First of all, thanx Martin for taking the time to do this interview!
1. Did you have classical training and or are you selftaught?
A bit of both really. Playing the piano was alwayssomething that I could do, and when my parents bought a piano when I was eight years old, I pretty much knew what to do with it right away.
I did have lessons with the old lady that played the church organ in our village, but as she was a bit of an old hippy (before hippies existed!) the lessons would often go off at a tangent. So I generally spent more time working on my own music than playing other people's even then. At school I didn't get on too well with classical - type tuition, and I was never considered good enough to go to music school or to have any specialist training. So I spent most of my school years playing the flute because no-one thought my keyboard playing was any good.
2. Where did that interest in music come from? Do you recall when you actually realised, this is my call, I wanna play music?!
My parents used to have an old Russ Conway record (he was a popular British honky-tonk-style pianist) that they used to play to me when I was very young. I guess that did it
3. What, if any, music genre inspired you the most, to make just that choice?
I'm not really allied to any one genre really - I just do my own thing. I only got mixed up in the prog rock thing because some of it was similar to the material I was already writing. But I missed the whole 70's prog rock phenomenon completely - I just wasn't aware it was happening.
4. I guess all our readers know, that you are one of the founder members of the fabulous IQ! But you also were one of the creators of (IMHO) the superb album The Lens : " A World In Your Eyes" . Not only that, you also participated on many Jadis albums and last but not least, you brought your considerable keyboard talent (aiding friends) to albums by such great names as: King Crimson, Asia & John Wetton. So here´s the question (about time too): How on earth did you manage to keep up that spirit, that originality, that spice, that vigour on every track, on every recording, even regarding the time span??
Actually in 30 years I haven't done that many albums, and that's a deliberate choice. There's a lot of music being made and a lot of it really isn't very good in my opinion, so I've tried to pick and choose the best projects rather than just releasing an album because it's 'x' number of years since the last one. I'm glad you like The Lens album by the way, because that's one of my favourites too. Although the (very few) surviving recordings of The Lens are dreadful quality, the album we released in the late 90s is a pretty good re-creation of what that band sounded like.
5. Are you (a nice follow up the the former question) a workoholic?
No, but once I get started on something, I like to see it through.
6. I Think your latest album (and sadly the last) "The Old Road" is brilliant!
When you create/compose music like that, which to me and I think many of our readers are superb, which comes first, the music or the lyrics?
And or..is it important to you, which comes first?
The music generally comes first, and I don't usually place too much importance on lyrics. But this time, because there are quite a lot of things going on in the world that I seriously object to, the lyrics assumed greater importance because there was quite a lot I wanted to say. It seems to me that the two things you are not supposed to criticise in the 21st century are religion and the Internet, so I made sure I was extremely scathing about both. Strangely enough the chorus to "The Old Road" itself pre-dates the song by about 10 years and it came to me while I was walking a stretch of old railway line in the New Forest which was known as the Old Road.
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