Short History of I, me, myself.
The Biog division
Me, myself and I
I, all started one dark night in November 1956 during a black-out and when there was no other entertainment available.
9 months later I arrived on this planet to start a voyage of discovery. 64 years later, here I am still looking.
But I am jumping the gun, let’s start in the 60’s as there wasn’t much of the 50’s left.
I had no idea what I was doing here and what my job description was and no one came forward to explain in a language I could understand.
So, my earliest memories where of a plan to run away to the farmers fields in search of my Mum. It must have been around 1960/61 and my Dad (who was supposed to be looking after me) had fallen asleep in the armchair; that was my chance to escape. I don’t remember the journey between the house and the farm, but I remember arriving at the farmers field where the pickers were working the land. I enjoyed picking and sampling the produce, so I did what I knew. My mother wasn’t there, but I don’t think I was over bothered as I had plenty to keep me busy.
The workers recognised me and grassed me up like a kipper to the bobbies. The ladies of the field knew me and my Mum, so it wasn’t long before they worked out where I lived. I distinctly remember being on the policeman’s shoulders as we approached my front door. I don’t believe my Mum was angry with me (I was only 4), but she was livid with my Dad, she had only popped up to the shops, but how was I to know that.
The 60’s were an interesting decade for me, from a toddler to a teen musician; who would have thought. But the journey was not a straight one and it wasn’t an obvious one neither. I had tried sport; didn’t like that. Too much getting up early and going out into the cold and some times frosty morning to kick a ball round a field until it landed in the net (usually the our net).
‘Art’, now that I was ok at. But it didn’t lead me anywhere, I was a lost soul wondering the halls of life aimlessly, or so I thought.
Teachers were at a loss to know what to teach us and how to teach us. My class was a troublesome one; not me you understand, I was a delight.
We had a lovely music teacher in the early senior days. She sat us down on a drum kit, one at a time and she played piano while we tapped away the drums. Some pupils smashed hell out of them, but she saw something in me; I don’t know what, but she encouraged me to pursue the cause and take drum lessons.
Now, the school must have paid a lot of money to get a very good local drummer to come in and teach the likes of me. I did not take to the lessons and duly quit. But it must have started a spark, because it wasn’t long before I saw a drummer playing in the school hall with his band and I studied what he was doing and realised it was simple, and it was. I started playing right way and it wasn’t long until a local band invited me to play with them. They were older than me, fortunately I looked older than my years and got away with playing in clubs and bars with them.
During the first few years of playing, I picked up the ability to play guitar and 5 string banjo in a very similar way to the drums. This was great, but I really needed to do the theory, this was not forthcoming, at least not at first. Realising the need for this some years later, I tried self-teaching which was, in hind sight, probably not the best idea I had.
It was about 10 years on when I bit the bullet and started to take proper drum lessons from a proper drum teacher. If I remember correctly, his name was James Mason, or something like that. He was a big wig in his day, playing with all the top notch musicians. now he was old and retired from the main stream stuff and living a more quiet life.
He taught me the basics before I moved on the playing extensively with Rock’n’roll bands, Blues, jazz and funky bands, you name it I may have played it.
The 70’s was my decade, I loved the funky stuff, the Rock music and even the poppy stuff, but not so keen on the punky stuff. It was a time of playing as much as possible with as many bands and possible.
The 80’s was not too dissimilar, but maybe more relaxed in my ways. I started playing more with blues musicians which led to playing in Europe, but not just blues.
Another band of which I join was Cadillac (Rock‘n’roll). Cadillac was fronted by an old friend that I played with extensively in the late 60’s early 70’s. He had gone on to play with Cadillac after we went our own ways back in the mid 70’s. Cadillac was popular on the Rock’n’roll circuit and backed artist like Chuck Berry on their European tours. I join them in the 90’s and was with them for about 15years, but not exclusively.
I enjoyed an active period right up until the 2010.
After being offered a job with Adam and the Ants and then him changing his mind and getting a female drummer, I felt it was time for a change, a big change.
Over the years, even though I did travel a bit, it wasn’t enough. I needed a break and a change of scenery. Even though I hadn’t sold my drums right away (it took some years to really feel I could), I took the bold step and stopped playing altogether. I travelled with my wife around the world, first one way and then the other. We just bought a ticket to ride and left the rest to fate. Probably not the wisest think to do, but it started a decade of most interesting things.
After the round the world escapades, I was invited to go to Africa, namely Rwanda. It had been 15years since the genocide there, but it was the best trip ever (very emotional). So much so, my wife and I set up a charity to get musical instruments to the schools and churches out there. This led to a few adventures we hadn’t bargained on.
Our first trip to Rwanda was filled with understand of the people and what they went through. We were not spared any blood and gore. As a bit of relief from the history lessons regarding the barbaric ordeal the people had gone through, my wife, sister and me visited Kenya on are journey home and took a little r and r. This was in the form of a 3 day safari in the wilds of the nature reserve. This meant sleeping in the lodge cabins outside water holes used by the all the local wild life including elephants and lions, it was rough.
This was the first of many trips to Rwanda, but the last trip to take arrival of musical instruments was perhaps the hardest. Not only did we not manage to get the container off the ship, we had an episode with some bandits in Nairobi.
The chap we were staying with in Nairobi (who later became the Bishop of Kenya) had broken down in a car some miles away. He manage to get home in the second car along with his wife, two kids, the driver, three chickens and a goat. One of the people we went out with was a mechanic and he decided we would go and rescue the car. We had the use of a clapped out old car that Pete (the mechanic) had got working, however, the brakes weren’t too good and they got worse as the drive went on. Eventually, they were non-existing. I was the driver at that point and I had to use the gears and anything else at hand, to slow down. This was for the last 20 or so miles.
This was only the start of our trouble, the locals were getting restless and were demanding money for something, we left promptly. This was not without it’s problems too. The car’s brakes were not running at full capacity and we were heading for Nairobi at full speed, which actually wasn’t particularly fast. We hit the city with a whollop! I was in front in the clapped out old motor and Pete was following up behind, right up until he wasn’t.
I looked in the mirror, we were in the centre of town with tons of traffic and then it had gone. I stopped and took a better look only to see in the distance, Pete being car jacked. I did my best to back up as far as I could, then I stopped and Maggie jumped out. She ran towards the attackers unnoticed. She struck one of them and winded him, he crawled into the crowd. I ran towards the second attacker and was he running towards me. He darted off just before I got to him, into the oncoming traffic. Apparently he was hit by a bus, but managed to ran off (limp off).
We returned from that trip very despondent and once we had retrieved the musical instruments and distributed them out to Kenya schools, we decided to hang up our hats and return to a more normal life style.
We continued to travel, but now to the USA, visiting my brother and joining him in his musical jollities by performing in open mic’s and playing at some folk venues for a bit of fun. This has been going on for several years now.
This sparked my interest in writing and recording again, so I invested in the digital age and have been enjoying it ever since. I returned to schooling, learning the ways of the mixing deck and have now entered the age of piano, This time properly; what a wonder life.
Thank you for reading this short story of my life. I will be returning to it and adding stuff from time to time, for no other reason than to read it myself when I start to forget things, which I’m sure has started to happen already.