My Musical Journey

back in the day - aged twenty something
back in the day - aged twenty something

I started out in a band called "Inspector Lloyd". We were signed with Fresh Air records, who somewhat inconveniently went bust days before our debut single was due for release! But hey, at least back then you could get a recording deal. Nowadays the only way bands make money is by suing someone else for copyright infringement!

After Fresh Air I went on to have a spell as a songwriter with EMI, but I became disillusioned after being screwed over one too many times. I put my guitar in the loft and got a 'proper job' for 20+ years! Something I have not regretted.

Ironically, I did go on to experience some creative recognition in the second hardest profession to make a living at - photography.

I was the founder of having previously won awards all over the World for my underwater photography

One vital lesson I did learn as a photographer was that when you convert your hobby into a job you are in danger of ending up hating it. That's what happened to me with photography. I lived, spoke, and dreamed it for so long it became banal. Perhaps it was a good thing my musical career was cut short?

My Musical Renaissance

Anyway, I rediscovered music in 2010. I hadn't stopped listening to music during my musical down-time period, quite the opposite. I listened to all my faves; Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, Yellowjackets and many more. After my layoff I was amazed to find that, as if by musical osmosis, I could now play licks that I never could before! The break had made me better - who da thunk it!

I discovered the whole new world of home recording. I've played in some of London's top 24 track studios back in the day but, with my DAW (Cubase), I had 'in my shed' technology that far surpassed the analog equipment that was available back then. I took up keyboards too so, with that, and MIDI I could synthesize very passable horns and string sections.

Second time around the difference is that I now play for fun, not for any financial incentives. But, as much as I love the act of making music, there's not much point unless you are being heard.

I've built up respectable online followings on Soundcloud and YouTube. I've got some of the most listened to jazz tracks on the planet (a couple at 150K plays) which should put me on top of the jazz charts! What's that worth? Not much! At time of writing I have just hit two million plays (spread roughly 1/2 on each platform). Update: I hit 1 million plays on Soundcloud in 2020 - but I'm still not happy!

Me, these days, with my classic Ovation Breadwinner guitar
Me, these days, with my classic Ovation Breadwinner guitar

I am passionate about innovation. Why? The music WILL DIE if it does not evolve. Music will not evolve unless change is embraced, new talent and experimentation is encouraged. Just look at the stagnation of the traditional channels; national radio airplay is still controlled by music industry executives who play safe and pump out sheer pap. Innovation is discouraged. It's not just music, look at the movie industry; how many comic book hero movies with the exact same plot can we watch before we cry... "ENOUGH!" (I wrote that in 2016 but they're still going!)

Soundcloud, YouTube and Spotify are the new platforms for musicians to get heard - or not! There is too much noise for independents to make an impact (YouTube gets 200 hours of content uploaded every minute). How do you get noticed? Well, you're reading this so it is possible.

Sadly we have lost so many great jazz musicians; Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, and Walter Becker to name a few. As well as my original stuff I play modern arrangements by those great acts that influenced me. I hope I'm keeping the music alive because the bottom line is always the music.

As Jimi Hendrix once said...

I'm gonna wave my freak flag high...