... in Watford, a post-war baby-boomer, but I grew up in Derbyshire from the age of 2.
EARLY MUSIC MAKING
Self-taught on ukulele from age 4. Took up classical guitar at 10 but was easily distracted by skiffle and rock'n'roll. Went electric at 16 and was invited to join a Derby band (in those days, a "beat group"): The Vulcans, my first band. Around the same time I was a founder member of the school jazz band with my good mate Steve Salfield (and all these years later we still occasionally gig together in The Back Seat Jivers).
After A-Levels I went off to London as a British Rail management trainee (largely to please my parents, I might add - a "proper job"!). Stuck it for a while but it wasn't for me. So I applied to, and was accepted at ...
Foundation course at Derby Art College then 3 years studying furniture design at Nottingham, where I met kindred spirit Derek Pearce, to this day another of my closest friends. Roaring Jelly was born.
After teacher training in Yorkshire I taught art in a secondary school in north Derbyshire for 8 years. But all this time Roaring Jelly had been steadily building popularity on the folk scene and beyond. Eventually, the BIG DECISION: the band went pro. In 1981 I became a ...
... and have been, more or less, ever since: Roaring Jelly, R. Cajun & The Zydeco Brothers, Zydeco Hot Rods, The Back Seat Jivers, The Omega 3 (some of these concurrently), latterly solo ukulele. I've met some amazing people, travelled much of Europe and the world beyond, played on stage with Paul McCartney, supported Van Morrison, Debbie Harry, Lonnie Donegan, Victoria Wood and others, played on TV and radio, composed music for TV and radio, made records. I never became famous but I've made a living (and lots of musicians would envy just that!). I'm still teaching guitar and ukulele and still composing. After living in Surrey for well over 20 years I've become a Southerner again (well ... almost). And now that I'm gigging less frequently I'm getting back into artwork.