A bit about me

I do a lot of my song writing in a remote 400 year-old former Carthusian Monastery high in the Swiss Alps. It is owned by some cousins who are kind enough to indulge me once a year for a couple of weeks so I can escape the telephone and get down to some creative work. You can hear some acoustic demos I recorded at La Part Dieu here.

After getting lots of positive responses to a song I had recorded called "Valentine" (produced by Tim Bradshaw, at the time guitarist with Fat Lady Sings and now with David Gray), I decided to get a bank loan and put out a promo CD EP on my own label. With the aid of a small music company, Invisible Hands Music, and a professional publicist, I managed to blag my way onto several regional radio stations for interviews and sessions. Offering myself as a guinea pig for a make-over on UK Living's "Live at Three" national cable TV broadcast, I took the opportunity to perform a live acoustic version of "Valentine" with Tim.

Taking a grass roots approach, I have tried to play as often as possible to sell my CDs and build up a Mailing List, which currently consists of well over 500 names and addresses. I was particularly well received in Scotland, where Mary-Ann McKinnon, a fan turned brilliant hustler, has successfully organised several mini-tours for me and my band in clubs, pubs, and record shops around Glasgow.

Good sales of the "Valentine" CD meant I had to go for a re-press and inspired a small record label, MMaD to help cover the costs of pressing a second CD EP "Every Precious Second". I used this to make raise my profile in some regional newspapers.

"Every Precious Second" recouped so quickly that I was able to press a third single "Me! Me! Me!". And then the frivolous "Topsy Turvy Xmas" single in December 1988 featuring the legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke as the "Fairy In The Tree".

In 1999 I recorded my first album "Firehorse" with producer Tim Bradshaw in my then 16-track analogue home studio, Summerisle. I have spent the best part of two years working to get it distributed and promoted. It is being officially released on October 14th 2002.

Also in 1999, I married the fabulous Karen (AKA "Pop Girl" to those in the know). Our rock'n roll reception included two excellent sets from Peter Bruntnell and his band, a performance of David Essex's Hold Me Close by Lop-Lop featuring Jason King look-a-like drummer Martin Gregory's debut as vocalist, and a short performance from the great John Cooper Clarke. (Select Magazine covered the wedding in their re-launch issue in March 2000 - this didn't do them much good because they disappeared off the shelves soon after)

I cut a special wedding CD single Destination Vegas, once again produced by Tim Bradshaw, co-written with Tim and wife-to-be Karen. Copies were handed out to all the guests. A few were made available for sale but are now sold out.

Random Past History

I studied Philosophy at University and started an M/Phil in Psychology of Religion, studying what the press would call "Cults" and why people believe in all manner of strange gods, UFOs, Astrology, Voodoo, Magic, etc. Personally I have no time for any of this - I'm a Rock 'n Roll fundamentalist - my gods are John, Paul, George and Ringo...

I first formed a band at school with best pal Neil McCarthy and recorded about 10 "albums" by the age of 13 by bouncing sounds between cassette machines to build up multi-layered tracks. Ok so they're pretty unlistenable now...

I attended Wilson's Grammar School in Surrey - I had the same headmaster as Michael Caine, (who was expelled for smoking many years before I got there.) I kept my head down to begin with but lost the plot by the age of 16, paying little attention to lessons, spending my time writing bad poetry, reading William Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Rimbaud, and the great Irish satirical writer Flann O'Brien and listening to as much music of all types as I could - Sinatra, Sex Pistols, Beatles, Dylan, Zappa.

After school I briefly went to Epsom College of Art and Design. I was kicked out for being unable to draw - this was not news to me - I thought it was their job to teach me how to draw.

I stumbled into the kid's music business a few years ago - I'm now teaching music to over 200 babies and toddlers a week in venues around South London. I've even recorded a nursery rhyme CD with Alex Heffes. It's available from amazon here if you're interested.

Alex and I co-wrote and sung the theme for prime time ITV drama series "Stan the Man", starring John Thompson ("Fast Show" and "Cold Feet"). It first aired in November and December 2002.

Alex also arranged the Fat Les football song "Jerusalem" - I got to sing on the finished record and might even be in the video for a second or so. You can't hear me of course because I'm part of the huge football crowd. It’s my only top ten hit to date - ironic really because I'm not into football... I did get to record at George Martin's Air Studios which was fun.

I've done a load of student jobs from CD buyer at HMV Records, to sandwich maker, hospital dish washer, roadie, sound engineer, DSS clerk, Charcoal Burger cook, Amnesty International volunteer. After college I worked for a while in the film industry as a sound recordist, and dubbing mixer working on several short films made by students of Panico, a training company founded by Monty Python's movie soundman Bob Doyle.

I've recently been doing some songwriting with Rory Fellowes, (brother of Julian Fellowes, winner of the 2002 Best Screenplay Oscar for "Gosford Park".) Rory makes a living as an animator - his early work included the original Wombles (he built their newspaper burrow single handed). He's recently been head of CGi for "Harry Potter 2". Other credits include "Hellraiser 2" and the video for "In Between Days" by The Cure.

I used to crash the celebrity jams held on the "Dreamhouse Club" acoustic nights at the Waterrats on the Gray's Inn Road - I got to rub shoulders and sometimes play my little percussion eggs with the likes of Marcella Detroit, Amy Mann, Shriekback, various Waterboys, Robyn Hitchcock, and David Gray.

My biggest gig to date was supporting Abba Covers band Bjorn Again at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales - trying to fit in in with the 70's vibe I bounced on stage on an original orange spacehopper - this went down very well with the 2000 strong audience, but not with the band who were not amused and never asked me back!

As a scam to promote my single "Valentine" I persuaded UK Living Cable TV to have me on their makeover show, the angle being that I was a scruffy popstar-to-be and needed a radical overhall to wow the fans. So that's how I ended up with orange hair. I got to sing a live acoustic version of the song as the show went out which was good publicity.

I was born in Barrow-in-Furness but grew up in Cheam in Surrey - famous as the fictional home of the late comedian Tony Hancock. (Oh and they filmed Terry and June down our road.) I had an pretty idyllic childhood and have a wonderful family.

In 2000 I sang on the Vegas strip in front of Caesar's Palace with an elderly Elvis Impersonator with a huge karaoke set-up on the back of a shopping trolley. I happened to have a copy of another single I put out called "Destination Vegas" which he put in his machine so I could sing it - a large crowd of tourists gathered as did a number of mounted police officers - mounted on Bicycles that is in funky cycling shorts and helmets - I kept playing because I had no idea that these people were cops and nearly got arrested for my efforts. I was rescued in the nick of time by a gentleman of the road who took me off to a bar where he said we could get cheap Margheritas. I had to pay...

I once gave a copy of my debut 7 inch single "Liberty Street" to Neil Kinnock backstage at "Have I Got News For You". He politely enthused about the merits of vinyl and suggested that he was one of the few people in the country who still had a record player.

I've played all over the country, but have been especially well received in Glasgow - as the ancient Chinese proverb says "Home grown ginger is never sold" - you've got to travel to be appreciated!

I have an enormous collection of classic Black and White Monster movies as well as a load of classic British cult TV - one whole room at home is devoted to my "Video wall".