Well my singing career began one night in 1981, whilst singing to a jukebox in the pub, when i was tapped on the shoulder by Jimmy Mcfarnell who needed a vocalist for a band he was trying to get off the ground. I agreed to go along and try out, and due to no one else turning up for the audition I got the job. I was well and truly hooked by the time this day was over, so you can blame Jimmy for unleashing me on the local music scene. MASTERSTROKE was born.
This band was made up of Jimmy on guitar, Keith Tomlinson on keys, Simon Mills also on guitar, Neil Basford on bass and Albert Ulvmoen on drums. We boasted a complete set of original songs tbat I still play to this day. Original music is, was, and always will be, close to my heart. If you don't play your own songs you are not an artist, you are a copycat. MASTERSTROKE lasted for three years between 1981 and 1984. After that came SHADE, a blues rock outfit of ill repute, we had one gig only, a 5 k rig in the Elephant and Hind in Dover stupidly drunk and firing on all cylinders. What a gig that was. We had to disband due to no transport and the sake of our health. This band consisted of Stuart Anderson, a Rory Gallagher type player who came from Scotland, Albert Ulvmoen from my last band MASTERSTROKE and Simon Beggs on the bass guitar. After SHADE came CATCH 22, a band in the U2 /Simple Minds /Talk Talk vein, this band also did original music. Driven by Steve and Gerrard Haughy, (also from Scotland), on guitar and bass respectively. Also in this band was Fred De Grussa on drums and a keyboard player called Nigel. Unfortunately I can't remember his surname. We lasted from 1984 to 1986. After a short time out I got a knock on the door and standing in front of me was none other than Tick Brown, a local guitar hero I'd long admired.
Trying to hide my excitement I sort of reluctantly agreed to try out for TICKLED PINK .after getting the job, (well it was inevitable wasn't it ?), we recruted Trevor Hussy on drums and Neil Basford on bass and began to take on the world. It soon became apparent that this wasn't going to happen, so we asked Tony Johnson from a band called Isengarde, a local band of some reputation, to join us on keyboards. This was great but still something was missing, in the end we had to replace Neil and Trevor for Albert Ulvmoen on drums and a bass player who was blowing everyone out of the water at the time, Martin Wisbey, from a band called Roadhouse. We were flattered because they were really good.
TICKLED PINK had an original set also and a bit of interest from London. This never happened so we called it a day.
It lasted from1987 to 1990. After TICKLED PINK came SOLDIER BLUE local drummer Gary Doble asked me to join and we set off on the local circuit playing covers. In this band were Gary Doble on drums, Stuart Wright on keyboards and Danny McHaughy on bass with Steve Marriot, (not that Steve Marriot), on guitars. This band lasted from 91 to 93.
2 years later, no original music, so I left the band. Stuart Wright and I then formed a duo doing what duo's do, (covers).
This duo was called FLASHBACK which soon changed to SPICE'O'LIFE. We had at the end, seven or eight originals but just fizzled out 1994 to 1996. Then in 1997 the call I'd been waiting for came through, Tick Brown wanted to form a band and we were off again.
Once again we got in Neil Basford on bass and Trevor Hussey on drums and Jimmy McFarnell on guitar and keyboards. We later changed Neil and Trevor for Nigel Reid on drums and Neil Scrivener on bass. This was it, or so we thought.
Neil left after 3 years and we now have Jan Drinkal on bass. So far so good! This band is now in it's eleventh year and we are rocking as hard as ever. Jan, did I mention the original music I so love?
We call ourselves USER FRIENDLY and we are, we truly are.....ROCK ON!