I’m never sure what to type in these sort of pages …I wonder what any visitors (supposing I receive any, of course …) might actually want to know about me: husband, father, son, brother, musician, guitarist, psychiatrist, (very) amateur astronomer …
I’ll start with the music bit: I’ve played music on one instrument or another for most of my life, starting with piano lessons as a little bloke. I was then given a nylon string acoustic guitar for my 11th birthday, and had some lessons from a travelling Californian hippie dude I never really got into playing Beach Boys songs, or Mary had a little Lamb on the high E string out of some Ernie Ball book or other … Coming into high school, I started playing brass instruments: cornet, then mellophone, then the French Horn – which was the one I had originally wanted to play. I still love the instrument, and I think it’s had a big impact on the sort of lead tones I tend to go for.
Then, in 1986, The Jimi Hendrix Story aired on a late night music TV show called “12 O’Clock Rock”. I had no idea who Jimi Hendrix was – and all my parents told me was “he was a guitarist but now he’s dead” … despite them having a 4-LP Hendrix compilation … So anyway, I stayed up to watch, and was absolutely floored. O_O The bit that really made me go “I have to do that!” was the beginning of his solo in Machine Gun with the Band of Gypsys at the Fillmore. I think it bent my brain a bit Following that I was driven to play – sadly I didn’t know how to do much at all and my nylon string acoustic just didn’t sound like Hendrix’s strat through 100W of Marshall stack (not that I knew anything about guitars or amps either …) To address the former, my parents got me lessons from a local teacher by the name of Graeme Webb – a wonderful jazz guitarist, with whom I learnt for about 2 years. Graeme helped to start addressing the latter by offering to act as guarantor for a hire purchase of a Samick strat copy and Roland amp. Every dollar of my crappy supermarket job went to paying that off – as well as the DiMarzio Super Distortion pickup Graeme sold me for $50…. Now we were talking ^_^ - And that started my love affair with DiMarzio pickups.
Following Jimi Hendrix, I went though my parents’ record collection, and was wowed by Jeff Beck, Erik Braun from Iron Butterfly, andSantana. I then got into ZZ Top – and still absolutely love Billy Gibbons’ tone and feel. Another defining moment was seeing Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous (the video) on TV. Brian Robertson totally wowed me – though more recently I began to appreciate Scott Gorham more. When Joe Satriani‘s “Surfing With the Alien” came out I saw “Always With Me, Always With You on the TV (on a cool show back then called Radio With Pictures) I had that floored feeling again. I had never heard that sort of music, or that sort of technically excellent guitar playing before – and it was the first time I ever saw an Ibanez, which started yet another love affair. I went through the logical hair metal/shred/virtuoso stage – admiring I mean; I never managed much in the way of virtuosity myself.
More recently I discovered Andy Timmons, who has chops to burn, tone for Africa, and wonderful taste and melody. Then … I found Shawn Lane … O_o Cue attempts at string-skipping, wide stretches, cool fusion … Very hard, but very fun too. My music is a fusion of all those things: a love of classical, jazz, fusion, blues, rock, and pop music; and a love of many different styles of guitar, especially if it’s screaming and wailing 8) Consequently it’s rather eclectic (some might say un-focussed) but if you listen you might well find something you like.
Outside music, I’m a family man, and a psychiatrist. I have a wonderful wife and two (mostly) lovely children. I’m finding that I enjoy gardening – now that we have a nice garden and am getting rather proud of my roses.
At work, I do my best to help as many people as I can, using the best evidence I know. I’m doing quite a bit of work lately on principles of science and evidence, and getting increasingly cranky when I see them ignored or not given proper place.
I’ve been getting into watching the stars and the sky since my wife gave me a telescope (a Celestron 150mm Newtonian). I find it magical looking out into space and seeing for instance, the moons of Jupiter, or Saturn’s rings, or a glimpse of the Orion Nebula. – And I never tire of looking at the Moon, and trying to get the best photos I can … by holding my point-and-click compact camera up to the eyepiece by hand
Since children are exceptionally good at getting one up way too early in the morning, I’ve also developed quite a collection of photographs of sunrises, some of which I have to say are quite spectacular: