“… A friend of mine gave me a cassette of Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat out of Hell’, (which I hadn’t heard of at the time) and said “I bet you can’t play that on piano”………. I must have been about 13 or so. I’d been classically trained from the age of 7, so I sat down that night with that cassette and learned the whole 9 minutes 50 seconds of ‘Bat out of Hell’. This was the first time I properly utilized those years of lessons into playing something other than exam pieces!
Jim Steinman’s work always stood out to me, as most other modern songs were only using 3-5 chords. The music of my teenage years was Brit Pop and Indie which did nothing for me, so I started to look back to earlier music until I found something I enjoyed… Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Rainbow etc. But it was through Deep Purple and Jon Lord where I was really able to hear where keys could fit in and enhance the sound……….and playing this type of music required a strong level of musicianship to do it justice.
Keys players were hard to come by……. everybody wanted to be a guitarist! Around the age of 18 I started gigging with bands, often being the youngest member with the other guys maybe 10/15 years older than myself. I played whatever gigs I could get so I played solo piano jazz & swing gigs in restaurants and hotels by day ……..and rock & blues band gigs by night.
In 2004 I recorded the first of 3 blues piano driven solo albums. I had a handful of melodies and chords bouncing around in my head and I just wanted to commit them to paper/tape/disc……. I had no intention of touring, playing or pushing solo material, I just wanted to record it for myself. Around this time I had the good fortune to meet Drew De Four, a touring pianist singer/songwriter from Ann Arbour, Michigan. Drew was touring Ireland and I doubled up as support act and roadie. We toured together in Ireland for 3 consecutive years playing some hidden little music venues as well as a slot at the Oxygen festival.
I love listening to music and I’m always trying to broaden my horizons with new styles, sounds and artists. It takes effort to seek out and find piano/keyboard players that can influence you and you can aspire to, from Jerry Lee Lewis pioneering the original rock n’ roll piano sound to the likes of Dr John and his wonderful New Orleans groove……….there is so much to take in.
In July 2014 Phil got in touch to see if I would be interested to come down and jam around with some guys. I’d heard they were on the look out for a keys player so I went down and jammed for a while and the vibe was great, I really enjoyed what they were doing and we seemed to gel really well. We started to work on some new songs and that evolved into what is now Blackwater Conspiracy.…”