I got my first bass guitar in 1967. A Hofner Artiste which looked a bit like a Jazz Bass. My old pal Brian Bath had a band called Cobwebs and Strange and they needed a bass player. He talked me into buying the bass so I could become that bass player. I bought it by loaning twenty pounds from my mother and paying her back a pound a week from a paper round.
Brian and I formed a three piece in 1969 called Tame. We were very popular around our local area and did a number of gigs during 1969-1970. The band also included Victor King on drums. This band would later become the KT Bush Band. I got my first really decent bass in those days. A Gibson EB3. I wanted one of these desperately because my heroes all seemed to use them. I still have it now although I don't use it that much.
There was a short time during 1972/3 when we had, what we thought was a fantastic band called Company. It was a four-piece featuring Brian (as usual) and two others who were already firm friends Barry Sherlock who also played guitar and Lionel Azulay a very fine drummer. We seemed to have a perfect balance which quickly attracted interest from several record companies. We signed to Cube records in 1973 and did several recording sessions with a view to releasing our first single. However, fate dealt us a severe blow when our drummer Lionel was involved in a serious road accident. This he fortunately survived but could not play for some years. So, enter Charlie Morgan.
Charlie was the first drummer we auditioned early in 1974 but we went on to try out a further eight or so others before we decided to give him the gig. We added another guitarist/vocalist and changed our name to Conkers... I know, a very silly name but in those days it was all glam and daft names. Charlie would later be involved in the early stuff we did with Kate. He would go on to become a very respected drummer doing numerous tours and albums as Elton John's kit-man.
One of the interesting things we did was a residency backing a soul vocal band called The Majestics. They were three great singers from America one of which was Clarke Peters the actor.This was great for us young musicians as we had to learn a whole set and routine to back them up. This involved chart reading and reacting to vocal and musical cues given to us by the singers. This was a great time and very educational.
We played loads of gigs including spots at London venues like the Marquee in Waldour street. A few singles followed from our then record company, Cube Records, all of which bombed. There followed a few years of covers bands and general fun until the meeting with Kate Bush in February of 1977.
Most of you will already know that I have been involved both as musician and recording engineer with Kate Bush for more than thirty years. It has been, from an artistic point of view, an incredibly fruitful liaison for me. I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to watch a true artist create so many musical masterpieces.
It started with the "pub" band called the KT Bush Band in 1977. Right from the the beginning we were doing embryonic versions of songs which would appear on Kate's first album such as James and the Cold Gun. We had a stage presentation which would later form the basis for the Tour of Life in 1979. I recall we did a presentation gig for EMI at a London club called The White Elephant. This was so they could see how she was progressing as a performer. We did a short set of her songs and EMI loved it. However, it proved to be the end of the KT Bush Band as, shortly after, Kate went into the studio to record her first album.
By early 1978 we had a small studio where Kate would be able to record her demo's for the Lionheart album. As no one wanted to do the recording it fell to me and, as they say, the rest is history. I have been involved as recording engineer from the Hounds of Love album onwards. I have never had any formal training as an engineer but I like to think that I have a good "feel" for the job.
During my early forays into engineering I was given valuable help and advice by some wonderful engineers particularly Paul Hardiman. "Hardman" was so supportive of my getting involved and was never precious about what he did. He would always answer any question I had and give me practical tips. I had some great laughs with Paul.
Now?.. Well, having just completed the latest studio album to be released by Kate I felt the time was right to try, finally, to make some music myself. I have spent the last year or so recording songs and will soon have the project completed.