Right, now read on to find out about the Steve Pierce/Colin Riggs connection, 3am streaking and the lethal Graf Arco Lager!
How I met everyone...
Somewhere in the summer of 1988 I left Canada to go to the UK to start a band with Steve (Pierce).The original Idea was to have myself and Steve put this thing together. However, it never got off the ground. The girl that I was going out with at the time owned a flat in Salisbury, actually this was Cathy, Steve's ex. Really great girl. At that Time I met up with Colin (Riggs) who was renting from Cathy. Cathy and I lived in London through the week and went to Salisbury on the weekend. Anyways I was quite taken with Colin's writing style and wanted to work further with him so I moved to Salisbury and stayed with Colin and Sarah for a time. I believe there was some writing demo recordings done, but nothing serious. One song I remember he wrote, which was really well written, was called "We'll spend a lifetime living a lifetime". I believe he wrote it about Sarah, and his trip to Toronto, and his return home to her. Quite a feeling song. He needs to give me the rights to record that song!
I ended up moving back to Canada and started playing for a number of bands. However, I became a promoter and did a ton of shows with bands like Helix, Kick Axe, Sven Gali, Pat Travers, and the list goes on. At that time I dropped playing and went to school to became a software engineer, which is what my day gig is now. However, luckily for me, I picked guitar back up about two years ago and have been working on writing and recording ever since. It has been going extremely well this time around and I seem to be getting more recognition. I have since signed a guitar endorsement deal with Samick Music USA (largest guitar manufacturer in the world). I am the first Canadian Guitarist they have signed.
What is really cool is that my software engineering has played a major role in my music. I have written some of the effects used on my CD. The Reverb and Flanger used on the guitar are actually software effects I wrote. This came about because I could not get the sound I was looking for from "off the shelf" effects so I spent some time a learned how they worked and wrote them myself. Anyways this brought me to even more music software development and I wrote the CD Mixer software, if all goes well you will be seeing alot of this product on CD's in the future. The CD Mixer software represents the new generation interactive music CD's.
About CD Mixer
Audio CD's can be written as Mixed mode. What this means is that it will play on a normal CD Player, and will also function as a data disc in a CD ROM. When you place a CD Mixer enabled disc in a normal CD player it functions as any other cd would, however, when you place it in a CD ROM on a PC it pops up a mixing board and allows you to mix your own music. You can adjust the volume of any track, guitar, bass, drums, vocals, etc. It will also allow you to apply effects. It comes with Reverb, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Compression, and a Parametric EQ. It's first appearance will be on my CD
Band Name: Lythyum Cow
CD Title: Moo!
Recalling tmes with Colin..
First, Colin is one of the best guys I have ever worked with. Just a great guy. Sarah.. She is a wonderful, quiet lady that cooks like no other. You have not lived until you have had Sarah's roast chicken dinner. At the time I lived with Colin I was, as Cliff would say (one of Colin's friends), a little over the top. I think I was about twenty in a foreign country living a dream. So, needless to say, if someone dared me to walk down the high street in the buff I would have. I remember one occasion and I can't remember the name of the pub, but Colin started the day off with me, and Cliff and I finished it. I got started drinking Graf Arco lager and Colin told me to be careful it was strong. I believe his words were something like, "Be careful with that mate, you colonial boys don't have anything like that in Canada". Right, that got me going! I was gonna show everyone I could handle this "oh so dangerous beer". Afterall it tasted just like Molson from Canada so I figured I could put away 5 pints of this without batting an eyelash! Wrong, I ended up paassing out in the pub washroom, but only after emptying my stomach contents multiple times. Someone and I'm still not sure who it was, I think it was Cliff, got me home to Colin's house and I ended up passing out in his washroom. Anyways, "Colonial Boy" learned a lesson that day.
What I remember about Colin the most is his sense of responsibility, he was not a very heavy drinker, and was always responsible. Actually he was always the one who would chase me down the street at 3:00 in morning when I was looking for another party, or whatever reason I decided that I was going out for.
Actually there were numerous times in Salisbury where drinking got me into trouble. In Canada all spirits, like whiskey, vodka, etc.are 40% Alcohol, in the UK it was different. I looked around for a pub that sold Jack Daniels for quite a while, I finally found one and proceeded to buy 35 shots. I shared with the patrons in the bar and I pounded back what was left one after another, I think 16 or so. I could have handled that in Canada, but it was a lot stronger in the UK, I didn't realise this and once again, the bathroom floor became my bedroom! I was by myself at this time, if Colin was there he probably would have put the brakes on that session.
I have since "grown up" and stopped drinking heavily like that. But in those times it was sort of the thing to do, or so I thought. I was a rock musician and life was a constant party. Nothing really mattered except playing guitar.
Colin and I played with a bass player named Pete (I think), and Patrick Gell, who was from Texas. I believe he is back over here as well.
Last word on Colin..
He is a great guy, a very loyal friend and he doesn't hold grudges, for which I am glad. Even though I haven't spoken to him in years, nonetheless, I am proud to call him a friend.
About Andrew B.
I don't know Andy as well as Colin or Steve. I have always admired Andy's song writing abilities and his playing. I first met Andy I think it was around 1984 while I was on a trip to Salisbury. My Cousin was friends with Steve and I went to one of their practices. They used to practice in the Boy scout lodge or whatever its called, near the river. Anyways, after seeing Andy play that day I altered my style of playing and I still list Andy as one of my influences to this day. I always knew him as Andy, not Andrew. When Colin and I were playing together we went over to his house once and I believe he was just releasing the album that had Crystal Gold on it. Which by the way is my favourite song by Andy. I was blown away, it was such a fresh sound. At that time no one was really using keyboards in the way they were used in that song. If you listen to my stuff, You'll hear the influence I got from that song. All my keyboard parts are based on the way Andy used his. Keyboards are used as an instrument to support the guitar. Andy introduced me to Salisbury's Bishops Tipple, which is one of the best beers in the world! Oddly enough after I came home to Canada, They started selling it at my local. Go Figure!
No doubt in my mind, Alan was the right singer for the band, whoever it was that made the decision to get rid of him made a mistake. These guys were together for years, grew up together, had family dinners together, They were a unit, all drawing on similar if not identical experiences. When you break up a unit that is all on the same page, it is going to loose something and It did. Although the stuff with Vic was good, The old Killer stuff and Genghis Khan stuff was better.
Steve was a good guy, I stayed with him in Raynes Park in London. However, at that time his life seemed to be in a constant state of panic, well maybe not panic, but confusion. He didn't seem to have the ability at that time to make any sort of long term plans. This is why I guess our project together never got off the ground. Good guy nonetheless. He would always be welcome in my home, as would any of these guys.
Many thanks to Ken for getting in touch and taking the time to write.