Equipment: I remain firmly in the Fender camp. I had a Gibson once, but took it back to the shop after only a week. It didn’t do what I wanted and wouldn’t even stay in tune. So it’s a US Strat de luxe for most things, a very pretty Epiphone 335 for the more laid back numbers and a US Telecaster in case a string breaks or I drop one of the other ones. I play through a Mesa Boogie using mainly analogue fx pedals.
Musical ambitions: To try and remember what song comes next and to play all the right notes, preferably in the right order.
Favourite Music: Jazz Funk, Blues, R&B, Lounge and Gregorian Chants (the original chill out music!).
Music Heroes: The usual suspects: Dave Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Robben Ford, Jeff Golub. And the Edwardian composer, my great grandfather, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Favourite Singers: I’m a guitar player- how would I know?
Likes: Harvey’s bitter, Radio 4, hotel breakfasts (full English, naturally).
Dislikes: Call centres, bad service, Fosters lager.
Most annoying Band habit: Not playing loud enough in solos (can you believe it?!). And I’m the only one who still smokes.
Age: Born in 1952
Marital Status: Married for over thirty years to the fashion designer, Fiona Dashwood.
Children: Two grown-up? boys.
Pets: A self obsessed but pretty Golden Doodle (it’s a dog!) called Phoebe.
Musical History: Coming from a long line of talented musicians it was assumed that I would embark on a musical education and was encouraged to learn piano and music theory at an early age. But I was rubbish and it put me off the whole music thing for a very long time!
Then I stumbled across the famous Bell’s Musical Instrument Catalogue.
It was packed with exotic and expensive electic guitars from the likes of Burns, Selmer, Vox and Hofner, and I had to have one. So I saved up my paper round money and proudly left the shop with the cheapest no-name acoustic guitar possible, and a copy of Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in a Day’. Sure enough, in just one day I could almost play ‘Bobby Shaftoe’ and was on my way to rock stardom!
Stadium appearances were limited to my unfeasibly small bedroom, followed by a shambolic performance with an art college band that was cobbled together two days before the gig! I had now progressed to an electric guitar, an old Watkins Rapier that I repainted in bright red yacht varnish.
In the early 1990s I was invited to audition for lead guitar duties with a band with no name. I had a shiny new Fender Strat, we played some music, drank some beers, had a lot of laughs, and Don’t Ask was born.