Guitar: Dave

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Early Years

Born 1965, London, UK. Still living in SE London.

I took up electric guitar at school, embracing the loose playing approach of the prevailing Punk scene and spending several formative years making horrible noises with like-minded friends. Music was destined to remain a hobby though due to the advent of well-paid work programming computers which proved too tempting. Despite that I've played in quite a variety of bands:

School proto-punks Blood Group matured into barely-competent blues/freak-rock ensemble Triple Measures. This occupied a year or so of rehearsing but only produced a couple of shambolic gigs, including a long trek to Exeter University on the weekend that most students were off somewhere else! In the face of a limited market for Hawkwind and Pink Fairies covers and... well, not being any good, the band folded and by late 1988 I had switched to bass to help a couple of friends with their quirky death metal project Near Death Experience.

Despite relying on a drum machine for the other half of the rhythm section, NDE gigs were played around London including an East End squat party. Several demos were recorded, one of which was successfully foisted upon the Tommy Vance show at Radio One for their demo competition. It didn't win, but recordings still exist of the late, great Mr Vance intoning "Near Death Experience" in his distinctive style. Finding a regular audience proved impossible though so we decided to call it a day in 1991 and through the pages of Melody Maker I found myself awarded the bass spot in New Cross indie sensations The Shells. Out went the pointy Charvel bass in favour of a fancy Status 5-string.

A Bit Prog?

After a year or so gigging from the Amersham Arms, New Cross to a West End wine bar, other commitments drew me away from regular playing and it was the mid 90's before I went back to guitar with a new band mostly consisting of various school-era collaborators. Heavy Plant Crossing was the most ambitious band to date: odd time signatures, tempo changes and prominent keyboards were the order of the day. This was unveiled at gigs around London, most memorably at the Kings Head, Fulham and the Canterbury Arms, Brixton. It was fun while it lasted but eventually enthusiasm dwindled and the band ran out of steam.


Meanwhile, other former members of The Shells had gravitated to a retro but comparatively purist 60's outlook. Co-incidentally my side interest in classic keyboards had lead to ownership of a Hammond XB2 repro organ so I was drafted in to the Count Penfolds (later The Understanding) to consolidate their desired sound of late 60's British Freakbeat, augmented by some original compositions in the same style. My keyboard capabilities were just about adequate, helped along by a suitable haircut.

I did get to play some real Hammonds along the way; recording demos at Rogue Studios, Bermondsey (C3, took four people to carry it up their back stairs) and Toe Rag Studios, Homerton (M100 series) as well as the in-house white C3 at the Montague Arms, New Cross that was supposed to have belonged previously to Rod Argent.

21st Century retro

After a more substantial tenure of three years, we all fancied a change, or in some cases a rest. However the music bug could not be eradicated so by 2007 I had resolved to get back to the guitar and the classic songs I grew up with. Hence hooking up with the other guys in the first line-up of Hardtail.

Meanwhile, a 50th birthday celebration prompted something of a multi-band reunion, including The Understanding which, after some further intervening time, led to me being involved in another retro-covers project in the shape of the Kings Of Oblivion. Ownership of a paisley shirt is a condition of membership, at least for the blokes.

Equipment used

Musical influences

  • Black Sabbath, Cardiacs, Celtic Frost, Fairport Convention
  • Faith No More, early Genesis, Gong, Roy Harper, Hawkwind
  • Motörhead, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Yes, Frank Zappa
  • ZZ Top


  • Music, motorcycles, web development.