I actually started with a clarinet - it was a well reputed manufacturer whose name I can’t remember, but I do remember that it was a wooden one, so it must have been good! At the start I could only get the one open note out of it, but gradually worked my way on. My teacher at school noticed that some of the pads were leaking, so I took it into the music shop for an overhaul, which took about 7 weeks, after which point I found myself back on just the one open note again. So months of hard work came to nothing. Apart from a few meanderings on a folding pedal harmonium, I moved onto bass guitar, with a semi-hollow instrument in a lovely burgundy red, which I played over the next few years, upgrading it to a Columbus Telecaster copy bass, which I took a shine to because it looked cooler than the semi-hollow one I was using!
During this time I was introduced to prog rock, and got into keyboards. And a load of piano lessons later I bought a Roland RS505 Paraphonic Strings keyboard which gave me hours of fun and a new direction to go in.
By which time I had discovered the new digital synths, such as the Fairlight CMI, the Symclavier and so on. All massively expensive, but then I came across a Synergy keyboard - a huge, highly polished black unit which sounded fantastic at the time, and had touch sensitivity - a major advantage in those days! It was a ROM Player of the GDS keyboard, another in the Fairlight and Synclavier ilk, and the one used by Wendy Carlos in the soundtrack for the Tron movie! Well that’s my claim to fame, anyway.
The Synergy did me proud for a two year stint in a Christian rock band, but started to go rather unstable. After several letters to the manufacturers in the USA, I ended up stripping the keyboard down and putting all the circuit boards into electrostatic packaging and sent them off, and several weeks later they returned, still causing trouble, but mainly stable. They actually arrived back just before a gig in Birmingham, so I had to put the thing back together on stage during the sound check! I had hired a couple of keyboards, and for the only time in my life I looked just a little bit like Rick Wakeman - minus the glittery gown, of course!
The Synergy was replaced by a DX7, bought in a package with a Yamaha PF15 electric piano for my fiancee at the time, now my wife. It is a lovely piano, sounding nothing like a real piano - they didn’t in those days, but it was one of the first with a weighted hammer action! And it still going strong 34 years later!
Next came 27 years of banishment from the world of music because of RSI caused by the computer keyboards at British Telecom, and I only returned about two and a half years ago.
Here is our humble music room, with my Yamaha MX61, and an ever increasing number of VSTs on my laptop, along with the wonderful Cantabile, which has been a Godsend!
Notice the Behringer FCB1010 pedal board sitting on the floor. That’s about all it does at the moment , I have no idea how to get it working, despite hours of trying! The rest of the kit is good though! And Veronica’s PF15 which is a great electric piano!
So there we have it. What will the next 30 years bring, I wonder?