Alex

Growing up in the midlands Alex was influenced by Punk, Ska, Reggae, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and classic old school rock. Raiding his piggy bank he bought an electric guitar and (cheap) amp and created a band with a few friends to play lead and rhythm guitar on covers and original tracks. Over the (many) following years Alex was involved with several bands playing music that ranged from ballroom dancing ballads to heavy metal and thrash. An unintended musical sabbatical, caused by life in general, made Alex think that perhaps his playing days were over…….however, a chance meeting with Ian, together with Oxjam acting as a catalyst, made Alex ‘embrace the bass’ to play once again and so the music goes on.

What was your first instrument? When and where did you start playing?

My first instrument was a descant recorder followed by a wooden tenor recorder. Realising that my chances of impressing the older ten year old girls as a woodwind wizard were zero I press ganged my parents to buy me a guitar – unfortunately this still didn’t improve my chances but my love of music began. My first live and paid performance was actually as a young teenager on the drums in a two piece dance hall band playing waltzes, tangos, quicksteps and foxtrots. The introduction of a ‘better’ drummer enabled me to move to the guitar and vocals thus allowing the band to add the sounds of the sixties. The pull of the guitar was however too strong and as soon as my first rock band was functional the crooning days were quickly left behind. There was also a brief stint on a Roland SH 101 synthesiser but rock won over once again.

What bands and artists have influenced your playing?

I was very influenced by the live gigs that I went to as a young teenager. Being relatively cash flush, due to the dance hall band revenue, I was able to go to see nearly every band of the moment. In those days bands toured for several months at a time, usually in small venues, and you could meet them afterwards backstage. I met Saxon, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Hawkwind, The Who, Slade, The Jam, The Police, ACDC, Black Sabbath (Dio), Ozzy Osbourne, Genesis, Thin Lizzy, Girlschool, Iron Maiden, U2, Rainbow and a whole load more. I’ve still got the autographs and ticket stubs somewhere and what a shame smartphone selfies weren’t around then. Nowadays my music tastes are very varied across the whole spectrum because I believe that you can always learn something positive from any fellow musician that knows their craft well.