I'm 35 (very nearly 36!) and have been singing since I was about six years old. I began playing the guitar when I was 15, spending long (and ecstatic) hours trying to figure out how to play Hendrix numbers like "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand."
I began writing songs with intent about six or seven years ago, and released an album of my own material in 2007. I've since learned a great deal about how to craft a song and also to perform it well. I mostly write for pleasure now; and because occasionally a song insists upon being written. I still play the occasional gig in Oxford, my hometown, and would like to do more, really. I'm a solo artist these days, as it's cheaper and simpler! I miss having a band of buddies to play with, though, and it would be good someday to put on a proper show...
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Oh dear... Marillion in about 1991. Can't remember where. I went with my friend Anton, and it was memorable because it was a big gig and I'd never had the experience before. I don't remember much about the music, though...
What gear do you use?
I play a Faith jumbo electro-actoustic (I forget the model) which sounds better with time. It's a BIG sound, too, with lovely rich tones.
I also have an Ibanez semi which I play through a tiny 1 watt Blackstar combo. It sounds amazing, really, though I miss my black deluxe Strat and my 50 watt Peavey Classic!
I also have a Freshman acoustic which I don't use much these days, and I'm also the present keper of my friend Guy's 1980s Japanese Silver Series Squier Telecaster - which needs fixing up, but is a great guitar.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
Jimi Hendrix. Someone recommended I listen to him, so I bought the Radio One Sessions. I was blown away. I was into Steve Vai and Joe Satriani at the time, but even at 15 years old, I could tell right away that Jimi played in a way that those two artisans never could. He was screaming from the soul and letting all his rage, love, longing, frustration and even something of the transcendent explode out of him. He was raw, visceral, temperamental, quixotic and even somehow strangely naive, and I loved him and his music instantly.
I still do.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I was in a band with my frends, Guy Slator and Graham Denham. We were pretty good, actually!
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
I'd be too timid to jam with Jimi! Van Morrison sounds too grumpy to want to share anything, and Radiohead have moved onto a region inaccessible to me. So I guess it would be Laura Marling, because I'd love some of her songwriting genius to rub off on me.
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
It's a toss-up between "Axis: bold as love" by Jimi, and "Moondance" by Van Morrison. I think. And I don't know which one would win...