The saxophone came into my life after seeing ‘The Alan Bown Set’ and ‘Sounds Incorporated’ at Manor Court School Youth Club in Portsmouth.
I was 15, and was having an erratic affair with a clarinet (and it’s owners sister) ....but when I saw it’s shinier and sexier cousin...well...it was love at first sight.
My schoolfriend Pete had hypnotized me with one of his Dad’s Stan Getz records...and I knew immediately that I wanted to make that sound.
Thirty years later and I’m still nowhere near it.
Had I known then that ten years would pass before I would make even an acceptable noise...I may have gone for the teachers training course or the civil service entrance exam.
But to be honest....and this is why people buy Aston Martins....the saxophone just looked so fantastically sexy....I just had to have one.

  Like a motor bike.....designed primarily for functionality...the saxophone is by accident, a beautiful thing. Whether it’s a King Silversonic or a Selmer MkV1...whether it’s Johnny Hodges...Arthur Blythe....Stan Getz or Ben Webster the sax has always symbolized the world of smoky nightclubs and beautiful women, a low income...next to no job prospects and a place along with percussionists in the tour manager’s file called ‘‘luxury extras’’.
Needless to say...a large part of my life was susequently spent in smoky nightclubs...there may have been a few beautiful women......but there cetainly wasn’t much money.
A few years ago a lot of musicians got into bands for reasons that were far from financial....reasons that may not have been entirely musical either...but times have changed and there is no reason why they shouldn’t earn a decent living now (did Kenny G say that?)
 


 
         
 
 
             
 



  I thought Sting was right on target when he said ‘music should be it’s own reward’.....hmmm....that’s easy for him to say.
Anyway....my first sax came from Skippers junk shop in Portsmouth.
It made a sound that was in perfect proportion with the price I paid for it.£9.
I know the guy who owns it now....it’s in pieces under his bed. A good place for it.
I had a Dearman President tenor after that...can’t remember what happened to that.
I then embarked on the saxophonists predictable love affair with the Selmer MKV1.
(Contrary to years of prejudice from sax players...Selmers are not the only horn.
OK I have several...but anyone who’s ever played a Yanagisawa saxophone will have to admit...however grudgingly...that these handmade Japanese horns are better made...and have better intonation than
  almost anything available today. Blah blah blah!)
When I moved to London in 1979/80...the truth is I got lucky.
I worked with The Boomtown Rats with whom I played at Live Aid...The Pet Shop Boys...Dexy's Midnight Runners....played solos on some of the Wham! records and then started a long association with George Michael with whom I've recorded and toured.
I remember seeing Duran Duran on Top Of The Pops doing their first single ‘Planet Earth’.
The New Romantic image may have raised a few eyebrows at the time......but I thought the track was great.
The next day I was in the studio with them.They wanted to do a 12’’ version of ‘Planet Earth’ and add some horns.
With the help of a friend who played trombone we put a big overdubbed brass section on the track.
 
         
 
 
         
 

l still really like what we did.
A while later I did a solo on the ‘Rio’ track.
I’ve played with them on and off since then.
A couple of weeks later I remember making some derisory remarks about Dexys Midnight Runners who were also on TV.
Next day I was on tour with them.
Similar thing happened with the Boomtown Rats.
I was watching a Sophia Loren movie around the same time.I remember saying she was ugly & couldn’t act...but she never called me.

I’ve been busy ever since.
I’ve also worked occasionally.
If you really want fine details you can
see my CV on the the CV page.