I picked up my Dad’s guitar when I was about sixteen. I found the ‘teach yourself guitar’ book that he was learning from and got down to it. After a few months of struggling with chord shapes, I started to enjoy it … and I started to sing …
Attempts at song writing happened quite early on. Hopefully any traces of the first few songs have long since evaporated. I seem to remember the cringe worthy lyrics, where everything seemed to rhyme with “…alright”! With a bit more practice and pain I developed a stronger writing style.
My old school friend Carlos Chadderton and I decided to ease ourselves slowly into the rat race. For about nine months after university we worked (almost) part time, and spent a good deal of the rest of the time playing guitars together. This was an important period that taught us a lot about how to sing, write and play music. In the end we created an album, which was recorded using the most medieval technology; and we found ourselves ready to form our first band.
Ragwood was that band: a four piece blues-rock combo that played around Reading and Maidenhead for a couple of years. This was fantastic fun. We played a bunch of covers from the Rolling Stones, Who, Led Zepplin, U2 and Pink Floyd, as well as a good third of our own songs. Life was good; drummers came and went; we rocked.
The band lasted for a couple of years. In that time I started playing on the acoustic scene in Reading. Carlos and I became a well known duet in town but I also played alongside and lot of different musicians. There was an acoustic night (now called Bohemian Night), which became a second home to me. Here I met a lot of great new friends and very talented musicians.