20 years old , fresh off the boat ( literally) from Australia I landed a job at Top Gear guitars in Denmark Street. That tiny street was guitar central during the golden era of British rock and Top Gear turned out to be the main attraction . Every day left me reeling – the second week I was there Jimmy Page walked in – the next week Paul McCartney wandered in and I later got to set up the Beatles’ most iconic guitars ( Rocky, the rosewood Tele, Lennon’s Epi etc.) – Gary Moore brought Peter Green’s famous “Greenie” Les Paul in to show us the day he picked it up from Peter. Getting to watch people like Page play up close,to just converse casually with these guys and ask questions was like living in a dream. Most guitarists who went on to write rock history passed through those doors and I absorbed every meeting, every moment of the experience like a sponge.
Not only was Denmark Street the focal point for guitarists all across the UK, it was known as “Tin Pan Alley ” – the music publishing mecca with studios dotted up and down the street. I started doing sessions and after wards I’d stick around and bug the engineers with questions. There’s not a day goes by when I don’t use or recall something I learned during that amazing period.
A shot from a Tuesday night at the Bourbon Street blues and boogie bar in Nashville. When Ted Nugent isn’t touring, Derek St Homes and the Originals rock the joint and it’s usually packed with Nashville guitar heads, which has been fun for me. I lived in London during the “Golden Era” of the early 70s and value the time I got to spend up close learning from my heroes more than any point in my career. If there’s anything I have studied really closely in my life it’s the British Blues and it’s been amazing to throw that stuff down on stage in front of an audience who know me primarily as the mild mannered Aussie record producer!
The last studio project I worked on before leaving Australia was Rob Hirst’s Midnight Oil side-project, Ghostwriters. I enjoyed just being the guitar player. This track happens to be one of the most satisfying creative experiences I have had in 30 years of making records. Warne Livesey’s mix is astonishing.
Here’s International Rules of Love: