I've played with a few bands down the years...
I've had a love of making music since learning to play the guitar as an 8 year old, and although I've never quite made it as far as Top of the Pops, I've been lucky enough to enjoy playing with some great bands - and can even claim to have had a couple of (minor) brushes with success.
The Scales - 2003 to 2006
Although we never came close to troubling the top 40, The Scales deserve a mention if only because they were the first band I was in who actually released a record, something of which I'll be proud of for the rest of my life.
The label, which specializes in alternative and Americana releases, was formed by musician Paul Hemmings and artist/musician Mike Badger who both served with legendarily work-shy underachievers The La's. Who, by a happy coincidence, are one of my favorite bands.
Amsterdam - 2004 to 2008
After finishing university I decided to follow my dream of becoming an international playboy rock star. And when that didn't work out I joined folk-punk-pop troubadours Amsterdam, after an engineer friend mentioned he was recording an album with a great band that desperately needed a bass player.
Despite never having played the bass in my life I volunteered myself for the job, and 48 hours later I had joined Amsterdam. My stint with Amsterdam lasted the best part of five years, during which we had some amazing times together.
I'd be hard pressed to put my finger on a high point, as there were so many - including cracking the top 40 with our first single, releasing three albums and half a dozen singles, playing at Liverpool's Echo Arena, playing at Glastonbury, recording with Elvis Costello and Christy Moore, performing live to the nation on Radio 2, playing to a crowd of thousands outside Liverpool's Liver Buildings, going on the road with musical heroes including The Bluetones, The Wonder Stuff, The Stranglers and Dodgy (to name a few), and doing countless tours of the UK in the back of increasingly decrepit and dangerous automobiles...
I handed in my notice in December 2008, but Amsterdam are still out there giving it ten-nil. Check them out at www.amsterdam-music.com.
The Last Gambados - 2008 to 2010
The musical love of my life, and also (sadly) the most dysfunctional bunch of triple-talented bastards you'll ever meet, the Last Gambados were formed in 2007 by singer Phil Mason, and an old friend of mine called John O'Hare.
After going to watch the band a couple of times and being really impressed, I mentioned to John that I'd love to join the group, and to drop me a line if they ever needed another guitarist.
A couple of months later the call came, and in January 2008 I joined the band. After playing a few shows we decided that the way forward was to build our own studio, and begin work on our debut album.
Why wait for a record label to come knocking, when you can do it yourself with a Mac, a couple of decent microphones, and a bit of patience?
Although i left the band before we managed to secure a label to give it a full release, I can honestly say it's the best music I've ever been involved in, and if you'd like to hear it then just drop me an email ;-)
As with Amsterdam, the band are miraculously surviving with out me, and I'd highly recommend checking them out - either live or on record.
Going solo - 2011...
Since 2011 I've taken a step back from music, but still find time to dabble now and again. I play guitar and sing with my band Good Mixer (also know as "dad band") doing a bunch of cool indie stuff from the 80's and 90's, on a strictly for-fun basis. I also contribute to my pal Neil's "Son of the Chief" project, who will hopefully have our debut album coming out later this year.
You can also check out my occasional noodlings over at Soundcloud, although my recent work rate suggests that you shouldn't hold your breath waiting for my solo album to see the light of day...