The Long and Winding Road
Where have all the hippies gone? Well, some of us are still safe and sound in our cellar studios sitting with our battered geeeetars in front of our cubase cockpits; recording 40-track versions of all those pretty songs we laid down for our Ladies of the Canyon in the hazy, drug-crazed 60s; gut-spilling Harperesque songs that raged against the machine; naive paeans to Lennon and Simon that never quite made Sergeant Pepper or Graceland ... oh what a dream and, oh, so nearly!
40 years of songwriting and performing have filled attics and basements across the UK with jiffy bags stuffed with cassettes and piles of battered clip files full of fading lyrics typed on real typewriters. Helpless love songs scrawled between Isle of Wight Festival sets in leaky tents whilst my lady slept. Oh god - I didn’t write that did I? But, I was there and I did .... .
Then a terrible mistake in 1995 mothballing my geeeetar, and myself it seems, while trying to 'get' ordained as a Buddhist. 10 years spent without music! Well, it wasn't all bad, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone as our Joni put it! And, I did get Ordained! But I wish I had listened to my own heart instead of the people I sadly projected my unrealised spiritual power onto!
In 2005, I found myself crying at a tsunami benefit concert in St Georges, Bristol. The wonderful Gasworks singers were singing Sting’s lovely song Fragile. It was such a beautiful, timely reminder that only music can really heal grief and suffering like this; only music can bring people together in common purpose and vision like this, and only music can connect with what is best in me.
In the following weeks I found myself reflecting on all the songs I had written and those still to write in my remaining years; then a decision to get these songs down on CD while I could still sing the high-notes! Then, a visit to the local buddhist centre basement to dig out folders full of lyrics, jiffy bags full of years of casettes and CD recordings; then my first purchase of Cubase 3, convincing Sarah that we could do without a cellar so I could turn it into a studio, buying 25 duvets and black covers for soundproofing, upgrading to a super-quiet computer, running hundreds of wires through the kitchen ceiling, then spending a lot of money on incredible new music software. It has been pretty hard work, but there is now a great studio to dream and create in.
Songwriting has remained my best spiritual guide and my guitar my closest friend throughout my life. Yet, somehow, there has always been a tension in me between being grateful for the personal benefits of writing these songs and trying to 'do something with them'; as many friends and relatives have urged me to do over the years.
But, as another 'best band in the world' quickly appears then dissapears, I have always wondered what happens to the shattered young dreams of all these young men and women given that empty and fleeting promise of easy fame and fortune?
It is not surprising that I have always avoided getting seriously involved in the music industry, maybe I value my dreams too highly? But, I find curious aches and pains in my arms and hands after playing and rehearsal energy seems to be getting always harder to find and maintain. So, I have decided to grit my teeth and get this music 'out there' somehow.
Music helps me understand this crazy journey called being alive - swapping stories as Joni put it - all the pain and joy - here I am - there you are - here we go. This website is all about the songs that help me understand this journey, and and the fellow musicians with me for a while on the road ....
love and peace
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