So, tell me a bit about yourself...
Well, I'm getting older now but I still have my own teeth and most of my body parts!! I have brown eyes and my hair colour depends on what colour it has on the box of dye!... Seriously, it's dark brown but getting greyer by the day... but I'm not quite there yet! I was born in Paddington, London on 29th August (which makes me a Virgo) and lived around there until 2001. I now live in Surrey.
I think I am an easy going personality and I like people getting on with one another - rarely do I like confrontation. I think my best friend would say to me "Stop moaning"! My favourite colour is navy blue, my favourite car is the Aston Martin DB6 and my favourite film is The Green Mile. I love a hot curry (but not too hot)! What I don't like is boiled eggs in sandwiches. Having a conversation with someone eating a boiled egg sandwich is complete olfactory torture for me!
How did you get into music?
Sort of mistake really! When I was around 10 years old I remember seeing this Spanish acoustic guitar in a second-hand shop window. We were pretty poor then but I think I mentioned to my parents (perhaps as a sort of joke) that I would love to have that and learn the instrument. To my astonishment, they bought it! I think it was around £8 at that time. Surprisingly, I mastered the guitar relatively quickly and learnt Flamenco guitar style, being that our mother is Spanish! My parents even went a stage further and paid for me to have lessons with a Greek guitar teacher (I know it seems mad now when I look back on it)! I enjoyed the challenge of learning the guitar and I progressed with the music theory as well.
Following this, Tino formed a musical relationship with a friend of his (Peter Moore) that he met at a furniture design college in East London. At that time they were just learning covers from bands such as Status Quo, Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy. As the band developed, they then asked me to join and play bass guitar. Believe it or not it wasn’t an instrument I knew at all or felt in harmony with as it was naturally so very different to the Spanish guitar. However I persevered and then bass guitar became my true instrument. My first bass was a guitar that Tino had actually made at the college. It was a six-string adapted to be a four-string bass!!
I do also love singing and wish I had more of a rock voice. It's OK for ballads and backing vocals but you hear someone like Jaycee and think, "That's a voice"!
Musical influences would definitely have been Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash in the beginning but after that it became Journey and Foreigner. However Dio and the song 'Stargazer' have to be up there at the top!
Tell me about your favourite gigs.
This has probably still got to be the Reading festivals in 1980/82. There have obviously been some amazing shows since, however, those two stick in my mind because they were glorious days when the line-up at that festival meant something. There was a great atmosphere and buzz around the place. Also, as a young band as well, it was incredible to go on stage in front of an audience of some 35,000! We even got an encore at a very early stage of the day which was something! That Mantis line-up included Bernie Shaw on vocals who later went on the join the band Uriah Heep, and he is still with them.
What’s the best thing about being in Praying Mantis?
Seriously it has been an honour to be involved in music for as long as we have. The best thing to me is to be able to put compositions together in both musical and lyrical terms. It's an amazing platform that can let other people be aware of your feelings about subjects in life.
What’s the worst thing about being in the music industry?
Not making it huge!! Personally, I dislike the electronic download age. It is killing music no matter what people say. I just cannot see how money can be fed in at the bottom in order to allow new bands to filter through. There is no doubt that there are millions of bands now compared to when we were kids and as such, for any of them to make it now must be like winning the lottery!
What other bands have you been in?
For me it's basically been Praying Mantis and its off-shoots all the way since 1975... There was that slight interval when Clive Burr joined us after leaving Iron Maiden and it was naturally an honour to have him in the band. We went for a slightly different angle in musical terms at that time and called the band Clive Burr's Escape. If I recall, there was an issue with the name and another band called “Escape” and hence we had to change it to Stratus. Clive was a great guy though, a real genuine person... God bless him and R.I.P. As it was, things didn't really go the way we wanted it to and hence we later reverted back to Mantis. Tino, Andy and I have also been in a covers band called Paddy Goes to Holyhead.
What do you still want to achieve?
In the music industry Mantis are actually quite well known, yet unfortunately, that hasn't transpired into how many people have actually heard our music. It would be fantastic perhaps to get a little more recognition - that would be a great achievement!
What would you like to say to your fans?
To the fans that have stayed with us throughout our time or even just a part of that journey, a huge thank you! Apologies there have been many band member changes throughout our history... no doubt there have been a few but we were just getting the formula right and we believe it is now.