Born; October 14th 1945 Peterborough, England.
The first band I was in was the Dynatones from 1959 to 1964; we were on the same bill as the Beatles at the Embassy Cinema, Peterborough on the 17th March 1963!
I turned professional in 1966, with the resident band at the Stilton Country club.
In 1968 after working in the house band in Monrovia, Liberia for 6 months I moved to Redcar to work at the Starlite club. Here I met Ronnie Aspery and he got me into the Eric Delaney band. I stayed there for 10 months. During a long summer season with the band I became bored with the music and started to write original material with Aspery in the afternoons. We recorded this on a little Grundig tape machine and this later became Backdoor with bass, saxophones and drums.
After leaving the Eric Delaney band we moved to London. Ron picked up a lot of session work and I got a call from Alexis Korner. We decided that although things were looking up for us, we wanted to give Backdoor a chance. So it was back to Redcar, writing originals during the day and playing the nightclub every night from 9pm until 2am.
A former bass player, Brian Jones used to come and listen to us and liked the band. He’d just taken a pub in the remotest part of the North Yorkshire moors, the Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge. He said we could do a residency on Tuesday nights, and play our own music.
From hardly anyone, we built up an incredible following. After being turned down for a record deal by all the major labels, Brian financed an album that was recorded in 8 hours and mixed in 4 in a little 4 track studio in Denmark Street in London’s Tin Pan Alley. A copy found its way to the NME and we got an amazing review, another copy was given to Pete King who managed Ronnie Scott’s club and he invited us to open for Chick Corea for 2 weeks. It was fairy-tale stuff, to actually play in the club where I’d watched all my heroes! It was so successful that we played for 3 weeks and signed a deal with Warner Bros.
During the next few years we toured all over the USA and Europe but despite great reviews, we didn’t sell enough albums so in 1975 we called it a day. When Backdoor finished I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a while. I had remained in contact with Alexis and had toured and recorded with him. In 1976 I got married, one of the best moves I’ve ever made!
Nothing much was happening musically, but then I got a call from Jan Hammer. Jan is an incredible keyboard player. I first heard him around the same time that Backdoor got started in a wonderful group formed by guitarist John McLaughlin called the Mahavishnu Orchestra. They were all great players but Jan really shone. He did for the synthesiser what Hendrix had done for the guitar and took it in a totally new direction. Rick Laird, the bassist, had played some of Backdoor’s music to them and they all liked us. I met Jan briefly in 1975 at the Berlin jazz festival and we talked about playing together and then he called me in 1978 and asked me to join him, to play something much more in the rock mould. I was up for it; I needed a change from the music I’d been playing as well. So in October 1978 I flew out to New York and spent most of the next 3 years playing with arguably the best musician I’ve ever worked with. I learned such a lot from him and we had such a great time together, it was one of the very happiest times of my life. In 1981 we recorded an album with Neal Schon, a great guitarist (Santana, Journey) but as with Backdoor, we had no real commercial success. In 1982 he was asked to write the music for “Miami Vice” which became a huge hit worldwide, so I was very happy for him.