Inspired to play by:
Tori Amos, J S Bach, Badfinger, Bebop Deluxe, Jeff Beck, Bjork, David Bowie, Bill Bruford, Kate Bush, Cinematic Orchestra, Crowded House, Deep Purple, Del Amitri, Elbow, The Enid, Fink, Pink Floyd, Focus, Free, Funki Porcini, Peter Frampton, Genesis (1972-1976), Allan Holdsworth, Gustav Holst, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, Mike Oldfield, Arvo Pärt, Tom Petty, Procul Harum, Maurice Ravel, Simon & Garfunkel, Dmitri Shostakovich, Martin Simpson, Supertramp, James Taylor, Roger Waters, Wishbone Ash, Chris Wood, Stevie Wonder, Yes (1971-1974), Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin.
I first fell in love with the guitar at age twelve. Mum and dad warned me right then I'd never make a living as a musician, so had better find myself a proper job when I left school. It (probably) wasn't that they lacked faith in my ability to master the instrument, but even back then, you had to be incredibly lucky to be in a successful band.
Good advice of course, so after school, off I went to college to get a qualification in something useful. I ended up in a crappy job in a company run by a crappy boss who seemed to have stepped out of the pages of a Dickens novel. All the while in my spare time, I'd been using what little technology was available to a poor boy in the 1970s, to record the music I was making.
Eventually, it occurred to me that I should be working in a recording studio. So off I went to London where pretty much all the studios were in those days, to get a job as a tea boy.
Four months later I was assisting on my first-ever session in a professional recording studio. (The artist was Jona Lewie, about a month after 'Stop the Cavalry' had hit the UK charts - ah the romance of it all). More importantly, in downtime, I got to use the studio with all that lovely gear. A massive console, 24 track tape machines, Steinway grand piano... I was in heaven.
I progressed over a few years from the tea/sandwich gofer to engineer and then freelanced for a while at a bunch of studios that are probably long gone by now. One day, a friend phoned me up and asked if I fancied getting into mastering. I did (more regular hours being a major incentive to my permanently jet-lagged head). Ultimately, I spent about twenty years in that role, making CD masters and cutting vinyl master lacquers for artists as diverse as The Cinematic Orchestra and Run DMC.
Finally though, I'd ‘had enough out of the music business, and the business had had enough out of me’ (apologies to Wishbone Ash). I left, but never lost my love of creating music and playing guitar (and mandolin). Just as in my youth, I still spend a lot of my spare time recording music, but have so much better technology available these days. I would have given my legs for this gear as a kid, but then I would never have thought to go work in professional recording studios, never met the people I have, and would probably never have learned the skills I now have.
As a wise man said, 'There are literally pennies to be made in the music business'. And it’s even harder to make a living as a musician in 2020. Even discounting the pandemic's effects on gigging, when you get paid around 1/3rd of a penny for a play on Spotify... well you can do the arithmetic.
But I didn't make this music to make money. I did it because I needed to say something. Something about all the things we've got wrong and seem determined to continue to get wrong. What we're doing to each other and to the planet. Now it's finished, it would be silly not to share it with the world. With you.
Inspired to write this album by:
Eukaryotes and the universe, all horrors and heroes.