I was born in the centre of England in 1981 into a family with no musical background.
Early childhood does not carry too many fond memories as I lost my father to suicide at a young age. Moving schools to be teased and bullied for not having a Dad really helped me learn to stand up for myself. I still remember the feeling of my hands slapping the wet concrete playground after being pushed to the floor,,, I got back up, and always will.
My Mum then moved on with another man who I now call Dad. This provided a safe and loving home, but better than that, an extensive record collection.
I was allowed to play the vinyl records and was even treated to my own record player one Christmas. This was it, the birth of my musical love. Playing the likes of Van Morrison, The Who and Patsy Cline to name a few…
It was not until the age of 15 when I discovered a band of my generation, ‘Oasis’, that I felt compelled to play guitar.
Even with just three chords I started to write my own melodies. (Status Quo made a career out of that).
I spent hours and hours locked in my bedroom channelling my new-found love. It was addictive and I’m still as addicted to this day.
Writing will always be my number one passion.
By the age of 16 I had landed a local job in a factory. That was kind of the way it goes in a small town – that’s what was expected. It was a very mundane job and thank God I had a CD player to keep me company. I really got a great musical education through that radio; Listening to American classic soul, British 60’s bands and 70’s rock. At this time, I had also started performing live as a solo acoustic artist. Being booked for 60’s revival rallies, we’re intimidating gigs. Just me, a guitar and a marque full of drunken people twice my age.
I really learned my stage craft on that circuit and it still serves me well to this day. It taught me not to be intimidated.
These were great times, exciting times, but I needed more…….
The factory job was really getting me down, dusty, gloomy and depressing. After being there for years I had enough. After an argument with my boss, I told him to stick it and I booked a flight to India. I spent 3 months in India, soaking up the culture shock and embracing it completely. India really opened my eyes to spirituality and after seeing true poverty I will never complain about what I don’t have ever again. I played numerous places on my travels in front of people that genuinely love music.
It was during my time in India I made a new friend, who suggested I visit Australia.
The thought had never crossed my mind but now that was all I could think about.
I returned to the UK to save funds for my next adventure and then I was off again.
I arrived at Sydney airport in 2008 with a bag, a guitar and no bloody clue what I was doing!!! It didn’t take me long to find my people though. Newtown in Sydney was very kind to me and gave me some of the best nights out I have ever had.
These were great years… but ultimately due to visa restrictions they had to end, so after 2 years I was back in the UK.
Dark cold days,,, but I still had my love of playing music to keep me going. I secured some pretty great gigs with my band Mile Wide Stride playing festivals etc… but I always knew I wanted to return to Australia.
I did, and it was on this trip to Australia I met my American wife. Again due to visa restrictions I could not stay long in Australia so we decided to go to Alabama together. Once again I was inspired musically by someone else’s record collection (my father in-laws). I discovered Waylon Jennings and was instantly inspired, also the Allman brothers and Willie Nelson. I had heard of these guys before but it was kind of special being immersed in this sound. I played numerous shows in the honky Tonks and bars in Alabama stealing as many tricks as I could. I must say they are some of the nicest folks I have ever met – nothing beats southern hospitality.
Jenny fell pregnant around this time and we both knew it was time to find a home to settle down in. We wanted Australia to be that home. Arriving with nothing and my first born on his way was quite a scary time. We were lucky enough to receive food parcels from the salvos and I did any job going to bring in the cash.
Once again, I was determined not to give up.
Now, very settled into the Australian life and happy to call Redcliffe home, I have made some wonderful musical friends.
I started writing the album NOTB in February 2020 , just before Covid hit. And through the uncertain times of 2020 this album has really been a saviour. It has given me positive focus and I think that shows in the songs. Getting to work with Russell Bayne, Mick Bristow, Vaughan Jones, Dallas Southam, Kirk Lorange and Brisbane City gospel choir to name a few is an achievement in its self. I have been very, very lucky .
What inspired me?
For this album it was the songs of Waylon Jennings mixed with a Joe cocker feel. I will always be encouraged by passion. I’m also a massive Bowie fan so it needed to be diverse in its approach to honour his influence.
How do I write?
99% of the time the words and music come at exactly the same time. I never write anything down. If I can’t remember it the next day then why would anyone else?
What does Australia mean to me?
Australia to me is the friend that will pick you up if you fall, it’s never gonna let you have a free ride but at the same time will never let you go without. Giving you enough support to let you carry yourself…
And that’s the truth.
What does 2021 hold? Who knows, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be exciting.
All the best