Hello and welcome to my site
Last year got off to a good start when I was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Dire Straits. It took place in Cleveland, Ohio, and a good time was had by all. Which didn't include Mark Knopfler, who didn’t show up. It was nice a few days in the US during which I discovered Jon Bonjovi is a fan, caught up with some old friends and took the opportunity to hang in Manhattan. It’s good to see some fellow Geordies being inducted this year: Bryan Ferry and Paul Thompson from Roxy Music.
It’s been quite a week: I played a charity show with Trevor Horn’s band on March 14 at the Roundhouse in London, which featured Seal, the Pet Shop Boys, Beverly Knight. and Ronnie Wood - see below. After a day off, I then recorded a track with Seal at Trevor’s studio and the following day started recording a track for an Italian megastar’s album who I’ve been writing songs for. Right now I’m enjoying a couple of days off before travelling to Brazil on Sunday with DSL.
I worked on Trevor’s latest album which was released recently.
3 CHORD TRICK is the name of an album I produced for a band I'm a member of called LEGACY.
We (myself and Phil Palmer) recorded the initial tracks in Los Angeles with Steve Ferrone and Pino Palladino, then finished the record in my favourite studio in the world: Forward Studios in Grottaferrata, Rome. I wrote 5 of the tracks and co-wrote 4 of them. The record is called 3 Chord Trick, it's available now on all digital platforms (iTunes etc), you can buy CD's and vinyl on Amazon, and it's also available on DSD (an ultra-high definition format that has 256 times the resolution of a CD).
LEGACY has the following illustrious line-up:
Probably the greatest rock drummer in the world, Steve Ferrone from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; legendary guitarist Phil Palmer who played on Dire Straits’ On Every Street record and tour; as did ace percussionist, drummer and vocalist Danny Cummings who’s about to embark upon a world tour with Mark Knopfler; we also have in the band one of the greatest sax players of our generation who’s a member of the original and current lineup of King Krimson and who played on Dire Straits Alchemy and Twisting by the Pool records, Mel Collins; on bass we have the legendary, multi award winning record producer Trevor Horn who first appeared with his band Buggles’ record Video Killed the Radio Star then went on to produce lots of hit records including having a worldwide hit with Owner of a Lonely Heart when he was the lead singer, writer and producer of Yes; from Italy we have ace Italian session keyboard player Primiano De Biase and the renowned Italian guitarist/singer Marco Caviglia. And guesting on the record is vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player Jamie Squire who was a permanent fixture in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing band until recently when he vacated that seat to once again become a member of The 1975 on their world tour.
And, er, me!
LEGACY also play the music of Dire Straits as “DSL DIRE STRAITS LEGACY”. Last year we played in Brazil, the US, Finland and Italy, during which we also had in the band Dire Straits’ guitarist Jack Sonni. We’re heading back to Brazil on Sunday. For more info: http://dslegacy.com.
DSL: “I took a chance and my wife and I brought our next door neighbors and we absolutely loved every minute of your fabulous show. As I write, I’m watching aLCHEMY Live DVD. As good as Mark was and is, Dire Straits was as much your keyboard work as his guitar. Please bring DSL back to St. Pete soon; better yet, the Van Wezel in Sarasota. Thank you for your fantastic music”. (from Al Horrigan, a DSL fan)
I’m playing solo piano at a show at Piano City in Milan on May 18, drawing upon the music of Dire Straits. More info soon.
If anyone out there is looking for a first class recording studio, I strongly recommend Forward Studios in Frascati, near Rome. It’s a world class, money-no-object facility with a great atmosphere and accommodation is available. When I work there, I stay in the marvellous Villa Mercede hotel in nearby Frascati; a big thanks to owners Luigi and Gianluca and everyone at the hotel for making it my home from home in Italy.
I occasionally get asked to write music for TV commercials, and at least one of them is currently being aired.
15 or so years ago, I recorded an instrumental version of the famous Geordie song Blaydon Races, to try to persuade Newcastle United to adopt it as their theme instead of Mark Knopfler’s tune Going Home (from Local Hero) which is actually a Scottish-based song. They still use the Local Hero tune! However, my version of Blaydon Races is being put to good use: early last year, I played on the Sunday For Sammy charity show at the Newcastle Arena and was pleased to see/hear they’re using it as their theme and opening the show with it. On the show, Tim Healy, who is the founder of Sunday for Sammy, performed my song God's Land which is a track from LEGACY's 3 Chord Trick album. Trevor Horn also featured in the show, performing the song that was a worldwide hit with his band Buggles: Video Killed the Radio Star. Happily, the DVD of the show reached #3 in the national charts.
Some rock trivia:
I joined Dire Straits in late 1980. It recently occurred to me that thereafter I am the only person besides Mark Knopfler to have played on every track Dire Straits recorded.
More rock trivia…
Doubtless there are many Alan Clarks in the world, but the only one I knew when I was growing up was Allen Clarke, the singer in the Hollies. Many years later when I was on tour in Australia with Dire Straits during the Brothers in Arms tour, when we were the biggest band in the world, I got into an elevator in the Sebel Townhouse hotel in Sydney, and there was Allen. So I introduced myself and he asked me for my autograph! Funny old world.
Even more rock trivia…
The accordion I played on the track Brothers in Arms, has been exhibited in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The foto below demonstrates how I played it on the song because, not being an accordion player, I had Guy Fletcher squeeze it while I played the keys. Thanks to ace accordion and keyboard player Primiano de Biasse from LEGACY for helping me play accordion.
And a penultimate bit of trivia…
I was at Matty Healy’s christening and I’m a fan of his band The 1975.
And the final bit of trivia:
When we recorded the Brothers in Arms record at AIR studios on the Caribbean island of Monsterrat, I initially stayed in George Martin’s house (George wasn’t there) along with Terry Williams and Guy Fletcher. George had a nice sound system, so we asked each other if anyone had brought any records to play. All we had were the 2 cassettes I had with me: a Pat Metheny album and Prince’s Purple Rain. We played Purple Rain every night, Pat Metheny occasionally.
I was in Nashville last year and had Sunday brunch at Woolworths Restaurant...
…which is the refurbished former Woolworths shop and restaurant bar recognised as the place where the civil rights movement began in 1964.
When I'm at home, I'm very keen to get into the mountains on this:
My mountain bike, a Scott E-Genius 700 Tuned. It's an E-bike with state of the art components including a Shimano engine and electronic gear change, full suspension, hydraulic disk brakes and a bunch of other amazing stuff. It's an absolute hoot; everyone who rides it wants one. It excels in the worst off-road conditions but it's also a great urban bike. My association with Scott goes back to the early 90's when they first set up in the UK, and every bike I've owned thereafter has been a Scott. This picture was taken when I was riding the mountain trails around Lake Ullswater with my son Josh. In the background is Howtown bay where I learned to dinghy sail when I was 12 yrs old, which later led to my obsession with windsurfing.
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