About me?!? Now there’s a thing…
Not very many years ago, I had no idea that my journey of writing and producing music, would draw me now, toward such a doubtless love of Poetry.
I am sure, as a teenager, that I first recognised it in the early writing of Paul Simon, Tim Hardin and Bob Dylan, but throughout the strong current of the decades, I admit to have been seduced and sometimes intoxicated by the fashions of music and the ever changing tones of instrumentation and embellishment. During my years spent as a studio sound engineer and record producer, I began to appreciate the huge difference between artistic endeavour that is centred around both emotional and poetic worth and that which is not; perhaps just somehow derivative or over -worked… some of my own included. Sometimes I have an ‘endless apprentice’ feeling about my own writing and recording – I guess that we all do the best we possibly can at that moment in the history of our development with the knowledge and the influence that we have digested thus far..
My first moment of emotional upheaval was when I fully absorbed the music of Nick Drake. This was paramount and life changing! The fact that I then pursued a huge project of performing his exceptional music in a live concert context was not so much a decision, more a ‘ I can’t not do this’.
At a mid-point, during what was to become over 1000 concerts of Nick Drake’s music, I came across by happenstance, the outstanding and extraordinary Poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, hugely celebrated as Spain’s most revered Poet of the 20th century and widely regarded as a writer who uses romantic, surreal and abstract form throughout his extensive body of work. He is nothing but genius! I visited Granada and the villages of Andalucía on a number of trips to research his haunts and his Life. Together with Bassist Rick Foot, we produced two very well received Albums, setting his Poetry to music; one mostly of his celebrated book Romancero gitano ‘Gypsy Ballads’ 1924 - 1927 and the second from his very expansive and somewhat challenging book ‘Poet in New York’ 1929 - 1930
By this point I was entirely hooked, both on the importance of strong and emotionally descriptive prose in the context of a song, but also the fact that I should then be faced with taking a retrospective journey across the past 3 or 4 decades of my own love of music.. I think I had to resolve what it always was that I felt..
This was a peculiar space travel back through popular music and its various foundations and side issues.
Thus I now have a greater understanding of myself and what it is that defines my sense of purpose in music. Over the past few years I have continued to tour the UK with various concerts, the current tour which is giving me huge satisfaction to perform and seems to be consistently well received is that of the work of Leonard Cohen.
Across the autumn of 2014, I am very excited to be playing a series of concerts based on the Poetry of Dylan Thomas. In the meantime I am tentatively releasing my own poems to the world – I have a feeling that all my own poetry will probably always read like songs; so perhaps they can be either..?.
You must read if you find the right moment in your life
A Road less travelled – F Scott Peck
I’m your Man, Biography of Leonard Cohen – Silvia Simmons
Lila, An enquiry into morals – Robert M Pirsig
Beautiful Losers – Leonard Cohen
Round and round in my car
Antiphon – Midlake
The Boatman’s Call – Nick Cave
The best of Simon and Garfunkel
Corsicana Lemonade – White Denim
Came within an inch of certain death (all involving dilapidated vehicles)...
May 1981 Hampshire
Steering rack broke on Morris 1000 traveller. Drove through a farm gate at some speed, down a bank, within inches of a large tree, straight into a river (full PA system and guitars etc in the back)
Jan 1988 Brazil
Drove a beaten up Series 1 Beetle belonging to a nun in between two enormous USA style trucks on the A1 national trunk road from Porto Alegre (this road, at the time was were one is offered a carriageway for each direction and a middle one for dare devil overtaking in either direction - the poor little Beetle actually touched both trucks by a hair)
Aug 1991 Santorini
Parked a hire Suzuki Jeep in a gravel car park just outside of ia on the island in Santorini, Greece. The gravel car park is a the top of a sheer and vicious drop of hundreds of meters straight down to jagged rocks and dashing waves. At the very moment when I parked the bag of spanners I discovered that the hand break was entirely non functional - I can't bring myself to tell you the rest as it still makes me anxious to this day