When I was a kid, my dad used to play records by Elvis and the Beatles, and I just loved the sound, the energy. I used to go to sleep listening to ‘Hound Dog’ on repeat, it was fantastic. I initially gravitated towards drums, but ended up choosing the guitar. I just loved the interaction of performing in my first band.
Growing up in the UK I was fascinated by music from the States – Creedence, Dylan, Guns N Roses, Nirvana – so when the opportunity came to tour the US with my band, it was a no-brainer. We went on tour with Toto, had suddenly gone from playing for fifty people to playing for ten thousand people. When that band split, I ended up playing up and down the West Coast, hanging out with Queens of the Stone Age. It was great fun, but the booze was always a part of it, taking over my life.
I had a great time touring, it was one constant party, but it got to the point where I was sick of the hangovers, felt like I was on a revolving circle and wasn’t going anywhere.
By 2006 I was broke as a musician and as a person, at rock bottom. I’d never looked at alcohol as being a problem, I always thought it was my best friend, the thing that helped me along. Eventually my US visa ran out and I came back to the UK, decided it was time to sober up, take the front spot and start singing as well as playing guitar.
I met Roydon Turner at the wedding of a mutual friend, and at like two in the morning, the music had stopped and I started singing ‘Stones’. We got to talking afterwards about the difficulties of launching an album, a career, and I jokingly said, “why don’t we make a film together to launch my album?” At first it seemed like a crazy idea, but Roydon talked with his writing partner, Don, who loved the idea and began fleshing out story ideas. When I read the story outline, it was really similar to the life I’d led. We had a few meetings, and between the three of us developed a story that included the truth, the real side of me. Filming was scary, it felt naked, very personal, but after a bit of training I found the voice and confidence to just to throw myself in, commit like a live performance, be as honest as possible.
Being a family man, I have commitments that sometimes take me away from the music, but they also inspire the music, so I have to find a balance between being a driven musician and spending time with my family. I’m still striving for that perfect song, that perfect lyric, that perfect melody. Keeping it creative is a calling, one that I can’t switch off.
And for kicking music industry giants in the nuts. When you buy my album, you’re not only getting a
great album and a free film, you’re also supporting an artist in an extremely challenging time for
musicians, and for that I’m very grateful.
Against the Tide // Closer to the edge