(Please note that I have decided to divide this post into several pages to make it easier to read and refer to. The page numbers are at the bottom of this post)
I have decided to write about how I got into music and why it has been so important to me. People often ask me how long I’ve been playing and I am usually less than honest with them. Maybe it’s because I don’t want them to know how old I am! Mind you, the only time I was honest the person I was talking to didn’t believe me, thought I was lying! Just shows that sometimes you can’t win! Well, I’ve decided to write the complete story, as much as I can remember. It’s strange, when I look back over the years how things have become blurred and there are people I knew well at the time that I can’t even remember the name of now, although I can still see their faces. It’s been a long voyage and I’m still on it now.
I am writing this partly in response to a request from Shaun Knapp, brother of John, who is writing a biography of legendary Leicester band Legay. He’s decided to expand it and include other aspects of the Leicester music scene. It’s also something I’ve intended doing for a while. History tends to be written about the rich and famous but there is a much broader story to tell about the mass of people who live rich and varied lives and make a real impact on their local culture. This is the case with the local music scene. Although few achieved national or international success there is a legacy of real talent and happenings and events that changed people’s lives and made the world a better place to live in. The band Legay were one of these. Even now I think they were the best band I’ve ever seen live, and I’ve seen a few! They were also incredibly popular with local audiences. As big as the Beatles to awe struck teenagers like me. This is the real story of what happened in the 60s not the media representations of pop history you tend to get now which really give you a story of the development and growth of the mass media from the top down. They tend to ignore or don’t know what happened at the grass roots.
I think there has always been a clash between the motivations of musicians and the big record companies. Musicians and performers are usually motivated by a love of what they do whilst the companies are motivated by a love of money. No change there then! However, in the mean time, and without being asked, local performers have been creating a legacy of great music and performance. The list of names is almost endless! And now, with the availability of cheap high quality recording equipment and distribution it’s possible for people to get their work out there. The result is a mammoth increase of music available. The old model doesn’t work anymore. The big record companies attempt to sell more and more (or is that less?) commercial “product” aligned to “reality” TV programs or manufactured “stars” whilst the real creativity is on Soundcloud or Bandcamp or a host of other sites where people can upload their music (and films). The tide is changing as long as the internet remains open and free.
So, this leads me to my story and how I got involved with music and why I kept going! I will also talk about the many people I have been involved with who in my mind are the real stars!