Ian was born in Ashford, Kent and got into music at an early age having been exposed to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Tom Jones and the Sounds of the Sixties by his parents and uncles. His first band, Replica, only played a couple of gigs in Ashford. In 1997 Ian moved to Oxford to study publishing and work part-time for the Student's Union on the Ents crew. Getting paid to crew for bands and have the odd beer introduced Ian to Andy and Autospy and is also where he first met Rob.
What was your first instrument? When and where did you start playing?
I was given my first guitar by my grandfather when I was at primary school. I remember thinking it was pretty cool, but other than that I didn’t really do anything with it. I still have it and it hangs on the wall at home. Turns out it’s a late 1930’s Aristone model made by J.G.Abbot and Co Ltd in London. I don’t think it’s worth anything but I want to get it restored so I can play it. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away before I actually started to play the guitar, maybe he knew something back then that I didn’t.
I got into playing partly because I love rock music but also due to two friends, Matt and Loz, both excellent guitar players. I remember being round Matt’s house one summer and he was playing away, making it look so easy and asked if I wanted to have a go. I remember it really clearly. As soon as I picked up the guitar I had a total mental block as my hands had no idea what to do and I wasn’t having that, so the learning began, and continues.
My next guitar came into my life was when I was 17, a black Les Paul copy made by Kay. Loz gave me a lift to Canterbury to buy it and I was lent a small amp from a friend called Ben. I ended up buying Loz’s Laney Linebacker 30 from him not long after as he bought a Marshall. I really think this is where my love of Les Pauls and Marshall amps came from. Cheers Loz.
What bands and artists have influenced your playing?
Metallica have had a massive impact on my playing style, mostly James Hetfield and the chucky down strokes, but also the sound as well. The first album of theirs that I heard was …and Justice For All and from the opening riff of Blackened, it completely blew me away. I loved the thick heavy guitar sound but also the clean tones as well. The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana also chip in as well. As for fingerstyle, I learnt this from a Frederick Noad video series on the Learning Channel. I still have my first nylon string, a £60 Encore, and I tend to play an acoustic guitar at home more than anything else. Most of the dropout songs have been written on a nylon string rather than an electric guitar.
What gear do you use?
I've had lots of guitars over the years and coincidentally, like John, my first guitar was a black Kay Les Paul copy. I’ve also owned Epiphone Les Pauls and an SG, a couple of Aria Pro IIs and an ESP LTD Explorer as well as a Yamaha electro acoustic. Amps wise after my Laney Linebacker 30 I went onto a Marshall VS100 with the extension cab, then a AVT 150, then an AVT 275.
Currently I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio, a Gibson LPJ, which was a rather nice wedding present (thanks Tara), and an Ibanez JS100. I’d love a Gibson Explorer at some point. Acoustically I have my old Encore, a Washburn, a Tanglewood and a Martin & Co. I also use a Luna, although that’s Tara’s.
I’ve gone back to using a Marshall VS100 with the extension cab as I love the sound of it and I honestly think it’s the best of all the Valvestates that I have used, psoriatic arthritis has knocked a full Marshall stack dream on the head. Pedal wise I use a Jim Dunlop Cry Baby, Boss phaser, flanger and stage tuner, Line 6 delay modulator and an MXR ‘make it louder’ boost.