roll. It’s been an uphill struggle from there.
Who’s the most overexposed and overrated guitarist right now?
Tough question! Classically I would have said Slash, however his recent solo efforts with Myles Kennedy have been undeniably good. I really don’t like The Strypes who seem to be everywhere these days – whoever their guitarist is, he’s overexposed right now! I also get frustrated with Jake Bugg as a guitar player; I’ve seen footage of him playing a really classy electric solo, however he seems intent on playing boring acoustic songs with very little flair or innovation. Ask me again underrated guitar players and I could probably talk for hours!
Everybody’s got a piece of music gear that they think they need (they usually don’t), what’s yours?
I’m an absolute gear head, and in terms of effects I’m addicted to delays – the dream would be to own a Roland RE-201 Space Echo from the 70s – a proper analogue tape echo. Guitar-wise I would love either a Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top (who wouldn’t!?), a Fender 72 Tele Custom or perhaps a guitar that has most recently caught my eye, the PRS s2 Starla in cherry red – slightly more affordable, but American made and rocking the vintage Bigsby – what’s not to love!?
Describe in detail the relationship between alcohol and musical inspiration?
Inspiration is perhaps the wrong word in my case – delusion is probably more accurate! A few beers will always help get the mind working in what you think is a lyrical fashion, any more and it will all be down hill. I’ve gone to bed more than slightly intoxicated, believing I’ve just written my breakthrough track, having expressed all of my repressed feeling of love and regret only to wake up to find a wide selection of cliches and some dribble on the page. In terms of playing live, I am a strong believer that a few beverages can help you find the ‘sweet spot’ – still musically in control but loose enough to enjoy yourself and help the audience to have a good time along with you.
What are you learning to play right now?
I have just finished Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits, who I have only just recently grown into – they have always seemed rather inaccessible until now. Next up I’ve got a few John Mayer tracks to get stuck into – he’s one of the players I would say was fantastically underrated as a guitar player in this country especially. He’s often dismissed as a cheesy American singer-songwriter, however if you listen to practically any of his tracks, he will be playing some really classy, tasteful blues infused licks underneath.
If you could have been born anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
If I could add new time period to that, I would say be born in mid 1950s London – that way you could be a teenager for Pink Floyd, Hendrix, The Beatles and about 200 other idols of mine. Right now, I feel like somewhere Scandinavian or Northern would suit me – Sweden or Iceland where they have their heads screwed on regarding the global economy and climate change. Or maybe in the Caribbean. That would be sweet.