Joanna was the first girl I had a crush on at school, I was of pre-pubescent age, lots of face blushing and shoe gazing.
My best friend, when alone, was a pocket sized transistor radio my dad had bought me. Tinny and with an unflattering sound but it began my life’s obsession with music and songwriting. It was 1970 and at the age of 10 I had no musical ability but I could write childish 6th grade words.
Using the melody of the Beatles’ song, ‘I Should Have Known Better’, I wrote my first song ‘Joanna’. As in many stereotypical girl-boy songs the girl went away and I never saw her again after the school year ended. But she did leave me with my first ever song.
(BTW my pictured half size in the pic did metamorph into banks of synthesizers when my height doubled. It’s OK though, I’m not too precious getting caught out with a squeeze box in hand.)
Anyhow, back to the plot…in the 1960s many records were faux stereo. Their audio had vocals on one side and music on the other side of the stereo image. Using my parent’s 1964 furniture size gramophone, I switched off the vocals on one side. This enabled me to sing my own lyrics over the instrumental backing. Many a bad song including ‘Joanna’’ was written like this and recorded onto my junior reel to reel tape recorder.
I CRAVED RECORDS! It was my quest for years to buy more and more LPs. Known to us as Long Players (not albums) they were 12 inch vinyl discs with shiny huge artwork). I horded my school lunch money, unbeknown to my parents, to buy LPs. They cost $5.95 and I was able to purchase an LP every 17 days. (Maths lessons paid off;)
I remember my first delicious smelling vinyl big disc being a Simon and Garfunkel ‘best of’ album. Nothing else at that time meant more to me than getting lost within the music and wanting to create my own. Some rudimentary guitar chords later, aged 13 my songwriting began developing.
We’ve all had times and events in our youth that, in retrospect, became pivotal points in the way our lives took shape. I’m sure you’re no different to me.
When thinking about mine, it’s the above series of memories as a child that resonate the truest. Persistence, lead me to recording studios and international tours. Playing to thousands of fans, meeting them face to face was always the reward. But more about this including my years in chart topping synthesizer band, Real Life, in Part 2.
For now, I wish to thank You for getting involved by being here, by reading my first blog. It demonstrates a connection, a common past perhaps and love of similar music. Please keep an eye on your inbox over the next couple of days for its conclusion. And if you’d like to hear one of my Alien Skin milestones, click here to preview the recent album, 1980 REDUX.
Speak to you very soon,
[Part 2 to be uploaded next: “Would I be caught out with eye liner and lipstick today? Let me check the mirror…”]