Although no one in the family played an instrument, music was always there.  This was not always a good thing.  My parents collection was very hit and miss with Anne Murray, Abba, Val Doonican and Boxcar Willie.  Neil Diamond was also an ever present, I didn’t mind that too much but still can’t stand Abba.  My favourite records turned out to be Ray Charles, Little Richard and a Rock n Roll compilation.  My sister wasn’t much help either, she was into the NOW albums and typical pop music of the time.

I did start getting into songs like Rockit by Herbie Hancock and 19 by Paul Hardcastle.  I’m not sure how I got into rap but it was hard work.  The local Our Price in a small city in England didn’t stock LL Cool J or even know who he was.  The Electro 9 tape got a lot of hammer though.  I was also impressed by groups like Altern 8 and The KLF but none of my mates were into rave.

My first guitar was not my first introduction to an instrument either. There was the obligatory recorder from quite an early age and later on the trombone. I was also interested in keyboards and synths but could never afford one, although I did work all summer of 1988 to buy a Yamaha PSS-680. This was a keyboard with mini keys, drum pads and FM synthesis, which I didn’t understand at the time. I did use it to record an EP called ‘Voyage to Arcturus’ which was a collection of spacey ambient songs recorded on cassette, sadly lost but probably for the best.

It wasn’t the easiest time to be learning either.  There was no youtube or internet tabs and even music shops didn’t sell many tab books. One of my mates, Adam, who had the best music collection at the time and arguably got me into metal (Dark Angel, Dead Kennedys, Metallica, Artillery, Helloween etc) had to send for Master Of Puppets from the States which took ages and cost a fortune.

So I was at a crossroads of electronic, metal and rap and the Satriani video sent me down the guitar route. But if you looked hard enough in my record collection you’d find the S-Express record, even if I wouldn’t have admitted it back then.

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