Posted by admin | April 23, 2014
I am a passionate artist who loves the amazing process of learning new ways to create artwork that is both striking and original.
I was born in Blackpool in a heady atmosphere of illuminated promenades,kiss me quick and the Tower.
I was pushed to learn some piano because it was expected ,my older brother was a wiz at it.
I learned to play drums because it grabbed hold of me like a fire and, the Beatles had broken through the dam of the fifties drabness and rationing was over.Rationing?
I listened to jazz and pop while playing on my mum’s saucepans with knives,simple delights.
I played all over the place pubs,clubs open air etc.Alongside many of my friends we drank and played and chased the girls.More stories to follow…….maybe
In fact I only attended the church youth club because of the girls there. That was the place I saw my first cherry red Fender Stratocaster!
But art was on another planet for me in those days,art was for the money people and high minded individuals.it was in galleries and museums,not places I frequented.
But I have to comment that, I did go to the Grundy Gallery in Blackpool on occasion,so something must have been happening in my head.
Funnily enough a Paul Klee book at school really impacted me at 15 but didn’t set a fire,more of an interest in the way he used colour.
Blog continued..this has nothing to do with art but it is the life I have lived,hope it continues!!
My dad,when he wasn’t involved in fighting with the 4th Tank Regiment ran a band in the army.
He played trumpet and piano.My first musical memory was singing ” Two little Ducks” while he played piano in the front room in front of family friends.
My debut on drums was at Claremont Senior School with friends.We practised hard and learnt all the popular Shadows and Ventures instrumentals.
The first number? Apache,which started with a throbbing tom tom beat played by yours truly.
After around a minute my kit decided to keel over and collapse taking cymbals and stands with it.The look on the music master was “you are dead urwin unless this is sorted rapidly”
My dad decided that,seeing that piano was not going to last,agreed to my drums but, I had to go to lessons.
Lessons were with Les who wasthe pit drummer at the Grand Theatre Blackpool at the time.We went to meet him after a show one night and he took me on.
This involved drums,hand percussion,tuned and tympani,Oh my goodness and learning to read music too!….Help!
It did get better and, I have to thank Les for his patience and willingness to take me on. I lasted a couple of years learning flams,triplets,paradiddles and ratamaques etc,even learned the dance tempos to waltz,tango and the like, BUT I wanna play rock an roll Les!
In my youth there were so many bands around in Blackpool,a pub on every corner, and a band in every pub.
There was an the booking agent for the pubs of course,a Mr Bates. Always someone wanting their share,nothing much has changed since.
He used to cycle to the pubs in his raincoat, oh yes he did, for the mighty pay off after a night of sweat and toil. I was in a bands called ,saints and sinners,the wild ones,mike venture and the flames etc….where are younow I wonder?
There used to be Norman Heaps Music shop behind the Grand Theatre in Carter street that was where I bought my first Premier drum kit,kind of a creamy white colour…
Hard to believe I used to take my drums on the tram to play at Jimmy Callaghans’ dance hall in Fleetwood,next to the Grand Euston hotel.Through persuasion of my mum Ieventually traded up my first kit at Barratts Oxford street manchester,Down the road from Johny Roadhouse shop…
The rock trio I was with “The Organyx”(my elder brother thought the name was hysterical for some reason) had a gig at Callaghans Dance hall that night.
On getting off the train, and getting a tram to take the kit to the dance Hall,I discovered the tom tom arm for the bass drum was missing-CALAMITY!! So myselfand Jimmy Doolin got on his scooter,yes his scooter,and drove back to manchester to pick up the missing part.
The drum shop thought we were crazy but,we made the gig that night…
I joined a local band called the Executives that had a weekend residency at the morecambe pier.
On friday nights we had everyone from Tom Jones,the Small Faces,Walker Bros…crazy nights but what a blast!!
Saturday nights,well that was a different matter.It was all about proper dancing,quickstep,waltz,foxtrot even the Tango..
My mate Robin played a vox continental keyboard linked to a homemade Lesley Cabinet.The motor that rotated the sound was from an old washing machine..The Lesley gave that fat sound that rotated the sound around the stage and dancehall.
Unfortunately,the stage had an incline so when the cab fired up it began to move around the stage-funny but precarious.
There followed many gigs at working mens clubs in lancashire and even yorkshire….stay tuned.