I was born
in London in the closing moments of the 1950's. October 1959 to be
precise. Although you would never know it from my name I am in fact
half Spanish. My Father was from Jerez de la Fronterra in southern
Spain and my Mother was and is a professional Flamenco Dancer. Spain,
it's music and it's culture has therefore always been a very important
part of my life although for most of my life I have lived in England
I started playing in rock bands while still at school. I remember
my first band was called "Plus Support" and at the time
I thought this was a great name for a band. Another school band
was called "Sinnombre" which in Spanish means 'no name'.
I became interested in English/British folk music
in the early seventies after hearing "Now We Are Six" by
Steeleye Span and "The History of Fairport Convention".
These albums were a whole new world to me and soon, I had bought
Fairport and Steeleye LP. It wasn't long before the rot had set
in and I became
a regular visitor to Folk Clubs and Folk Festivals. It was at the
local 'Orange Tree Folk Club' in Frien Barnet, Hertfordshire that
I became friends with Bryan & Carolyn.
I soon gave up playing in rock bands in favor of a ceilidh band.
This band started out as 'Kraken's Wait' but after several changes
in name finally settled for 'Barnet Fair'. Barnet fair played together
for nearly 20 years and had more line up changes than Fairport.
I'd love to mention all the members but I fear I would take for
Other projects I have been involved in were 'Aardvark & no
Money' with Bryan and Carolyn and a duo which started life as a
trio called 'GMT'. Many of my first achievements were with GMT,
including first paid folk club booking,
first residency and first radio performance which was 'The Richard
Digence Show' on London's Capital Radio. It was also with GMT that
on one occation we travelled down to a folk club near Trafalger
Square for a gig only to find that the club had closed 6 weeks
earlier. To make matters worse, on returning to where the car
had been parked, we discovered that it had been towed away. We
then made our way across London to the pound only to discover we
did not have enough money to pay the fine and had to travel back
home by Underground to get some money.
the biggest part of my musical career and certainly
the most sucessful was plying in 'Shave the Monkey'. I played with
'Shave' for 15 years
until it's demise in
of my musical
ambitions, not least, playing with such talented musicians.
We recorded four albums, one of which became Radio Suffolk's folk
album of the year. We played at some great folk festivals both
in this country and abroad including Cropredy, Cambridge,
Dranouter, Deerlijk and Skagen.
Were were also lucky enough to perform
For the last 20 years I have also been a member
'Albion Morris Men'. Unfortunately we don't dance together as often
we used to, just
for the occasional weekend tour or festival. However, when ever
we do, we always manage to put on a great show and it's always
For the last few years I have played in Ian Cutler's Slaughterhouse.
We only ever manage to put on a couple of gigs a year which is
a real shame. Along with Ian, the band also included Colin Reece
and Val Cutler.
More recently, Bryan Causton and I have been involved with a couple
of ceilidh bands. Dangerous Circles is a 4 piece acoustic band
and it's big brother Swindlers & Gentry, which is a 6/7 piece
folk rock ceilidh band which also features Kevin Neaves the drummer
from 'Shave'. It's been great fun playing ceilidhs with these guys
especially our trips to Belgium.
I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to play with
such a talented and varied musicians.
I'm often asked what are my major musical influences
and as I believe you can tell a lot about people from the music
here are some of my musical influences.
I listen to all kinds of music.
My favorite folk/folk-rock artists are too numerous to mention them all
but some of the most influential are:
Fairport Convention, - One of my all time favorite bands and a nice bunch
of guys. Simon Nicol, a much under rated guitarist, has probably influenced
my playing more than any other.
Gryphon - I was first introduced to Gryphon while still at school, I
was always impressed with the musicianship and originality.
The Albion Band, - especially the albums "Prospect Before Us" and "Rise
Up Like The Sun" but over the years I've liked most of Ashley Hutchins'
Pywackett, - Bill Martin's keyboard playing was the reason I took up
keyboard playing. I only wish I was half as good as him. The sooner their
entire back catalogue is available on CD the better.
Home Service, - For me this is a band that could do no wrong. I love
everything they ever recorded.
In more recent years I've been very influenced
by European folk music. Especially Spanish bagpipe players such
Jose Ángel Hevia and Mercedes Peon. I also listen to a lot
Breton Music such as Tri Yann, Alan Stivell, Denez Prigent and
Sonerion Du to name just a few.
My favorite rock bands are:
Bare Naked Ladies, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes,
Jethro Tull, REM and recently My Chemical Romance.
My favorite classical music is:
Concierto De Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, so typically Spanish. La Mamma
Morta from the Opera Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano and
sung by Maria Callas. Elgar's Cello Concerto especially the performance
by Jacqueline Du Pre.
Misa Flamenca by Paco Peña, Bizet's Carmen, Adagio for Strings
by Samuel Barber.
I also like early music, in particular, Piffero and Phil
Pickett's London Consort.
Anyway, that's enough about me. Tell me about