I started playing the guitar when I was about fourteen. This was really down to my Dad. He had a classical guitar and used to play with a couple of friends in the evenings. They sort of learned together, playing songs like Camptown Races and Blow the man down. So this meant that there was a guitar in our home, and I think it was one summer holiday when I was a bit bored that I got it out of the cardboard box. I was pretty slow to get into it, and I stuck with only playing four strings for quite a while. But around the same time I started listening to a lot of music. In particular I liked The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Generally the music had to have lots of guitars in it. So then I had the desire to try and play and sing all these songs and that got my guitar playing started. As soon as I had learnt the basic chords I began to write my own songs. When I was fifteen I made my first album. This was recorded straight to a cassette tape which I still have somewhere. I would imagine it probably sounds terrible but I was pretty pleased with it at the time!
One birthday I was rather bizarrely given a trumpet by my parents. I don’t want to be ungrateful but it did seem strange. I had not asked for a trumpet nor did I have any desire to play the trumpet! But I fumbled on with it at school, having lessons and playing all the wrong notes in the orchestra, covering it in dents as I didn’t have a case, until I finally gave it up. The good news was that I was allowed to sell the trumpet and spend the money on my first electric guitar. This was a black Les Paul copy. That was also a strange choice as I really wanted a Strat. I think the reason was that the shop only had a Les Paul and I could not stand to sit in the car from Plymouth to Exeter. So I just bought that one, along with a very dodgy five watt amplifier which was made of plastic.
To be continued soon...