If I remember correctly, it was my 6th birthday in 1992 in my hometown of Hull that I first got given a battered old acoustic guitar by my Nan. Two weeks before, I’d seen Slash on the TV and long curly hair, a top hat and a bottle of Jack Daniels looked too cool to be true!
As much as I love the feeling of home that Hull gives me, it wasn’t the best place to walk around looking like something out of a scene in Spinal Tap, especially when I was a teenager.
People to jam with in short supply, and the fact that I didn’t fit in at school, I decided that education was a waste of my time (hell, I’d probably be a lawyer or something by now if I went). There was an abandoned music room at the school I went to with a battered up nylon string classical guitar and an out of tune piano in.
Taking the too-cool-for-school approach, I’d leave my house each morning, say goodbye to my Mum and Dad then walk to school and sit all day in the music room and play guitar for 7 hours on the classical guitar. When the school bell went, I’d go deliver newspapers to fund strings and guitar magazines, head off home and play guitar again for another 4 hours on my Les Paul copy.
This went on for most of the duration of school in my teenage years. I had a lot of explaining to do to my parents when I finished school and didn’t have any exam results to speak of (but hey, I was a pretty good player – Note to anyone in the position I was in… That is not a very good excuse to tell your parents, apparently). I scraped into music college on my audition alone because I didn’t have anywhere near the qualifications but to me, it was worth it because I loved, and still love the guitar.
Fast forward a decade, 3 record deals, several tours and a million other musical experiences on the way and I still get that same feeling each and every time I see, play or think of the guitar. That feeling of strings on top of a maple or rosewood fretboard underneath my fingers is something I cannot explain.
But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, is YOU, the listener, that makes every failed tour, money spent and friendships neglected for several hours a day practicing that makes all of it matter.
I look forward to all of the difficult, ugly and always worthwhile experiences to come on this musical journey. Here’s to hoping you will be a part of that journey.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter!