I got my first guitar at age 10, but didn’t start playing seriously until I was nearly 14, an opportunity to play a few chords at a local jam session proved to be a pivotal moment in what was to become a life long passion.
My musical taste is pretty varied, I was inspired to play guitar after seeing Wet Wet Wet at the free concert at Glasgow Green in 1989. Along with Graeme Duffin, my influences include David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, Brian May from Queen, Richie Sambora formerly of Bon Jovi, also American instrumentalists such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Dave Weiner are a big part of the mix. I also enjoy listening to some contemporary pop, and have a soft spot for various female vocalists.
While becoming a member of the house band at the Cumbernauld jam session, an association that would be major part of my musical education for the next 10 years, I also started forming bands with school friends and other acquaintances. A formative musical experience that came from friendships formed through the band ‘Feel’, an original 5 piece band that played all over Scotland in the mid 1990s. While musically strong, the differing personalities in the band led to us going our separate ways. After a break and a brief reformation with some new members, it was decided that Feel should be left as a memory, however a demo recorded in early 1998 can be heard here.
After taking a year or so away from live music, the jam session was restarted in 2000, and I fell into the roll of MC every Sunday night and the it ran successfully for about 2 years.
The most significant effect of the jam session in Cumbernauld was the formation of rock band ‘Speedtrap’, we played regularly all over Scotland for over 7 years, coming to an end in 2009. In 2015 the band reformed for a one-off reunion gig, with very little rehearsal we puled it off and we reformed every year for a gig in the days between Christmas and New Year. Sadly these reunions were put on hold due to the COVID pandemic and don’t look likely to restart.
In the early 2000s I began to explore other musical avenues, including attending various jam sessions in Glasgow and being introduced to a much larger, and friendlier, musical community. It was also around this time that Jim Keilt (of Middle of The Road) suggested I should start teaching guitar (click here for more info).
Following on from acquaintances & friendships made with Speedtrap, original vocalist mark Connor and I took to the stage with ‘The Big Shot Show Band’, while not a permanent engagement, these gigs were a wonderful mix of performance and flamboyant showmanship, that had you seen us, were an experience you wouldn’t soon forget. Our normal UK engagement was at the Thistle hotel in Glasgow in the weeks leading up to Christmas between 2005 & 2010, and a scaled down version of the band has performed several times in southern Spain.
A chance look at the fan forum on wetwetwet.co.uk in 2005 led to a new friendship with vocalist Al Devine who wanted to form a Wet Wet Wet tribute band. The band was named ‘Picture This’, and played together for about 2 years before splitting. An unexpected result of this was that I did a number of gigs with bassist Paul Ross’s band ‘Independence’, and after filling in regularly through 2007, joined the band in January 2008.
In 2011 I was introduced to the director of Madison Wedding Band and asked to cover a single gig, this one off engagement led to several similar bookings in 2012 and eventually joining Madison in 2013.
Also in 2012 I was asked to Play guitar on MKA’s charity single, a cover of the Blondie song ‘Maria’, to raise funds for Feufield Farm, an animal sanctuary near Biggar.
In late 2018 I was asked to join rock covers band Off Your Rocker – something of a throwback as the drummer and I had previously worked together in Speedtrap and had remained friends in the years since. While finding a permanent lead singer has proven to be a challenge, we started playing live in 2019 and into 2020, but were stopped in our tracks by the Covid 19 pandemic, as of August 2020 socially distanced rehearsals have resumed.