The Zombies were another great band that spring to mind. Great bands whose reputations have stood the test of time.
My own musical influences as a musician were very much drawn from that era and each remain with me today. Johnny Gustaffson of The Big Three showed that it really was possible to be not only a fine bass player, but a great singer as well. I listened closely to what, and how he played and I admit that my singing style is copied as near as I could get it, to his. I still have an ambition to meet him.
I narrowly missed meeting another of my idols just a short while ago at the B.B.C. '50 years of number 1 hit records' party. Jet Harris of The Shadows was there but I didn't realise it and he was gone before I could speak to him. I was really disappointed.
Over the years other players have impressed and influenced my style. Chuck Rainey - who played on the majority of Steely Dan stuff has been someone whose playing ability is something I admire, as has the late, great Bernard Edwards of the 80s band CHIC. He was such a great player and died tragically young.
In a band sense it all really started with The Hollies and amazingly it has come round full circle, though I never in my wildest dreams thought that it ever would, or could. I loved The Mindbenders - another Manchester band. Bob knows them and we have spoken about that whole scene many times.
Of course The Beatles were an enormous influence but, for me, in a totally different way to the musicianship-type bands that I was really into.
I have had a long lasting love affair with 2 bands over the years. Steely Dan mesmerise me - the lyrics, the melodies, the songs and chordal structures!!!! I still play their music, and have done so for nigh on 30 years; I never tire of listening.
The Beach Boys are also there. I have loved so much of their music for so long. We (The Hollies) did a double header concert with them in Germany some years ago. I was amazed to see that Bob, Tony and Clarkey actually knew them, presumably from touring America, and Bob duly introduced me to them. I just couldn't believe it. I'm not fazed by
many things but that was something else.
I also met Graham Nash some years back when we recorded Peggy Sue Got Married. Graham flew over from America to do the track with us and I found him to be a very pleasant person.
When I'm not working with The Hollies, I have my own band that includes my wife Anne who sings, and also Ian Parker and Steve Lauri. The music is very dance orientated with interestingly enough, no Hollies songs. We have been together for 20 years and it's a really good group. We sometimes have to don dinner suits and bowties, depending on the occasion, but we have a good laugh and enjoy ourselves a lot.
Equipment wise, I use 2 basses on stage. I am very happy to be sponsored by German guitar makers Warwick.
The small brown guitar is called a Thumb bass which I have had for about 9 years and the bigger, light brown bass is called a Streamer which i've had for 16 years. I also use a Warwick 150 watt amplifier driving a 12" speaker.
I also have a Fender Precision bass which I bought in 1961. it's pink in colour, totally original, and is now quite rare. I recorded all my Mud stuff on it and is irreplaceable.
I started playing bass back in 1960. At school during woodwork lessons, a number of the boys were making, as a project, solid electric guitars. I wanted to be part of the 'beat group' scene so my dad made me a bass guitar (just to be different) - and from that moment I was completely hooked.
I bought a music book and practised with it, before I went to school, at home at lunchtimes and after school, for hours on end. It took me about a year of practice, and playing along with records, to reach a point where I could confidently join a group which I did. This was a local band which after many twists and turns along the way later became Mud.
My local dance hall was Wallington Public Hall, Wallington, Surrey. Every Tuesday night was 'star' group night and played host to all the top groups of the time - I saw there, The Stones, The Searchers, The Big Three, Freddie and The Dreamers, there were so many including, of course, The Hollies.
We, as members of local groups always went on Tuesdays, and we all agreed that The Hollies were the best band - the best players and the best singers. The Hollies had such an influence on me - in Mud we played half The Hollies songbook (before we made it in our own right).
I remember being at the W.P.H. the night that STAY got into the charts. The place went wild, it was absolutely fantastic and I've never forgotten that!
20th November 1946
Joined The Hollies
Warwick Bass Guitars