Songlist »
 
 
 
 

Latest Tracks that I've written recorded in Nashville, but performed by exceptional session musicians

  Balance is the Word
- vocals by Rick Price

  Storm with you
- vocals by Doug Stokes

Other tracks written and performed by myself

  Heart of stone
  Your picture
  Praha 1

The Beginning

Imagine:

I remember the night of December 8 th 1980 and my dad telling me someone had shot a man named John Lennon (My dad pointed to the picture of Lennon inside ‘The White Album’). Upon hearing that news,
‘Imagine’ was also playing in the background while I was memorized by this photo of John Lennon. So from then on I pretty much ditched ‘Kiss’, and became a dedicated Beatle fan…and I am still to this day.

At aged eight I approached my dad to teach me how to play guitar
(Dad was then in his prime years of rockin). So he handed me his Guild electric, and taught me some chords which I attempted for years, and got really frustrated. Around that time my parents bought me a Yamaha JUMBO acoustic. Now a jumbo size acoustic for an 8-10 year old is pretty difficult to handle. I started getting really pissed off. I practiced now and then, but the guitar spent most of it’s time under my bed, and I then turned to Martial Arts (thanks to Bruce Lee movies) until I was 15.

Found my Goal and Gods:

At the start of Grade 11, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I could’ve left school and worked full time in the fruit shop, working 13/14 hour days, have no life, but would probably eventually be a millionaire like the Greeks I was working for. My dad made a very smart decision in November 1989, by taking me to a Bee Gees concert. That night changed everything. At the concert I worked my way down to the front of the stage, standing right in front of Barry Gibb, and I never forget him looking down at me smiling while singing ‘ You win again’. The next day, I wagged school, got out dads’ guitar, started singing and practicing, and writing a hell of a lot of songs. I watched Beatle, Bee Gees and Beach Boys documentaries over and over. High school was then and always my last priority.

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THE COVER’S SCENE:

Joining a band:

It was so hard to find guys who were on the same level mentally as I was, or wanted to head in the same direction. I was told by a lot of people, record companies, managers, producers etc, that the whole Beatle concept was out. At this time, to be cool, you had to look like you were in Bon Jovi or Whitesnake. So I had to wait until 1993/1994 when The Beatles Anthology and Oasis hit the scene. Thank god these 80’s hair do’s were going out (even though 80’s music was good) and the 60’s were coming back in. Through a mate at the fruit shop I worked at, I got introduced to some guys who were looking for a singer.

The Chase:

So in 1990 we started our first covers band called ‘The Chase’. I got thrown into playing lead guitar for the band (which I didn’t know how to play), and now had to practice my ass off. Looking back I was pretty shit, but it was the learning years of the music industry. The Chase started as a 4 piece band, then as a 3 piece, then in time we decided to add a high school female friend of mine named ‘Sharon Hoger’. The Baby Animals were on the scene at that time so we could cater for a lot of female vocal songs. Like many bands over time, we eventually had our differences and I started to think of forming my own band. The Chase broke up in Christmas of 1992.

The Theory:

I didn’t want to lose touch with the gig circuit or agents that were booking bands at that time, so there had to be a smooth and fast transition from The Chase to The Theory. The Theory pretty much remained a trio except for a short period when I lost my voice and we got another (hypo) singer named…Doc. I had the pleasure of playing with whom I wanted, my two best mates, Damien Neale and Gavin Mitchell. Damien and I would use a variety of drummers, because they were all playing in different bands and gigs would clash. Our main drummers were Dave Atkins (Resin Dogs), Gavin Mitchell (Blah blah blah), Kristian Hartung and Michael Thomsen. All these guys were and are still great players. The hardest thing was still getting close with an agent and getting more gigs, so we could piss these day jobs off. We noticed that once we put together an acoustic set, the amount of gigs per week increased. To this day The Theory performs 95% of the time acoustically and mostly as a duo.

The Theory Members:

In the covers circuit, I've played with numerous bass players, Glen Bryant of my first band 'The Chase'. Damien Neale of 'The Theory'. Damien Neale, Gavin Mitchell and I, have so many stories and experiences of all the gigs we've played together. Damien's bass playing style is very much like 'Jack Bruce' of Cream. He can play solid, but then go off into virtually his own solo...and he can slap it if he wants to. Dave Gaylard and Nathan Lockwood are my 2 other Beatle crazy guitarists. When we were in our Beatlez tribute band, our voices blended well and it felt great to act out our idols...even though I would've rather be Paul McCartney if I had that vocal range :)

Drummer Gavin Mitchell, my other best mate..Well we were in our first band together, and still play together to this day. In the ‘The Chase’ Gav was by far the strongest member in the band. Technically I think he’s a bloody good drummer, and he’ll learn his drum part exact to the recording.

Dave Atkins, better known in The Resin Dogs was at a first impression like Mr. T on drums. He was very well respected around town and he could have an audience just watch him for hours because of the way he hit his drums.

Michael Thomsen to me was the Paul Hester/Art Garfunkel. I played with Mike for a bit over 7 years, and he could improvise with harmonies like no other, and we blended so well together. At one gig, Mike once replied to a punters question about our duo…”I add the color”. That is spot on. He was looking at the music like it was a painting. Mike is certainly a natural.

Mr. Lightning Speed Kick Drum Feet Kristian Hartung is also a great drummer. Kristian seems to be able to follow my rhythm regardless of what song I am playing. He has an ability to watch my (right) strumming hand and apply the appropriate beat to his drumming. I’m not talking simple shit here either. He occasionally looks a bit bored playing covers, but you could play the ‘Rach 3’ and he’ll put a great beat to it.

Duane Billing came on the scene just after Dave Atkins (Dave was in about 5 bands then). Duane was the other hot drummer around at that time. He was also very technical in his playing. Damien and I sometimes thought he was playing out of time, but really we didn’t know how bloody advanced he was. Just that the people dancing were grooving to syncopated rhythms. One 3 piece gig Damien, Duane and I did at the Britannia Inn Restaurant in the early 90’s…we could not stop laughing (I can’t remember over what). But the more we thought about it, the more we laughed. I couldn’t sing to save myself for about 2 or 3 songs. Tears were coming down our faces like little boys. That was an awesome gig.

Tim Bird I have met with the Abba tribute band I was involved with. Not only a good drummer, but Tim has a charm with the ladies. We’ve only just started gigging together and it’s going well. I love our image…we look like 2 guys from Northern Finland singing Holy Grail and Brown eyed girl. Tim and Gav are similar and like to learn their drum part exact to the recording.

John Hamilton was the great drummer for our Beatlez tribute band, and he always nailed all the Ringo Starr drum parts. It's funny with that tribute band, we all (especially John and I) have a fear of flying.

Solo: I was destined to perform solo. In 1990 my band mates told me I have to check out this soloist at Her Majesty’s Bar named ‘Niki Phillips’. I never knew an acoustic and voice could sound that good, and he just looked so cool and independent. Nik and a Bee Gees television appearance is what gave me the inspiration to put together a solo act. To see just one man sitting on a stool singing and playing acoustic classics, seemed so cool. I knew there was a lot of work and good money in this, so I worked towards this goal constantly. My first solo gig was at The Stafford Tavern June 1994. By now I could incorporate solo, duo and trio, which now made it a full time career.

Downside: No matter what you do for a living there always seems to be a downside to your job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else (other than performing my own songs in stadiums) than doing music for a living, but sometimes drunks and pushy people can take it’s toll on you. Anyone who has performed covers in pubs etc for a lot of years will know what I’m talking about. The best way I can describe the downside is: It’s like being invited to a party when you were approximately 17…but you could never leave.

Last Bit: I really have to thank my agent ‘John Shelley’ for keeping me working constantly. I’ve literally worked thousands of 4 hour gigs over the years, and I owe a lot to him and his agency JSE.

Dancing Queen:In January 2005, I was playing a solo gig at Dicey Reillys, and I got approached (through my agency) by a girl (Lynelle Leighton) who runs an Abba tribute show called Dancing Queen. I have always loved and admired Abba music despite the cheesy moves. They asked me to replace the current ‘Bjorn’. At this stage, solo work was giving me the shits and I needed something else. So I called Lynelle (Agnetha) the next day and spoke about the proposition. I decided to join. Now I had to sit and learn all these technical Abba songs off by heart in approximately 6 weeks. My brain was so overloaded in learning all these songs, that I was constantly thinking and dreaming Abba chords and lyrics. Once most of the hard work was done and I could take it easy and enjoy the rewards. The costumes I had to wear were very embarrassing, with lycra that tight you can tell that I was circumcised. Anyway this show is far different from the pub scene, it is very professional, with rehearsed dialogue (in Swedish accents) and dance choreography. For the 7 to 8 months I was with the tribute show, I had a great time.

The Original Scene:A lot of musicians say that playing covers destroys their creativity when it comes to writing songs….Not with me, maybe it would affect how often I write songs by about 10%. I am pretty negative when it comes to the original scene. At a lot of times it is an industry of luck, suck, hype, name dropping, dodgy deals, Mr. I’m Cool A&R, and a lot of record company tossers. It’s just a shame that to get your music to a big audience you have to deal with some of these people. But what keeps you going (aside from music itself) is the rewarding feeling of having a song of your own recorded, sound great, and then for people to like it. Like my Charlie project, I have spent an enormous amount of money on trying to get my originals out there and heard. When you want to take the same path as your idols, you go to any measure (no matter the cost) in the hope you might achieve your goal. Now that’s enough negativity from me.
The best thing that has happened to me in my recording career, was meeting and working with producer/musician Michael Carpenter. Michael is your George Martin/Brian Wilson of today. What we create together with the budget I’ve got, is magical. Michael can play virtually every instrument and knows all that technical shit on computer/digital recording. Michael and I still record together to this day, and we both seem to be improving more and more every time we enter the studio. Anyway, download a few tracks and have a listen.

A Little Word On The Beatles: To me 'The Beatles' are about 3 great bands that look and sound different all blended into one legend. Think of Paul McCartney and John Lennon looking clean cut in their suits singing 'She loves you' or 'Baby's in Black', then in 1966-1967 the image of St. Pepper and the sounds of songs such as 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'Tomorrow never knows'. Then let's move from 1968-1970…Paul's voice in 'Why don't we do it in the road' and Lennon's voice in 'Come Together'. Along with Harrison and Starr, adding the most suitable and perfect flavors for this soup.
We all know The Beatles changed music, hair and fashion etc, and were the most consistent and creative songwriters of all time, and virtually anyone or any group that was to emerge after The Beatles, you could clearly see where the influences came from. Even the alternative/weird music of today…you don't get any more weird than 'Revolution 9'….These guys have done it all. 97% of The Beatles music are great melodic songs that aren't predictable, except for the occasional (eg: 'Don't pass me by') sorry Ringo. To have a great image such as Elvis is one good thing, but to have the great image and be able to write that many quality songs yourself, is a true (well earned) gift.

 

 
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