We didn't come to live in England till I was about six years old. Soon after, so I could tell a friend where we had lived before, I asked my Mum where I came from. Realizing the full responsibility of a modern parent of the 1950's she said she found me behind the clock on the mantelpiece in Granny's room. I don't think I have ever recovered from that blow.
The family had moved to London from a beautiful granite and slate house in a tiny Welshspeaking village between the mountains and the sea of North Wales. My father saw no future for my brother and I tucked away in a remote corner of the Principality. He had come to the Metropolis to set up a fruit and vegetable business with an old friend.
The business flourished. I was sent to the best schools. I was taught the Arts - Literature Languages - then disaster struck! I discovered Buddy Holly! Hundreds of pounds worth of school fees were dashed to smithereens as in every waking hour I strummed and twanged, crooned and sobbed the messages that youth - for the first time in the history of mankind - was able to
convey to the world.
I had discovered Buddy Holly late in his career, and by now the Beatles were eclipsing all previous "pop' music artists. I would watch the school "beat group", The Banshees, rehearsing Please Please Me and She Loves You - not imagining myself strutting the front of the stage as lead singer - not extracting gasps of admiration for my dexterity on the lead guitar - but
intoxicated by the NOISE the drums made!! My nylon strung acoustic guitar was traded in for a pre-war snare drum . . . I sold my model racing car set for a cymbal . . . and for a tomtom I used a purple plastic bucket turned upside down on the kitchen table!
With this magnificent kit, and after many, many days of diligent
practice(!) - I was given the chance to join a local group - The Lawmen. I loved every second of being in a group with a passion, and not in my wildest dreams thought it would ever be possible to actually do this sort of thing for a living. . . .