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Recent projects and sessions

2019 and still trying to get the prog done

Posted 9/2/2019

It has been a difficult process assembling the Toyshop Murders CD. There are some wonderful tunes that John Giles and I wrote that I believed would never make it to the CD, but upon further examination.....they seem to have been wedged into the list. Some tunes that were 3 mins are now 8 and I feel that I need to get some momentum to the writing of the extended sections. 

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Recently

Posted 19/9/2018

Recently I started writing again. It's been a while, but so enjoying being creative again. 

I've been back out with Bonnie Tyler, and have enjoyed some wonderful gigs with Alfie Boe & Ball and Boe. Rather surprisingly, I am finding that I have too much gear. 

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Prognosis

Posted 9/8/2017

The art of Prog

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Nearly Home

Posted 12/8/2016

It's been 5 weeks and a bit since I left home for this tour. I've experienced great fun with the crew and had an amazing response to Ffi's CD and my composition 'The Fallen'

 

I am hoping that soon, I will be able to come back with my piano cross over album, which will feature my compositions in full.

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ON TOUR

Posted 4/8/2016

Interacting with fans

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Keith Emerson...RIP

Posted 16/3/2016
So, in a week at Real World Studios....where I got to play with some fantastic musicians in Jennifer Maidman,Danny Cummings,Graham Kearns and under the watchful eye of Chris Porter , the news was broken to me that my childhood ( and I guess adult life) hero....Keith Emerson took his own life.
 
I feel I have to write this as Facebook for me, has become a place to mark events on my timeline rather than to tell the world at this present time, I am eating food, watching my neighbour mow the lawn or taking a dump.
 
Keith and ELP's music was one of the main forces in my life from the age of 12 onwards that inspired me to set about the keyboards. 'Trilogy' gave me a sense of danger in its composition, the technicality of the performances were frightening and the sounds evoked a new feeling in me. Gone were the days of piano and guitars. The MOOG was the Emperor's new shoes and Keith was the King of keyboards.
 
I loved ELP and Keith's playing so much, that as a 13 year, I took wood from my father's shed, drew keyboards with many buttons on them as I could fit...and laid them out next to my piano and organ in the front room...miming to ELP songs. Sad, but so true. The idea of being surrounded by keyboards was more appealing than anything I'd experienced before. Thank god he didn't wear a cape.
My father died when I was 14 years old, and ELP's music managed to mask the pain of loss. That kind of got me through my Dad's death and helped me to focus further on music.
I would now like to apologise to my dad for stealing his wood and hiding it behind the piano ("wherever you are Dad, It was me all along that took it and it was worth every minute spent being a 13 year old prog rockstar, albeit with fake wooden keyboards")
I never got to see them in their heyday, which I'm gutted about.
Had I got to see them, and Facebook was around....I would have been posting for days, maybe even weeks.
 
For years, I followed ELP and Keith with the greatest admiration for all their back catalogue, for their unfailing attempts to power through the punk years...waving the prog banner and a love of the audacity to take out a full orchestra on the road ( dare I say it was a bold move, financially stupid and frankly....there couldn't have been a crazier band in the world who were prepared to throw caution and money to the wind). Sadly, when they disbanded...I'd lost a great friend.
 
It was years later, at 28 when my mum died, I turned to their music once more for comfort. Somehow music was a good healer, but then in 1992....I finally got to see them play live...at the Royal Albert Hall
(Royal Lager Hall to those in the know). It was like the adrenaline flood gates opened and my body had an electric current running through it.
The following day, I cried like a baby having realised that ELP had been there through the death of both my parents and the birth of my son. They'd been there when I left school, when I turned professional, when I'd been up, down, sober, pissed, when wearing my red kickers and when wearing my biker boots....they were the leading presence throughout.
 
Years later, I got to see Keith once more in action at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon. At the end of the concert, he came forward to shake hands with his ardent fans ( me being one, and two and three). I had a front row seat courtesy of a fool on ebay, so I dashed forward to
press the flesh...in order to extract some kind of magic that emanated from him. As he shook hands with most of the fans, I found my hand in his, but then followed him along the edge of the stage....holding on for dear life in hope that his ability and awesomeness( americanised bullshit for being god- like) would run through my veins. I didn't care I was knocking over the other fans who were next in line....I WANTED THE MUSE he had so badly....I would have followed him to the dressing room and been dragged along the streets, in order to have a slice of his magic.
 
Yesterday after leaving Real World Studios, I played ELP all the way home, at full volume, with tears in my eyes after a week of remaining quite focused ( well if you include the moments of evening banter with the team over a glass or 10 of wine).
 
So, here I am now....having digested the news, heard the rumours, read the quotes and reports, having discussed with my closest, nearest and dearest what this man did for me and my life, I feel at peace and hope that for Keith, Mari and all Keith's family, friends and fans.....they achieve peace and revel in the talent that was to me, the Greatest living prog virtuoso that ever breathed.
Those who know me well posted on here to let me know their concern and I really appreciated that...it smarted a bit.
 
"RIP Keith. Your star will always shine bright and your music will live on. Another Legend gone....."
 
 
 
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"Noodle Away" my son

Posted 16/2/2016

Prog Rock has started to see a resurgence in the recent years. Old progress are resurfacing to their adoring fans, and new music is in abundance. More often than not Prog is regarded as the plague when it comes to the music industry and sadly as sales dwindle on CD's, the leather trousered/caped crusaders are left scrambling to fund their love of a good noodle ( solo/improvise) with tickets sales at gigs/concerts. If noodling was a crime, the 70's progress would be locked up with the keys thrown away. These days, noodling is confined to a verse or a chorus, maybe an outro. Some may find the time to noodle on the extended mix version, but I do feel the general public and listeners have become accustomed to the Verse and Chorus style of song writing. "Bring back noodling" I say. Without solos, songs on the radio today are a constant barrage of vocals and beats.

 

One other thing I find strange is that the prog world are fond of a good concept album. You take a theme and you write 40-70 minutes worth of material around it. How do you actually decide on iTunes to download individual songs you like and leave the rest of the others behind?     That way, surely you are only getting part of the story and concept. Imagine what Rick Wakeman's 'The Myths and legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table' would sound like if you just downloaded 'Guinevere'? or you just downloaded 'Karn Evil 9 part 1 2nd impression' from ELP's 'Brain Salad Surgery'?

or even one track from 'The Snow Goose' by Camel? a totally insane thought!

You'd be missing out on all that other glory, but in particular....'The Concept', of which Prog Rock is the master of. 

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