Hello, and welcome to my site.
In April, 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 those of us who made it there. Which didn't include Mark Knopfler. John Illsley did an exemplary job of dealing with his absence. The attention and praise bestowed upon those of us who did attend - John, Guy Fletcher and myself - was humbling. And it was nice to catch up with some old friends.
I've been working with Trevor Horn on a record he's producing, and we played a show in his new Music Bank Village rehearsal venue on July 19th to launch both it and the record. Trevor doesn't mess about: it was an 11 piece band playing along with a pre-recorded orchestra - see below. And we played another show recently to launch the record at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, with a similar line-up but with an additional 8 piece string section.
I've been flying back and forth to Rome, over the past few months, writing songs with Phil Palmer for an Italian megastar, and we’ve recently written and recorded a couple of songs for a young Italian artist called Manuel Aspidi.
Most of last year was spent producing and writing an album for a band I'm in called LEGACY (see the next column). We (myself and fellow producer Phil Palmer) recorded the initial tracks in Los Angeles with Steve Ferrone and Pino Palladino at Steve's Drumroll studio, then we moved to my favourite studio in the world: Forward Studios in Grottaferrata, Rome. 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).
I've autographed some things in my time, but signing the vicar's collar at my mother's funeral is going to take some beating.
I'm currently a member of three bands:
TREVOR HORN’S BAND, as mentioned, and also LEGACY, which records and plays songs written mostly by myself and Phil Palmer. We have an album called Three Chord Trick. The band consists of the following illustrious line-up:
The greatest rock drummer in the world, Steve Ferrone from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. We also have world renowned guitarist Phil Palmer from Dire Straits; and we are very lucky to have ace percussionist/drummer/vocalist Danny Cummings from Dire Straits, who is about to embark upon a world tour with Mark Knopfler. We have one of the greatest sax players of our generation, Mel Collins also from Dire Straits, who is currently touring with a band he was a member of many years ago, King Krimson. On bass we have probably the greatest record producer of our generation, who is remembered for, among other things, Video Killed the Radio Star with his band Buggles, and for the huge worldwide hit Owner of a Lonely Heart when he was the lead singer, writer and producer of Yes: Trevor Horn. Playing additional keyboards is ace Italian session keyboard player Primiano De Biase; and fronting the band is Marco Caviglia on guitar and lead vocals. We also have vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player Jamie Squire, who is about to embark on a world tour with The 1975.
And there’s also, er, me.
I’m also a member of Dire Straits Legacy, which is the same band as Legacy, the difference being we play Dire Straits music adding a couple of tracks from our Legacy record, one of Trevor’s hits, and we’ve recently added a Tom Petty track (because our drummer is a Heartbreaker). Earlier this year we played in Brazil and the US, we also played in Helsinki, and we’ve just finished playing 8 cities in Italy where we also had in the band Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni. More info from the link below:
When I’m recording in Italy, I stay in the marvellous Villa Mercede hotel in Frascati. A big thanks to owners Luigi and Gianluca and everyone at the hotel for making it my home from home in Italy.
RELIGION: Some of the songs on the Legacy record have religious titles (Jesus Street, God's Land, Magdalene, Epiphany) and I've been asked more than once if I'm religious. I don't subscribe to any religion. Jesus Street is a street in Tarifa, Spain (Calle Jesus). God's Land is about God’s Land, i.e Northumberland. Magdalene is... you figure it out. And then there's Epiphany.
Back in February, I was in Newcastle performing on the Sunday For Sammy charity show - the "Geordie Command Performance" - at the Newcastle Arena. Since it began back in 2000, they've opened the show with a recording I made of the Geordie song Blaydon Races*, and this year Tim Healy also performed my song God's Land, from LEGACY's 3 Chord Trick album. Multiple award winning record producer (and now LEGACY bass player) Trevor Horn also featured in the show, performing the song that was a worldwide hit with his band Buggles: Video Killed the Radio Star.
* I recorded the famous Geordie song Blaydon Races, 15 or so years ago, to try to persuade Newcastle United to adopt it as their theme instead of Knopfler’s tune Going Home from Local Hero, which is actually a song about Scotland. It was a long shot; they still use the Local Hero tune. But it’s found a home with Sunday for Samm
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, and 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 bike around town. 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 recently 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 a love of windsurfing.
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