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BIO

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BIOGRAPHY

A Life...Lost...In Music...

Please note these are my personal reminiscences. My professional CV is available upon request.

I was very lucky. I escaped. My natural mother was a bit of a wild child. I traced her in recent years. She is a good woman, but definitely not one for responsibility. She cheerily and gleefully told me that I had been conceived in a nightclub on Greek Street in Soho London.

At the time the Establishment Night club run by comedian and satirist Peter Cook would also have been located there.

I would play music on that very same street many times years later.

 

Born 1963, I had my first few days on planet earth in a mother and baby home in Wimbledon south London. My wonderful great aunt Nancy Brooks was the head matron there. My adoptive parents at the time had a lot of trauma in terms of conceiving a family of their of their own. My adoptive mother almost died as a result of trying to conceive a child and had various operations. My great aunt suggested adopting one of the little babies that came under her care and jurisdiction on a daily basis.

I was hand picked before I was born. My natural father was known to be dark like my soon to be adoptive father and my natural mother fair like my adoptive mother. Months before I was actually born I had been selected by my parents to be.

Within 2 weeks of being born my adoptive parents took me home to east London at night in their little black standard 8 car in a raging summer thunderstorm and like most young new parents were both thrilled and nervous at the prospect of parenthood in equal measure.

 

I had a very happy childhood. Lots of love, attention and a big extended family of aunts , uncles, grandparents and cousins. Within a few years I also had three wonderful younger brothers to play with who miraculously were biologically the product of my adoptive parents in spite of all of their previous difficulties.

I was always a chatterbox and always on the go right from my earliest days. I never seemed to want to go to bed..There always seemed so many exciting things out there to do.

Like most young children I was also very creative. 

My earliest musical memory is singing along to 'My Boy Lollipop' a Jamaican ska hit record of the time by the singer Milly.

I'm told that as a toddler I also used to sing along loudly to The Beatles She Loves You whenever it came on the radio. I definitely remember singing Yellow Submarine in the school playground in 1969 as a 6 year old, the year that the film of this song was released.

At about this age I think it was my Auntie Carol who bought me a little ukulele or something similar. I loved that. My auntie Carol always encouraged my interest in music. She was an excellent accordion player and pianist herself and studied with the same piano teacher as the comedian and celebrated pianist / musician Dudley Moore who was a contemporary.

Whenever we went to her home where she lived with her mother and son I would insist on banging away on the upright piano that they had in their front room. Much to the annoyance of all of the adults.

The first music / singer I recall seeing on television was also in this room. I remember seeing and hearing Dusty Springfield on their DER rented black and white TV. Which must have been mid/late 1960s. I thought she was great with her amazing voice and thought she was very pretty with her long dress and big black staring panda eyes. I think I must have had an eye as well as an ear for the ladies from an early age as I also vividly remember really liking Mary Hopkins, Clodagh Rogers and Cilla Black from around this period. My maternal grandparents bought me a tiny pocket transistor radio around 1970. I loved that too. I used to tune in and listen to all the shows on the newly formed BBC Radio 1. The DJ's were I think Tony Blackburn, Dave Cash and Johnny Walker amongst others.

When I was 7 I remember asking my mum as I was trying to figure out how to play something on the little ukulele. 'Mum, how comes  if there are only 12 notes in a musical scale, that you can get to write so many songs?' She didn't know how to answer that question and I still marvel at it myself. So few notes and yet a seemingly infinite number of tunes which can be derived from them.

As a family we relocated from Manor Park East London to Norfolk in 1972.

Initially I hated it. I had all of my mates back in London. But I soon settled in and made new friends. It was very different in the countryside but I got to love it as much as London eventually, all be it in a different way.

In 1974 when one of my great grandmothers died at the ripe old age of 94 the family were bequeathed a modest sum of money. With this my parents purchased a family electric organ. I immediately took to this and spent many hours trying to figure out how to play it, but I never actually had any music lessons. At this time I became a big fan of Elton John. For Christmas 1974 I was given a little mono cassette recorder. For 5 years after this like many people of my generation I would tune in with an almost religious fervour to the live broadcast by Tom Brown on Radio 1 at 6pm on a Sunday evening as the new Top 20 music chart was announced and played and I of course like many others recorded the whole show each week and played it over and over until the next one came out. If I liked a song enough I would go and buy it on vinyl with my limited pocket money either in Norwich or at our little local record shop called  The Pop Inn. 

In those days I liked ABBA, Queen, Marc Bolan, amongst many others and quite a lot of mid 70s disco that featured the Philadelphia sound. Things like Hamilton Bohannon The Disco Stomp and The Hustle by Van McCoy.  (I later detested most late 1970s and pretty much all 1980s disco music).

 

A little after this maybe 1976, the BBC broadcast for the first time on British Television all of the Beatles movies. I watched Hard Days Night and thought...that looks like fun!

From then on it was guitars all the way, but I preferred 1960's cool guitar pop to the then current 1970's hard heavy metal bands, so as well as loving The Beatles I also got to know and adore the music of The Rolling Stones, The Who and the wonderfully quirky songs by Ray Davies and The Kinks.

I bought my first guitar an acoustic EKO model in 1977 from the music shop Cookes in Norwich. I saved up,long and hard. It cost around £70 which in those days was a small fortune especially for a young teenager. I did a lot of odd jobs locally to pay for it. I think I went to buy it with a young American woman named Donna who was a family friend at the time; a bit hippyish but who we all thought was really cool.

My parents still have this guitar at their home in Norfolk . I rarely play it now as the action on it is so difficult, really hard in fact. It is a bitch to play but sounded / sounds good. For this reason I don't know how I ever learned to play it. My fingers  quite literally used to bleed. But I persevered and also got in a few local lessons initially with a guy named Mr Cook who I practically bullied in to teaching me as he was a local musician but didn't really do teaching. Later a nice old chap called Mr Chinn or Chinny as he was known taught me the basics for a year or so in between regaling me  with stories of his time serving in the RAF during World War 2.

Briefly around this time I joined a covers band called Purple Edge. The band consisted of 3 middle aged guys on bass drums and lead vocals. I was their 16 year old lead guitarist. We used to play in a lot of pubs and bars in Norfolk but I was too young to be served alcohol . My dad used to 'roadie' and ferry me around. I used to get paid. Most of the songs were by Neil Diamond. 

As I got more proficient on the guitar this led to me wanting to actually write songs of my own. From the age of a small child I was always writing little poems and short stories. All of my school reports throughout my entire school career make mention of this and my imaginative writing generally. By 1977 I was sort of writing songs, but really they were just lyrics without melodies. I still have them and there are about 100 in all. Once I had some master of the guitar the songs began to arrive. In 1978 I teamed up as a duo with school friend Andrew Phillips who played bass guitar. Together we recorded a home album of songs at my parents house on my Sony 2 track stereo recorder. It was all on cassette. The whole of the first side featured mainly my songs and the whole of the second side mainly Andrew's ones. We called the album 'Past Present And Future'. Which now I am putting this website together seems spookily apt.

The natural progression from all of this was to form a band. 

As I was finishing my GCSE O'levels exams during the early summer of 1979 Andrew and I teamed up with fellow local students David Heighington and Steve 'Fudge' Smith. David Heighington was our lead guitarist. Initially like the rest of us he couldn't play that well. But seemingly within weeks he became an absolute virtuoso on the instrument. He became amazingly good at an astonishing rate and in my opinion could easily play as well as his hero Gary Moore the Thin Lizzy guitar player within a year; a natural talent. Steve too learnt his instrument at a breathtaking pace. I can honestly say that in all the years that I have been in involved in music that he is still the greatest drummer I know or have ever seen; and I've played with some very good ones including one that recorded albums with The Bee Gees. Fudge is also one of life's good guys. He would later turn professional and become the drummer for the prog rock bands The Host and then Pendragon for 20 years touring the world and recording many albums. He has since left Pendragon to pursue other interests and we remain good friends. Andrew was solid and competent on bass and I became pretty good on guitar too and also became lead singer and songwriter. Initially we did cover songs; Come Together by The Beatles, Paper Plane, Status Quo, and bit of Chuck Berry or Elvis, blues, anything easy.

We rehearsed at first in a local pub back room and then frequently in a large 'Rockford Files' style trailer home owned by Fudge's parents located at the back of their large garden. We must have driven the local residents insane with the din. But we did get pretty good eventually. By the mid summer of 1979 I was beginning to write what I consider to be 'proper' songs. The first of these was one called 'Living In Two Worlds'. It has slight echoes of London Calling by The Clash if you listen to it. But the thing is...I wrote it quite a few months before The Clash released London Calling so it's truly original. By this point though my musical direction was very much infused and influenced by the Punk and New Wave music movements. My favourite bands then were The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees and to some extent The Jam. 

We played our first gig at my new college Norcat; The Norfolk College of Arts and Technology in King's Lynn where I was beginning to study for my A' levels. The actor / writer Stephen Fry was a former pupil. In September 1979 we performed in front of about 300 students and teachers. We called the band The C.R.A.P Band. For obvious reasons this was soon changed to Too Far Gone and then slighted later to Cultural Collapse. We made recordings at The Whitehouse Studio in Norfolk (Rooms, Save Me, Goodbye To The Sky) and Spacewood in Suffolk (Growing Inside and others). Various members came and went for different reasons but mainly because musically our original line up had become just too diverse in it's musical tastes. Fudge liked YES and Rush, David liked heavy metal bands and Andrew Pink Floyd. I meanwhile as said was all for Blondie, The Clash or Elvis Costello. Eventually this led to lots of line up changes. by 1981 I was writing songs at a rapid rate and had written about 80 of them by this time. Briefly we had a guitar player Peter 'Smarmy' Harold. Then we had a girl singer called Jacquie who took over lead vocals for a bit. Eventually Fudge, David and Andrew all left for different reasons and the band became completely new bar myself. We called the all new outfit Terminal Fun and this featured Carole Bush on lead vocals,  Paul Raynor on bass, Pete Sparrow on drums and myself on backing vocals and guitar. I was the principal songwriter. We attracted a local manager Steve Jackson (Brown) who was an ex commercial radio DJ from London. He got us quite a lot of gigs throughout the East Anglian area, for many of which we were actually paid. He also got us to record a 7" single which I wrote.  It was a double A side and the songs were Great Moments and Twist and Survive. I think they were recorded by the band and mixed at Spacewood in Suffolk. It was released on The Projected Image label (named after another one of my songs) and distributed by Backs records late in 1982. It was unusual in the fact that the back cover featured advertising from many local businesses which helped to fund the cost of making the record. It didn't do that great but it wasn't too bad for a first attempt. It was completely torn to pieces by Danny Baker in his NME review of it, but good old John Peel thought that it was half way decent and played it several times on his Radio 1 show.

Terminal Fun continued to play extensively throughout East Anglia often appearing with other local bands of note at the time like Screen 3 and The Farmers Boys, but eventually disbanded by the spring of 1983 a few weeks after recording a 3 song EP containing the songs Lucifer, Something Must Break and The Sun Is Cold.

I honestly can't remember why it all unraveled but I don't recall there being anything acrimonious.

 

In May 1983 as a 19 year old I moved out from my parents house and into a place of my own for the fist time. I rented a 2 bedroom terraced house in Norwich with a graphic artist called Peter Snelling. Peter was a huge David Bowie fan. My first memory of Bowie were the singles Golden Years and the reissued Space Oddity from the mid 1970s. As an A level student another friend Simon Eve played me quite a few of his albums. I don't think that you can be a contemporary pop musician and songwriter and not acknowledge his huge influence on the medium. 

1983 was a big David Bowie year and the sights and sounds of the reinvented David  for the Let's Dance album reverberated everywhere.

 

As my last band Terminal Fun had recently broken up I got myself settled in Norwich and set about working on my next music project which turned out to be an all solo one. I hired an 8 track studio run by a guy called Andy Swain who also engineered and played synth shortly after writing a batch of songs in rapid succession which all had a similar feel to them. The result was probably the most original album that I have ever made. It's featured on this website as the album Welcome To Garbage Land. I have no idea why it sounds so different. I was listening to a lot of punk and new wave at the time and the vocal style is a little bit Johnny 'Lydon' Rotten, but that aside the music style is difficult to place, listening to it now it does sound quite unlike anything else I've ever heard anywhere else. There are lots of different elements there , even a bit of rap (a genre of music virtually non existent in the U.K. At the time) on the song Rags Is Rich. I only have a cassette recording of the album which has been digitised, so that's why the tracks unfortunately also have quite a bit of background hiss. 

I felt quite pleased with the result at the time and because of this spent days in local 'phone boxes (no mobile phones for the masses then) trying to secure meetings with various record companies which mainly seemed to be located in and around the Soho area of London.

I remember one meeting went really well on Soho Square and the A&R person at the time, I think it may have been for Warner Brothers was particularly impressed with the song Do Your Thing and encouraged me to keep in touch and said that he would like to hear more along those lines. I can't remember his name. What happened next kind of knocked me out for a few months and it all sort of got lost in the mix. I basically experienced 2 grand mal epilepsy attacks within a few days out if nowhere. It left me feeling very tired, shaken and confused. It also meant that I was now unable to drive a car for 3 years which limited my mobility and I also had to go on long term medication which although thankfully kept the condition in check also seemed to hugely dull my senses.

In the summer of 1983 I tried to form a new band in order to play live the music that I had recorded for Welcome To Garbage Land. I met up with a young Welsh guitar player called Gary Reddi who also lived in Norwich near the station with his girlfriend Suzanne. Gary was very enthusiastic and helpful and we used to rehearse together at rooms behind the Freewheel bookstore in Norwich. We next teamed up with two other guys who were already friends; David Coleman who played drums and Andrew 'Roadie' Manning who at the time played percussion but was also learning bass and eventually became our bass player. The sounds and feel of Welcome To Garbage Land proved difficult at the time to reproduce live and we struggled with it somewhat.

Gary eventually left because I think he maybe moved out of the area? Next in was Stephen Colvin. Steve at the time was a UEA student in Norwich. I think we met via a music ad in a shop window. Steve had and has enormous drive, energy, focus and meticulous organisational skills and attention to detail and although I was the band's founder and chief musical leader and songwriter, in other respects Steve sort of took the helm for the duration of our time together, which was fine by me. Our skills and talents complimented each other.

We abandoned trying to reproduce the Welcome To Garbage Land songs because of their difficulty to reproduce and I set about trying to write a new batch of songs for the new line up. The band became The Magnificent Seven, which although is a great name I was never happy with because of its lack of originality. Also around this time Pippa (Philippa) Clements joined on keyboards. Steve secured many local gigs for the band in the Norwich area many at the UEA where we were also now rehearsing on campus. We did various recordings which got played quite a bit on local BBC radio.

A sixth member joined in 1984 Kate Pettinger on backing vocals. Kate had an awesome voice and could have given her contemporaries Helen Terry or Alison Moyhet a run for their money. The new set of songs were less experimental and more 80s pop in their sound. My favourites from this period are Dazzle Taxi Clock In (although I'm not that keen on the recording of it) and The World For A Girl a song which particularly in my opinion still stands up.

 

In the Summer of 1985 at the time of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's Live Aid we recorded some jingles for a local hairdresser which played in the local cinemas for years afterwards. Transformer. These were recorded along with some new songs including one which I called Animal with another UEA student Steve Osbourne who went on to become a big name producer working with artists such as U2, Suede, Happy Mondays, New Order, KT Tunstall etc etc. 

We continued to play many local gigs but Steve Colvin also started to secure us some London shows. The first of which was at Le Beat Route on Greek Street. At the time this was definitely a venue to be seen at. Very cool. It was also where Madonna had recently made her live London debut 

By the autumn of 1985 it was all change again.

Steve and Pippa had become boyfriend and girlfriend (they are now married with. 3 children and live in New York). 

The pair relocated to London and by the autumn of 1985 I followed them. 

I have lived in London ever since. Both David, Andrew and Kate did not want to make the transition to London so the Magnificent 7 (there only ever were 6) were down to 3.

The three of us had various stand in's on bass and drums for a while but eventually through various organised auditions we held at rehearsal studios like The Clink on Bankside, Terminal at Waterloo, or the Premises on Hackney Road near Bethnal Green where we often rehearsed we eventually settled on Nat Wallace a rock and roll youngster from Melbourne in Australia on bass and the loveable happy go lucky Ringo type Phil Morgan from Washington Tyne and Wear near Newcastle on drums. 

One night after working in a clothes store on Oxford Street I met with the rest of the band at The Hog in the Pound public house at the top of South Molton Street which has since been demolished. There I remember having all of these cut up bits of paper with individual words on them in some sort of container. I remember wanting to use this William Burroughs style technique to help us choose a new name for the band. 

We all took it in turns to extract a word / piece of paper. It felt a bit like drawing names out of a bag for an FA cup football fixture. We kept trying different combinations of words.

The result in hindsight wasn't fantastic. We finished up by the end of the evening with the band being called Sam&Galore.

Then again many highly successful bands in the 1980's had ridiculous names... I mean...Flock of Seagulls anyone? Bananarama? Kagagoogoo?

Men without Hats? 

I rest my case your honor.

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The band got to work almost immediately and rehearsed chiefly at The Premises on Hackney Road often also frequented by other contemporary artists like The Sundays and Marc Almond. I've got quite an amusing story about Marc Almond actually. My wife Corinne was out at a party with him and Dave Ball in the early 1980s. They all got on really well and spent the whole evening together chatting and having fun. So what do you? asked Corinne? We're in a band called Soft Cell. Oh really said Corinne, I can play drums. Wow says Marc. That's great we need a drummer. We're holding auditions next Monday if you wannna come along. Corinne didn't she went off travelling around the world instead for 6 months. When she got back Tainted Love by Soft Cell was number 1 in the charts for weeks and weeks. It was one  of the biggest selling records of the 1980s. They never did find a drummer though. The only drummer on that track was a drum machine. My wife isn't actually particularly musical and hasn't played the drums for years so it always amuses me immensely that because she grew up in Liverpool she knew people like Ian Broudie from the Lightning Seeds, Pete Burns from Dead Or Alive  and members from The Teardrop Explodes quite well in her youth

So anyway, back to Sam&Galore. In terms of the music I was very much the band leader, as I predominantly wrote all of the songs but in all other respects Steve Colvin was at the helm. Steve was and is a natural businessman and with his easy smooth talking Irish charms he definitely took care of the band in all respects to do with business and promotion. His networking prowess was and is legendary to everyone who knows him. In pre internet days Steve seemed to possess the power of the internet before it even really happened. These sort of skills would a little later on in the late 1990's go on to be utilised again and make his career in American publishing go stratospheric as the CEO of Dennis Publications in New York working as the No 1 US man for Felix Dennis (Oz magazine, Early UK  1970s obscenity trials, Dennis Publications, Top 100 Sunday Times U.K. Rich List etc) where he would go on to launch successful magazine titles like Maxim for men and Blender. Success with Sam&Galore was much more modest. Thanks to Steve we played all the right clubs mainly on the London band / gig circuit of the day many times over. We purposefully concentrated the live shows mainly in and around the central London and West End areas as this was and is largely where most of the record companies / A&R people were / are, based. So we played venues such as The Marquee Soho , Le Beat Route Soho, The Rock Garden Covent Garden, Dingwalls Camden, The Embassy Club Mayfair, The Limelight Soho, The Borderline Soho, The Cricketers Kennington Oval, The Fulham Greyhound, The Crown & Anchor Islington, Crazy Larrys Chelsea, The Kings Head Fulham, ULU, The University Of London, Bloomsbury, Zeetas Putney, and the main night club owned by Vince Power The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden.

Steve lived at the time with his brother Howard Colvin in a flat they shared just off the King's Road in Chelsea / Fulham. Howard is very warm , capable and affable sort of fellow who now manages Hedge funds. He is extremely posh sounding in spite of his Belfast upbringing and makes the Queen Of England in contrast to his dulcet tones appear to speak live a 'chav' to use contemporary parlance..Howard along with Steve took a great interest in the band and the two of them put a lot of effort into getting  Sam&Galore off the ground. They tapped up all of their connections. Simon Turtle from Belfast would take many of the band's official photos. They knew people who knew U2 and Bono and Chris Deburgh and goodness who knows else. They were always talking about someone or the other that they had just met at a party who knew so and so or whatever but I could never really keep up with it all. Through their endeavours the band launched its first single Heaven Knows / Girls Are / WalkMy Way on 7'' and 12'' vinyl. It was released in 1987 and again in 1988 on the record label Fine Tune Records that Steve and Howard had founded. It was recorded at Ha Bloody Ha Studios near Epsom in Surrey in 1987 with the famous record producer Phil Vinall (Pulp, Auteurs, Elastica, Gene, Radiohead, Suede, Placebo)).

Steve and Howard engaged the expertise of Ferret and Spanner who were big at the time for promoting record launches. The single (A side Heaven Knows) did not sell that well but it didn't do too badly either and I think it did hit into the U.K. top 100 just briefly. It was quite well received by disc jockeys at the time and was on the Radio 1 playlist for The DJ Bruno Brooks. It also was played extensively on BBC and Independent local radio stations throughout the UK and whilst I was driving to work one morning I just happened to hear it being played by Ken Bruce on his Radio 2 breakfast show. A video of the song was made which was aired quite a bit on MTV. The band also appeared live on a peak time Irish BBCTV show which was very similar to Top Of The Pops. We shared the bill with Sinead O'Connor who we spoke with quite a bit backstage. At the time I remember being more interested in her stories concerning her recent experiences spent with U2. I also very clearly recall all of the BBC technicians really taking the piss out her offstage and behind her back because of her aggressive military looking stage outfit and closely cropped skinhead style hair cut. The moment she opened her mouth to sing though they all just totally shut the fuck up and looked dazed. Everybody was just so stunned and dazzled by her beautiful voice. It was like from another world. A better world...She really does sing like an angel. They treated her quite differently after that. With much more respect. It was quite fascinating.

The band were also booked to appear on RTE on the famous Irish chat show hosted by Gaye Byrne but it was cancelled at the very last moment. I can't remember why. 

Around 1988/89 the band were guests on the Emma Freud show on GLR BBC radio London and played three songs live on air. By this time I had left the band but I was still involved with the group in the capacity of chief songwriter. I'm not exactly sure now how all of that came about. I think Steve thought that maybe I shouldn't be front man. He may have been right I don't know. Looking back I think I probably did have a lot less confidence both as a person generally and onstage than I do today. I was much shyer back then. For a while I played rhythm guitar at the side and did backing vocals. Steve suggested drafting in for the role of lead singer / front man an old school friend of his Lou Macari. I think  he first told me about his plans for all of this at a party held within the famous 1930's Dolphin Square in Pimlico. Lou was definitely confident and to be fair was / is a very capable singer. His style was quite different to mine though and onstage he was more akin to an all round family entertainer, cracking jokes in between the songs like a stand up comedian. I certainly remember him saying ladies and gentlemen quite a bit whilst addressing the audience. Lou appears as lead singer on the Heaven Knows single (I'm on backing vocals) and all three Sam&Galore videos The live BBC TV show one and the two made for MTV;  Heaven Knows and Do It In Time (originally entitled Get In Vogue). I suppose looking back I did feel a bit of resentment; it did hurt my pride and it didn't do that much to further for my own self confidence. Eventually I decided to leave the band altogether and just supply them with the songs. Later on Lou added a few songs for the band too and I think both Steve and Nat then also wrote the odd number or two.

We all remain friends to this day, but I sometimes wonder if it may have gone in different / better direction had all of this not occurred. Then again I look back at the songs that I wrote throughout the Sam&Galore period (1985-1991) and I personally think that in retrospect they largely represent the least interesting songs of my entire career to date. There were so many musical styles represented in the music charts of the 1980s; something which you don't see and hear today even though the music of today is actually in itself far more diverse. Sam&Galore never really found their niche in it. Never found their own sound. We were a good little band and the odd song was great, but we couldn't seem to take it any further than that.

By 1990 Lou had also had to leave the band due to the sad demise of his father at a relatively young age. Lou's father is the original Macari of the famous music / guitar shop Macari's located on Charing Cross Road (and later also Tin Pan Alley Denmark Street). Lou left the band to take over and run his father's business full time; something which he still does to this day at the time of writing.

Phil Morgan who was the band's drummer was elected to be the band's new lead singer. I can't remember who then took over on drums. At this point the band changed its name to Mrs Jones at the suggestion of keyboard player Pippa Clements. 

The band played on....But not for much longer. By early 1991 the group had completely disbanded. We all still socialize together on the odd occasion but it's quite rare that we are all together at the same time these days.

For my / our wedding at the London Canal Museum in Kings Cross in 2013 Steve, Pippa, Nat and Phil all joined me live onstage AKA Justice Newhart for the first time since 1988 to perform 3 songs in front of around 100 people. Sam&Galore reformed. Ha! Bloody Ha!  Not...

But, a lot of fun.

In the late 1980's and early 1990's I lived in the leafy central London suburb of St John's Wood in a large apartment complete with a grand piano within a plush Edwardian portered mansion block. I shared the apartment block with several students and other young people of my age mainly from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. I had some fun times with those guys and looking back it was a bit like precursor to the very popular and successful TV show ' Friends' which followed a good ten years later.

I also had a very serious relationship with one of the girls Maureen or Mo as I referred to her. We were very close for a couple of years and I was really quite shaken up and heartbroken when she eventually wanted to end the relationship and move back to Canada. 

The block was located close to the home of Paul McCartney and adjacent to the world famous Abbey Road Studios famous for so many recordings not just from The Beatles but everyone from Sir Edward Elgar, through, Cliff Richard, Queen, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Kate Bush to Kylie Minogue.

I loved the vibe of St John's Wood and dreamed of one day recording or playing at the nearby Abbey Road studios. But this was not to be, I did however do a an immense amount of songwriting over this period both at that address and a bit later at another flat nearby which overlooked directly onto Abbey Road.

By 1989 I had moved over to south London to live with an uncle whom I was very close with. My uncle's beautiful grand and enormous gothic Victorian home was located in Dulwich. I was only really meant to stay there temporarily for a few weeks  whilst I sorted myself out a new place to live in north London. But we got on great and somehow 7 years just went by.

Musically I decided around early 1990 to record some of the many new songs that I had written over the past year or two since leaving Sam and Galore.

I booked several sessions with Howard Temple at Temple Studios in north London.

I really enjoyed working with Howard he was friendly, knowledgeable and also a terrific musician and sound engineer. It was also the very first time that I had recorded anything using what was then very new technology; digital recording. All the tracks were recorded using the computer program Steinberg Cubase in conjunction with standard 16 track reel to reel. The songs were also backed up on digital tape which was known as DAT. In total 13 songs were recorded on and off over a period of a few months. I still particularly like the tracks You're that man culprit, Tin man of Ashill, Jeanie and The education and on Reason to live the saxophone playing is awesome. I can't remember who played it on the session though it wasn't Howard and it certainly wasn't me. An interesting thing for me about the song Reason to live is that it represents one of the few times that I have ventured into the jazz music arena.

Personally I still think the song is very strong and stands up and Howard did a great job in getting the best out of it recording wise. What I find quite eerie about the song in retrospect though is that I wrote it in around 1989/1990 about an imagined young rock and roll girl rebel from Camden Town that went off the rails to a tragic end.

About 20 years later cue the fabulous new rock and roll jazz singer that was Amy Winehouse...

The songs that I recorded at Temple studios can be found on the album Genie by Paul Day.

  TOO BE CONTINUED...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright  Paul Day  2020