What makes our fiddle man tick.

1. What bands were you in before Merry Hell? (what's your previous musical experience?)
Brahms and Liszt, The Drunks, Fatoompsh, Bedface, Watkins and Swarbrick, Custer’s Last Blues Band, Eye, The Clangers, Feast of Fiddles, The John Stone Band, Permission to Smile, Band of Jays, Shine, Iron on Stone, The Rhymers, Five Furious Fish, The Simon Swarbrick Trio/Quartet, The Arran B Sweaters, The Ladyboys, Gnu, Red Dirt, and collaborations/compositions for Julie Lewis, Nautical Graffiti, Reel and Soul Association, Triniti, Hull Truck Theatre Company, Contact Theatre Company and AsOne Theatre Company.

2. When did you first hear about Merry Hell?
About two years ago after having given up my latest profession as an operating department practitioner. I had been out of music for some years so knew very little about what had been happening on the music scene. Being an ODP was the latest diversion from music after bus driving, deck chair attending and assistant nursing in a psychiatric institution. I was also a shop assistant, a window cleaner. a busker, ice cream van driver and was on one of those government schemes in the 1980’s called Wedge, painting and decorating the homes of ex psychiatric patients and OAPs.

3. How do you feel about performing with the band?
I feel that I always want to do my best with this band. I never have a problem with motivation because the energy, force of character, power of the lyrics, arrangements and performance is all thick, steaming swill in my musical trough.

4. What have been your favourite moments/experiences with the band?
So far…playing at Cropredy, supporting The Lathums, listening to Andrew’s stories, seeing John bounce around on stage, drinking Colin’s whiskey, hearing Lee say ‘cheese’ somewhere in a distant room. I am a simple man.

5. Have you got any hopes for the future?
The future for the planet looks hopeless to me so my hopes are to have some hopes. Beyond that, seeing my friends and family live long and fulfilling lives is as much as I would ask. But having said that I would like to own a Stradivarius and be able to play it, because some hopes don’t necessarily have to be realistic.

6. What music are you into generally?
Radiohead, XTC, Big Thief, Andrew Bird, Broken Bells, Agnes Obel, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, The Urban Folk Quartet, Richard Thompson, Little Simz, Super Furry Animals, Elbow, Baxter Dury, Ian Dury, Wilco Johnson, Black Country New Road, Do Nothing, Between the Buried and Me, Sparks, Janis Ian, Amy Winehouse, Heartworms, Duncan Chisholme, Wet Leg, John Williams, Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Anna Meredith, Stormzy, Oscar Peterson, Aster Aweke, Joanna Connor, Irlande, Minyeshu Netsa, Fikreaddis Nekatibeb, William Shatner, Kraftwerk, Bellowhead, Beatrice Dillon, Baaba Male, Ry Cooder, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Stephan Grappelli, Alison Krauss, Battlefield Band, Bjork, ACDC, Bombay Bicycle Club, Buddy Guy, Michal Urbaniak, Cake, The Cardigans, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Chris Wood, Den Fule, Steeley Dan, Jeff Buckley, John Mayer, Led Zeppelin, Paul Brady & Andy Irvine, Rufus Wainwright, Jethro Tull, Sandy Denny and most other things…